Maccabi Hunter Haifa was eliminated from the Winner Cup by defending Israeli League champion Maccabi Rishon LeZion, 79-68, on Monday evening in Nahariya. Maccabi suffered a poor shooting night from three-point range, connecting on only 8-for-30 (27 %) from long distance. The Greens struggled to find their offensive rhythm and were outrebounded 53-37 on the glass. Amit Simhon and Evan Ravenel paced Haifa with 15 points each. No other Haifa player reached double figures, despite a valiant effort from John DiBartolomeo who recorded 5 steals, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and added 6 points (1-for-6 from 3-PT range).
“I think that we don’t have enough balance in the team between the front and the back line and you can see it in the stats,” said head coach Offer Rahimi. “We opened the summer without few main players as our point guard was out and Mitchell came late, he played below his level tonight.”
“We were better for some parts of the game and in some parts, we didn’t play well,” added Simhon. “The connection between us as a team is not at the level we want yet, but we are working on that and we can see progress each day. These are preseason games and we are working on the weak points we have. I believe that we will come ready for the league games.”
The Greens trailed by only one 36-35 at the half, after a strong second quarter. Haifa took a brief lead after a Simhon 3-pointer, but Rishon’s Hanochi answered with his own shot from downtown. With Haifa trailing 48-46, the turning point of the game occurred when Rishon reeled off a 12-0 run to finish the third quarter up 60-46. Haifa chipped away on several nice dishes from Perez to Ravenel, but it was too little too late as Haifa lost 79-68.