(photo credit: SHAY GILBOA/BSL)
After getting off to a rocky start to the season and releasing two of its players, Maccabi Haifa continued its recent revival on Monday night, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 81-73.
Since cutting Americans Demontez Stitt and Jeff Allen following their arrest for being in possession of marijuana, Haifa has won five of six games over all competitions, improving to 6-8 in the BSL and advancing to the State Cup semifinals.
Rishon (9-5) took a seven-point margin (45-38) into the second half, but Haifa erased the deficit in the third period and scored the final six points of the night after Nitzan Hanochi brought the visitors within two points (75-73).
Ike Ofoegbu led Haifa with 24 points, while Will Graves added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Jackie Carmichael had 20 points and 10 boards for Rishon.
After winning just two of its first 11 games of the season, Ironi Nahariya made it three straight victories on Monday, beating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 76-74 on the road.
Gilboa (5-9) led by five points (46-41) at the break, but failed to build on it and John Williamson scored the go-ahead basket for Nahariya in the final minute to give the visitors the win.
Williamson led Nahariya with 19 points and nine rebounds, with Robert Rothbart continuing his recent excellent play with another double-double of 17 points and 10 boards.
Oded Brandwein had 15 points for Gilboa.
Hapoel Holon (8-6) built on last week’s win over Hapoel Jerusalem with a 90-82 triumph over Bnei Herzliya (4-10).
Dominic McGuire paced Holon with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Jordan Taylor added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Jasper Johnson had 28 points and nine boards for Herzliya which lost for the fourth straight game and for the sixth time in its past seven contests.
Ironi Ness Ziona moved into the top four on Monday, improving to 9-5 with a 94-74 win over rock-bottom Maccabi Ashdod (3-11).
A 16-0 Ness Ziona run in the third quarter (62-48) ended up being the difference maker.
Mitchell Watt led Ness Ziona with 20 points and seven boards in his first game with the club this season after returning last week. Craig Smith added 17 points, while Ivan Aska had 18 points for Ashdod.