Local Hoops: Mac Haifa back to its winning ways

Moshe Mizrahi scored 17 points for Haifa, with Brooks Sales adding 14 points and seven boards.

ido kozikaro 88 (photo credit: )
ido kozikaro 88
(photo credit: )
Maccabi Haifa got its BSL campaign back on track on Saturday, defeating Ironi Nahariya 71-61 at Ein Sara. After easily winning its first three BSL games, Haifa had faltered in its last two league games and coach Avi Ashkenazi was very pleased with his team's performance against Nahariya. "We lost our momentum because of the defeats and this game was very important to us," said Ashkenazi, who was especially happy with the fact that his team outscored its opponent 40-21 in the second half. Haifa's Doron Perkins was one rebound shy of a triple-double, scoring 10 points, dishing 10 assists and grabbing nine rebounds. Moshe Mizrahi scored 17 points for Haifa, with Brooks Sales adding 14 points and seven boards and Davon Jefferson contributing 11 points and eight rebounds. Aaron McGhee led Nahariya with 14 points and nine rebounds Also Saturday, Bnei Hasharon claimed its fourth straight league win, defeating Maccabi Givat Shmuel 79-68 on the road. Bnei Hasharon, which played on Saturday so it could prepare for Tuesday's Eurocup game at Aris Thessaloniki in Greece, is undefeated in the league since coach Ariel Beit-Halachmi took charge. Saturday's contest was a relatively easy victory as the team led throughout almost all of the game. Meir Tapiro scored 21 points and passed seven assists for the winners, with Cookie Belcher adding 18 points. A 26-18 first period put Beit-Halachmi's team in a dominant position, but the visitors only led by two points at the interval (42-40). Givat Shmuel briefly took the lead at the start of the third quarter (50-46), but Bnei Hasharon scored the next 14 points to open a double-digit gap (60-50). Anton Shoutvin's basket brought the hosts within four points at the end of the period, but an Erez Katz three opened a 68-60 margin from which Givat Shmuel had no return. At Ein Sara, Nahariya surged ahead at the start if the game, but an 8-0 Haifa run, capped by BJ McKie's three-pointer gave the visitors a 10-8 lead. The hosts nevertheless took a four-point margin (20-16) into the second period and extended it to 40-31 by the break. Haifa began the second half with a 15-2 run, with Mizrahi's three giving the team a 46-42 advantage and shifting the momentum squarely in the visitors favor. A 19-8 third quarter ensured Maccabi led by two points (50-48) with 10 minutes to play, and another Mizrahi triple opened a seven-point gap (55-48). Nahariya closed to within four points (58-54), four minutes into the period, but Haifa scored eight of the next nine points to open an unassailable lead. On Sunday, Hapoel Jerusalem hosts Hapoel Holon and will look to rebound from Wednesday's surprise EuroChallenge defeat to Amsterdam. Jerusalem recorded impressive victories against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa in its last two BSL games, but struggled against a relatively weak Amsterdam club. It will be desperate to return to winning ways against a Holon squad which was outplayed by Hapoel Galil Elyon/Gilboa last Monday. Galil goes in search of its fifth straight league victory when it visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Sunday. Oded Katash's team has started the season superbly, but will be expecting a tough game against a reinvigorated Rishon team, which won its first game of the season last week in new coach Miki Dorsman's debut. Also Sunday, Ironi Ramat Gan, which fired Robi Balinko after starting the season 0-5, will be guided by former assistant Amir Uzi when it visits Ironi Kiryat Ata. On Monday, Pini Gershon makes his return to the BSL when Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Ironi Ashkelon.