Maccabi begins league play with 84-59 win over Hapoel Haifa

Oct 9, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv took out their Euroleague frustrations on Hapoel Haifa as the Yellow & Blue downed the Carmel Reds 84-59 in the opening game of the Israel Basketball League 2021/22 season. After a close first frame, Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team poured on the offense and played stifling defense over the course of the second and third quarters to cruise to the victory.

Keenan Evans led Maccabi with 14 points, Iftach Ziv added 12 points, 5 assists and 4 steals while John Dibartolomeo scored 11 points in the win. Kadeem Allen was Haifa’s too scorer with 17 points, Amit Simhon checked in with 9 points and Scottie James added 8 points in the loss.

Coach Sfairpoulos spoke about the win following the game, “Today we were very concentrated offensively and defensively and we controlled the game from the beginning. Haifa is a very good team with a good coach but we disorganized them in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. The players committed and followed the plan and played a good game offensively with five players in double digits. This was very important as we played as team.”

Keenan Evans – Photo Credit:

“Everybody inside the team didn’t like that we lost that game (Red Star in Euroleague) but it’s very early in the season. The journey is long and it’s a marathon that we have to overcome. If we are not tough we will collapse and we don’t want to collapse. We have to find our game rhythm and also find our cooperation. We have 7-8 new players and it will take time to have them all coordinated.”

Amit Simhon and Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit:

The bench boss also talked about one of the club’s newcomers Kameron Taylor who scored 5 points in 22 minutes of play, “The team is new and I have to admit I haven’t used Kameron the right way until now. He played very well today and he has quality. Sometimes I also have to learn the team and rotations. We didn’t have a lot of games before the season we didn’t have a chance to build these thing. The players are learning me and I am learning the players.”

Iftach Ziv reflected on the victory, “It was clear how important it was for us to come out prepared for this game after Red Star. We were able to put the game plan in place. Causing turnovers is something that we want to do this season and we would like to do what Red Star did to us. We want to be the best defensive team. What we did today is something we want to do in every game whether it’s in the Euroleague or the Israeli league.”

Iftach Ziv – Photo Credit:

Elad Hasin, the Haifa coach also commented on the loss, “This was a very bad game of ours as to how we played and if you turnover the ball 25 times against Maccabi you can’t win. I don’t know if it was Maccabi’s aggressiveness but it was a s——y game.”

Keenan Evans playing against his former club, Jalen Reynolds and Derrick Williams got busy for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the first quarter as Scottie James and Kadeem Allen made sure to keep the game close at the Yellow & Blue took a slim 19-18 lead after ten minutes of play.

Spencer Weisz and Kameron Taylor – Photo Credit:

Williams opened the second quarter with a baseline jumper while John Dibartolomeo went 3/3 from downtown to help Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad outscore the Carmel Reds 18-7 and grab a 41-26 advantage at halftime.

Maccabi continued to pour on the offense to start the second quarter as Iftach Ziv, Reynolds, Kameron Taylor and Evans bumped the lead up to 62-37 after thirty minutes of action. Allen and James tried to cut the lead but Ziv and Jake Cohen closed out the 25-point victory.

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