MacsLive Reporting Services (New York, NY)
Eli Osdoba’s 19 points and fourth quarter heroics nearly proved enough to upset the number seven seed Houston Bnei Akiva Stars in a 54-51 loss for the Cooper Maccabees.
The fourth quarter began with Houston up 41-30. Guard Osdoba went to work on cutting the lead early, converting a beautiful layup to bring his team within 10. Though Bnei Akiva star Isaac Mirwis continued to hit jumpers and control the tempo, Osdoba hit a short jumper, and then a 25 ft. three-pointer to bring the fans to their feet. A controversial call, and a missed three point attempt with 35 seconds to go, however, proved too much in the end for Cooper to overcome.
Issac Mirwis scored 23 points to lead the Stars which delighted the full house at the Max Stern Athletic Center, with fans from both Memphis and Houston cheering on their teams.
The 3rd quarter was relatively quiet as Cooper’s offense stalled. The Maccabees defense was stout enough to slow down the Stars’ 6’6 big man Zach Yoshor and only be down 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
The decision by Houston coach Sid Schechet to insert big man Drayton Ratliff to play alongside Yoshor seemed to unsettle the Maccabees in the second and third quarters. This allowed Houston to maintain their lead thanks to solid play from Mirwis, and good shooting from Isaac Buchine.
The first quarter was a battle of guards, as Houston’s Issac Mirwis and Cooper’s Eli Osdoba tried to take control of the game. Mirwis had great ball distribution, while Osdoba began hitting shots from all over the perimeter. Though Cooper pressed Houston the entire quarter, Mirwis remained patient and helped Houston take the lead, 14-10.
The Houston Bnei Akiva Stars advance to a Tier 1 quarterfinal showdown with the Sarachek veterans YULA Panthers. The game will be broadcast in high definition by MacsLive. Cooper will try to rebound and contend in their Tier II qualifying match up at TABC against the Maimonides M-Cats from Boston. That game will not be broadcast live, but MacsLive will provide scores and updates.