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Game Preview: (2) YULA Panthers Vs. (6) Shalhevet Firehawks
Nathan Japhet
March 25th, 2012


MacsLive Reporting Services (New York, NY)

In the second Tier I semifinal of Big Sunday, the Max Stern Athletic Center is sure to be packed for a “City of Angels” showdown between the #6 Shalhevet Firehawks and the #2 YULA Panthers. The game between the two Los Angeles rivals should be highly competitive as the two teams are very familiar with one another, and a spot in the Tier I finals as well as bragging rights back home are up for grabs.

The surging Firehawks are generating a lot of interest from fans in this year’s tournament. They barely avoided an upset at the hands of the 11th-ranked Weinbaum Storm in a thrilling opening game early Thursday afternoon. The Firehawks then pulled off their own upset with an impressive win over the third-seeded Frisch Cougars, who were ranked the top Jeiwsh team in the country by Jewish Hoops America earlier in the week. 

The star of this team is guard Joseph “JoJo” Fallas. The acrobatic layups and hot three-point shooting of Fallas were keys in the Frisch win, and it is easy to see why he is averaging 16 points per game while converting 46% of his field goal attempts. Fallas has been aided by the impressive play of Yoseph Halpert, who is averaging 13 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and is shooting an incredible 61% from the field. Shalhevet looks determined to earn a spot in the Tier I final, and the Panthers are surely devising schemes to limit the high-powered Firehawks duo of Fallas and Halpert. Shalhevet's success or failure may come down to whether their supporting cast can step up and take some of the pressure off of their stars.

The second-seeded YULA Panthers are cruising so far in this year’s tournament. After enjoying their first-round bye, they then proceeded to dismantle the Houston Bnei Akiva Stars with suffocating defense and a balanced offensive attack. The team’s focal point is big man Jack Gindi. Gindi is a do-it-all player who can not only score, but can pass and rebound as well. In their first game, the Panther’s attack was extremely balanced with Gindi, Yisroel Solomon and big man JoJo Himmelman each scoring in double digits. The Panthers are big and tall and are sure to present the Firehawks with matchup nightmares, especially since the Firehawks cannot simply focus on shutting down one star. 

YULA is certain to be pumped up for this game. If they win, they will face either hated rival MTA, or get a chance to avenge their defeat in last year's championship game with the SAR Sting in the finals. This is a must-see game and it will be broadcast live in high definition video right here by MacsLive at, the official broadcast home of the Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament.

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