ne would expect a 14 year-old freshman playing varsity basketball to be a little rattled at the very least in a high-pressure situation, but with the game tied at 51, as Ze’ev Remer stepped to the free throw line with 2.5 seconds left in overtime of the Sarachek Tier I Championship game, he looked to be just fine. Swish. Swish. Remer sank both free throws to give the Shalhevet Firehawks a 53-51 lead. After the ensuing inbound was stolen, Shalhevet was crowned Tier I champions, as they got a taste of redemption after having lost in last year’s championship game to Frisch 49-47.
Remer finished the game with 11 points, as Shalhevet came marching back from a 15-point halftime deficit to win the game.
Valley Torah jumped out to a 14-point lead at the start of the 2nd quarter thanks to a 10-0 run, using their backcourt length to force turnovers in a 1-3-1 trap defense. Shalhevet had no answer for the Wolfpack defense, as they dug themselves into a hole by missing their first five free throws of the quarter. After getting fouled on a three-point attempt with 1.8 seconds left in the half, Valley Torah guard Nadav Altit sank 2/3 free throws to send the Wolfpack into halftime up 29-14.
Once the 3rd quarter began, it was clear that Shalhevet had made some adjustments in the locker room at halftime. Guard Zack Muller drained a nice turnaround jumper in the lane on the first possession to get the Hawks started. After a defensive stop on the ensuing possession, Remer drove to the lane for a layup while getting fouled. He hit the free throw to cut the deficit to 10.
Shalhevet seemingly figured out the Wolfpack’s 1-3-1 defense, as they were able to cut down on turnovers and exploit the zone to the tune of a 21-point 3rd quarter (more than they scored in the entire first half).
Muller, who had a quiet first half, energized the Shalhevet crowd with a fade away three-pointer that he banked in at the end of the shot clock while getting fouled. Muller completed the four-point play, pulling Shalhevet to within three.
While they were able to get their offense going, the real story for the Firehawks was their trademark defense. Shalhevet held Valley Torah to just six points in the 3rd quarter, compared to their 21, ending the quarter tied up at 35. The only points from the Wolfpack in the 3rd quarter came from Seniors Ryan Turell and Ben Hamer, with Turell hitting two pretty pull-up jumpers, and Hamer sinking two free throws.
Muller would pick up where he left off for the Firehawks, beginning the 4th quarter with a steal and drawing a foul on the other end. He made both free throws giving Shalhevet their first lead of the game 45 seconds into the 4th quarter. After yet another defensive stop, Muller once again worked his magic with the shot clock winding down, as he drove right and drained a pull-up jumper from the baseline while double-teamed to extend the lead to four.
The rest of the quarter seemed as though it was a battle of the stars, as Muller and Turell went back and forth, each scoring one impressive basket after the other.
Turell hit a baseline floater to pull within two, but Muller responded with a deep jumper of his own to keep the lead at four. A few possessions later, after a Turell jumper brought the Wolfpack to within three, Muller drove right and floated the ball high off the backboard over the outstretched arms of Wolfpack 6”7 senior Nimrod Altit, who fouled Muller in the process. There was a pile-up under the basket, and Nimrod’s twin brother Nadav was whistled for a technical foul for seemingly pushing Muller back into the ground as he was getting up. Muller made one of three free throws to push the Hawks’ lead to six with just under four minutes to play.
Turell put the team on his back as he hit two free throws and on the next possession found a wide-open Leal Saada for a layup. With 30 seconds left Turell drove baseline for a tough layup to tie the game up at 46. Firehawks’ guard Asher Dauer missed a shot at the buzzer and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, Turell gave the Wolfpack a three point lead as he bookended a Shalhevet free throw with two tough pull-up jump shots of his own. Muller responded by converting a layup while getting fouled by Saada in the process. Saada would be charged with his 5th foul of the game and finished the night with six points and two rebounds. Meanwhile, Muller hit the free throw to tie the game at 50 points apiece.
On the next two possessions Turell and Dauer would each hit one free throw to bring the score to 51-51 with 1:11 left in overtime. After a series of excellent defensive possessions by both teams, Shalhevet inbounded the ball with 21 seconds left and the game tied at 51. After having abandoned their 1-3-1 defense for most of the second half, Valley Torah curiously decided to revert to their zone defense, despite the fact that three of their best defenders, Leal Saada, Nimrod Altit, and Ben Hamer, had all fouled out, and it is difficult to replace the length of the 6”3 Hamer and 6”7 Altit.
After evading the trap defense with two nice passes, Shalhevet guard Zeev Remer found himself wide open under the hoop, where he was fouled hard. Remer calmly sank both free throws to put the Firehawks up 53-51 with 2.5 seconds left. Shalhevet stole the errant inbound throw and won the game.
Turell, who was named First Team All-Tournament, led Valley Torah with 21 points, six assists, and six rebounds. Turell was truly impressive as he dealt with double-teams and drew contact almost every time he touched the ball. Guards Nadav and Nimrod Altit scored seven and three points respectively, while Ben Hamer finished with eight points. Yonah Hami chipped in four points and Akiva Kamornick added two points for the Wolfpack.
Shalhevet guard Zack Muller was named Tournament MVP, as he poured in 28 points and five rebounds in the championship game. Ze’ev Remer, who finished the game with 11 points, was named to the tournament All-Star team. Asher Dauer and Ben Mashiach contributed eight and six points, respectively for Shalhevet. While it is not on the stat sheet, it would be a mistake not to mention the unrelenting defensive intensity of the Firehawks. Despite being under-sized at almost every position by Valley Torah, their team defense was extremely impressive, and not to mention, exciting to watch. Every player that checked into the game for the Firehawks executed to the “T” on every defensive possession and played with an aggressive intensity that is hard to find in a high school team. Congratulations to the Shalhevet players, coaches, and fans on a victory well-earned.
- Defense Wins Championships: Shalhevet Takes Home Tier I Trophy
- TIER I CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
- TIER II CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
- Kohelet Wins Tier IV Championship
- TIER III CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
- Berman Bigs Beat Katz, Advance To Tier II Championship
- Storm Warning: TABC Can't Be Stopped
- Shalhevet Charges Its Way Into 3rd Straight Tier I Championship