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(19) JEC Take Home Tier III Title With 52-42 Win Over (20) Kohelet

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

The Tier III championship featured the 19th-seeded JEC Thunder and the 20th-seeded Kohelet Kings. These schools hadn’t taken home Red Sarachek tournament hardware in at least a decade and were both eager to break that drought on Monday morning at the Max Stern Athletic Center.

(Credit: MacsLive/Annabelle Katz)

The first half saw both teams get to know each other, as they established their game in the paint throughout the first quarter before beginning to kick things out to the perimeter in the second. Sharpshooter Daniel Benjamini got hot from beyond the arc for Kohelet, only to be answered by a 10-0 JEC run led by Akiva Sapeika, which earned them the 22-17 halftime lead.

Fueled by their fans, as their basket shifted to their side of the gym, the Kings erupted with a 14-9 clip, led by seven straight points from Asher Kahlon, another Benjemani triple, a jumper from Chezky Levitt, and free throws by Eli Wallace, sending the championship to the fourth quarter even at 31.

Yet in the fourth, it was the Thunder’s speed and size that proved too much for Kohelet to handle as a 9-0 spurt spearheaded by Michayel Cornick and finals MVP Yosef Heller put them back in front 40-34 before a Heller three, and layup sandwiched around two Gavi Walzman layups, gave JEC the cushion they needed for a 52-42 victory and the Tier III title in first trip to Sarachek since 2012.

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