(2) Valley Torah Holds off (4) DRS; Finally Claims Elusive First Sarachek Tier I Championship
In a thrilling battle between two basketball powerhouses, the Valley Torah Wolfpack took down the DRS Wildcats 55-45 in the Tier I Championship game. The Wolfpack had come very close to winning it all in years past, losing both the 2000 and 2018 championship games, but this year, they finally sealed the deal, staving off a fierce DRS comeback en route to their first Sarachek title in school history.
Valley Torah started the game blistering hot from beyond the arc, as Noam Mayouhas and Ethan List each knocked down a three in the first minute of the game to give the Wolfpack an early 6-2 lead. The team would hit four of their first five three point attempts, eventually extending their lead to 19-10, but the Wildcats would go on a 6-0 run to close out the quarter, capped off by a fastbreak layup by Isaac Thurm just before the buzzer to make it 19-16 heading into the second.
The Wolfpack picked up where they left off, with Mayouhas and Tournament MVP Johny Dan each knocking down a three to push their lead to 25-18 early on in the second quarter. The defense really picked up in this quarter, and Valley Torah took a 31-22 lead into halftime.
Valley Torah maintained a healthy lead throughout the third, extending their lead to 42-28 with 2:50 on the clock, but the Wildcats were not discouraged, finishing another quarter strong with an 8-0 run capped by a nice layup by Ari Ivry to trim the lead to 42-36 going into the fourth.
Ivry continued his strong play, scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter as part of a 15-0 DRS run to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 43-42, with 3:43 left in the game. Gabriel Rbibo put an end to the run, knocking down two free throws with 3:17 on the clock to put Valley Torah back in front. Ivry then had a chance to retake the lead, but missed back to back free throws with 3:04 remaining.
On the very next possession, Ivry came up with a steal and appeared to have an easy layup on the other end until Dan came out of nowhere and pinned the ball on the glass, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Mayouhas then picked up the ball and took it down the court, finding David Paz in the corner for a huge three. Dan then stole the ball on the ensuing DRS possession and converted a layup of his own, adding the finishing touches on his game-high 19 points, and suddenly giving the Wolfpack a 49-43 lead with 2:19 to go.
DRS chipped away at the deficit, with Judah Leifer getting a putback to go, but Paz wasn’t done, knocking down another corner three with 1:10 left to extend the lead to 52-45. The lead was ultimately too big to come back from for DRS, and Valley Torah was able to dribble out the clock on an incredible performance.
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