The first Tier II qualifier of Friday featured the 22nd-seeded Fasman Skokie in their Sarachek opener against the eleventh-seeded Maimonides M-Cats, who were looking to right the ship after falling to the sixth-seeded YULA Panthers 49-38 in Thursday’s Tier I qualifying matchup.
The first half was a game of runs, with both teams exchanging blows and leads on the scoreboard. Ultimately, it would be Fasman taking the slight 27-26 lead into the break courtesy of a Shlomo Applebaum putback at the buzzer, which set the stage for a dramatic second half.
Surging with confidence after putting his side ahead, Applebaum began the third quarter with stellar play on both ends of the floor, forcing a turnover and drilling a three, extending the Skokie advantage to 32-28. As the frame concluded, another Applebaum trey got him to 20 of his eventual 25 points for the morning, as Fasman took a 41-39 hold entering the fourth.
Yet while Maimonides would hang around using their physicality in the paint, the outside shooting of Skokie would prove too much to handle, as a Nissim Zahtz three and an Applebaum bucket gave them a 56-51 cushion with 1:01 remaining. Any thoughts the M-Cats had of a miraculous rally vanished when Addir Amster took a charge forcing the turnover before nailing his free throws, securing Fasman’s 64-54 upset victory and a berth in the Tier II bracket.
The jubilant Skokie, who stormed the court after the final horn, will return to TABC on Saturday at 10:30 PM and battle the fourteenth-seeded Fuchs Mizrahi Mayhem after their 57-43 victory over the 19th-seeded JEC Thunder at TABC on Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, Maimonides falls into the Tier III bracket and will battle those JEC Thunder on Saturday night RYNJ, with tip-off identically scheduled for 10:30PM.