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A Mactastic Miracle: Cooper’s Buzzer-Beater Stuns Kushner in Improbable Tier III Victory

In the first half, the #20 ranked Kushner Cobras, and the #17 seed Cooper Macs gave the fans and the MacsLive crew a taste of Tier III basketball. But the real action unfolded in the second half. James Orbach started dominating inside for Kushner, while Coby Brand found his rhythm from downtown. Meanwhile, Cooper missed key opportunities on their end. Then, Yarin Krasner nailed a three-pointer, sparking an unexpected surge for the Cobras. Suddenly, a team that had only won one game all season was leading 38-26 late in the third quarter, with Ikey Reinitz's buzzer-beater extending their lead to 44-26.

As Ari Katz and I noted on the broadcast, there was still time for a "Mactastic Miracle," and Cooper delivered just that. They began by hitting free throws, making the Cobras nervous. With aggressive defense and forced turnovers, Cooper capitalized on their transition game and narrowed the gap. Yet they were still down a dozen when Orbach broke down the defense and laid in another bucket with 4:36 remaining, giving Kushner a 50-38 lead.

Ben Freidin hit the shot of his life, as his buzzer-beater lifted Cooper to an improbable 57-55 victory over Kushner and into the Tier III championship game. (Photo Credit: JJ Stein/ on IG)

However, Ben Freidin wasn't ready to give up. He drained a crucial three-pointer, igniting a comeback. David Kampf followed suit with another three, cutting the deficit to 54-48. Despite Brand's free throw, Freidin hit another three to make it 55-51 with 1:12 left. Then, he was fouled on a three-point attempt, sinking all three free throws to bring the score to 55-54 with 46 seconds remaining.

With tensions high, Kushner tried to run down the clock, but a missed jumper by Brand gave Cooper their chance. After a series of frantic plays, Ben Freiden hit a buzzer-beater from the left elbow, sealing a miraculous victory for Cooper and sending everyone into pandemonium, including Magen David players who streamed the court to celebrate.

It was a Sarachek moment these kids will never forget, and Ari and I were fortunate to call such an electrifying buzzer-beater. Now, Cooper advances to the Tier III finals against Kohelet, aiming to clinch an improbable crown.

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