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Beth Tfiloh Dethrone Wolfpack, End Three-Peat Hopes

In their Tier I Qualifier, the #11 Beth Tfiloh Warriors defeated the two-time reigning Tier I champions #6 Valley Torah Wolfpack, in what was one of the most exciting matchups of the day.

Valley Torah came out of the gate strong, taking an early 4-0 lead, but Beth Tfiloh caught fire, going on a 13-2 run and taking a 20-14 lead going into the second frame. Just over a minute into that second quarter, though, Valley Torah tied it up with a pair of Ben Mahgerefteh threes. 

The Wolfpack continued firing on all cylinders, going on a 12-2 run through the first five minutes of the second quarter. However, a quick Beth Tfiloh 7-2 run, highlighted by a Julian Kontoff corner three, put the Warriors up by three with 1:15 to go in the half. A brilliant steal-and-score by Gabriel R’bibo gave Valley Torah a 30-29 lead going into the locker room.

Micheal Cohen's stellar play propelled the eleventh-seeded Beth Tifiloh Warriors to a 66-59 victory over the two time reigning champions, sixth-seeded Valley Torah Wolfpack. The Warriors will be the only double digit seed in the Tier I elite eight. (Photo Credit: MacsLive)

Second-chance opportunities from both teams highlighted the back-and-forth play in the early minutes of the second half, but Beth Tfiloh started to pull away, taking a 41-37 lead on another Kontoff three from the corner. A laser from Elie Schwartz put them up by nine one minute later. Led by Ocken and Michael Cohen, Beth Tfiloh took a 10-point lead going into the final quarter.

The Warriors showed no signs of slowing down, extending their lead to a commanding 14 points. Valley Torah had a scare when Gabriel R’bibo went down with an injury with 6 minutes left, but fortunately, he re-entered the game just 30 seconds later. Beth Tfiloh remained in control through the game's final minutes, and the Wolfpack could not make a final push. Beth Tfiloh secured a 66-59 win for the first upset of the tournament.

Michael Cohen and Dani Ocken led the Warriors in scoring with 23 and 14 points, respectively. Ocken also recorded 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals. Julian Kontoff also had a nice game, scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 boards.

Gabriel R’bibo was a force for the Wolfpack, finishing with 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 steals.

Beth Tfiloh will square off against #3 Flatbush in the Tier I Quarterfinal on Friday at 1:30, while Valley Torah have secured an automatic Tier II berth.

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