Many were expecting this championship game to feature the top 2 seeds in the tournament, the Shalhevet Firehawks and Valley Torah, but SAR spoiled the LA party and took down Shalhevet in a wild semifinal matchup on Sunday. The Sting had previously defeated Mekor Chaim and Frisch to get to that point.
On the other side of the bracket, Valley Torah knocked off the TABC Storm in the qualifying round, and cruised through KYHS and YULA in the Tier I bracket to reach the Championship game for the second straight year as they try to defend their title.
Players to watch:
For SAR, Akiva Schanzer has had an amazing tournament. Aside from hitting a half court shot to beat the first quarter buzzer against Shalhevet, he has carried the Sting on his back and has helped them win games they seemingly should not have. He has been the go-to guy for SAR late in games and he hit the game winning free throws with 11 seconds left to put SAR in the title game.
For Valley Torah, Johny Dan has once again been the star of Sarachek. He is averaging a whopping 23.3 points per game in this year’s tournament and he has continued to come up clutch at the end of games to seal wins for the Wolfpack. His 42 point performance against KYHS was one for the ages, and he’ll hope to lead his team to another championship and finish his high school career on top.
Keys to the game:
SAR will need to start out strong. Valley Torah has been jumping out to leads very early on in games and those leads have helped them get comfortable and control the tempo of the game. If SAR starts the game the way they did against Shalhevet, they’ll have a much better chance at dethroning the champs.
Valley Torah will need to continue playing the way they have been. Everything has been working for them so far, whether it be their ball movement, outside shooting, and tenacious defense. They should be focused on taking Schanzer out of the game and challenging his supporting cast to beat them.
The Tier I Championship will take place in the Max Stern Athletic Center and tip off will be at 2:20 p.m.