A delicate swish was heard as sophomore Brendon Lasko sank the second of his two free throws, capping off a 7-0 run that gave Katz Yeshiva (Boca Raton, FL) Storm a 34-21 lead over the Southern California Yeshiva (San Diego, CA) Hawks to end the first half, an advantage that they would hold for the rest of the game.
Tipoff began and the game started fast and furious. Katz Yeshiva took a quick lead on a quick bucket by senior guard Abie Betesh, but SoCal (otherwise known as SCY High) senior point man Tani Capland answered with two foul shots to tie it up. This type of back and forth would define the first quarter, with neither team being able to garner much of an advantage. SCY High’s offense consisted of a lot of dribble and drive, setting screens and doing whatever they could to try and score from inside the paint, hopefully drawing some fouls along the way. Katz, however, countered with a strong zone defense that tightly packed the paint, making it very difficult for the SCY High guards to generate too much of that inside offense that they were trying so hard to create.
On the other end of the court, Katz’s offense was all about ball movement. They were whipping the ball cross court and deep around the perimeter to try and get open shots, hoping the ball would travel faster than the Hawks defense. The Hawks countered the Storm’s electric passing by playing a very tight full-court man to man defense, attempting to pressure the Storm into making bad passes. This strategy worked well as the Hawks created a lot of possessions for themselves off of steals.
The energy was palpable as these two teams battled back and forth, clearly exhibited by the high amount of jump balls that occurred throughout the quarter, and the score was 13-12 in Katz’s favor after the first quarter.
The second quarter is where things began to unravel for SCY and work out well for Katz. The Storm came out fiery and were moving a lot faster than they were in the first quarter, and it paid dividends to the tune of a 10-2 run to start the quarter. A strong series of blocks on the defensive end, and critical offensive rebounding from Katz senior David Kahane helped contribute to this surge from the Storm. Additionally, they began to play a different type of offense; instead of slinging the ball around the perimeter, they began to drive and kick in an attempt to create more open opportunities from deep. This worked out nicely, and Katz began hitting 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, SCY High was playing an almost opposite style of basketball than they had in the first quarter. They slowed down their defensive game and began playing the man only from half-court. Offensively, the Hawks were much more patient they had been in the first quarter, waiting for the right moment to strike as opposed to driving and forcing shots. Success began late in the second quarter for SCY High, but with some nice passing, they had a mini 5-2 run and it looked they were clawing their way back into the game.
That’s when Brendan Lasko took over. Over the course of the last few minutes of the half, he would go on to score seven straight points in the game on four-for-four shooting from the line and a made three-pointer. This led to a 34-21 halftime lead for Katz, a strong lead they would keep hold of until the end.
The second half began where the first half left off, and Katz opened up with 9-1 run to push the lead even further. This charge was led by all-star forward, senior Noah Mamann, as Katz gained a 43-22 advantage.
SCY High refused to give up though, and in attempt to come back from a large deficit they began to shoot the three in high volumes. Junior Elie Aron had an excellent quarter, playing some great defense along with drilling three three-pointers to keep hope alive for SCY. Katz wouldn’t give up too much ground, however, and the score was 56-34 after three quarters of play.
Katz slowed the game down in the fourth quarter, planning to simply preserve their lead. SCY High was valiant in their heart and hustle, and were led that quarter by star center Raphael Shpitalnik, who, while only scoring two in the quarter, kept the offense going and grabbed a number of offensive boards that led to second chance efforts. But the quarter wound down and Katz won, 77-43.
Katz Yeshiva was lead in scoring by Mamann (22), Lasko (15), and Betesh (12), while Aron (16), Capland (10), and Shpitalnik (9) led the offense for SCY High. With this victory Katz moves on to a Tier II qualifier, while SCY High drops to Tier IV. Be sure to tune in tomorrow at MacsLive.com, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva University athletics and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament, to catch all the exciting action.