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M-Cats Oust Hawks in Thriller

In an early morning Tier I qualifier, the #9 ranked Maimonides M-Cats took down the #8 seed HAFTR Hawks by a score of 55-53.

The first half of the game was relatively uneventful, with both teams trading baskets from the very start. The largest score differential in the first half was a 6-point lead in favor of Maimonides until HAFTR put together a 4-0 run to close at the half and cut the lead to two. At the sound of the first-half buzzer, the score was 24-22.

The second half started with the M-cats firing on all cylinders, ballooning their lead a point at a time to 13. This run was highlighted by some beautiful “defense leads to offense” plays. A rejection in the key by the M-Cats led to a fast-break opportunity for Ra’anan Gewurtz, who was fouled on the way up to the basket. He was able to nail both free throws. Soon after, a loose ball forced by Maimo led to a breakout pass to Nate Weinstock, who finished with a passionate slam on the other end. 

The M-Cats outlasted the Hawks 55-53 to advance to the Tier I Quarterfinals. (Photo Credit: Ashley Botnick/Macslive)

However, HAFTR did not quit. With a minute left in the 3rd quarter, HAFTR was able to storm back and bring the Maimonides lead to just 4. The 3rd quarter ended with a score of 45-39 in favor of Maimonides. 

The fourth quarter started with a dominant 11-4 run by HAFTR, with the Hawks taking the lead by 1 with about 2:40 to play.  From here on out, every basket was crucial. Maimonides gained the lead back with a beautiful transition layup by Josh Canner. Soon after, Maimo took the lead to 3 after a challenging play by Weinstock at the hoop. For HAFTR, Kevin Levy swished a 3 from the right wing to tie the game back up with 1:20 to play. Nate Weinstock was fouled on a shot with 50 seconds to play and sunk from the charity stripe to take a 2-point lead of 55-53. Although HAFTR had a few promising looks at the end to tie it up, they could not convert, allowing Maimonides to hang on for the win. 

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