The Valiants controlled the game from start to finish on their way to a 71-57 win over the Macs to book a trip to the Skyline Championship against the Farmingdale St Rams. The game started with a free throw and then a layup from Matan Zucker to give the Macs a 3-0 lead to start. The teams traded baskets for the first 10 minutes. Tommy Lotito connected on a three from the top of the key to give the Valiants a 15-10 lead and force Coach Steinmetz to call a timeout. Back-to-back layups from Andrew Saint-Louis then increased the Valiants’ lead to 26-15. Zevi Samet made his first three of the night to bring the game to a 10-point differential for a 28-18 Valiants lead. Max Zakheim got a layup, making the score 33-25 in the Valiants’ favor at halftime.
Yeshiva began the second half with a three from Zevi Samet. Another bucket from Zevi Samet cut the Macs’ deficit to 40-34 with 16 minutes to play, which was the closest the Macs would get to a victory for the rest of the night. The Valiants responded with a 12-2 run capped off by a layup from Andrew Saint-Louis to give the Valiants a 52-36 lead. The Valiants maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. Towards the end, Roy Itcovichi finished a layup to cut the Valiants' lead to 60-50. Jackson Leech completed an old-fashioned and one-off putback layup to give the Valiants a 67-54 lead and put the finishing touches on a Valiants win.
First Half Struggles
One major theme for this Macs team throughout the season was how they often struggled in the first half and found themselves trailing before rallying in the second half to get the win. Tonight they once again struggled in the first half, scoring just 25 points, and trailed 33-25 at the half. This time, though, the Macs could not rally in the second half and the Valiants continued to control the game; the Macs could not overcome their poor three-point shooting performance. Against tough teams in the playoffs, one bad half is all it can take to end a season and the Macs learned that lesson tonight. This will be a good experience for a very young Macs team that will seek to return to this spot next year.
Preventing Dribble Penetration
A key for this game for the Macs was to prevent dribble penetration, which would lead to defensive breakdowns and open looks at the rim and on the perimeter. The Macs really struggled with this and could not contain Tommy Lotito and Andrew Saint-Louis from getting to the rim at will as the two guards combined for 40 points. This has been a problem for the Macs all season and it is why teams have had a lot of success scoring against them inside the paint.
For Manhattanville (21-6, 12-4 Skyline):
Tommy Lotito had an all-around excellent performance, finishing with 23 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
Jackson Leech was phenomenal inside the paint; he scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.
Andrew Saint-Louis had 17 points on 6-14 shooting.
For Yeshiva (16-10, 12-4 Skyline):
Max Zakheim and Zevi Samet both led the Macs with 15 points each.
Matan Zucker finished with a double-double, with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
The Macs shot 21-58 (36.2%) from the field and 2-19 (10.5%) from three in the loss.
This loss marks the end of the season for the Macs. The Valiants will advance to face Farmingdale St in the Skyline championship game.