With all of the Tier Championships set except for one, #9 Posnack and #13 MTA faced off to decide 1/2 of the Tier II matchup. MTA held the lead for nearly the entire duration of the game, but Posnack was able to tie it up late. However, key plays down the stretch gave the Lions a 65-61 win.
This matchup was basically decided on one thing and one thing only: tempo. Posnack is used to playing up-tempo. They like to run, especially in transition. They love to press and trap. MTA likes to slow the game down. They play a half-court offense with set plays. Whichever team got the other out of their comfort zone would be at a serious advantage.
Before the game, MTA Coach Shlomo Weissberg was heard telling his players “We dictate the tempo.” And dictate the tempo is exactly what they did. MTA was, on most offensive possessions, able to get the best of both worlds, as they effectively slowed the ball down before reaching half-court, got the ball over the timeline just a couple of ticks before a 10-second violation, and slowed the game down once on Posnack’s side of the court.
Posnack had the early lead, but MTA responded well, and had a 35-25 advantage going into halftime. Numerous Posnack attempts to speed up the game were unsuccessful, as MTA looked to pull away, taking a 55-44 lead at the end of the third. But Posnack was not to be outdone. Clutch shots from Junior Joshua Schultz and Freshman Abie Bonkovski kept the Rams in the game. They would go on a 15-4 run in the first 7 minutes of the 4th quarter, tying the game up at 59. But MTA responded, going up 63-61 with under 30 seconds on the clock. MTA had the ball, and looked to force Posnack to foul, but a slip up gave the Rams the ball, and they looked to hold for 1. But MTA’s defense did not give any good three point attempts or inside looks. Posnack was forced to heave up a shot, which was an airball; Eitan Pfeiffer iced the game with a couple of free throws, and MTA had won.
Leading the charge for MTA were Eitan Pfeiffer, with 29 points (5 threes), and Eitan Warburg, with 13 points (4 threes). The MTA big men, Avi Wolk and Joey Hernandez-Burg, played a key role in boxing out Posnack’s bigs. The best players for Posnack were Schultz, with 21 points, Senior Joel Brandwein, who had 19 points, and Bonkovski, who had 12 points (4 3’s, all of which were from way downtown).
With the win, MTA advances to the Tier II Championship, where they will face Fasman in what is being labeled “Yeshiva vs. Yishiva” (MTA vs. Fasman, respectively). That game will take place in the MAX at 1:00 on Championship Monday. Posnack will play in the Tier II third place game, which will take place off of the YU campus (at either Frisch or SAR; check MacsLive.com for scheduling updates).