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Gameday Preview, Tier I Qualifier: #6 Valley Torah vs #11 Beth Tfiloh

On Thursday March 28, the #6 Valley Torah Wolfpack will take on the #11 Beth Tfiloh Warriors in a Tier I qualifier. The winner of this game will advance into Tier I and take on the winner of the #3 Flatbush and #14 Fuchs Mizrahi game. The loser of this game will fall either into Tier II or potentially even Tier III.

Valley Torah are coming into this year’s tournament as the back-to-back defending champions. Last year, despite the pressure coming into the tournament as defending champs, the Wolfpack kept their composure and valiantly defended their title, proving that they were the #1 team in the nation.

This year, Valley Torah had to recover from the loss of previous Sarachek co-MVPs Johny Dan and Noam Mayouhas among other graduated seniors. Despite that, they had a very solid season led by veterans like Ethan List and Gabriel R’bibo. Both are very athletic wings that can shoot the ball well and have taken the lead for this new Valley Torah squad. Another interesting player to watch out for is Levi Banon. Banon, a 6’6” forward who was forced to miss last year’s tournament due to injury, can beat teams in multiple ways, as he is a very unselfish player who can hit shots from downtown. Teams will struggle to contain Banon in the paint and on the glass. This is a team with the talent and capability to go far in the tournament, but they will need to play smart and together to make a run.

Beth Tfiloh are returning to Sarachek for the first time since 2019 when they had a disappointing tournament going 0-4. This year’s team is looking to avenge that tournament and has the talent to make some noise. They returned much of last year’s team that won their conference championship for the first time in 23 years. They won their own Weiner tournament and the Becker tournament in Toronto, but fell short in their conference championship. BT is a team that is relentless defensively and loves to play a high tempo offense. The Warriors are led by Michael Cohen and Jake Schloss, who direct the offense and are the leading scorers on the team. Another player to note is Dani Ocken, who we saw last year with Mekor Chaim. Ocken adds defensive intensity to the lineup. 

The last time these teams faced each other in Sarachek was in 2015 where Beth Tfiloh emerged victorious by a score of 68-61 during the #Play4Yitzi campaign in support of a student who went to both high schools and was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, Yitzi defeated the cancer and even got married less than a year ago. That game was Beth Tfiloh’s most recent win in Sarachek, while Valley Torah is looking to continue their undefeated run in Sarachek that dates all the way back to 2019.

Both of these teams are looking to prove that they belong in Tier I. Tune into MacsLive and hear Eidan Horn and Aharon Weiden on the call to find out who will make the cut at 7pm in the Max Stern Athletic Center.

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