MacsLive Sarachek Archives Project: Sarachek 2018

Sarachek 2018 Teams And Seeds

MacsLive Staff

March 11th, 2018

Sarachek 2018 Teams and Seeds

1. Shalhevet High School

2. Valley Torah High School

3. Magen David Yeshivah High School

4. Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School

5. SAR High School

6. The Frisch School

7. Hebrew Academy Miami (RASG)

8. Hebrew Academy of Nassau County

9. Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles

10. Ida Crown Jewish Academy

11. Berman Hebrew Academy

12. Robert M. Beren Academy

13. Torah Academy of Bergen County

14. The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy

15. The Mesivta High School of Greater Philadelphia

16. Kohelet Yeshiva High School

17. Katz Yeshiva High School

18. Fuchs Mizrachi School

19. Farber Hebrew Day School

20. Harkham GAON

Thursday, March 15

Sarachek Opening Day Previews

Akiva Clair

March 12th, 2018

 

TIER I

#1 Shalhevet Firehawks (Los Angeles, CA) **BYE**

After losing in the Sarachek championship in back-to-back years, Shalhevet looks to take the final leap and bring home the Tier 1 trophy. They are led by junior guard Zack Muller (Mulholland League MVP) and senior center and Captain Ben Mashiach.

 

#2 Valley Torah Wolfpack (Valley Village, CA) **BYE**

Sporting an insanely impressive resume that includes winning the Cooper Invitational in Memphis and the Glouberman tournament in LA, Valley Torah looks to once again be a fearsome contender at Sarachek. Point-center Ryan Turell, who amazed fans last year with an alley-oop slam, leads the Wolfpack with 33 PPG and 10 RPG.

 

#3 Magen David Yeshiva High School Warriors (Brooklyn, NY) **BYE**

Magen David had a great season, finishing with a dominant regular season record of 25-2. Forwards Teddy Shamma and Michael Natkin lead the way for MD with averages of 17.5 and 15 PPG, respectively.

 

#4 DRS Wildcats (Woodmere, NY) **BYE**

Perhaps inspired by the fantastic play of DRS alum and Sarachek legend Gabe Laifer for the Yeshiva University Maccabees, the Wildcats will look to make it back-to-back trips to the tournament with a Tier I crown. SF Gideon Valensky is the player to watch for DRS, as he leads the team with 22 PPG and led the Wildcats to the HAFTR Satran Tournament championship while taking home MVP honors.

 

#5 SAR Sting (Bronx, NY) vs. #12 Beren Academy Stars (Houston, TX)

Two missed 3-pointers away from upsetting Frisch and making it to the Sarachek Tier I championship a year ago, the Sting, led by knockdown shooter and leading scorer Judah Oppenheimer, will begin their search for redemption with a matchup against the 12-seeded Stars. PG Johnny Abitbol and SF Akiva Garner led Beren with 14 points apiece as the Stars won TAPPS district 7-2A.

 

#6 Frisch Cougars (Paramus, NJ) vs. #11 Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars (Rockville, MD)

Can the Frisch Cougars go back-to-back? After a thrilling victory last year over Shalhevet in the Tier I championship game, the new-look Frisch squad will look to follow big-man Jack Stepner back to the top. Frisch boasts an impressive resume that includes victories over SAR and Shalhevet, and they will look to add to that resume with a victory over a hungry Berman team. Led by scoring and rebounding leader Josh Levieddin, Berman had one of its best seasons in five years that included two huge wins over rival JDS.

 

#7 RASG Hebrew Academy Warriors (Miami, FL) vs. #10 Ida Crown Aces (Chicago, IL)

Returning almost all of its key players from last year’s impressive Sarachek squad, the Warriors will look to ride the super-scoring abilities of seniors Ben Tal and Jack Esformes to make some waves in Tier I. However, despite being regular season district champs, RASG will have to prove themselves against a scary Aces team that won the Tier II crown just a year ago. Ida Crown is led by six-foot-five center Ryan Bokor and clutch forward Amitai Kolom.

 

#8 HANC Hurricanes (West Hempstead, NY) vs. #9 YULA Panthers (Los Angeles, CA)

After knocking off Magen David earlier in the year in the Satran Tournament, the Hurricanes, led by leading scorer Oren Betesh and athletic big-man Moshe Khalil, will look to build on that success and fight their way through an impressive Tier I. Their first challenge comes against the always formidable YULA Panthers, who will look for their ninth Sarachek championship behind the all-around great play of PG Noah Pomerance (12.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.5 SPG).

 

TIER II

 

#13 TABC Storm (Teaneck, NJ) vs. #20 Harkham-Gaon Academy Lions (Beverly Hills, CA)

Perhaps with a chip on their shoulder for being the team that just missed out on Tier I, this fast-paced Storm team will look to wreak havoc in Tier II behind the strong play of SG Jonathan Haberman. Their first opponent is the lovable Harkham team, who fans of last year’s tournament will remember for how much fun they had, especially their always-smiling, always-dancing coach. PF Noah Rossi (17 PPG and 12 RPG) leads the way for the Lions.

 

#14 MTA Lions (New York, NY) vs. #19 Farber Hebrew Day School Pioneers (Southfield, MI)

Cultures collide as Manhattan meets Michigan in this Tier II qualifier. The Lions, who lost a whopping 13 players to graduation this past offseason, won the Tier II championship at the Satran tournament this year. SF Eitan Warburg and SG Shlomo Meisels are the scoring leaders for MTA. The Pioneers look to pull off the upset behind their impressive 3-point shooting and the strong play of SG Yehuda Wrotslavsky (13.6 PPG).

 

#15 Mesivta of Greater Philadelphia Mustangs (Philadelphia, PA) vs. #18 Fuchs Mizrachi School Mayhem (Beachwood, OH)

Making their Sarachek debut, the Mustangs will look to navigate the Tier II waters behind their leaders and big-men PF Marc Volpin (12 PPG, 7 RPG) and C Eli James (10 PPG, 8 RPG). They will go against a Mayhem team that is led by SG Aaron Waxman (16.5 PPG, 3.1 APG) and C Yedidya Blau (8.4 RPG, 0.8 SPG).

 

#16 Kohelet Yeshiva High School Kings (Philadelphia, PA) vs. #17 Katz Yeshiva High School Storm (Boca Raton, FL)

The Kings pride themselves on their mental toughness and unselfish play that has led to a very impressive season. Leading scorers SF Aryeh Lipschutz (13 PPG), PF Nate Greenberg (12 PPG), and C Joey Benjamini (11 PPG) contribute to Kohelet’s super-fast offense. After losing almost all of their impact players from last season, the Storm’s new-look squad is hungry for the Tier II crown. Led by Andrew Pearl (15.5 PPG) and emotional leader Ariel Berger, Katz won the inaugural tournament that it hosted earlier this season.

 

All games will be played in the Max Stern Athletic Center and broadcasted by MacsLive, the official home of the Red Sarachek basketball tournament.

(17) Katz YHS 74, (16) Kohelet 67

Katz Storms On To Tier II

By Mayer Fink

March 15th, 2018

 

The early window had an exciting duel between the Kohelet Yeshiva High School Kings (Philadelphia, PA) and the Katz Yeshiva High School Storm (Boca Raton, FL). The first quarter was a quick-scoring affair that led to a 21-21 tie as both coaches went with a high-risk, high-reward strategy of full-court-press, resulting in many of the scores.

Mirroring the first frame, the second quarter was filled with intense defensive pressure and aggressive traps that turned into many turnovers and easy fast-break points. The halftime edge in this high-scoring shootout went to the Storm as Jonah Lasko’s 10 points helped them to a 42-39 lead, despite an impressive 15 points from Kohelet’s Joey Benjamini.

 

Katz’s halftime adjustments proved effective as the Storm calmed down their attack and jumped out to a big lead. Kohelet, on the other hand, took a number of bad shots which, coupled with some missed good looks as well, put them in a 60-47 hole going into the fourth.

 

The Kings weren’t ready to throw away their Tier II hopes that quickly, though. Led by their top players Judah Esses and Joey Benjamini, Kohelet revved things up again and pulled the game closer. However, despite outscoring the Storm by six in the fourth, it wasn’t enough as Katz held on to win 74-67 in an absolutely great way to get Sarachek 2018 started. Jonah Lasko led Katz in scoring with 15 points and Daniel Portnoy and Abie Betesh weren’t far behind with 14 and 11, respectively. Esses ended up with 17 points for the Kings and Benjamini dropped 15.

 

With the win, Katz has clinched a spot in Tier II, and they will play again tomorrow. The Kings will move down to either Tier III or Tier IV. Be sure to follow the action on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva athletics and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(18) Fuchs 41, (15) Mesivta 34

Mayhem Pull Off Upset, Advance To Tier II

MacsLive Staff

March 16th, 2018

In a narrow, exciting victory of seven points, the lower seeded (#18) Fuchs Mizrachi School Mayhem (Beachwood, OH) were able to hold on to successfully beat the higher seeded (#15) Mesivta of Greater Philadelphia Mustangs (Philadelphia, PA) to advance through this Tier II qualifier. With just a two-point lead at the half, Fuchs was able to come together after the break and outscore the Mustangs by five in the second half to complete the "W."

 

The dazzling senior-sophomore duo of Aaron Waxman and Yedidya Blau (grandson of Yeshiva University's Rabbi Yosef Blau) was able to come up with 23 of the Mayhem’s 41 points, which came mostly in the second half.

 

The game started slow with a six to eight score at the end of the first and just a 14 to 16-point game at the half. The Mustang offense, which was limited by what seemed to be fatigue and an intense, corralling defense, was able to spread their offense pretty evenly amongst their starters. Sophomore point guard Noah Mogyoros chipped in with eight points, and versatile senior Marc Volpin put up nine. All in all, it was a very competitive game on both sides of the floor, and it’s exciting to see where both these teams will end up on Championship Monday.

 

Be sure to catch both the Mayhem and the Mustangs as they compete for Tier II and Tier III, respectively. All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(7) RASG 63, (10) Ida Crown 51

Tal’s 28 Too Much For Aces

Ethan Gipsman

March 16, 2018

 

Senior guard Ben Tal proved to be too much to handle for the Ida Crown Aces (Chicago, IL) as he led his RASG Warriors of Miami Beach to a 63-51 victory in today's Tier I qualifier matchup.

 

Tal poured in 28 points, including a beautiful crossover followed by a tough left-handed finish in traffic with 2:30 left in the game. The play stifled the Aces' momentum as they fell short in their attempt at a fourth-quarter comeback.

 

Coming into the final frame down by nine, the Aces were able to cut the deficit to six on a three-pointer by guard Gabe Cohen, but that was the closest they would come as the Warriors used the fast break and good ball movement, facilitated by senior point guard Noah Schiff, to maintain their lead.

 

RASG opened the second half hot. Tal drained three consecutive three-pointers, with forward Jack Esformes contributing a deep ball as well. The Aces refused to go away, however. Led by senior forward Ryan Bokor, the younger brother of YU Macs' star and 2018 conference champion Kevin Bokor, Ida Crown was able to withstand RASG's run with two triples of their own from guards Amitai Kolom and Jordan Benditzson.

 

The Aces' downfall came with their difficulty to feed Bokor down-low in the post against the feisty zone defense of the Warriors, who capitalized on turnovers to run the fast break and get to the free throw line.

 

RASG jumped out to an 18-9 lead thanks to back-back threes from Esformes, who finished with 11 points. From then on, the game was a game of runs, with Ida Crown playing solid defense and clawing back into the game, to which RASG would respond with fast break buckets and three-pointers.

 

Bokor showed flashes of brilliance as he began the game with a tough pull-up jumper from the left elbow. The Warriors were able to limit him to 10 points and four rebounds with their zone defense and physical play under the hoop.

 

With 4:15 left in the first half, Aces' guard Jordan Benditzson drove baseline, sent a defender flying with an emphatic pump fake, and laid the ball in for two. Ida Crown was able to close out the half on a strong note, breaking the Warriors' full-court press by hitting Bokor near halfcourt as he turned and fired a strike to a streaking Kolom who sailed to the basket for an easy bucket with only 3 ticks left on the clock.

 

Warriors guard Caleb Katz dialed long-distance twice, finishing with 10 points overall, while RASG big man Jacob Stein contributed six points.

 

Ida Crown was led in scoring by Amitai Kolom, who finished with 14 points, followed by Jordan Benditzson with 11. Guards Max Baker and Shmuel Horowitz chipped in four and six points respectively, with the former pulling down 3 rebounds as well.

 

The Warriors secured their spot in Tier I with today's win, and will face off on Friday in the first round of Tier I.

 

The Aces, whose ever-loyal and rowdy fan base is a staple at Sarachek, will head to a Tier II Qualifier matchup on Friday against the winner from one of the 13-20 seeded games.

 

All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(13) TABC 68, (20) Harkham 49

As Easy As TABC; Storm Advance To Tier II

Akiva Clair

March 16th, 2018

 

With four players in double figures, the TABC Storm (Teaneck, NJ) handled the feisty Harkham Gaon Academy Lions (Los Angeles, CA) 68-49 to win a hard-fought Tier II qualifying game. The Storm controlled the game throughout, maintaining a double-digit lead from the end of the first quarter. However, the Lions kept the game within reach until the very end when TABC connected on three straight three-pointers in the fourth quarter to put the nail in the coffin.

 

After hitting their first shot of the game, the Lions struggled mightily against the TABC defense that employed a nasty full-court press and an aggressive 3-2 zone in the half court. Harkham managed only five points in the first quarter, three of which came on a late longball by leading-scorer Noah Rossi.

 

On the other side of the court, TABC spread the ball all around, and it resulted in an effective 15 point first quarter with no player having more than five points.

 

The TABC lead stayed at 10 going into halftime as each team put up 15 points in the 2nd quarter. Alex Ostrin made five free throws in the early going for the Storm, and TABC star Jonathan Haberman added seven points in the second frame.

 

Although the intense TABC defensive schemes remained, Harkham began to figure it out, resulting in fewer turnovers and better looks at the hoop. Rossi took advantage by dropping six points, and Mishael Shirakhoon had a big five points in the last two minutes that helped shrink the gap.

 

The Storm controlled the tone of the third quarter and outscored the Lions by 10 in the frame. Harkham relied heavily on Rossi, and although he ended the game with a whopping 25 points, he required a number of shots to get there. TABC's balanced attack continued to work wonders as they built a 46-28 lead going into the last eight minutes.

 

Both teams exploded during the first two minutes of the fourth by combining for an eye-popping 15 points. TABC's Eli Harcsztark hit back-to-back threes that nullified a Rossi three-point play and a Shirakhoon deep ball. Avi Proctor then went on to score eight of his 13 points in the fourth for the Storm, who will advance to Tier II. As for the Lions, they will play for Tier III on Saturday night.

 

All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(5) SAR 54, (12) Beren 18

Upset Not In The Stars; Sting Return To Tier I

Leah Shulman

March 16th, 2018

The SAR Sting (Riverdale, NY) knocked off the Beren Academy Stars (Houston, TX) 54-18 in Thursday afternoon’s Sarachek Tournament. SAR’s tight defense caused Beren a ton of turnovers and only allowed 2 points in the final quarter. Leading in both offensive and defensive rebounds, SAR brought home a win to advance to Tier I. Leading scorer Judah Oppenheimer hit four three point shots en route to a total of eighteen points. Jake Schwalbe also came out clutch with a total of nine points and three rebounds for the Sting.

 

The game started off slow with neither team scoring until SAR sunk a three pointer from deep in the corner with three minutes left of the first quarter. Beren fought hard and had their first three points with 1:20 left to go in the frame. Tied up at five to five after the first, both teams came out stronger and in the second quarter.

 

Things picked up a bit  in the second, and although both teams struggled to get many of their shots to fall, they managed to score a little more this quarter; SAR had eleven points and Beren had eight. Oppenheimer put up two 3 pointers, giving SAR the lead going into the half. However, Beren put up a good fight, and trailed only by three, 16-13,  going into halftime. The highlight of the first half had the fans on their feet as Beren guard, Akiva Garner #3, showed off his handles and crossed up his defender leaving him unbalanced and on the ground.

 

Coming out of the locker room, SAR put the game away early in the second half. Oppenheimer was on fire at the three point line, and the team’s tight defense gave up only five points in the third quarter and two in the fourth. With the win, SAR advances on to Tier I while Beren goes to Tier II. It was a hard-fought, competitive game, and we’re looking forward to see what these teams continue to produce in the tournament. All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(14) MTA 43, (19) Farber 29

MTA Defends Basket, Homecourt As They Advance to Tier II

Akiva Clair

March 15, 2016

The MTA Lions (New York, NY) rode their stifling defense to defend their homecourt as they shut down the Farber Hebrew Day School Fire (Southfield, MI) to win this Tier II qualifying game 43-29. While nearly 90% of the Lions' scoring came from the trio of Eitan Pfeiffer (15 points), Shlomo Meisels (11), and Eitan Warburg (11), it was a complete team effort in keeping Farber off the glass and off the scoreboard.

 

Meisels caught fire in the first quarter, going on a personal 8-0 run that included two threes. MTA was able to use a number of offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive and tire out the Fire. Despite playing hard, Farber couldn't figure out the MTA defense in the first eight minutes as they fell behind 15-0 after one.

 

However, Farber began to settle things down and attack the basket with a series of beautiful drives by Jeremiah Wolfe and Ari Eizen that resulted in easy layups and multiple trips to the free throw line. Meanwhile, the Lions' hit a cold front as they missed a number of easy shots and coughed up the ball a few too many times. Farber clawed back into the game but still trailed 25-10 going into halftime.

 

The teams traded buckets for most of the third quarter as Farber continued to exclusively drive the ball inside while the Lions still preferred the three-balls. Wolfe had a dominant third quarter, and his efforts helped close the gap to 34-23 going into the last frame.

 

However, the upset was not in the cards for the Fire as it was just too little too late for them to comeback against the Lions and their raucous fans. MTA's scoring trio continued to grind out points, and it was enough to fend off any runs the Fire tried to start. Farber hung around for as long as they could, always within striking distance, but they ultimately fell to MTA 43-29.

 

With the win, MTA will advance to Tier II, and Farber will go to Tier IV.

 

All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(9) YULA 55, (8) HANC 49

YULA Panthers Roar Into Tier I

Matthew Silkin

March 16, 2018

 

After slightly trailing going into halftime, YULA turned the game around to come out on top, 55 to 49, to advance into Tier I.

 

HANC took an early lead in the game, scoring 21 points to YULA's 11, and managed to keep that lead, though YULA started revving up to narrow HANC's lead to 26-24 going into halftime.

 

Coming into the third quarter, YULA brought out the big guns, scoring 21 points to HANC's 14, bringing the score to 45-40 and taking control of the lead. YULA continued to outscore HANC 10 to 9 in the fourth, bringing the final total to 55-49 and clinching YULA's Tier I spot. While HANC's big scorer Oren Betesh brought 21 points to the table, he alone couldn't handle YULA's Noam Meisels/Noah Pomerance dream team, who sunk 19 and 12 points, respectively.

 

YULA will return tomorrow in Tier I, while HANC will be relegated down to Tier II. Be sure to join us tomorrow right here at MacsLive, the official broadcast network for Yeshiva University athletics and the exclusive home of Red Sarachek, to watch these two teams in action in their respective games.

(6) Frisch vs. (11) Berman

Frisch Wins Battle Of The Cougars

Binny Shapiro

March 16, 2018

 

After a thrilling victory over the Shalhevet Firehawks to win last year's Sarachek tournament, the sixth-seeded Frisch Cougars—boasting a 20-3 record and Yeshiva League championship title—certainly came into tonight's game with lofty expectations.

 

Nor did they disappoint. Despite heading out of the third quarter with only a two-point lead, Frisch went on a 21-5 run in the fourth to handily defeat the Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars 52 to 34. The run was led by star power forward, Jack Stepner, and Frisch's leading playmaker Max Mayerhoff who combined for 13 points in the quarter. The two combined for 26 points in the game as a whole, complemented by 10 points from center Stevie Paul.

 

But the final score does little to recap the dynamic of the first three quarters. Silencing any doubters, the 15-8 Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars made their presence more than known to start the game, holding Frisch to only five points in the first quarter. Frisch's star power forward Jack Stepner was held to only two points on 1-4 shooting.

 

Entering into the second quarter down by seven points, Frisch came out much more aggressive. Full-court defense led to four forced turnovers, and a greater effort to drive the ball was rewarded with nine trips to the free throw line. Despite Josh Levieddin's efficient efforts, Berman allowed a 21-7 run and recorded zero trips to the line in the first half.

 

The score at 26-19 to begin the second half, both teams came out with a much greater focus on the perimeter game. Through the sharpshooting of Ari Schopf and Raanan Glashofer, the three-point game style worked much to Berman's favor, resulting in a 10-5 run and closing the gap to only a two-point deficit.

 

Nonetheless, a game which remained quite competitive through the first three quarters ended in a star-powered run that proved too much to handle. Frisch finished the game shooting 17-24 from the line, while Berman went only 3-5.

 

Tune in this Friday afternoon for an exciting rematch of the Yeshiva League championship, where the Frisch Cougars will once again take on the Magen David Warriors, while Berman will play for Tier II. All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

Friday, March 16

Sarachek Friday Previews

MacsLive Staff

March 16, 2018

 

TIER I

#1 Shalhevet Firehawks (Los Angeles, CA) vs. #9 YULA Panthers (Los Angeles, CA)

2:30 PM Max Stern Athletic Center

In the "Battle for LA," the top-ranked Firehawks will make their much-anticipated Sarachek 2018 debut against a feisty Panthers squad. In what was Thursday's game of the day, YULA was able to knock off the 8-seeded HANC Hurricanes in a 55-49, wire-to-wire game. Led by Noam Meisels (19 points) and Noah Pomerance (12 points), the Panthers overcame an early double digit deficit to come back and defeat the Hurricanes in front of a packed gym. They and the rest of the Panthers are going to have to play even better tomorrow if they want to upset the mighty Firehawks team. After losing in the Tier II championship the past two years, Shalhevet must be itching to get back into action and finally take home the top crown. Despite losing Eitan Halpert and Edan Sokol, Shalhevet brings back key pieces to last year's 2nd place team such as superstar scorer Zack Muller and captain Ben Mashiach. Shalhevet is a great team, but this won't be a cake walk for them by any means.

#2 Valley Torah Wolfpack (Valley Village, CA) vs. #7 RASG Hebrew Academy Warriors (Miami Beach, FL)

1 PM Max Stern Athletic Center

Arguably the two best players at Sarachek this year will go head-to-head in what should be an electric Tier I quarterfinal game between two great teams. On one side, there's Valley Torah's superstar point-center Ryan Turell. An absolute matchup nightmare, he rebounds and plays defense like a center put dribbles and runs like a point guard. Turell and the Wolfpack have won two major Jewish high school tournaments so far this year, and they're going for the Triple Crown here at Sarachek. Of course, to do that, they'll have to take down the unstoppable-scorer Ben Tal and the Warriors. Against the Ida Crown Aces on Thursday, Tal dropped a whopping 28 points while shooting 11-13 from the field. He's a knockdown 3-point shooter, and if his team wants to upset Valley Torah, he's going to have to be on fire tomorrow.

#3 Magen David Yeshiva High School Warriors (Brooklyn, NY) vs. #6 Frisch Cougars (Paramus, NJ)

10 AM Max Stern Athletic Center

Just a few nights ago, these two teams met in an overtime thriller in the Yeshiva League championship. Battling back to keep their perfect Yeshiva League record intact, Magen David, led by Finals MVP Michael Natkin, stifled the Frisch offense at the end of the game to take home the championship. Frisch, however, realizes that the championship that matters is not the one that was presented last Monday night, but rather the one given out this upcoming Monday afternoon in the Max Stern Athletic Center. Just one year ago, Frisch won the Tier I championship, and they're hungry to go back-to-back. They took the first step on Thursday by overcoming a slow start to take down the Berman Cougars. Frisch is led by big man Jack Stepner, who had 14 points against Berman and was a big part of the championship run last season.

#4 DRS Wildcats (Woodmere, NY) vs. #5 SAR Sting (Riverdale, NY)

11:30 AM Max Stern Athletic Center

It's kind of hard to believe, but despite all of the incredible matchups listed above, this one might actually be the game of the day. These are two great, evenly-matched teams that are begging to get a chance to play one of the elite teams above in the Tier I semifinals on Sunday. SAR took the first step on Thursday by shutting down the Beren Academy Stars, holding them to only five points in the second half and 18 points overall. On the offensive side of the ball, the Sting relied on Judah Oppenheimer's Steph-Curry-like shooting to expand their lead and generate momentum. They'll have their hands full against Gideon Valensky (22 PPG) and the Wildcats, who will look to win add another trophy to the season after winning the Satran tournament earlier in the season.

TIER II

#8 HANC Hurricanes (Uniondale, NY) vs. #18 Fuchs Mizrachi Mayhem (Beachwood, OH)

11:30 AM SAR High School

The highest-ranking team playing for Tier II, HANC will look to bounce back from a super-close loss the YULA Panthers on Thursday, and establish themselves as clear favorites for the Tier II crown. They'll have to defeat a Fuchs squad that pulled off the upset on Thursday by beating the #15 Mesivta Mustangs.

#11 Berman Cougars (Rockville, MD) vs. #14 MTA Lions (New York, NY)

1 PM SAR High School

Berman put the tournament on upset alert as they jumped out to an early lead vs. Frisch on Thursday night. However, the defending champs turned out to be too much to handle in the end. The Cougars can get their vengeance against a tough MTA team that put on a very impressive performance against Farber. MTA will have no unique home court advantage as this game will be played at SAR and not Yeshiva University.

#10 Ida Crown Aces (Chicago, IL) vs. #17 Katz YHS Storm (Boca Raton, FL)

8:30 AM Max Stern Athletic Center

The Aces fought hard against a tough RASG team, but couldn't contain Ben Tal and his incredible scoring abilities. Big man Ryan Bokor and guard Amitai Kolom will look to keep the Aces' hopes of back-to-back Tier II championships alive with a win against Katz. The Storm pulled off the minor upset over the Kohelet Kings by dropping a very impressive 74 total points.

#12 Beren Academy Stars (Houston, TX) vs. #13 TABC Storm (Teaneck, NY)

10 AM SAR High School

Despite being only seed away from each other, these two teams approach Friday's game from dramatically different directions. Beren struggled offensively against a very good SAR Sting team, while TABC cruised to an impressive team win over Harkham. The Stars will look to settle down on offense and take care of the ball, whereas the Storm will continue to spread the ball around and hope they can get another four double-digit scoring efforts out of their players again.

(17) Katz YHS 49, (10) Ida Crown 38

Aces Fold As Katz Storms On To Tier II

Ethan Gipsman

March 16th, 2018

With just over 2:30 left in the game, the Ida Crown Aces had clawed back into the game thanks to four straight clutch free throws from Amitai Kolom. After getting a stop on defense, it looked like they were about to cut the deficit down to two on a fast break layup when Katz Yeshiva Storm guard Abie Betesh rose up from behind to swat the ball off the backboard. The Storm corralled the loose ball and turned defense into offense as Andrew Pearl converted two free throws to push their lead to six.

 

That sequence would prove to be the turning point in the game, as up until then the Aces had come marching back from a double-digit 4th quarter deficit, only to see their comeback fall apart in the final minutes, as they fell to Katz Yeshiva 49-38.

 

The Storm were carried by the red-hot shooting of Andrew Pearl, who led all scorers with 22 points, connecting on four of his nine three-point field goals. Leading the scoring for the Aces once again was guard Amitai Kolom, who finished with 16 points to go along with seven rebounds.

 

The game was a close one in the first half, with Ida Crown using full-court pressure to force turnovers and create fast break opportunities. Aces’ Forward Ryan Bokor was a force under the hoop on the defensive end, but Katz Yeshiva was able to stay afloat thanks to two triples from Pearl as the storm went into the half trailing 17-15.

 

Bokor got the second half started with a nice jumper, but Pearl answered right back with yet another long-distance bomb, followed by a floater in the lane which gave the Storm a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

 

Bokor struggled from the field, although he did absorb a significant amount of contact on most of his shot attempts. However, when the Aces did get to the charity stripe, they shot a combined 12/26 (46%), which proved to be the difference maker in the game, as the Storm capitalized on their own free throws to put the game away late.

 

Aces’ guard Jordan Benditzson seems to have a signature move. Just like he did yesterday, he sent yet another defender flying with a nice pump fake at the end of a drive to the hoop, easily converting the bucket for two points. Benditzson finished with seven points and two rebounds.

 

Nerya Miller, Max Baker, and Shmuel Horowitz each contributed two points for the Aces, while Ryan Bokor was just shy of a double-double finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.

 

For the Storm, Jonah Lasko, who in yesterday’s victory led the Storm with 15 points, fell back down to earth today, converting on none of his 13 field goal attempts, although he did contribute three assists, two rebounds, and solid defense which was key to the Storm’s victory.

 

Jonah Tripp, Daniel Portnoy, and Abie Betesh each chipped in five points for the Storm, with Jacob Schulman and Brandon Munter scoring two apiece, Ariel Berger with three, and center David Kahane contributed six points, grabbed six rebounds, and played physical defense under the basket.

 

The Katz Yeshiva Storm entered the Sarachek tournament as the number 17 seed and have gone on to upset the number 16 seeded Kohelet Kings and the number 10 seeded Ida Crown Aces. They will look to continue their Cinderella run in the Tier II semifinals on Sunday. To do so they will need to keep up their team defense and maintain their balanced scoring attack, as well as get their shooters going early, namely Lasko and Pearl.

 

With today’s loss, the Ida Crown Aces will be seeking redemption when they begin Tier III play on Sunday. To keep their hopes alive the Aces will need Kolom to keep scoring, but they should also look to feed Bokor more post touches, as he possesses a unique combination of finesse and size.

 

All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(3) Magen David 57, (6) Frisch 42

 

Magen David Victorious Again In Frisch Rematch

Barak Hagler

March 16th, 2018

Magen David Warriors’ (Brooklyn, New York) sophomore sensation Albert Nsiri had a clutch steal with two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter that finalized a Tier I quarterfinal 57-42 victory over The Frisch School Cougars (Paramus, New Jersey). Riding the hot hands of Nsiri (23 points) and Junior Raymond Jajati (13 points on four 3-pointers) along with excellent play by Senior Teddy Shamma (13 points, MDY regular season PPG leader), the Warriors grabbed the lead in the second quarter and stayed ahead for the rest of the game.

This thrilling game was a rematch of the MYHSAL championship, and while Magen David was looking to prevail once again on their quest for their first Sarachek Title since 2002, they would have to defeat a talented Frisch team determined to show that the Championship loss was a one-time thing.

Frisch was coming off the momentum of a strong Tier I qualifier game, while Magen David was fresh from a qualifier bye.

The first quarter was a story of terrific ball movement. Magen David generated most of their offense through smart pick and roll plays, led by Shamma and Junior Michael Natkin. Frisch sent the ball into the paint and around the perimeter, scoring off of the inside game of Senior Stevie Paul and excellent shooting from Junior Max Mayerhoff. After a well fought first quarter, the score was all tied up at 11.

Both teams came out in the second quarter with a tightened-up defense, hoping to stop some of the great ball movement that led to so much of the first quarter scoring. While Frisch engaged in a similar offensive game as they had in the first quarter, for Magen David it was all pistons firing. Led by Jajati’s scorching hand, scoring three consecutive 3-pointers for Magen David, along with an additional three 3-pointers from Nsiri, Magen David went on a 19-7 run to take a ten-point lead into halftime.

Frisch came out of break with an aggressive full-court press to try and come back from the deficit. After a quick three by Mayerhoff, the gap was quickly reduced to 7, and Frisch was right back in it. The first half of the quarter showcased quick-paced basketball, and a terrific couple of post possessions by Frisch center Senior Judah Strulowitz helped Frisch start the half off strong. Magen David was paced by Nsiri, who scored 8 points throughout the quarter to keep them on top. After a much-needed Frisch timeout with 3:38 left in the quarter, Paul put up 6 quick points and kept Frisch in the game, down 44-34 to begin the fourth.

Both teams came into the 4th quarter playing completely opposite styles. Magen David, with a 10-point cushion, began slowing the game down, trying to eat time. Frisch turned up the intensity, doing their best to generate turnovers and quick baskets. It appeared to be working as Frisch quickly cut the lead to just seven, and Magen David called a timeout just a few minutes into the quarter. Magen David, however, recuperated after their timeout, and went on a 5-0 run to go up 12 points with 2:47 to go in the game. Frisch called another timeout, but Nsiri’s steal with around two and a half minutes to go sealed the deal, and Magen David finished with a 57-42 victory over.

Throughout the game, Frisch was led by Mayerhoff (9 points on three 3 pointers), Paul (10 points, 7 rebounds), and senior guard Noam Kuritzky (11 points).

Magen David will move on to the Tier 1 semifinals game, while Frisch will drop to the battle for 5th place of Tier I.

Be sure to follow all of the action on on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(13) TABC 71, (12) Beren 24 
(5) SAR 57, (4) DRS 53

Oppenheimer, Sting Return To Tier I Semis

MacsLive Staff

March 16th, 2018

 

Drew Greenbaum had a scrappy defensive rebound, Jake Schwalbe hit a clutch jumper, and Judah Oppenheimer channeled his inner “Stephen Curry” as the Sting held on to beat the DRS Wildcats in an overtime thriller. Oppenheimer shot lights out from downtown the entire game and overshadowed the unbelievable performance of DRS star Gideon Valensky. 

 

Both teams got off to a slow start that was filled with a number of missed threes and unforced turnovers. DRS was able to jump out to a five to nothing lead. However, eventually, Oppenheimer caught fire and drained two threes that helped SAR end the first quarter with a 10-7 lead.

 

The second quarter was filled with identical styles of play from both the Sting and the Wildcats as they each used a number of drives and dishes for easy looks under the hoop. In particular, SAR ran a highlight-reel play with an alleyoop layup. 

 

As DRS started to fall behind, Amiel Kerstein hit back-to-back threes to trim the lead. However, with time running out in the half, Oppenheimer got confused about how much time was left and launched a shot just inside of half court with about five seconds left in the half. He nailed the super-deep three and sent the SAR crowd into a wild frenzy. 

 

To start the third, both teams attacked the basket hard but were matched with great interior defense on both sides of the court. Eventually, the layups started falling for DRS and they cut the lead to 27-26. When the Sting pushed the lead up again, DRS star Gideon Valensky got a three to bounce off the back rim and drop in the bucket right before the buzzer. 

 

When DRS used a pair of layups to cut the SAR lead to one, Oppenheimer hit a huge three with under four minutes left to push the lead to four again. With the momentum going in SAR’s favor, Valensky dialed up a big three to turn the tide back for the Wildcats. A minute later, Valensky had a sick pass to Alon Jakubowitz for a big and-1 to tie the game at 41. 

 

Noah Guren, who was the second leading scorer for SAR, knocked down a big three, but Valensky answered immediately with a three of his own. With one minute left, Valensky got fouled and hit both free throws to give DRS the lead, but Schwalbe’s clutch jumper from right inside the line with 10 seconds left tied the game, and Valensky’s game winning three couldn’t fall. 

 

In overtime, Oppenheimer drained two deep, deep threes to give SAR a 52-48 lead, but a Valensky step back three trimmed the lead to one with 15 seconds left. After Oppenheimer hit two big free throws, SAR intentionally fouled Valensky on the ground to put him on the free throw line. After hitting the first, he intentionally missed the second by throwing the ball off of the backboard and then off the rim. In a confusing, controversial sequence, the refs blew the whistle, and after conferring together as the entire gym stood in a tense silence, they gave the ball to SAR. Oppenheimer hit both free throws to ice the game and cement his star status. 

 

SAR will advance to the Tier I semifinal, while the Wildcats will play in the Tier I consolation bracket. All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(8) HANC 68, (18) Fuchs 60 

(2) Valley Torah 51, (7) RASG 42

Too Much Turell As Wolfpack Take Over

MacsLive Staff

March 16th, 2018

 

Ryan Turell’s 20 points and clutch fourth quarter free throws were too much for Ben Tal and the RASG Warriors to handle as Valley Torah took the game 51-42. Turell played great defense and facilitated an offensive attack that was boosted by the strong play of the Altit brothers, Nimrod and Nadav, who combined for a big 17 points. Noah Schiff played his heart out for RASG, doing all of the small things like grabbing offensive rebounds, jumping on loose balls, and using his electric defense to cause troubles for the Wolfpack.

 

RASG jumped out to an early lead behind some nice shooting from Ben Tal, but Turell got things going with a dunk and led the Wolfpack to a 14-12 lead after one. Jack Esformes came out shooting for the Warriors as he nailed two big threes. However, the Wolfpack played sound, steady basketball and took a 28-23 lead into the half.

 

Valley Torah pushed open the lead in the 3rd quarter behind two threes from Nimrod Altit, but RASG kept the game close and trailed only 42-34 after three. Jacob Stein had four straight points for the Warriors to cut the lead to four, but that was as close as RASG would come the rest of the game. Turell knocked down many free throws at the line, and the Warriors couldn’t get their threes to fall.

 

Valley Torah will advance to the Tier I semis on Sunday, while RASG will go to the Tier I consolation bracket.

 

Be sure to follow all of the action on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

 
 
 
 
 
 
(11) Berman 58, (14) MTA 53
(1) Shalhevet 55, (9) YULA 38

Shalhevet Wins Battle For LA Behind Muller's Magic

MacsLive Staff

March 16th, 2018

 

Zach Muller had 23 points and the Shalhevet Firehawks overcame foul trouble and a feisty YULA Panthers team to take this Tier I game 55-38. Noah Pomerance had 10 points and Albert Fallas played well as YULA stayed within striking distance for most of the game until Muller caught fire and put the game away.

 

Shalhevet jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but YULA answered with four points. The Firehawks’ intense man-to-man defense bothered YULA throughout the first quarter and limited their star players Pomerance and Noam Meisels. The game was a little bit chippy at times, with two technical fouls called in the first half. This was a manifestation of the intensity, heart, and emotion that both teams played with all game long today.

 

Shalhevet used a dynamic, full-court press to stifle the Panthers' offense and an aggressive offensive rebounding attack to gain more possessions for the offense. Trailing 20-12 with only a minute left in the half, Luria Hadad hit a big three for the Panthers. However, Shalhevet was quick to answer with a nice jumper from the struggling Zach Muller and a corner three from Ze’ev Remer with three seconds left to give the Firehawks a 25-15 lead going into the half. Despite the lead, Coach Coleman of the Firehawks was not happy with how his team played, saying that it was "horrible" and "disappointing" and that "We didn't travel 3,000 miles to embarrass ourselves."

 

Sitting for most of the first half, Pomerance came out and started YULA on a little bit of a run as they cut the Shalhevet lead to six. As the Panthers gained momentum, Shalhevet countered with a nasty half court trap that threw off the YULA offense and caused a number of turnovers. With the tide starting to turn towards Shalhevet, Zach Muller took advantage with a personal 7-0 run that included two technical free throws, a sick, backdoor alley-oop layup, and an and-1 jump shot that he was able to convert. Down 15, Fallas hit a big three and drew an offensive foul to slow down the Firehawks run and bring his team to only a 36-25 deficit going into the final quarter.

 

Joseph Sassoon got a big offensive rebound and fed the ball to a cutting Noam Meisels who absorbed the contact and snuck the ball in the hoop for big three point play that cut the lead to 39-30. However, Shalhevet responded immediately with a big 7-2 run featuring a big three by Ben Zaghi and a nasty Euro step by Jeremy Asheghian. YULA employed a full court press, but Shalhevet's calm, perfect passing easily broke the press and led to easy shots.

 

YULA’s comeback and upset attempt fell short, and they will head to the Tier I consolation bracket. Meanwhile, Shalhevet will advance to play the SAR Sting in what should be a thrilling game in the Tier I semifinals on Sunday. 

 

Be sure to follow all of the action on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

Saturday, March 17

(15) Mesivta 55, (20) Harkham 43

 

5 on 3? Harkham Makes History In Loss To Tough Mesivta Team

MacsLive Staff

March 17, 2018

The Mesivta Mustangs (Philadelphia, PA) had four players in double-figures, and Sarachek history was made late in their 55-43 win over the Harkham Gaon Academy Lions (Los Angeles, CA).  

 

Both teams came out playing fast, aggressive basketball that featured a number of quick threes early in the shot clock. They each employed a full-court press after made shots in an attempt to force turnovers and take the opposing offense out of its rhythm.

 

Mesivta turned the ball over early, but made up for it by grabbing offensive rebounds and knocking down shots from the charity stripe. Eli James, Marc Volpin, and David Damen used their strength and size down low to control the boards get Harkham into early foul trouble.

 

However, led by the great shooting of Mishael Shirakhoon (nine first half points), the Lions took a slight 14-13 lead into the 2nd quarter. Soon after, though, things slowed down for them as they managed only two points in the second frame. The threes didn't fall and the high amount of fouls messed up their fast-paced style of play. Leading scorer Noah Rossi was limited to only four first half points as his team trailed 22-14 at the half.

 

Rossi took over in third quarter with some beautiful assists and athletic fast break layups. Young PG Noah Mogyoros had a phenomenal game, finishing with a series of and-1s and acrobatic layups. With Mesivta down by three right before the third quarter ended, chaos broke loose and Sarachek history began to take form. David Damen banked in a three for the mustangs with .9 seconds left was fouled.

 

After Damen hit the free throw, Harkham chucked a half-court shot, and it appeared that the shooter was fouled during the process. Harkham coach Nathaniel Harkham, who is known for his epic smile and great energy, walked out onto the court after the buzzer to talk to the ref about the lack of a foul call. Coach Harkham immediately received a technical foul for stepping on the court. After continuing to talk to the ref in what looked like a very peaceful, appropriate manner, Coach Harkham received another technical foul and was ejected from the game. Everyone was confused as to how the nicest guy in the gym got ejected, and after briefly returning to his team's huddle, Coach Harkham was escorted by security (a formality, not a necessity whatsoever) out of the gym while smiling and laughing. Mesivta went on to hit three of the four free throws, thereby concluding a 7-0 run that spanned about .9 seconds.

 

To make things more interesting, the Harkham assistant coach received a warning, and, if he were to be ejected, Harkham would have had to forfeit the game. Although that didn't happen, Harkham was put at a decided disadvantage by their immense foul trouble. With two minutes left, Harkham had a player foul out, and without any more subs, they were forced to play a four on five. Later, with 17 seconds left in the game, another Harkham player fouled out, and the game finished off with a "5 on 3 power play for the Mustangs," as play-by-play announcer Avi Sebbag called it.

 

Eli James finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Mesivta, Marc Volpin had 11 and 10, Noah Mogyoros has 12 points, and David Damen had 10 points and 5 rebounds. For the Lions, Noah Rossi had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, Mishael Shirakhoon had 14 points, and Daniel Razi had 10 points.

 

Be sure to follow all of the action on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(16) Kohelet 50, (19) Farber 47

Kings Of The Fourth Quarter: Kohelet Pulls Off Incredible Comeback To Advance To Tier IV Championship

Akiva Clair

March 18, 2018

Judah Esses had a phenomenal fourth quarter and Nathan Greenberg hit the game-winning free throw with 15 seconds left as the Kohelet Kings had an unreal comeback victory 50-47 over the Farber Fire to send them to the Tier IV championship game. Trailing by 15 going into the fourth, Esses and the Kings were able to ramp things up defensively and steal the victory.

 

Ari Eizen got things going for the Fire early with four quick points as Farber used their size advantage to wreak havoc down low. The Kings countered with some nice shots from Nathan Greenberg and Eric Dolitsky to keep the game close. Farber took a 12-8 lead going into the second quarter, and behind an energized cheering section, they closed out the first half well and took a 26-17 lead into the break. Their team play was easily recognized as they had seven different players score in the first half and none of them had more than six.

 

Farber got a number of great looks down low to start the third, highlighted by an Eliezer Benjamin three-point play the old-fashioned way. With the game going past midnight, the Farber Faithful only got more into the game as they propelled their team to success. Judah Esses had an unbelievable chasedown block for the Kings that got the entire gym on its feet, but it wasn't enough to spark a run as his team trailed 43-28 going into the fourth.

 

Kohelet had a fantastic beginning to the fourth quarter that quickly cut the lead to 10 and gave their team much needed momentum. Isaac Melman and Judah Esses took over on both defense and offense and cut the lead to 43-39 with four minutes left. The Kings defense was phenomenal, and they forced turnover after turnover.

 

Esses nailed two huge free throws to tie the game with one minute left, and after a series of wild possessions, Nathan Greenberg got fouled a hit a free throw to give his team a 48-47 lead with only 15 seconds left. After the inbound, Esses got yet another steal and was fouled immediately with seven seconds left. With ice in his veins, Esses drained both free throws to make it a three point game. Farber's three point desperation shot fell short, and the Kohelet fans and bench stormed the court to celebrate the thrilling, come-from-behind win.

 

Kohelet will play in the Tier IV championship game on Monday, and Farber will play in the Tier IV consolation game tomorrow. Be sure to follow all of the action on Macslive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

Sunday, March 18

(7) RASG 71, (6) Frisch 52 

Tal, RASG Close Out Cougars

Mayer Fink

March 18, 2018

The early time window of today’s games had the Frisch Cougars vs RASG Hebrew Academy Warriors in a Tier I consolation game (this is an unusual setting for Frisch as they usually are playing in semifinal games on Sarachek Sundays). Ben Tal led the warriors to a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter as he was the main threat that Frisch couldn’t stop. Frisch was able to recover in the 2nd as RASG couldn’t find much of an attack which led to a halftime score of Frisch 31, RASG 26.

 

RASG started the third quarter with a 12-1 run, and outscored Frisch 26-9 in the entire third quarter to give them a comfortable 52-40 lead entering the final quarter. The Frisch offense went cold in the fourth with only 12 points (only 21 in the entire second half) as RASG ran away with the game, ultimately winning 71-52. RASG and Frisch will play tomorrow as part of the consolation games of tier 1. The Warriors will play in the 5th place game tomorrow against DRS.

 

Be sure to follow all of the action on Macslive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(4) DRS 43, (9) YULA 37

DRS Outlasts YULA 43-37

Austin Rosen

March 18, 2018

Ending with just a six-point victory, the DRS Wildcats were able to show YULA Panthers how good the east coast actually is. Coming off a tough OT loss to SAR on Friday, DRS started off the game hot with an 18 to 9 score going into the second quarter and a demanding lead of 25 to 16 going into half.

 

The score was very one sided in the first half due to the number of turnovers committed on the YULA side of the ball and the senior scoring duo of Josh Hirt and Amiel Kerstein, who combined for 25 of DRS’s 43 points.

 

In the second half, though, the YULA we all know and love came alive, outscoring the DRS Wildcats 23 to 18. Unfortunately, however, it wasn't enough for the victory, as Josh Hirt's clutch free throws sealed the deal against his cousins who play on the YULA team.

 

Be sure to follow all of the action on Macslive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(12) Beren 46, (18) Fuchs 40

Stars Complete Late Comeback, Advance To Tier III Championship

MacsLive Staff

March 18th, 2018

Beren Academy Stars’ leader Johnny Abitbol split two defenders and finished a beautiful finger-roll at the rim to put away the Fuchs Mizrachi Mayhem 46-40 and complete an impressive fourth-quarter comeback. Abitbol had six in the final frame and Akiva Garner added a big seven points to overcome a six point deficit at the beginning of the fourth to advance to the Tier III championship game.

 

Yedidya Blau and Noah Rosenblum each had a dominant first quarter for Fuchs with seven points and four rebounds apiece. Mizrachi took a 14-11 lead going into the second. Both teams played with a lot of heart and passion, and this manifested itself in a number of dives for loose balls and charges taken. However, Jake Teller and Johnny Abitbol picked things up at the end of the second quarter to give the Stars a 21-18 lead going into the half.

 

The teams traded baskets inside to start the third quarter. Blau dominated, but Mizrachi shot themselves in the foot with a number of pointless reach-in fouls. Aaron Waxman threw a full-court pass to Jack Goldstein for a beautiful buzzer-beating layup to give Fuchs a 32-26 lead going into the fourth. However, Akiva Garner and Johnny Abitbol stepped things up for the Stars and carried them to a huge fourth quarter run. They each hit a number of layups inside and converted from the line to put the Mayhem away.

 

Be sure to follow all of the action on Macslive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.

(14) MTA 83, (10) Ida Crown 79 

MTA Lions Regain Their Pride In A Quadruple OT Victory

Matthew Silkin

March 18th, 2018

It was Eitan Pfeiffer’s three pointer for MTA, with half a minute left in quadruple overtime, that finally sealed the deal and gave the Lions the W and the Tier III Championship berth.

 

While the game had been fluctuating in the first three quarters, with Ida Crown leading 22-16 into halftime and MTA gaining a 35-29 lead at the end of the third quarter, it really came down to a tie-making three pointer by MTA’s Eitan Warburg that brought the game into its first overtime.

 

Over the course of each overtime, the two teams kept pushing each other further and further, never keeping more than a one-point difference (if at all) between each other. The overtimes were also peppered with free throws from both teams, which kept the point difference close.

 

Try as the Aces might - and boy did they try, Ryan Bokor and Jordan Benditzson scored 19 and 17 points for Ida Crown, respectively - they just couldn’t stop Pfeiffer’s 18 points in overtime, and 24 points in the overall game, that brought the Lions to a final victory score of 83 to 79, leaving MTA to face Beren Academy in the Tier III Championship game tomorrow.

 

You can catch the Tier III Championship, as well as all other games, right here at MacsLive.com, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva University athletics and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament.

(2) Valley Torah 43, (3) Magen David 38

 

Can Turell Lead The Wolfpack Past A Stacked Magen David Team?

Barak Hagler

March 18th, 2018

Continuing the quest for the Sarachek Tier I championship, the Valley Torah Wolfpack (Valley Village, California) will take on the Magen David Yeshiva High School Warriors (Brooklyn, New York).

Both teams started this tournament with byes, and each won their quarterfinal match to advance to this semifinal round.

 

Valley Torah started off as the 2 seed and took down a strong RASG Hebrew Academy (Miami Beach, Florida) team to advance. Magen David began this tournament seeded at number 3, and defeated a talented, high tempo Frisch (Paramus, NJ) squad to move on.

 

Valley Torah thus far has been led by the dynamic senior duo of Ryan Turell and Nimi Altit, who scored a combined 32 of their 50 points and grabbed 10 of their 21 rebounds in their victory over RASG. Magen David has been paced by an electric triplet of guards, sophomore Albert Nsiri (23 points), junior Raymond Jajati (13 points) and senior Teddy Shamma (13 points).

 

If Magen David wants to come out of this semifinals matchup with the big W, they’re going to need their blistering three-point shooting to continue (54% in the game against Frisch) and must find a way to defensively contain a much physically larger and explosive Valley Torah Wolfpack offense. Valley Torah, on the other hand, will need their powerful offense to continue putting up big numbers inside the paint and will have to be able to keep up with an incredibly quick and ball-movement oriented team on the defensive end.

 

This game proves to be one of the most exciting of the entire tournament, with two incredibly talented teams going head-to-head. Both teams have impressive accolades so far this season, with Valley Torah having won the Cooper tournament in Memphis and the Glouberman Tournament in California, and Magen David capturing the MYHSAL championship. Both teams are hungry for more, and both look to claim the 2018 Sarachek Championship. For Magen David, it would be the first time since 2002, and for Valley Torah it would mean their first ever Sarachek Championship.

 

Be sure to tune it at 3 PM Eastern Time to MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament, to catch all the exciting action.

Goliath Defeats David In Defense-First Contest

Barak Hagler

March 18th, 2018

With the shot-clock running down and only two minutes to go in the fourth, Senior Ryan Turell hit a beautiful fadeaway jumper to give the Valley Torah Wolfpack (Valley Village, California) a 38-33 lead, helping secure their eventual 43-38 victory over the Magen David Warriors (Brooklyn, New York). It was the culmination of a second half that saw Valley Torah break the tie and gain a small edge that they would hold throughout the third and fourth quarters.

 

The Yeshiva University gym was packed at the 4 PM tipoff. Both teams were filled with energy after waiting an extra hour for their game to begin due to the quadruple overtime game that preceded theirs.

 

Both teams came bursting with intensity out of the gates, and Valley Torah struck first with a couple of baskets from senior starters,

twins Nimi and Nadav Altit to build a quick 5-0 advantage for the Wolfpack. Magen David was swift to respond, however, and a couple of inside buckets from Sophomore Albert Nsiri and Senior Teddy Shamma brought the game back up to 5-4.

 

Valley Torah and Magen David came in knowing how good the other team was offensively and played accordingly. The defense was intense on both ends of the court, forcing both teams to play a slower offense and shuffle the ball around the court trying to get an open shot. Valley Torah played a very tight defense, refusing to give Magen David a chance to get hot from beyond the arc. Magen David had a very clear defensive game plan: keep the ball away from star forward Ryan Turell. Starting from the very beginning of the game, Magen David always kept one man very close to Turell, keeping the ball out of his hands.

 

The second half of the quarter saw the tempo of the game pick up as both teams became more aggressive both offensively and defensively. After some key steals by Magen David, some sharp shooting by Valley Torah, and a thunderous two handed jam by Nadav Altit (which resulted in a technical for hanging on to the rim for too long) the score was 15-13 in Valley Torah’s favor as the quarter drew to a close. Nadav Altit was leading Valley Torah with 11 points on three 3-pointers, and Junior Michael Natkin acted as the catalyst for Magen David’s offense with 7 points.

 

Play resumed and the second quarter picked up right where the first quarter left off. Intensity was just as high if not higher, highlighted by a wild diving scramble for a loose ball 40 seconds into the quarter. Both teams were playing stellar defense, making it extremely difficult for either offense to get anything going. After three and a half minutes of play, only 9 points had been scored overall. The split was 7-2 in favor of Valley Torah, and Magen David called a timeout to ensure things wouldn’t snowball out of control. With 4:24 to go in the second quarter, Valley Torah was leading 22-15.

 

Whatever coach Ike Dweck said in the huddle must’ve worked, because Magen David came out after the timeout flying. They quickly put up 4 points to cut the lead to three and started pressing defensively, adding extra pressure for the Wolfpack to deal with.

 

For the rest of the half, Valley Torah and Magen David were busy trading buckets. While Valley Torah struck with a more balanced attack, taking shots from all spots on the court and even sprinkling in a few nice alley-oop plays, Magen Daven utilized the blazing speed of their guards to drive inside and score off of close layups. With time winding down Nsiri drove and laid a beautiful layup of the glass to tie it all up at 26 going into the half.

 

Nimi Altit got the nod this quarter as lead scorer for the Wolfpack with 7 points on some great plays. Magen David’s offensive charge was led by Albert Nsiri, who collected 6 points and one nifty assist, while center Senior Steven Mizrahi played excellent defense and had a few key blocks to keep Magen David close.  

 

Notably, Magen David’s defensive plan was working, as Turell was held to just 4 points throughout the half. Turell’s presence was still felt, however; the fact that he was being heavily guarded opened up the floor for the rest of his teammates and allowed them to score.

 

The second half began as the defensive pressure was increased. As so much of the game’s offense generated from inside, both teams packed the paint defensively and made it hard for anyone to get something going. Valley Torah played excellent defense, holding Magen David scoreless for most of the quarter. Magen David as well did an excellent job defending inside, and Valley Torah had to turn to their perimeter to create some offense. In doing so, and with the help of timely offensive rebounding, they managed to pull ahead, garnering a lead they would keep for the rest of the game.

 

With a 3-pointer apiece for the Altit twins, Valley Torah scored the only 6 points of the first five and a half minutes of the quarter, and Magen David called a timeout with 2:23 remaining. Things went from bad to worse for Magen David as a nice jumper from Turell increased the lead to 8 with little time remaining in the third. With things looking bleak, Nsiri took charge and scored 4 points for Magen David to cut the lead in half going into the final quarter of play, 34-30 Wolfpack.

 

The fourth quarter opened up with the same brand of basketball that had been displayed for the first three: both teams playing excellent defense making it very difficult for either team to get something going. Both offenses sent the ball zipping around the perimeter, trying to generate some sort of offense. With 3:39 left in the game, and after a great move by Nsiri to pull them within three, Magen David called another timeout.

 

Post timeout, Magen David came with all-out intensity, doing their best to try and tie the game up. They made a couple excellent stops defensively, but they couldn’t stop Turell’s beautiful jumper to put Valley Torah up by 5 with two minutes remaining. At that point, it became a game of “foul and stop the clock,” but it was not enough for Magen David to come back from their deficit. After Magen David missed a few 1 and 1 opportunities, Turell hit all of his free throw chances to seal the victory, 43-38.

 

Valley Torah’s offensive efforts were led by their all-star trio of Nadav Altit, Nimi Altit, and Ryan Turell. Nadav had 14 points on a perfect 4-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Nimi had 12 points. Even with the tight defense Turell still managed 15 points (going 5-8 from the charity stripe), and made additional contributions with 5 assists and 9 rebounds. Senior guard Leal Saada also contributed with his playmaking, raking up 5 assists over the game.

 

Magen David was led by Albert Nsiri, who collected 15 points. The rest of the scoring was balanced out between Michael Natkin (7 points), Steven Mizrahi (6 points), Junior Raymond Jajati (6 points) and Teddy Shamma (4 points).

With this victory Valley Torah will move to the Tier I championship, looking to capture the crown for the first time in school history. After this defeat, Magen David will battle it out for third place in Tier I.

 

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 Tier championship action.

(1) Shalhevet 48, (5) SAR 38

 

PREVIEW: Shalhevet, SAR Clash In Quest For Redemption

Akiva Clair

March 18, 2018

There’s a lot of traffic on the road to redemption right now as both the Shalhevet Firehawks and the SAR Sting have bad memories that they’re very eager to erase. For the past two years, Shalhevet has made it to the championship only to fall short, with last year’s loss coming with only a few seconds left. There’s nothing the Firehawks would want more than to finally get over the hump and bring home the Tier I championship.

For the Sting, they still have fresh memories of a painful Sunday afternoon loss to the eventual champions Frisch Cougars last year that denied them a trip to the Tier I championship, which, coincidentally, would have been against the Shalhevet Firehawks. SAR was literally inches away from upsetting Frisch as two last-second threes that would have won the game barely missed.

The faces of last year's Firehawks team have left, and the spotlight falls onto youngster Zach Muller, the dynamic, flashy scorer and playmaker. Muller played in Sarachek a year ago, but was the third best player on his team behind stars Eitan Halpert and Edan Sokol. Now, Muller, along with captain and energizer Ben Mashiach, must shoulder the responsibility and lead his team back to the Tier I championship. Muller seems unfazed by the pressure, calmly and efficiently dominating on the court.

Muller must realize, however, that he might not even be the best player on the court on Sunday afternoon. Reminding many of Steve Nash due to his lights out shooting, great court vision, and unbelievable intensity and focus, Sting superstar Judah Oppenheimer has established himself as one of best Sarachek players of recent memory. Oppenheimer is a threat to shoot from anywhere on the court, and he even knocked down a buzzer-beating three just a few steps inside of half court on Friday afternoon.

Even greater than his actual athletic ability, however, is his leadership and demeanor. Trailing by two to a DRS team that was on the verge of an amazing comeback, the frustrated Sting team had the ball with 45 seconds left and a chance to tie it. Unfortunately, though, one of the Sting players shuffled his feet before putting the ball down (the "Yeshiva League Travel" as many call it), and it was a costly turnover at the worst of times. With minutes of frustration mounting, one would have expected major disappointment and annoyance from the Sting players. However, immediately after the turnover, Oppenheimer ran right over to the player who traveled, gave him a pat on the back, told him not to worry about, and got back on defense without a hint of anger or worry in him, despite the pickle that his team was in. This remarkable display of leadership and poise is something that truly separates Judah Oppenheimer from the rest of the stars of the tournament.

Who will get redemption? Will it be Muller and the Firehawks? Or Oppenheimer and the Sting?

 

Buckle your seatbelts, folks. This is going to be a wild one.

Shalhevet Charges Its Way Into 3rd Straight Tier I Championship

Ethan Gipsman

March 18th, 2018

At first glance, the Shalhevet Firehawks might not have such an intimidating roster. Once the game starts, though, boy, are they fierce. The Firehawks used absolutely suffocating defense to earn a 48-38 victory over the #5 seeded SAR Sting.

 

Junior guard Zack Muller, who led the Firehawks in scoring with 19 points, drained two free throws with just under a minute left, pushing the lead to 10 and sealing the win.

 

SAR Junior point guard Judah Oppenheimer did his best to keep the Sting close, hitting an impressive three-pointer while double teamed with just under two minutes cutting the lead to six, but that was as close as SAR would get. On the ensuing SAR possession Shalhevet Senior Benny Zaghi drew an offensive foul, which led to a Muller layup to give the Firehawks a nine-point lead.

 

From the opening tip Shalhevet played defense like a man possessed, drawing four offensive fouls in the first half alone. The Sting were clearly rattled, as they shot a dismal 37% from the field on the game.

 

The first half was a close one, as SAR was able to match Shalhevet’s defense for the first 14 minutes. With two minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter and the Firehawks holding onto a 15-13 lead, Hawks guard Asher Dauer nailed a three to extend their lead. After a defensive stop and with the clock running down, Dauer put up another three that hit the front of the rim and rolled in as time expired, capping an 8-2 run to send the Firehawks into the half up 24-13.

 

The second half opened with Hawks Freshman guard Ze’ev Remer taking his 2nd charge of the game. On the next Hawks possession Dauer hit a cutting Muller who nailed a pretty fadeaway jumper with a hand in his face.

 

This opened up a run of offense as the teams went back and forth trading baskets with each other. With 3:38 remaining in the 3rd quarter, SAR forward Noah Gurin dazzled the crowd with a beautiful crossover, evaded a defender with a Euro step, drew contact, and finished the play at the cup for the and-1. Gurin hit the free throw to complete the spectacular three-point play.

 

The Firehawks were able to answer every run made by SAR, as they maintained their double-digit lead throughout the quarter. Following a Sammy Sokol layup for SAR, the Firehawks responded by hitting a buzzer-beater for the second straight quarter as Remer, who finished with six points, took the inbound and went coast-to-coast to hit a layup at the buzzer.

 

Heading into the final frame down 38-24, SAR ramped up the defense, taking a charge of their own, followed by a Sokol layup. On the next possession Oppenheimer stole the ball near half-court and finished the fast-break layup to cut the deficit to nine.

 

The Sting momentum was stifled when big man Sammy Sokol fouled out on a questionable call. Sokol, who exited the game with eight points and three boards, appeared to block a Shalhevet layup off the backboard, but was whistled for a body foul, ending his game.

 

Three other players fouled out of the game as well: SAR forward Jake Schwalbe, and Shalhevet guards Ze’ev Remer and Asher Dauer.

 

Benny Zaghi finished with eight points, as Ben Mashiach, Jeremy Asheghian, and Joseph Zaghi chipped in three points apiece for the Firehawks.

 

Judah Oppenheimer led SAR in scoring with 14 points, while Noah Gurin put up 12 points for the Sting. Aaron Blustein and Adam Weiss contributed three and one points, respectively.

 

SAR is eliminated from Tier I championship contention in the semi-final game for the 2nd consecutive year. The Sting will face Magen David in the Tier I 3rd place game Monday morning. The #3 seeded Warriors fell earlier in the day to #2 seed Valley Torah.

 

Shalhevet will advance to their third straight championship appearance despite the graduation of last year’s tournament MVP Eitan Halpert. The Firehawks will be looking for redemption, as they fell to Frisch in last year’s final game 49-47.

 

Shalhevet will battle fellow Los Angeles school Valley Torah in Monday’s marquee matchup. The Valley Torah Wolfpack tote an intimidating lineup featuring three players above 6 foot 6, led by Senior Ryan Turell.

 

However, with the defense Shalhevet has been playing, they can beat anyone, as they were victorious over Valley Torah earlier this year overcoming a 16-point deficit to grind out the victory.

 
(13) TABC 60, (8) HANC 46

Storm Warning: TABC Can't Be Stopped

MacsLive Staff

March 18th, 2018

Jonathan Haberman had a whopping 25 points as the TABC Storm beat the HANC Hurricanes 60 to 46 to advance to the Tier II championship game tomorrow afternoon.

 

Moshe Khalili had an impressive showing for the Hurricanes as he finished with a dominant statline of 17 and 13. HANC star Oren Betesh chipped in 10, but it wasn't enough to beat an undefeated Storm team.

 

TABC only led by one at the half, but blew things open in the final 16 minutes to advance. Alex Ostrin had 13 points and Eli Harcsztark had 11 to help take some offensive pressure off of Haberman. The Storm took care of the ball more than Hurricanes, sporting a 6 to 16 advantage in that important category.

 

TABC looks to end off their spectacular Sarachek 2018 run with a win over the Berman Cougars. HANC will play in the Tier II consolation bracket.

 

Be sure to tune in to MacsLive.com, the official home of Yeshiva Sports and the Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament.

(11) Berman 72, (17) Katz YHS 54

Berman Bigs Beat Katz, Advance To Tier II Championship

MacsLive Staff

March 18th, 2018

Big-man Josh Levieddin has 22 points and 7 rebounds as the Berman Cougars overpowered Jonah Lasko and the Katz Yeshiva High School Storm 72-54 to advance to the Tier II Championship game against TABC. Lasko finished with 13 points and teammate Andrew Pearl had 13 as well, but they couldn't overcome a tough second quarter where they were outscored 19-5.

 

Berman took a commanding 18 point lead going into the half, averaging a very solid 18 points per quarter. They'll have to keep their offense going against a confident TABC team that has had some very convincing wins so far over the weekend.

 

Ezra Beletskiy had a nice overall game for the Cougars with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Ari Schopf chipped in 9 and Nadiv Turitz has 8. Berman shot a whopping 42 free throws and were able to convert a solid 26 of them into points.

 

Be sure to tune into MacsLive.com, the official home of Yeshiva Sports and the Red Sarachek Basketball Tournament.

(19) Farber 46, (20) Harkham 41

Monday, March 19 

(16) Kohelet 50, (15) Mesivta 44

Kohelet Wins Tier IV Championship

MacsLive Staff

March 19, 2018

Judah Esses had 23 points, Nathan Greenberg chipped in 14, and the Kohelet Kings outlasted the much-bigger Mesivta Mustangs to take home the Tier IV Championship.

 

The Mustangs defense clamped down on the Kings in the early going, forcing them to shoot only 3-11 in the first quarter. On offense, Mesivta used a balanced approach that gave them an early 11-6 lead after one.

 

The Kings' offense found new life in the second quarter as a 7-2 run highlighted by a Nathan Greenberg triple gave them the lead.

 

After a series of misses from the Mustangs, Kings' guard and leader Judah Esses went on a personal 5-0 run to extend his team's lead to 26-19 at the half.

 

Both teams struggled to score in the third, but another Greenberg 3 countered some inside domination from Mesivta big-men Marc Volpin and Eli James, who each ended the game with double-doubles.

 

Volpin went on a tear in the fourth quarter trying to bring his team back, scoring 7 straight points. However, the combined efforts of Joey Benjamini and Esses closed out the game for the Kings as the Mustangs missed a number of three pointers late in the game that would have closed the gap. Akiva Erlbaum had the last five points of the game, but it wasn't enough as his team fell 50-44.

 

Both of these teams had great tournament runs, and we hope to see them again sometime soon.

 

Congratulations to the Kohelet Kings on their Tier IV Championship!

(18) Fuchs 39, (10) Ida Crown 38

(6) Frisch 52, (9) YULA 49

(3) Magen David 64, (5) SAR 61

(7) RASG 64, (4) DRS 58 

(8) HANC 66, (17) Katz YHS 56

(14) MTA 60, (12) Beren 51 

TIER III CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

MacsLive Staff

March 18th, 2018

Who They Are:

#12 Robert M. Beren Academy Stars (Houston, TX)

#14 MTA Lions (New York, NY)

 

How They Got Here:

Beren: Lost to SAR 54-18, Lost to TABC 71-24, Beat Fuchs 46-40

MTA: Beat Farber 43-29, Lost to Berman 58-53, Beat Ida Crown 83-79

 

Game Preview:

After two big losses to two very good teams, the Stars salvaged their 2018 Sarachek run with a nice, comeback victory over Fuchs on Sunday. Led by the athletic Jonny Abitbol and scorer Akiva Garner, Beren wants to prove to everyone why they were originally seeded in Tier I. To do that, they’ll have to overcome a gritty MTA Lions team that has had a Sarachek performance to be proud of so far this weekend. After knocking off Farber on Thursday, the Lions narrowly lost to a very good Berman team that is competing for the Tier II title tomorrow right after this game. On Sunday, MTA, led by the heroics of Eitan Pfeiffer, outlasted the Ida Crown Aces in a quadruple overtime thriller. The win was especially nice for MTA coach Shlomo Weisberg because it came against his alma mater. Likely playing in front of a large crowd of fans, the Lions will look to show that they are much better than the 14-seed they were given and take home the Tier III trophy.

 

Players To Watch:

Big-man Noah Diner had a very solid performance against Fuchs and is the tallest player on the Beren team. He’ll have to play big and take advantage against a guard-heavy MTA team. Eitan Pfeiffer’s hustle, leadership, and clutchness were off the charts on Sunday. While his play is something alone to be proud of, his intangibles are the things that separate him from the rest.

(13) TABC 47, (11) Berman 40

TIER II CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

MacsLive Staff

March 19th, 2018

Who They Are:

#11 Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars (Rockville, MD)

#13 TABC Storm (Teaneck, NJ)

How They Got Here:

Berman: Lost to Frisch 52-34, Beat MTA 58-53, Beat Katz 72-54

TABC: Beat Harkham 68-49, Beat Beren 71-24, Beat HANC 60-46

Game Preview:

Perhaps inspired by fellow Maryland school UMBC's historic win over Virginia, the Berman Cougars are looking to make their own tournament history with a Tier II championship against the red-hot TABC Storm. Flying under the radar a little bit, TABC hasn't lost a game yet this tournament, and each of their wins have been by at least 14 points. Led by star Jonathan Haberman, the Storm make a lot of threes and spread the ball-around in an offense where a lot of different people can hurt you.

Berman rides the play of 6'3" Center Josh Levieddin, who feasts offensively down-low.

Players To Watch:

Ari Schopf has had a nice tournament so far for the Cougars, and he has established himself as a scary three-point threat that teams have to keep an eye on at all times. His shooting from beyond the arc could be the difference in this game.

 

Eli Harcsztark, the second-leading scorer for the Storm, has demonstrated the ability to score in bunches and go on personal mini-runs to give his team momentum. If the Cougars focus on stopping Haberman, Harcsztark will have to step up his offensive game and knock down open looks.

 

(1) Shalhevet 53, (2) Valley Torah 51

TIER I CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

MacsLive Staff

March 19th, 2018

Who They Are:

#1 Shalhevet Firehawks (Los Angeles, CA)

#2 Valley Torah Wolfpack (Valley Village, CA)

How They Got Here:

Shalhevet: Beat YULA 55-38, Beat SAR 48-38

Valley Torah: Beat RASG 51-42, Beat Magen David 43-38

Game Preview:

In a California battle between the top two seeds of Sarachek 2018, expect flashy plays, high-intensity, and clutch performances from these young men. Some might say that the pressure lies on a Shalhevet team that has lost in the Tier I championship the past two years. However, after watching superstar Ryan Turell and the Altit twins light it up on the court, many see Valley Torah as the clear favorite in this game despite being a lower seed.

While Turell has struggled (only 40% on FG) somewhat due to the intense focus teams have placed on him defensively, Nadav and Nimrod Altit have been huge for Valley Torah. They've shot a combined 9-15 from deep, which causes absolute nightmare matchups on defense for the other teams. If you want to put a big man on them, they'll go outside and beat you there, and if you put a guard on them, they'll use their size to punish you down-low. Yeshiva League basketball rarely sees one team with three players that tall and skilled on the same team, so enjoy watching this phenomenon while you can.

One of the most underrated parts of Shalhevet's success so far has been there unreal defense. They frustrated the YULA Panthers offense to no end on Friday, and they limited SAR superstar Judah Oppenheimer significantly during Sunday's win. The Firehawks are not a big team, but they rotate and communicate well and use their high basketball IQs and elite coaching to make things extremely difficult for the other team on offense.

These two teams are as confident and unfazed by pressure as they come. The Valley Torah Trio is always smiling and genuinely enjoys playing basketball. Turell loves the spotlight and isn't afraid to take the last shot.

Shalhevet's confidence is a little quieter but is just as real. Superstar scorer Zach Muller played well at Sarachek last year as a young sophomore, and his poise and leadership has only gotten better this year. Muller has shot an absolutely incredible 22-24 from the free throw line, and has looked cool and collected throughout the entire tournament.

Players To Watch:

Ben Mashiach has been limited by foul trouble so far in this tournament. His size and athleticism is extremely necessary against the super-tall Valley Torah team, and he'll have to balance playing aggressive, tough ball down-low and keeping himself away from fouls. He plays with a lot of heart and intensity, and you'll see that today.

Nearly a foot shorter than the Altit twins, Wolfpack guard Leal Saada has been extremely steady so far in this tournament. He often doesn't play the role of a traditional point guard because Turell does a lot of dribbling and running the offense, but Saada still passes the ball well, rebounds, and plays great perimeter defense. With the big three of the Wolfpack, it's easy to forget about guys like Saada and Ben Hamer, but it could be their small contributions that make the difference in the game today.

Defense Wins Championships: Shalhevet Takes Home Tier I Trophy

Ethan Gipsman

March 19, 2018

One would expect a 14 year-old freshman playing varsity basketball to be a little rattled at the very least in a high-pressure situation, but with the game tied at 51, as Ze'ev Remer stepped to the free throw line with 2.5 seconds left in overtime of the Sarachek Tier I Championship game, he looked to be just fine. Swish. Swish. Remer sank both free throws to give the Shalhevet Firehawks a 53-51 lead. After the ensuing inbound was stolen, Shalhevet was crowned Tier I champions, as they got a taste of redemption after having lost in last year's championship game to Frisch 49-47.

 

Remer finished the game with 11 points, as Shalhevet came marching back from a 15-point halftime deficit to win the game.

 

Valley Torah jumped out to a 14-point lead at the start of the 2nd quarter thanks to a 10-0 run, using their backcourt length to force turnovers in a 1-3-1 trap defense. Shalhevet had no answer for the Wolfpack defense, as they dug themselves into a hole by missing their first five free throws of the quarter. After getting fouled on a three-point attempt with 1.8 seconds left in the half, Valley Torah guard Nadav Altit sank 2/3 free throws to send the Wolfpack into halftime up 29-14.

 

Once the 3rd quarter began, it was clear that Shalhevet had made some adjustments in the locker room at halftime. Guard Zack Muller drained a nice turnaround jumper in the lane on the first possession to get the Hawks started. After a defensive stop on the ensuing possession, Remer drove to the lane for a layup while getting fouled. He hit the free throw to cut the deficit to 10.

 

Shalhevet seemingly figured out the Wolfpack's 1-3-1 defense, as they were able to cut down on turnovers and exploit the zone to the tune of a 21-point 3rd quarter (more than they scored in the entire first half).

 

Muller, who had a quiet first half, energized the Shalhevet crowd with a fade away three-pointer that he banked in at the end of the shot clock while getting fouled. Muller completed the four-point play, pulling Shalhevet to within three.

 

While they were able to get their offense going, the real story for the Firehawks was their trademark defense. Shalhevet held Valley Torah to just six points in the 3rd quarter, compared to their 21, ending the quarter tied up at 35. The only points from the Wolfpack in the 3rd quarter came from seniors Ryan Turell and Ben Hamer, with Turell hitting two pretty pull-up jumpers, and Hamer sinking two free throws.

 

Muller would pick up where he left off for the Firehawks, beginning the 4th quarter with a steal and drawing a foul on the other end. He made both free throws giving Shalhevet their first lead of the game 45 seconds into the 4th quarter. After yet another defensive stop, Muller once again worked his magic with the shot clock winding down, as he drove right and drained a pull-up jumper from the baseline while double-teamed to extend the lead to four.

 

The rest of the quarter seemed as though it was a battle of the stars, as Muller and Turell went back and forth, each scoring one impressive basket after the other.

 

Turell hit a baseline floater to pull within two, but Muller responded with a deep jumper of his own to keep the lead at four. A few possessions later, after a Turell jumper brought the Wolfpack to within three, Muller drove right and floated the ball high off the backboard over the outstretched arms of Wolfpack 6"7 senior Nimrod Altit, who fouled Muller in the process. There was a pile-up under the basket, and Nimrod's twin brother Nadav was whistled for a technical foul for seemingly pushing Muller back into the ground as he was getting up. Muller made one of three free throws to push the Hawks' lead to six with just under four minutes to play.

 

Turell put the team on his back as he hit two free throws and on the next possession found a wide-open Leal Saada for a layup. With 30 seconds left Turell drove baseline for a tough layup to tie the game up at 46. Firehawks' guard Asher Dauer missed a shot at the buzzer and the game went into overtime.

 

In overtime, Turell gave the Wolfpack a three point lead as he bookended a Shalhevet free throw with two tough pull-up jump shots of his own. Muller responded by converting a layup while getting fouled by Saada in the process. Saada would be charged with his 5th foul of the game and finished the night with six points and two rebounds. Meanwhile, Muller hit the free throw to tie the game at 50 points apiece.

 

On the next two possessions Turell and Dauer would each hit one free throw to bring the score to 51-51 with 1:11 left in overtime. After a series of excellent defensive possessions by both teams, Shalhevet inbounded the ball with 21 seconds left and the game tied at 51. After having abandoned their 1-3-1 defense for most of the second half, Valley Torah curiously decided to revert to their zone defense, despite the fact that three of their best defenders, Leal Saada, Nimrod Altit, and Ben Hamer, had all fouled out, and it is difficult to replace the length of the 6"3 Hamer and 6"7 Altit.

 

After evading the trap defense with two nice passes, Shalhevet guard Ze’ev Remer found himself wide open under the hoop, where he was fouled hard. Remer calmly sank both free throws to put the Firehawks up 53-51 with 2.5 seconds left. Shalhevet stole the errant inbound throw and won the game.

 

Turell, who was named First Team All-Tournament, led Valley Torah with 21 points, six assists, and six rebounds. Turell was truly impressive as he dealt with double-teams and drew contact almost every time he touched the ball. Guards Nadav and Nimrod Altit scored seven and three points respectively, while Ben Hamer finished with eight points. Yonah Hami chipped in four points and Akiva Kamornick added two points for the Wolfpack.

 

Shalhevet guard Zack Muller was named Tournament MVP, as he poured in 28 points and five rebounds in the championship game. Ze'ev Remer, who finished the game with 11 points, was named to the tournament All-Star team. Asher Dauer and Ben Mashiach contributed eight and six points, respectively for Shalhevet. While it is not on the stat sheet, it would be a mistake not to mention the unrelenting defensive intensity of the Firehawks. Despite being under-sized at almost every position by Valley Torah, their team defense was extremely impressive, and not to mention, exciting to watch. Every player that checked into the game for the Firehawks executed to the "T" on every defensive possession and played with an aggressive intensity that is hard to find in a high school team. Congratulations to the Shalhevet players, coaches, and fans on a victory well-earned.

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