By Judah Rhine
The Importance Of Being There
Last week was the 14th yahrzeit of my father, Lester Rhine, a’h. As I reflect on all the special times we shared, one particular aspect stands out. My father would always take the time, no matter what his schedule was like, to attend the games I played in as well as those I coached. I am fortunate to say that I took this to heart and made it a priority to attend my children’s games as well. Not only was this inspiring for me as a player and coach, but it also made me realize how much it means to be able to watch your child participate and compete in the game. I would encourage all parents who have children participating in the wide range of sports activities to take advantage of these opportunities and try your best to attend your children’s games and cheer them on. The time goes by so fast, but the experience is priceless.
Best wishes for a happy Chanukah!
Game of the season (so far): HAFTR 46, DRS 42 in OT. Before a “standing-room only” DRS gym, packed with students, faculty, parents, and fans from both schools, HAFTR defeated DRS 46–42 in a thrilling back and forth overtime contest, and remained undefeated in varsity league play. The much-anticipated contest between the two undefeated powers was intense from the opening tip. This also marked the return of star forward Abie Perlow (now of HAFTR) back to the DRS gym where he enjoyed so much success. An intense defensive first half resulted in a 12–11 lead for DRS. However, in the second half, the offense for both teams kicked in. Following numerous lead changes, HAFTR pushed ahead for 27–23 at the end of the third quarter. Perlow’s former teammate Gabe Leifer suffered a leg injury that forced him to sit out several minutes in the fourth quarter. He pushed himself back onto the court to help his team come back and cut the deficit to two with a second left in regulation. Coming off a perfectly timed pass, Leifer caught the inbounds pass and while still in the air managed to get off a miraculous shot that dropped through the net at the buzzer—sending the game into overtime and sending the DRS fans into a frenzy. In overtime, thanks to Perlow converting his foul shots, HAFTR finally pulled away and secured a thrilling 46–42 victory. In so doing, HAFTR remains undefeated while sending DRS to its first loss of the season. Jon Greenberg and Abe Perlow led HAFTR with 13 points each; Gabe Leifer led DRS with 19 points. This sets up the next showdown between these two “Beasts of the East” to take place at HAFTR on December 31.
Derech Hatorah loses to YDE 82–63. Derech Hatorah was ice cold in their home gym and didn’t get into a flow until the second quarter. By then it was too far of a deficit to climb out of. Although they made a couple of runs, it wasn’t enough. Derech was led by Adam Motovich with 34 points and Maurice Amar with 13. YDE had four in double figures—Elo 19, Cohen 15, Bassoul 11, and Halwoni with 10.
The Heschel Heat, coming off their third consecutive Weiner Tournament Championship in Baltimore Maryland, played their finest league game of the year at home and defeated TABC 66–58. The Heat started strong, leading 18–11 after one and took a 10-point lead into the half, 34–24. TABC, behind the hot three-point shooting of senior Dan Poleyeff, stormed back to pull within one, but the Heat kept their composure and were able to get back to an eight-point advantage in the fourth quarter and hold off TABC despite losing their Weiner MVP, Sam Lippman, who had to leave the game early in the fourth period with a gash in his head. At the time, he had 12 points and 12 rebounds. But Heschel received balanced scoring from four players led by senior Jonathan Granowitz with 19, senior guard Mor Shindler with 11 (three 3s), sophomore guard Jeremy Spiera with 10 (two 3s), and sophomore point guard Michael Gatan with 6 points and 7 assists. The Heat are now 11+6 overall and 4+3 in league play. They play next on Sunday at MTA in a 4:00 contest. Poleyeff finished with 26 points (6 threes) and junior point guard Gerzberg had 13 for TABC.
DRS 69, Ramaz 26. Shut-down defense and strong front-court play were the key factors in DRS’s impressive win. DRS took a 13-point halftime lead and then outscored Ramaz 23–1 in the third quarter. High scorer Gabe Leifer had 25 points, Yehuda Schein added 17, and Judah Levine 9. Goldman was high for Ramaz with 10.
DRS 40, North Shore 29. In a bounce-back game from the loss against HAFTR just two nights earlier, DRS regrouped and improved to 8–1 in league play with an impressive victory over North Shore. This was a contest which featured the last two varsity league champions. The key to victory was the great shut-down defense DRS maintained from start to finish. Gabe Leifer was high scorer with 20 points and Haft added 11 for North Shore.
The Heschel Heat continued in their winning ways and improved, beating MTA on the road 62–39. The Heat opened a 35–17 halftime lead by playing excellent half-court man-to-man to defense and led by Jonathan Granowitz’s 10 halftime points were able to coast to the win, their eighth in their last nine games. Granowitz finished with 14 and junior Sam Schwartzben continued his excellent play off the bench with 12, while sophomore point guard Michael Gatan chipped in with 11. The Heat have now won eight of their last nine games and are 5+3 in league play. They play their archrivals Ramaz on Wednesday at home and then go to North Shore Academy on Thursday before their 20-day break till January 7 against Kushner.
Rambam Mesivta got their first win of the season 87–76 Saturday evening against Derech Hatorah. Jacob Dubin led a balanced scoring attack with 23 points. Aryeh Kahn scored 22. Jack Ross and Shmuli Goldner chipped in with 17 and 15 points, respectively. Rambam led the entire game despite a 52 point performance by Motovich.
SAR JV Boys Basketball beat TABC, 44–30, behind Dovie Marcus’s 17 points. SAR was up 20 at the half and TABC had a furious rally to cut the lead to 8 before SAR held on tough in the fourth quarter. TABC’s Haberman scored 11 second-half points, including three 3-pointers, to keep the game within firing range. Dovie Marcus hit four 4-pointers to lead the charge for the Sting, followed with six points apiece by Sammy Sokol and Amichai Feit.
MTA played Thursday night in hopes of extending their hot start and they did just that. Led by strong front-court play of Yehudah Colton, Yehudah Buchbinder, and Binyamin Buchbinder, MTA played ahead the entire game and ended up pulling out an 11-point victory over Heschel, 47–36.
Two nights later, MTA played a strong Frisch team. Frisch pressed MTA from start to end and MTA had a difficult time beating them. Turnovers made the difference in this one as Frisch won easily by a score of 55–38.
The Flatbush Falcons JV resumed the regular yeshiva league season with a strong 60–42 win at home on Wednesday night over DRS. Flatbush took control of the game early, with precision offensive play built on 10 first-quarter points by sophomore center Captain Abie Rosow. Entering the second period, the Falcons led 20–7. That period was dominated by Flatbush SG Captain Kevin Haddad who tallied 11 points, leading the Falcons to a 35–14 lead at the half. From there, the Wildcats exerted maximum energy, but entering the fourth period, Flatbush led by 50–28. That bulge enabled Flatbush to finish the game with a 60–42 final. Leading the way for Flatbush was Haddad with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals, in a performance of note. Rosow had another double-double, with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore PG Louis Zarin tallied 7 points and 7 assists, and was 4–4 from the foul line in the 4th period, as DRS made its run. The Falcons continued to be impressive at the foul line, going 15–18 at the stripe.
HAFTR at Magen David. The Hawks traveled to Brooklyn to take on the Magen David Warriors in a division game. The Hawks came out strong and took an early lead thanks to the impressive showing by under-the-weather freshman Ethan Jesselson and solid contributions from Noah Fruchter and Jeremy Schneider. The Hawks were attacking the rim in the early part of the game and were not settling for jump shots, led by the explosive duo of captains, Jason Mishkin and Zach Schwartz. HAFTR went into halftime with a 10-point lead, but with expectation that the Warriors were not going to lie down in the second half. As anticipated, the Warriors had a strong third quarter and were hitting deep shots to get them back in the game. The fourth quarter saw a lot of back and forth action, but ultimately the clutch foul shooting of Harrison Kuritzky and the strong play of Jesselson, Schwartz, and Mishkin was enough to send the Hawks to a 50–48 victory versus Magen David.
HAFTR at DRS. Some say it’s better than Carolina v. Duke and to the residents of the Five Towns it may be bigger than the Super Bowl! HAFTR came into the game with a 3–0 record with all three victories coming on the road so they were ready for the packed house and rowdy students of DRS to give them all they can handle. This game was part of a huge double header with the varsities of both schools and the players for both teams were ready from the start. The first quarter was back and forth with neither team going up by more than four points and both teams playing tough defense. The second quarter was more of the Schwartz and Mishkin show, as the Hawks have become accustomed to, as they both attacked the basket and left the DRS defenders grasping for air. The Wildcats of DRS were led by their freshman sensation Vallinsky and were able to go into the locker room tied up at 19–19. The third quarter saw the Hawks change up their game plan and come out of the locker room with renewed focus on sharing the ball and pressing the Wildcats of DRS. The press worked to perfection as it caused the Wildcats to turn the ball over on multiple occasions which led to easy baskets for the Hawks. The Hawks were helped by a big two-minute stretch at the end of the third quarter, led by Shai Laniado and Jake Greenberg as they played stellar defense and enabled both Mishkin and Schwartz to get some much-needed rest. The fourth quarter saw Mishkin start to take over and with the help of contributions from Eli Fishman and Mikey Spivak, the Hawks pulled away with a 46–35 victory. The Hawks now stand at 4–0 and are ready for their next big showdown with rival North Shore and their home opener on December 18.
Overseas. The Flatbush Varsity improved its overall season record to 9–7 with a convincing win over St Luke’s, of Sydney Australia. The final was Flatbush 51, St. Luke’s 19. Despite a tall squad and two goaltending violations, the St. Luke squad was unable to deal with the Falcons’ pressure defense, as Flatbush built a 15–1 first-quarter lead and built on that lead for the remainder of the contest. St. Luke’s is on a barnstorming tour from Sydney and has been playing public and private schools across the United States over a three-and-a-half month visit. So far, St. Luke’s is 4–2 on the tour, which ends next week.
Middle School. In the seventh-grade division, MDY defeated Flatbush by a score of 55–39. The teams started off even and slowly MDY started pulling away and pushing the lead to double digits. Flatbush kept fighting back and pulled within eight points in the fourth quarter. MDY eventually extended the lead and secured the victory. Nsiri led MDY with 24 points. Eli Cohen led the Falcons with 19.
In a critical game for both teams, the HANC Hurricanes JV defeated the North Shore Stars 3–1. Josh Blitstein tallied two goals and Joseph Lindenblatt recorded a goal for HANC. The HANC varsity hockey team came out victorious against North Shore Thursday night, winning the game 4–2. The Hurricanes victory was spurred by a two-goal performance from Matthew Maslin. Benjamin Hill and Josh Wengrofsky each scored a goal as well, and starting goalie Josh Geller played a fantastic game.
Boys’ Varsity Hockey
North Shore 10
Magen David 2
Boys’ Junior Varsity Hockey
North Shore 9
Magen David 6
Shaare Torah 0
Boys’ Varsity Basketball
North Shore 6–3
Magen David 3–3
Derech Hatorah 1–9
Boys’ Junior Varsity Basketball
North Shore 6–0
Shaare Torah 3–4
Magen David 2–4
Hausdorf Tournament Recap
On the weekend of December 4–7, the Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School hosted three out-of-town teams for the 19th annual Thomas Hausdorf Memorial JV Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton.
The event, a premier JV basketball event, was hosted in the Flatbush community by Flatbush High School over the weekend.
Flying in to Brooklyn for the tournament were the JV squads, coaches, rebbeim and principals, and chaperones from Akiva Hebrew High School Pioneers, Southfield, Michigan (Detroit); Cooper Yeshiva High School Macs, Memphis, Tennessee; and Weinbaum Yeshiva High School Storm, Boca Raton, Florida.
The three teams and contingents were housed in the Flatbush community for the weekend. Every aspect of the stay in Brooklyn was arranged and covered by the Flatbush High School.
The tournament and Shabbaton memorializes Thomas Hausdorf, a’h, who for seven years was principal, teacher, advisor, mentor, fan, and friend of great wisdom and good cheer to the Flatbush community.
The tournament is designed to offer hospitality to JV teams from across the United States. It includes a fantastic Shabbaton led by the renowned Rabbi Naftali Besser of the Flatbush High School and general community, and is highlighted by a dinner with Yachad on Thursday night, arrival night, and then a Friday-night kumsitz at the home of Michelle and Steve Sasson, led by Rabbi Besser. It is so leibedik and the food offerings so abundant and well-presented that Hausdorf participants never forget it.
The tournament is organized by Mike Gelber of Flatbush, who has been doing this as a labor of love for all 19 years, now assisted by his daughter, Rebecca, and her husband, Effie. Mrs. Bebe Levitt of Flatbush and the Flatbush athletic director, Eric Amkraut, offer invaluable support and encouragement.
The format of the basketball component of the tournament is that the four teams play each other once, and the teams with the best records play on Sunday for the championship trophy.
Saturday night’s games are hugely attended and were exciting this year. Akiva (Detroit) edged by Cooper (Memphis) to find its way into the finals on Sunday. Flatbush beat Weinbaum (Boca) in the nightcap to earn its way into the championship game against Akiva. The competition was even between the teams, but in the end, the Flatbush JV Falcons, went undefeated (4–0) and won the championship game on Sunday.
The Falcons’ Abie Rosow, center, who averaged 16.2 ppg and 12 rebounds a game, for a tournament double-double, was the MVP. The Falcons’ sophomore SG, Kevin Haddad, the MVP last year, was named to the all-star team, with a dominating performance at the guard position.
Judah Rhine is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and has been coaching youth basketball for 30+ years. He can be reached at email@example.com.