By Judah Rhine
In a rematch of the opening game of the seventh-grade basketball season, Flatbush squared off against HAFTR, this time on HAFTR’s home court. The last time these two teams met, HAFTR took control of the game and cruised to an easy victory. This time it was a real battle. Flatbush started off strong and raced to an 8–2 lead. HAFTR came back, and the score was tied at 12. Flatbush then took control of the second quarter and built a 21–16 halftime lead. In the second half, HAFTR came back and took a 10-point lead and continued to a 46–34 victory. This was a far better showing by Flatbush than their previous game with HAFTR. HAFTR had balanced scoring led by Appel with 11 points. Flatbush was led by Ely Cohen with 13 and Kal Abed with 12.
In the “Rhine Bowl,” Keith Rhine (nephew) and Judah Rhine (uncle) squared off against each other for the first time ever as the seventh-grade Flatbush Falcons traveled to Long Beach to face off against HALB. This hard-fought contest was tight throughout and the game and was tied at 31 at the half. The third quarter was back and forth with HALB leading by 1 after 3. Finally, HALB was able to put some distance and pulled away with a 65–56 victory. Brown led all scorers with 29 points for HALB. Ely Cohen led Flatbush with 28 points.
SAR JV Boys Basketball beat Ramaz 50–26. SAR led 27–13 at the half and then went on an 18–0 tear to open the third quarter, led by Dovie Marcus’s three 3-pointers in the third. He finished with 17 and Daniel Wisotsky finished with 12 hard-earned points. SAR is now 6–1 and on top of the conference.
HS Basketball Heaven
If you love high-school basketball, then a day like this is a slice of heaven! Four games in one day—a Flatbush v. North Shore quadruple-header at the Falcon’s Nest in Brooklyn. The day began with the JV girls, followed by the varsity girls, then the JV boys, and finally, the varsity boys to cap it off.
Things got under way at 11:00 a.m. with a rematch between the top two JV girls programs in the Eastern Division of the MYHSAL. Last time, Flatbush steamrolled the Stars in Great Neck. This time around, it was a much closer contest. The two teams matched points in the opening quarter and were almost even at the midpoint, with North Shore holding a slim 13–12 margin. Defense was the focal point in the first half, with neither team able to score consistently, and with the Stars holding Flatbush’s normally deadly outside shooter Esther Harary to only two points (no 3’s) in the half. Flatbush was also clearly hampered by the absence of Jackie Mizrahi, a key inside presence in the last matchup.
In the second half, North Shore slowly got some separation and stretched it out to a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Then, with a little over five minutes left, Harary was fouled on a three-pointer. She hit all three free-throws in what looked to be a momentum swing for Flatbush. But the Falcons could not capitalize. The Stars, recognizing the possible momentum shift, ran an effective four-corners offense, freezing the ball and running nearly two minutes of clock. The Falcons continued to miss shots and turn the ball over and never could close the gap. Both teams played good defense; the difference was in basic execution of the offense—North Shore hit their shots inside and Flatbush did not. The end result was a 34–26 North Shore victory, equalizing the season series and setting up what could be a huge game should these two teams meet again in the playoffs, a strong possibility.
Game two featured the varsity girls of the Stars and the Falcons. The first time around, the Flatbush Varsity completely dominated the Stars. At the outset, it looked like it would be a repeat performance. The Falcons methodically moved out to a 7–0 lead, with Jennifer Maleh holding the hot hand early. And defensively, the Stars had no answer for the backcourt pressure of guards Rose Mishaan, Victoria Gindi, and Jen Maleh or the inside presence of Robyn Dweck and Sarah Horowitz. But North Shore was not going away so easily. With only a few minutes gone in the second quarter, they had crawled back into the game, cutting the lead to three points, 15–12. At that point, Head Coach Rozan Mizrahi reinserted Horowitz. North Shore had no answer for her. Defensively, she altered shots and collected rebounds; offensively, she helped break the backcourt pressure and hit from inside, outside, and the foul line. Flatbush clamped down on defense. By the time the dust had settled, the Falcons were sitting comfortably atop at 31–16 halftime lead behind 10 points from Maleh and 8 points from Horowitz. After the break, Flatbush’s Robyn Dweck found the range from the outside and drilled three from three for nine points in the third quarter. With everyone contributing down the stretch, the Falcons closed out the victory over the North Shore Varsity Stars, 55–33.
Then it was time for the boys to take center court. Game three of the day would pit the powerful Flatbush JV boys against the dangerous Stars of North Shore. But it would be a challenge, as Flatbush was down two of its guards; Co-Captain Kevin Haddad was out due to a death in the family, and reserve Freshman Maurice Mosseri was under the weather. The Falcons jumped out to the early lead, with Abie Rosow showing why he is one of the dominant players on the JV Yeshiva League scene. Scoring from inside and outside, and providing game-changing defense underneath, Rosow was the reason for Flatbush’s early lead. But with steady play and the ability to hit some outside shots, North Shore slowly clawed back in to the contest. The Falcon guards got careless with the ball and also missed shots. Both teams battled, with the Stars hitting from outside, and the Falcons bringing the backcourt pressure along with a tough Louis Zarif conventional three-point-play on a power drive and finish. By the midpoint, the teams were knotted at 22 points apiece.
Flatbush decided it was time for a heavy dose of Abie Rosow. Along with a little amping-up of the overall defense, Rosow and his mates scored 11 straight unanswered points to open the second half before a North Shore three-pointer broke the string. But it was all the stingy Falcon defense would allow in the pivotal quarter. When it was over, Rosow had scored 11 of Flatbush’s 15 points, leading to a 37–25 Flacon lead at third-quarter break. The Stars never recovered. From that point, the Falcons put it in cruise control the rest of the way, coasting to the 52–41 victory.
Last up on the day would be the Varsity boys. North Shore came in sporting one of the top records in the MYHSAL. Flatbush was battling for its playoff life. The first time these teams met, it was an all-around defensive struggle, with North Shore pulling away late for the home win. And if that would be any indication of how it might play out, this game looked to be one worth sticking around for. Like the first time around, this game opened up as a defensive battle. Flatbush took an early 5–2 lead on a bruising lay-in by Ray Braha. The Falcons coaches subbed liberally to keep the defensive legs fresh. But North Shore battled back, and at the end of the first quarter, the Stars held a 10–7 advantage. Quarter two was more of the same defensively, with both teams causing turnover after turnover and the cushion remaining around three until about the three-minute mark. Then, Flatbush went ice cold from the field. The Falcons worked the ball patiently, but they just could not get any shots to fall. And though the Flatbush defense was still formidable, the missed shots led to a couple of easier looks for the Stars, and they took a seemingly commanding 9-point lead into halftime, 21–12.
In a game like this, 9 points feels like so much more, and it looked like the Falcons were facing an insurmountable deficit. But one thing that appears to run from generation to generation at Flatbush is that its basketball players never quit. Behind the continuous waves of pressure defense and some clutch shooting from Allen Maleh and Albert Richter, the Falcons climbed back! And when Richter drained a midrange jumper at the 2:16 mark, the game was tied at 23 points apiece! The quarter ended with that score, but Flatbush had accrued seven fouls by the end of the period. Would that come back to haunt them? The fourth quarter was a continuation of the defensive battle, and points were hard to come by for both teams. But it was near impossible for the Falcons. North Shore had scored only five points as the quarter was winding down, but Flatbush had none, until Elliot Beyda finally hit big from three-point range at the 1:13 mark to close the gap to two points at 28–26. When the Stars hit another basket late, it looked to be over for Flatbush. But, as noted before, these Falcons never say die. Late-game insert Eli Cattan was fouled on a desperation three-pointer with under 15 seconds to play. He managed to hit only one of the three free-throws, but Isaac Mizrahi came up with the rebound of the game. Then, he found Bobby Soffer with the outlet who calmly drained a shot from three to knot the game at 30–30. North Shore called timeout with five seconds remaining, and it looked to all like these teams would need an extra period to decide things. It was not to be. On a well-executed inbound, North Shore advanced the ball and drained a slightly contested 10-foot jumper as time expired, lifting the guests to the 2-point victory, 32–30.
Moral victories are nice, but they do not help advance teams to the playoffs. Flatbush battled, but came up short in the end. So on a day full of basketball, each school took home two wins and two losses, and much respect for each other was clearly learned and earned.
Nest Notes. For the boys’ varsity, the Falcons held the Stars to nearly 20 points below their season scoring average of 55 points per game. The team was led in scoring by Albert Richter who had seven points on the day. Ray Braha and Eli Cattan had six points each; Allen Maleh and Elliot Beyda each scored four points. Bobby Soffer rounded out the scoring with three points.
For the boys’ JV, Abie Rosow had a huge game, scoring 29 points (12–15 from the free-throw line) and gathering 18 rebounds. Yoel Goldberg complemented him with 10 points. Louis Zarif scored 9 points, Isaac Arazi went for 3 points, and Joseph Oved rounded out the scoring with 1 point.
Other Basketball Action
DRS. DRS 46 HANC 37; DRS 32 Magen David 16. DRS is now 10 and 1 in league play with wins on Thursday and Saturday nights. Against HANC, they jumped out ahead early and led wire to wire with Gabriel Leifer scoring a game-high 20 points.
Saturday night at Magen David, DRS played great defense and showed great discipline, as MD tried to slow the game down. DRS pulled away early in the fourth quarter as Gabriel Leifer led the way again with a team-high 17 points.
On Tuesday night, the seventh night of Chanukah, the undefeated 6–0 Flatbush JV Falcons were looking to hold ground and come away with a win against the 3–5 YDE Thunder. This game was a Sephardic Center meeting ground for the neighborhood rivals. Flatbush was coming off a Sunday battle against North Shore which was also undefeated at the time. The Falcons toughed out an 11-point win in the NSHA game.
But this was a crucial game for the Thunder playoff chances, and the Falcons were caught looking ahead to a December 25 battle with HAFTR for the East Division lead.
With that setting, YDE opened in a triangle and two defense, focusing on Falcon high scorers, sophomore C Abie Rosow and sophomore SG Kevin Haddad. With that look, YDE was able to hold Flatbush to an 8–6 Falcons lead in the first period.
In the second quarter, Flatbush exploded for 17 points, but the Thunder tallied 11 of their own, and when the halftime horn blew, Flatbush had an uncomfortable 25–17 bulge at the half.
In the third period, Flatbush held YDE to 7 points, scored 11, and had a seemingly comfortable 36–24 lead entering the final period.
As the finale progressed, the crowd, partial to YDE, grew into a vocal SRO audience. The Flatbush nerves started to show, and all of a sudden, the Thunder narrowed the lead to 6 points, with 1:24 to play, 46–40 Flatbush.
At that point, Falcon PF Isaac Arazi nailed a clutch shot from the left corner to build the lead to 8, 48–40. YDE had life left as Jack Sayegh answered with a bucket to make the lead 48–42, Flatbush.
YDE now had to foul to regain possession. The Thunder fouled sophomore PG Louis Zarif, who nailed the two charity shots with 21 seconds to play and returned the lead to 8 points, 50–42, a 3-possession swing.
A Thunder bucket at 11.1 was not able to make a dent, and the Thunder run of 20 fourth-quarter points was unavailing, as the Falcons won by 6, 50–44.
Leading the Falcons’ scoring was Arazi, with a season-high 11 points. Sophomore PF Yoel Goldberg had 10, as did Haddad. Rosow, constantly double-teamed, had 5. The freshman duo of SG Richard Silverman and PG Maurice Mosserri had 4 and 3 clutch buckets respectively.
Jack Sayegh led YDE with 9 points. Zachary Wabbah added 8. Moshe Strove and Albert Franco added 7 apiece.
Dateline, Lawrence—December 25, 2014. With two games to play in the regular season, the Flatbush JV (16–2, 8–0 YL), clinched a bye in the Yeshiva League playoffs with a strong 45–28 win at HAFTR on Thursday night.
The Falcons came in to HAFTR at 7–0, off a close win against YDE on Tuesday night. HAFTR was also undefeated at 6–0, and so this was a late December battle for control of first place in the Yeshiva League East Division.
The game started awkwardly for the Falcons. PF Sophomore Yoel Goldberg picked up a second personal foul early in the first period, and the best the Falcons could do without his scoring and rebounding was an 8–6 lead.
The Hawks, knowing what was at stake, clamped down in the second period, holding the Falcons to 5 points and scoring 8 of their own. Of the Falcons 13 points in the first half, sophomore C Abie Rosow had 11 points, including a trey and 6–6 from the foul line.
At the half, the score was 14–13 HAFTR.
Flatbush had HAFTR right where they wanted them.
With Goldberg returning, and nailing a timely trey and two early in the third period, the Falcons shut down the Hawks, holding them to 2 points for the 8 minutes. With Goldberg, Kevin Haddad had 6 points and the Falcons surged to a 28–16 lead.
In the final period, as the HAWKS attempted their comeback, but Falcons PG Louis Zarif had 4 points and Rosow 7 points, and the Falcons outscored HAFTR 17–11, and cruised to a 45–28 finale. This was the sixth time this season the Falcons held an opponent to 30 points or less.
Rosow had yet another double double, finishing with 18 points, including a trey, 3 FGs and 9–9 from the foul line.
Haddad ended with 8 points, Goldberg 7, Zarif and sophomore Yair Aiash tallied 4 points, and sophomore PF Isaac Arazi and freshman Richard Silverman netted 2 points each.
Yeshiva League Plays
The Barclays Center
Sunday night, December 28, the Barclays Center was taken over by the Yeshiva Basketball League as HAFTR met Flatbush in a rematch of their closely contested game from just three nights earlier, in which HAFTR squeezed out a win. Hundreds of passionate fans from both schools flocked to the Barclays Center (home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets) for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Prior to the opening tip and the introduction of both teams, Janet Schrem led the crowd in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “HaTikvah.” Flatbush raced out to a quick 7–0 start, and by the end of the first quarter had a 9–1 lead. The second quarter proved to be more even, as Flatbush held on to a 17–10 advantage. In the third quarter, HAFTR’s press forced numerous turnovers, and by the end of the quarter, they surged to a 27–16 lead. In the fourth quarter the game was tied several times, and the lead changed hands several times. Flatbush missed on a tying 3-point shot at the buzzer and HAFTR remains undefeated with a 35–32 victory. Special thanks to all who were instrumental in arranging this special event as well as all the participants and attendees who were treated to a thrilling basketball game.
The Hurricanes continued with a dominating 7–0 victory over Shaare Torah. The game was called off towards the beginning of the third period due to the fatigued Shaare Torah goalie.
Kenny Scheer, Joseph Lindenblatt, and Maury Bauer each scored two goals. Jacob Schwartzman also recorded a goal.
North Shore 9–3
Magen David 5–3
Derech Hatorah 1–10
North Shore 7–2
Shaare Torah 3–4
Magen David 2–5
North Shore 10
Magen David 4
North Shore 9
Magen David 8
Shaare Torah 2
Judah Rhine is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and has been coaching youth basketball for 30+ years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.