By Judan Rhine
Hawks Defeat Stars To Secure Cooper Championship
The 6th-seeded HAFTR Hawks defeated the top-seeded NSHA Stars in the Tier I championship game of the 2014 Cooper Invitational tournament in Memphis, Tennessee. These two teams met previously in the Magen David preseason tournament, with the Hawks emerging victorious as well. Both teams had to win their first three games in the tournament in order to reach the championship.
Playing with intensity from the start, the Hawks’ Johnathan Greenberg opened with a fast-break layup. The Stars’ inside defense was incredible, but soon Greenberg started to tear it apart. Abie Perlow of HAFTR was also contributing in the early going. The Stars were led by Cody Cohen and they kept the game very close as the first quarter ended with score tied at 7.
The North Shore ball movement, featuring Max Setton’s passing, was getting everyone open, and at the start of the second quarter, Isaac Haft drained a three. During the quarter, Sammy Mandel from HAFTR knocked down a three to keep his team in the game. The two teams were evenly matched, but Greenberg was giving his team the edge. Greenberg swooped in from behind and got the and-1. Going into halftime, the score was 17–14, Hawks.
The second half got under way with North Shore hoping to finally get a Cooper Invitational championship ring after losing in the finals in the last two years. The Stars’ passing continued to impress, but in the third quarter, the Hawks came out with a renewed sense of urgency. The Stars were missing shots and were fouling a bit too much, but Isaac Haft kept them in the game with his shooting. To add to the comeback, Max Setton drained a three. Then Haft shot back-to-back threes to end the quarter with the Stars on top 26–23.
At the start of the final quarter, it seemed like the Stars would be bringing home their first championship. Then the wheels seemed to start falling off, when HAFTR’s Michael Weissman drained a three, and Perlow made a layup. The Hawks seemed to be in command as they were up by 2 with five minutes remaining.
Cody Cohen answered with two free throws, but it wasn’t enough because HAFTR was on a roll. When the game seemed like it was over, Haft shot another three, and banked it in. In the closing minutes of the game, Perlow fouled out, and it was up to his team to finish without him. That’s when Greenberg stepped up and scored a contested layup, and Weissman shot a jumper to put the Hawks up by two points with 27 seconds to go. HAFTR held on to win the game and were crowned the 2014 Cooper Invitational champions by a final score of 37–33. The Stars were led by Isaac Haft with 19 points, and the Cooper Invitational champions were led by Jonathan Greenberg, with 13 points, who was named the Tier I tournament MVP.
Hillel Heat Capture Tier II Championship
The Tier II Championship game at the 2014 Cooper Invitational featured the #1 Hillel Heat and the #3 CJHS Tigers. Hillel, after a tough loss against YULA, had ripped through Tier II on their way to the championship game. Chicagoland, who were seeded #4 originally, had a bit of a tougher time. They did manage to pull out close wins against Atlanta and JDS, and looked to do it again against the Heat. The Tigers were led by star point guard Josh Newlander, while the Heat liked to play an up-tempo style of play that spaced the floor for their arsenal of shooters.
The Heat scored first, but an Eli Schrayer bucket tied it up early in the first. The Heat tried to get the ball to big man Nathan Bibi, who was matched up against the much smaller Jacob Erlichman. The Tigers played good defense and forced the Heat to find points from other players. A Robert Tobias free throw put Hillel ahead, but a nice block by Josh Newlander kept the score close. The Heat finally got the ball to Bibi with four minutes gone by, and he converted on a three-point play to put Hillel up 4. The Tigers continued to struggle on both ends of the floor, and Bibi scored again in the post to put Hillel up 6 points. The next two minutes found both teams finding it hard to score, as neither team could hold on to the ball. The drought was broken when Bibi found the basket to give Hillel an 8-point lead. Josh Newlander finally got on the board when he hit two free throws near the end of the first. Yoni Maltsman hit two more free throws for the Tigers, but a buzzer beating three by Elliot Saka made it 13–6 Hillel at the end of the first quarter.
The Heat came out firing to start the second quarter, forcing turnovers and benefiting from the long-range shooting of Sam Ashkenazi. Robert Tobias made a put-back bucket and Hillel continued to play excellent pressure defense to stay on top of the Tigers. Hillel continued to hit from long range; this time it was Gordon Adelson. Robert Tobias added to the lead with another short jumper, and with four minutes left in the half, the Tigers just looked overwhelmed. Newlander hit two free throws with three minutes left to make it a slightly closer game, but once again Hillel came back and scored on the other end. Both teams scored twice to end the first half, with the score 29–14 in favor of the Heat.
The Tigers got the opening possession of the second half, but Josh Newlander could not finish at the rim. Hillel went the other way and scored, but a Josh Newlander three-pointer swung the momentum back to the Tigers. The Heat called timeout and quieted things down, but turnovers and missed layups prevented them from pulling away. Nathan Bibi hit a pair of free throws, and Gordon Adelson got his own rebound and scored to give Hillel a commanding lead. Bibi continued to dominate, grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back, and then draining a three on the next possession. Hillel scored again from deep with two minutes left in the quarter, but this time it was Isaac Beda. Coby Drexler made a free throw for the Tigers with a minute left in the quarter, but Hillel was well in control. Both teams scored to end the third, making the score 43–20, Hillel.
Both teams scored to start the fourth quarter, but Hillel, despite being up by 23, would not let up. Hillel hit some free throws, and with four minutes left, finally decided to play their bench. Tzvi Herman made a layup for the Tigers with four minutes left, but Joseph Anzarouth scored three points for Hillel. The Tigers scored, but the Heat came back with a 6–0 run led by Jacob Wasser. Both teams played hard over the last two minutes, but at this point the game was decided. The final score was 63–31 in favor of Hillel, who became the 2014 Cooper Invitational Tier II champions. The high scorer for CJHS was Josh Newlander with 13 points. Nathan Bibi led Hillel with 18 points and was named the Tier II Championship MVP.
2014 Cooper All-Tournament Team: Edan Evanheim (New Community Jewish High School), Daniel Tzion (YULA), Moshe Brum (TABC), Morris Esformes (RASG–Miami), Abie Perlow (HAFTR), Cody Cohen (North Shore).
The winner of the national three-point championship was Dani Kilimnick of TABC.
Varsity Basketball Roundup
The Heschel Heat coming off a tough home loss to Frisch last week beat SAR 53–32, playing outstanding defense after the first quarter when they led 9–8. The Heat took a 23–18 lead into halftime and came out with great defensive energy to start the third quarter, outscoring SAR 13–5 going into the fourth, leading 36–23, and they never looked back. Senior Jonathan Granowitz led a balanced attack with 13 points, with five others scoring between 7 and 10. Grano also had 10 rebounds. He has been in double figures all three games and is the team’s leading rebounder. The Heat were able to stop SAR’s leading scorer, Kubersky, who had half their points at halftime (9) but did not score in the second half. The Heat travel to rival Ramaz on Thursday and then back to Frisch next Tuesday and should find out whether this young team is ready to play with the big boys. Heschel is now 2-and-1 in league play.
TABC over HANC. After a close first half in which TABC led 26–19, the Storm’s defense sparked by Aaron Heideman (5 pts) and Azi Fine took over and let up only 7 points in the second half, coasting to a 46–26 victory. TABC was led by the all-around play of Moshe Brum, with a game high 17 pts, Solomon Shulman with 9 pts, and Tai Gerzberg with 8 pts and 10 assists. Adam Gurarie led the Hurricanes with 12 pts.
MDY defeats Rambam 50–24. Joey levy leads MDY with 10 points. Next up for MDY, Monday night at home vs. YDE. MDY is now 2–1 in league play and 5–2 overall.
The Heschel Heat lost 62–45 to Ramaz at the Ram court. The Heat fell behind early and could never get untracked offensively against the Ramaz zone defenses, shooting poorly from the field early and falling behind 31–17 at the half. Ramaz shot a high percentage in the second half, 13 for 16, and Heschel could never close the gap, trailing 50–32 after three quarters. The Heat had no one in double figures and showed their youth, playing on their heels early and never being able to get enough stops in the second half. Sophomore guard Jeremy Spiera and senior Mor Shindler led the Heat with 9 points each (all on three-pointers), but that was far from enough. Senior guard Sam Merkin led the Rams with 22 points, knocking down 4 threes. The Heat are on the road again at Frisch on Tuesday night, hoping to avenge a defeat last week. Heschel is now 2-and-2 in league play.
Flatbush over Derech Hatorah. The Flatbush Falcons improved their season record to 7–3, and evened their Yeshiva League record at 2–2, with a strong team win over a gallant Derech Hatorah squad, Saturday night at Flatbush. The Bulldogs had been playing everyone close, and their star player, sophomore Motavich, had been averaging 32+ PPG. The Falcons, coming off two low-scoring losses against Ramaz and DRS, sought to restart their offensive engines while maintaining their high level of defensive pressure to combine for a much-needed win.
The first quarter started the same as the prior two YL games. DH took a fast 5–0 lead before senior captain SG Bobby Soffer scored off a steal and lay-in, and senior PF Alan Maleh and junior C David Dayon each converted two free throws to give the Falcons an 8–5 lead. The Bulldogs tied the period on a trey by Motavich, and at the end of the first period, the score was tied at 8.
The Falcons rotated in new players to start the second period. The Falcons’ stifling pressing D holding the Bulldogs to zero scores in the second period. Meanwhile, senior PF for the Falcons, Isaac Mizrahi, broke out for three inside buckets and a foul shot, for 7 points in the period.
Newly installed starting PG junior Elliot Beyda tallied 6 points, and senior SF and junior SF Sam Silverman, who had both been in scoring slumps, canned trey balls, while Dayan was blocking shots and dominating the glass, to help the Falcons to a 24-point second period. At the half, the Falcons led 32–8.
In the third period, the Bulldogs broke out and netted 14, but the Falcons were up to the challenge and scored 18 points, as the period ended with Flatbush up 50–22.
The Falcons controlled the final eight minutes, highlighted by 7 points from senior SG Victor Cohen and two buckets underneath from senior PF Matan Guez.
In all, the Falcons scored on 20 FGs, holding DH to four. The Falcons improved at the line, going 8–14, while the Bulldogs went 2–2. Flatbush had 8 treys and DH 5.
The Flatbush scoring was very balanced, as all 15 team members played significant minutes and 12 of the 15 team members scored for the Falcons. Leading the way was Beyda with his varsity career high 11. Soffer had 10; senior SG/PG Marc Cohen added 9; Silverman scored 8; and Mizrahi and V. Cohen had 7.
Senior C captain Meyer Kamkhachi had 8 rebounds, as did Dayon (3 blocks). The Falcons next play nationally #1 ranked and undefeated in YL play North Shore on Wednesday night at NSHA.
HAFTR 58, YDE 26. In the first game of the season for the HAFTR Hawks, they were looking to avenge last season’s playoff loss at YDE. YDE came out strong in front of their home fans and opened up with a 9–4 lead. That was all the celebrating YDE would do as the vaunted HAFTR press led the Hawks to win going away. The Hawks were led by the combination of Jason Mishkin and Zach Schwartz as well as strong efforts from freshmen Shai Laniado and Michael Spivak.
HAFTR 44, Rambam 43. Playing back-to-back nights on the road is never easy, but when you have to play a division rival it’s even tougher. The Hawks came out strong and were led early on by the aggressive play of captains Jason Mishkin and Zach Schwartz. HAFTR went into halftime with a 10-point lead and with the understanding that Rambam would be looking to shoot the threes in the second half. As expected, Rambam came out strong and were hitting shots from downtown and went on to take a 1-point lead. The Hawks were able to go back on top after some clutch shots by Mishkin and the stellar defense of Harrison Kuritzky and Ethan Jesselson. The Hawks pulled out the 44–43 victory and are off to a nice start to the season. Rambam was led by a balanced attack—13 from Petrokovsky, 11 from Noah Aaron, 9 from Sam Sicklick.
MTA Beat SAR in a Thriller, 40–39. In its opening night, MTA opened up a 14-point lead in the second half. Led by their trio of big men—Yehudah Colotn, Yehudah Bookbinder, and Binyamin Bookbinder—MTA played effectively down low, blocking shots, grabbing boards, and scoring in the paint. Despite a strong start, MTA squandered the lead and ended up tied at 39 with three seconds left in the game. Off an inbound play, Yehudah Colton attempted a layup with 1 second left. He was blocked and fouled on the play. With ice in his veins, Colton sunk the first foul shot and MTA pulled out the victory.
Men’s Soccer ‘All Skyline’ Players At YU
The Skyline Conference has announced that amongst its 2014 men’s soccer all-conference team members are Yeshiva University soccer players Itamar Ben David and Aaron Braun, as the two were named first team All Skyline members for the 2014 season.
With Ben David and Braun on the team, Yeshiva had already set a school record for most wins in a season. Currently, Yeshiva has eight wins as the Maccabees wrap up their 2014 season with a pair of games this week, including a contest on Tuesday against Berkeley College and Friday against the City College of New York.
Ben David gets recognized by the Skyline Conference for the second year in a row. After making second team All Skyline last year, Ben David earns a spot on the first team after producing 14 goals and 9 assists for 37 points in 15 games. His 2.57 points per game leads the team and Skyline Conference, and is the ninth-highest average in NCAA Division III this season. The Tel-Aviv, Israel native has had four multiple-goal games, including two games where he scored 3. His hat tricks came in wins over York College on August 31 and St. Joseph’s–Brooklyn on October 6.
Braun, a first-year member, earned a spot on the first team after netting 10 goals and offered 5 assists for 25 points in 16 games. The Weston, Florida, native scored at least one goal in eight games this season, including two games where he scored a pair of goals. He netted a pair in a match against the College of Mount Saint Vincent on September 17 and another two during a game against Sarah Lawrence College on October 23. Seven of his 10 goals came against Skyline Conference teams.
It was the first time in school history that two men’s soccer players earned All Skyline honors in the same season.
Women’s Fencing Preview
The Yeshiva University women’s fencing team is set to open its 2014–15 season this weekend with a match at the Vassar College Invitational.
The Maccabees are coming off a five-win season last year, in which five members qualified for NCAA Regional events. This season the Maccabees welcome back several key members from last season’s team and a fresh crop of newcomers expected to make an impact.
Back from last season’s team are Sarah King (Baltimore, Md., Bais Yaakov of Baltimore), Deborah Laban (Vancouver, B.C., King David), Diana Mizrachi (Panama City, Panama, Academia Hebrea de Panama), Michelle Neiman (Suffern, N.Y., Bruriah), Emma Rubin (Richmond, Va., Shaarel Torah of Richmond), Michelle Sabbagh (Brooklyn, N.Y., Flatbush), Zelda Salfati (Paris, France, Beth Anna) and Devora Scott-Thoennes (Seattle, Wash., Midreshet Shalhevet).
The newcomers to the 2014–15 team include Sora Gordon (Brooklyn, N.Y., Beth Chana Academy), Ariella Kerendian (Los Angeles, Calif., Bais Yaakov), Rebecca Kerzner (Houston, Texas, Beren Academy), Tamar Shiller (Cleveland, Ohio, Fuchs Mizrachi), Rani Silvert (Valparaiso, Ind., Ida Crown Jewish Academy), and Elizabeth Snyder (Cedarhurst, N.Y., Yeshiva High School for Girls).
Following the Vassar College Invitational, Yeshiva will play in high-level competitions including the Matt Lampell Hudson River Invitational at Vassar College, the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association Invitational, a home quad meet against other New York City collegiate fencing teams CCNY, Hunter College, and Queens College, the Eric Sollee Invitational at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference Championship.
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.