Just one week after the TABC varsity hockey team came out with a double overtime playoff victory at HAFTR, TABC had a chance to knock them out two more times with a JV doubleheader at home for the hockey and basketball semis. The energy in the building was through the roof, as TABC had just finished color war and was ready to join together once again to cheer on the teams. The gyms were packed with fans from schools across the yeshiva league who had come to witness this great night of sports.
Before the puck even dropped in the Weather Center, some players on the basketball team were already putting up shots an hour and a half before their game in the basketball gym.
TABC let up an early lead to HAFTR, who scored a goal in the first few minutes of the game. Towards the end of the first period, sophomore captain Avraham Gellman responded with a beautiful goal for TABC to even the game at one apiece. The score remained even as the TABC defense and sophomore goalie Avrumi Davis prevented HAFTR from scoring again. In the third period, TABC finally managed to take the lead with a goal from sophomore Elie Spinowitz off a pass from sophomore Eli Schiff. The Storm held on, and as time ran out the fans, already in the Adar spirit, were ecstatic that the TABC JV hockey team would finally be returning to Lawrence Middle School for the championship on Sunday, following a two year absence after a six year championship streak. While the hockey team was celebrating, two players—sophomores Akiva Hain and Yechiel Keiser—were rushing to get ready for their second game of the night as they were also playing in the basketball game. As they were warming up, the Storm was locked in and ready to reach the first ever championship for TABC basketball. Though the HAFTR parents were vying for space in the TABC fan section, that didn’t prevent the students from being as loud as ever.
When TABC went down to start 6-0, the fans played a huge part in energizing the players and getting them going. The first half was shaky for TABC, who finished down by four. Turnovers and bad rebounding plagued the Storm and they needed a change to stay in the game. Towards the beginning of the second half, Coach Oz subbed in freshman Shmuli Coates, who brought size and athleticism to help on both sides of the court, but especially with rebounding. This, along with six points and great aggressiveness from sophomore Alex Ostrin in the third quarter, helped TABC tie up the game. With eight minutes left, the game was anybody’s and the fans knew they were in for a close one. Lock down defense and great shooting is what separated the Storm from the HAFTR Hawks, as they built a lead early in the fourth. Sophomore Avi Proctor, scoring six points in the fourth quarter and sixteen in total, was a key part in maintaining this lead. His shooting, along with great play by freshman Yoni Mann and sophomore Jonathan Haberman, helped TABC build on this lead, and they would go on to win 45-32. Both of them played incredibly well throughout the game and were a huge factor in the win for TABC. This was an historic game for the Storm, who have reached their first ever basketball championship and look to bring home their first basketball trophy.
The basketball championship will be played at Yeshiva University on Sunday, March 26. This night, as well as last week’s varsity hockey game, marked a huge week for TABC athletics, as the teams have completed the sweep and knocked athletic director Joey Hoenig and the HAFTR Hawks out of three playoffs. TABC students celebrated on the court after the game, and excitement was felt as TABC will now be competing in the basketball and hockey JV championships and are favored to win them both.
By Eli Rifkind