As we head to the winter break, it is a great opportunity to recap the regular season that is almost complete and look forward to the exciting Yeshiva Middle School Sports Association (YMSSA) postseason that awaits. During the fall, YMSSA offers local yeshivot the option of participating in the eighth grade boys only, seventh grade boys only and a combined seventh and eighth grade girls league.
The eighth grade league is paced by two undefeated teams; the SAR Sting (8-0) and the Ramaz Rams (9-0). Some will argue that the defending champion Sting are the team to beat since all of their games have been played in highly competitive Division 1 (note the divisions are geographically assigned). The Rams, however, had the opportunity to cross division lines and topped the previously undefeated JEC Thunder in a super competitive game earlier this month 62-58. Since the Sting and the Rams do not meet until the playoffs, will their first meeting be in the championship? Will JEC bounce back in the postseason to avenge their lone loss and make it to the championship game. Two huge games this past Tuesday night had significant playoff implications. The Moriah Mountaineers traveled to Riverdale to play the Sting for a 7 p.m. game. The Sting pressed hard and often, and the double digit victory secures them one of the the top two spots in the playoffs. If both Ramaz and SAR win their final games, the number one spot will go to Ramaz since they have the extra win against playoff teams (the extra victory coming over JEC). Later that same night, Yavneh Redhawks hosted the RYNJ Jaguars at 7:15 p.m. The Redhawks shot the lights out, to collect a 15 point victory. The loss forces the Jaguars to win at least two of their remaining three games to make the playoffs. If they do not it will be the first time in the past 13 seasons that the eighth grade Jaguars failed to advance to the postseason. The Jaguars could also play a serious spoiler: If they defeat Moriah or SAR, it will dramatically alter the playoff picture below. With all the dust settled, your potential playoff picture looks something like this: #1Ramaz—if they win their final game at Ashar, they get the first place spot because of their extra win over JEC. #2SAR—still has two games to play vs. two very good opponents. #3JEC or Hillel—depends on the winner of their February 4 game. #4Moriah—also has two tough opponents ahead of them. #5Hillel or JEC—depends on the outcome of the February 4 game. MDS and WDS are both fighting for spots six and seven. If MDS wins their final three games, they could even move up to #5, with more wins against playoff opponents. The number eight team will most likely be Yavneh—the win this week gives them the tiebreaker over RYNJ, if both teams finish with identical records.
The seventh grade boys league finds the reigning champion Noam Knights alone on top with a perfect 6-0 record. There is a log jam behind Noam for second place, with no clear number two team between SAR, Ramaz, RYNJ, Yavneh, Hillel and Moriah.
The 7/8 grade girls division is the one where the top is the most muddled. Assuming the top three teams continue to win out, there will be a deadlock at the top. Ramaz, Noam and Yavneh each have only one loss, but since, Ramaz beat Noam, Noam beat Yavneh and Yavneh beat Ramaz. RPRY, Moriah, Hillel and Kushner will likely be teams four through seven. The eight team will be determined when WDS and MDS face each other in a game yet to be posted on the league’s site. All eyes are on the league to determine the playoff seeding in the absence of a three sided coin. Will Moriah play the spoiler having a game to play with both Noam and Yavneh?
All of this action and more can be followed on the YMSSA site http://ymssa.org