On February 9, the SAR High School JV boys basketball team, fresh off a 9-1 regular season record and having attained a first round playoff bye, flew to South Florida to participate in the Katz Yeshiva High School JV Tournament. The three-day event consisted of eight schools, five from the NY/NJ metropolis and teams from Boca Raton, Dallas and Los Angeles. SAR was in a bracket with Yavneh (Dallas), North Shore Hebrew Academy and Ramaz. The other bracket consisted of Frisch, HAFTR, Katz and Shalhevet (Los Angeles). SAR went 3-0 in the round robin portion of the tournament, defeating each opponent behind exceptionally selfless team play, hard work on defense, clutch shooting and impressive depth. Frisch also went 3-0, with resounding victories in each game.
On the final day of the tournament, SAR was matched up in the semifinal round against host school Katz Yeshiva while the other semifinal game saw a match-up of longtime rivals Ramaz and Frisch. SAR defeated Katz 60-51 in a hard fought game, led by Captain Netanel Hyman’s 22 silky points and three assists and sophomore star Noam Siegel’s 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The Sting pulled down 17 offensive rebounds and freshman sensation Akiva Schanzer led the defensive charge with three steals out of the team’s 11 total thefts.
On the opposite court, Ramaz defeated Frisch by one point in a thriller, leading to an afternoon rematch between the Sting and Rams. SAR came into the game confident that their stifling press would come through in the clutch once again. After a seesaw quarter and a half, SAR pulled ahead for the remainder of the game, thwarting Ramaz’s surges and ultimately winning 65-41. Hyman, named tournament MVP, scored a brilliant 20 points and do-everything forward Jordan Storfer chipped in 13, including three 3-pointers in the decisive third quarter. SAR had 16 steals in the championship, led by Siegel’s and Schanzer’s three each. Max Wolff controlled the paint throughout the tournament, using his 6’4” frame to stymie opponents’ drives.
Off the bench, the entire team performed at a high level during the five tournament games, led by guards Moshe Spirgel and Amittai Najman-Licht’s suffocating defense and magical finishes at the hoop, and Netanel Jesselson’s offensive rebounds and put backs as a backup big man. The day started with Ari Chasman capturing the tournament’s 3-point shootout event and concluded with all 15 players hoisting the trophy. SAR’s yeshiva league playoff surge will begin at the end of the month and the season will conclude in mid-March with the annual Rubenstein Memorial Tournament.
By Mike Courtney, head coach