After a disappointing season last year, the Heschel Heat came into their opening game with high expectations under new head coach Ethan Nardone. With a packed home court gym, the energy was tangible.
After Ohr Yisroel opened the scoring, Heschel went on a 9-0 run led by junior Jordan Cohen-Mintz. Ohr closed the gap by the end of the first quarter, with Heschel leading 13-12. Both teams caught fire in the second quarter, going back and forth in what remained a very close game. The half ended in Heschel's favor 25-23, with both teams looking to make a statement in the second half.
The Heat blazed Ohr in the third quarter behind seniors Jesse Storch and Roy Mendelson and the glass domination of Ben Hymowitz, outscoring them 18-8. Ohr Yisroel captain Reuven Rozehzadeh kept them in the game with a flurry of offensive rebounds and free throws, but with Heschel up 12 after 3, things looked all but wrapped up, especially as Rozehzadeh's leg cramped up just before the period came to a close.
Despite the big deficit going into the 4th quarter, Ohr closed the gap behind a valiant 14 points from a hobbled Rozehzadeh and two clutch shots by Shmoozie Rosen. Some questionable shot selections and unnecessary fouls by Heschel allowed Ohr to fully close the gap and send the game to overtime. Ohr outscored Heschel 22-10 in the final quarter of regulation.
The first overtime period was dictated by sloppy offense and physical defense, with both teams in the bonus. Back-to-back threes by Storch and Rozehzadeh sent the game to its second overtime. The Heat offense finally came back to life with junior Nati Eshaghoff hitting a pair of clutch shots, and free throws down the stretch by Roy Mendelson cemented a 65-63 Heschel win. Ohr star Rozehzadeh led all scorers with an incredible 36 points and added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Heschel was led by Cohen-Mintz's 18 points and seven boards, and star guard Imri Rom's 13 points and seven assists. Heschel celebrated their opening win in what was one of the best Yeshiva League games in recent memory.