The setting was perfect for opening night for JEC and Ohr Yisroel. The Thunder traveled to Lubatich on the Palisades, home of Ohr Yisroel on a beautiful warm November 6 evening, for its opening night, after an impressive run in the Magen David Tournament the week before. Ohr Yisroel had already played Frisch to a loss, and gone on the road to beat HANC in overtime, toi have a 1-1 Yeshiva League record.
The gym was packed as this game has become very meaningful for both teams. OY has several former JEC players and Ohr Yisroel's coach was a star at JEC playing for JEC's head coach, Avi Borenstein, and now was setting his sights on his alma mater. Both teams highlighted this game in red on their respective schedules due to the rivalry and the sense each team had that this was going to be a competitive and exciting night.
JEC scored first on a shot from Junior guard Eitan Speyer. From there, the first period was back and forth, and by the time the first 8 minutes passed, Ohr Yisroel had a 14-13 lead. In the second quarter, the combination of JEC's press and the glass and scoring domination of senior forward Michoel Cornick (12 points in the first half, and game high 16 rebounds) allowed the Thunder to regain the lead, and at the half, the score was 28-24 JEC.
Coming out of the half-time locker, the crowd knew it was going to continue to be a tight match, and the teams did not disappoint. Ohr Yisroel outscored JEC in the third period, 12-10, and going into the 4th period it was JEC 38 and Ohr Yisroel 36, and it was anyone's game.
But it was not! On a Sunday when the football Jets beat the Buffalo Bills, JEC applied its jets in the 4th quarter and changed the tenor of the game. Powered by Junior G/F Gavi Walzman's 12 points, the Thunder outscored Ohr Yisroel 21-10, and secured a well-deserved 59-46 victory.
The JEC scoring was exceptionally balanced. Cornick finished with 18 pts, Walzman had 13, Junior G Eitan Speir and Captain PG Yosef Heller each had 11 points, and Captain C Akiva Sapieka had 10 points, including 6 4th qtr points and 11 rebounds. While Reuven Rozezadeh led the way for Ohr Yisroel with 14 points.
JEC (1-0) now takes on the MTA Lions (0-0) in MTA's opening night at YU.