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JV Cougars Take Down Sting in Battle of #1 vs. #2

On Saturday night, December 16th, the JV SAR Sting traveled to Paramus to take on the Frisch Cougars in a thrilling duel between the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the Yeshiva League Pass Camp Lavi JV Basketball Power Rankings. The game featured an immense amount of back-and-forth action, but the Cougars never trailed in the second half, and survived a late SAR push to win 58-53.

With three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Frisch had already built a 23-16 lead thanks to their suffocating defense and threes from Jesse Reinhart. Isaac Stepner was also a key contributor in Frisch’s lead-building efforts. SAR ended the half with a pair of Nathan Wild layups and a Max Weiss buzzer-beater, bringing the score at the break to 26-23 Cougars.

Star of the Game and leading scorer Isaac Stepner was interviewed by Cougar Nation Network after Frisch's win.

The second half started off similarly to how the first half began. Frisch built a nine point lead, 32-23, thanks to their impeccable defense and timely shots. The Sting’s Jonah Blechner then scored five points as SAR exploded for a 13-4 run, which was capped off by an Ari Halpert game-tying reverse layup while he was being triple-teamed. The rest of the third period was back-and-forth, as Jon Milgrom hit a pair of free throws, Stepner hit his third three-point shot of the contest, and Evan Goldberg registered a powerful putback layup.

The first three minutes of the fourth quarter were turnover-filled, as it seemed neither team wanted to win. Frisch sophomore Noam Grossman hit an incredible and one floater to put the Cougars up by five and get the scoring rolling again. With 4:30 left in the battle, Halpert got fouled on a three-point shot and hit two of three free throws to knock Frisch’s advantage down to 47-44. Frisch quickly responded with a Jesse Reinhart mid-range shot, but SAR followed that up with a Blechner three and Halpert layup to tie the game at 49 up.

Frisch refused to let the Sting take the lead. Following a two minute Cougar offensive possession, Stepner got fouled and sunk both of his shots. On the ensuing Frisch possession, Stepner utilized his golden footwork to notch another deuce. With a little over a minute left, Halpert made two free throws to cut the deficit to two. Some wild action proceeded to occur with the outcome being that SAR was forced to foul to extend the game. Milgrom hit both of his free throws. With the Sting down four, Evan Goldberg attempted a deep three and missed, but Halpert found himself in the right place at the right time and cut it down to two again. SAR then attempted to call a timeout, but they didn’t have one remaining, and were called for a technical foul. Grossman hit one of his free throws, Frisch inbounded the ball, Grossman got fouled and hit two more free throws, and the Cougars iced the game.

Stepner was the game’s leading scorer with 19 points; Reinhart finished with 13 of his own. Goldberg and Halpert led SAR with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Both teams now have one loss and have split the season series, and upcoming games for both teams against Hillel and TABC will be huge as everything sorts itself out in JV basketball’s Western Conference.

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