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Magen David Victorious in Battle for Brooklyn

It was the moment everyone was waiting for: a fifth battle between Brooklyn rivals Magen David and Flatbush with the Yeshiva League Championship on the line. Tickets sold out so quickly as each school used their allotments that by the time most fans began asking how they could get in, seats were gone. Secondary markets for ticket reselling even opened up, with stubs going for over $100 a pop. As the gates opened up, mayhem on the campus of Yeshiva University ensued, as the Brooklyn Jewish community ascended on the Max Stern Athletic Center.

Yeshiva University Campus Security prepares to take on the capacity crowd. (Photo Credit: David Raviv/MacsLive)

The first quarter was back-and-forth, as the two teams traded punches, with Magen David trailing 10-9 after eight minutes. PG Phil Sherr, not known for his scoring, was a key contributor to Magen’s early success. Flatbush began to take control of the tempo in the second period, as an Isaac Cooper three concluded an 11-2 run over the span of just three minutes to give the Falcons a 19-12 lead. Josh Chabbott responded by nailing a huge trey to stem the Flatbush momentum. Mark Sardar cut the deficit to one with a few minutes to go in the third, but the Falcons closed the half on a 7-2 run, and went into the locker room up 28-22.

Mark Sardar made the one three-pointer he took, as he helped the Warriors stay within striking distance late in the second quarter. (Photo Credit: Jacob Sherman/JacobSherman07 on IG)

The start of the third quarter was just like the start of the first, with the teams trading baskets. Magen David began to wake up following a Sardar cut for a layup to slice the Flatbush advantage to five. The Warriors proceeded to throw out their notorious full court press, which led to a Chabbott diving steal, resulting in a Jack Haber wide open basket. Another bucket from Jack Franco, fresh off an eight-month ACL injury, pumped up the Warriors fans. Despite the Magen David run, Flatbush held a 37-35 lead heading into the fourth, but momentum was on the Warriors’ side. 

With 5:35 remaining, a Sardar strip, followed by his beating everyone up the floor and laying it in, provided MDY their first lead since 9-8. The Warriors would go up as much as four, but a Beni Keda and-one, followed by an Albert Khaski offensive rebound and layup, thrust Flatbush back in front. Having not scored in three minutes, and down one with 40 seconds on the clock, Sardar hit a pull-up jumper to take the lead. After Flatbush failed to score, a costly Magen turnover on an inbound, followed by a foul on Flatbush’s proceeding inbound pass, put Ronnie Chaaya at the line with 8.6 seconds to go. Chaaya split the pair, and the game headed to OT tied at 44.

Magen David is once again on top of the Yeshiva League world. (Photo Credit: Marvin Azrak)

With Sardar having fouled out of the game, his teammates looked to pick things up for him. A Moses Smeke jumper and Chabbott trey helped push the Warriors out to a five-point lead. With two minutes remaining in the extra period, Solly Gadeh canned a triple to cut Flatbush’s deficit to two, 50-48. That was the closest the Falcons would get. Magen David closed the game on a 7-0 run, as they broke the Flatbush press, hit their free throws, and won their first championship since their undefeated 2018 season.

Scoring on both sides was heavily split. Flatbush was led by Keda and Chaaya with 11 each, and Cooper with 10. Magen had three players with double digits; Smeke had 13, Sardar 12, and Haber 10. Chabbott finished with eight points, including two of the biggest three pointers in the game. Finals MVP went to Sherr, who finished with 9 points and 3 assists and played tenacious defense. A big story of this game was free throw shooting, as Flatbush shot 12/22 from the charity stripe, while Magen David shot 13/19. As both teams now set their eyes on the Sarachek Tournament, the Warriors sit at a phenomenal 35-2.

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