Low scoring affairs might seem dull or boring to the average spectator, but despite neither team passing the 30 point mark, the MYHSAL Varsity Basketball Championship was one that will not be soon forgotten.
Before the game even started excitement was in the air as both teams were determined to culminate a hard fought regular season by taking home a championship. The underdog RAMAZ Rams were coming off of a second half takeover victory in their semi-finals matchup against a very talented Frisch Cougar team, where several defensive stops led to offensive opportunities to give the Rams the victory. While their championship opponent, the SAR Sting, came into the game as the hottest jewish basketball team in America not losing a single game since mid-November, but most recently a one possession victory against the TABC Storm which placed them into championship contention.
Right off the opening tip the Sting were in full charge. On the offensive end, they controlled the game tempo which has proved to be their greatest trait all season and once again it led to great scoring opportunities. Defensively, they did not allow one single RAMAZ field goal until the early minutes of the second quarter. The Sting continued to hold complete possession of the game by halftime holding a thirteen point advantage leading all in attendance to believe the championship would be headed to Riverdale, but there was still another sixteen minutes to be played.
The Sting started the half off on a tear, going on a 7-2 run, making this half appear just as a continuation of the first two frames, but then an entirely different Rams team took charge. The Rams showed some promise at the end of the third quarter scoring five points, which nearly matched their previous total in the game, but the offene was just getting started.
The fourth quarter scoring from the Rams came from all over as defensive specialist Morris Dabeh opened the period on an and-one opportunity, quickly followed by a basket from teammate Cy Aminzadeh. The Sting finally scored their first points of the quarter to add on insurance to their lead, but the Rams went on a seven point run of their own. This run was capped by a crucial bucket from Rams star player Julius Rubinstein to lower the lead to just one point for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. SAR’s dry spell continued as they continued to miss out on offensive chances, leading up to the play of the game. With under fifteen seconds left Aminzadeh gave RAMAZ their first lead of the game with a midrage pull up shot, which completed the comeback. Despite a great last second shot by Sting guard Nitty Hyman, the basket was called off as it was ruled a foul on the ground, but with one last chance the Sting put up a final prayer, but it wasn't answered.
The top seeded SAR Sting were withthrowned and the RAMAZ Rams became the champions of the yeshiva league for the first time since 2010, with the MVP award being given to the player with the most ice in his veins, Cy Aminzadeh. This result was beneficial for both teams leading up to the Sarachek Tournament. For the Rams, they were able to prove that they are a top tier team and can not only compete, but defeat, any team on any given night. While for the Sting, they learned they can be beaten and with the number 1 seed in the Sarachek Tournament, they are determined to prove, as they have nearly all season, that they were rightly given that premier ranking.
As this season comes to a close, it's been a fun ride to witness the battle for the title.