The first round of the 2022 MYHSAL varsity basketball playoffs started off in Brooklyn this past Wednesday evening where the Magen David Warriors hosted the Magen Abraham Kings who were playing in their inaugural playoff game.
Despite being a consistent postseason powerhouse over the past few seasons, the Warriors got off to a sluggish start struggling to contain the Kings offensively and tariled at the end of the first quarter 12-5. The Kings expanded on their lead early in the next frame, but a time out by the Warriors refueled them to go on a 10-0 to close out the half and take their first lead of the game.
In the second half, the Warriors displayed utter dominance only allowing nine points while producing twenty-seven of their own, with a final score of 46-27. As per usual, Asher Melamed and Allie Dweck led the way with 16 points apiece, but the real x-factor was the shooting of Jack Cohen(12 points) who sparked their run in the second quarter.
Later that evening, the western conference started their opening round with the Hillel Heat commuting from Deal, NJ to take on the TABC Storm. The Heat started out hot led by seven early points from sophomore guard Moses Smeke, but TABC’s superstar underclassmen, Netanel Benloulu matched Smeke’s intensity helping the Storm have a slight advantage on the scoreboard.
In the second quarter, the Storm continued to build on their lead by playing lockdown defense leading to several offensive opportunities assisted by point guard Eli Saks, but the Heat did not let up. Despite being down as many as eight points, Smeke and Elliot Braha went on a scoring run of their own, minimizing the TABC lead to only two points at the half.
The Storm started the second half lights out from long range hitting three consecutive threes in the opening minutes of the period in an attempt to blow the game open. Similar to the previous half of play, Braha and Smeke did not let up offensively and tried to create a comeback, but the TABC defense was unbreakable. The Storm’s defensive dominance was on full display in the final three and half minutes of the game where they did not allow a single basket. When the final buzzer sounded the Storm secured the homecourt first round win and will be up for an even greater challenge when they face the Flatbush Falcons next.
Stay tuned for future updates in the remaining first round games(the other two matchups did not conclude by the completion of this article) as well as the rest of the journey to see who gets crowned victors of the Yeshiva League!
Make sure to check this section weekly for all updates and the latest news from around the Yeshiva League. Also make sure to check out Yeshiva League Pass on Instagram and their website for nightly updates on varsity basketball and hockey.
Ikey Gutlove is the Jewish Link sports intern. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have interest in contributing to this column by providing stories and updates from any high school athletic teams.