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SAR Captures JV Basketball Championship

In a classic Yeshiva League rivalry, the SAR Sting took home the MYHSAL JV basketball championship over the Frisch Cougars on Sunday afternoon at the Max Stern Athletic Center. This was the fifth, but most important, matchup between the Cougars and Sting this season, with Frisch owning a 3-1 advantage entering the contest. The fan sections didn’t disappoint, with both schools packing the stands and demonstrating middot, achdut, and ruach throughout. In the end, a gutsy team performance, led by excellent coaching and an MVP-type performance from superstar Ari Halpert, put the Sting on top, 59-47.

The Cougars started off hot, drawing fouls left and right, and Zeke Ufberg canned four first quarter threes. Frisch jumped out to a 19-10 lead behind Ufberg’s shooting and freshman phenom Isaac Stepner’s all-around talent on both ends of the ball. One could say it was looking bleak for the Sting, but the SAR fans and players held their heads high, and the boys from Riverdale switched from their zone into a man. Two Nathan Wild layups brought the Sting right back into the game. With Frisch up four right before halftime, the SAR fans counted down to zero several seconds ahead of the play clock, leading to a forced deep shot from Stepner that miraculously dropped in, extending the Frisch lead to seven and briefly stemming the SAR momentum.

Aggressive and physical defense resulted in a 16-5 third quarter run for SAR, putting them on top by four as the horn sounded to end the period following a buzzer-beating Evan Goldberg trey. In the fourth, the Sting focused on slowing the ball down, and not forcing shots which would give Frisch additional scoring opportunities. The combination of consistent free throw shooting and physical, but not overly aggressive defense led to the eventual Sting victory. Halpert was terrific from the charity stripe, where he made 82% of his attempts, some of which helped seal the deal. Stepner eventually fouled out of the game for Frisch, a major blow to their lineup, the final nail in the Cougars coffin.

SAR completed an excellent season by defeating Frisch to win the JV Championship (Photo Credit: MacsLive)

Frisch had been SAR’s kryptonite leading up to this game, as SAR dropped two key games to them, one in the preseason tournament at SAR and the other in Boca, which resulted in Frisch being the #1 seed in the playoffs. However, when it mattered most, the Sting found a way to get it done. Halpert took home the Finals MVP trophy thanks to his incredible 26 point and 11 rebound double-double effort. Evan Goldberg and Max Weiss were also key pieces in the victory, as Goldberg dropped 12 points and cashed in some clutch free throws down the stretch, and Weiss finished with 11 points and played great defense throughout the game. A strong team effort and outstanding coaching by Michael Courtney, in his final game over 17 seasons as SAR’s JV basketball coach, led to the Sting’s triumph over the Cougars. Frisch had a terrific season, and congrats to all the SAR fans, players, students, and everyone in between!

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