Playing three games in four days can be a challenge. In the NBA, it would be expected that players would take “load management” off days just to sit out and watch their team, but in the yeshiva league that is not even an option. Players have a dual curriculum course load of school work, a social life and basketball which they are all expected to fit into their daily schedule, and without any hesitation they are determined to face the challenge and succeed. This is just part of the reason why Yeshiva League athletics are so amazing. This past week, the Sar Sting varsity basketball added on to their league high seven game winning streak, by adding on three more in the midst of four days. Here’s what went down.
Victory number eight came against a very talented TABC Storm, which like the Sting had only one previous loss. As anticipated this game did come to the final seconds, but the back and forth gameplay leading up to the final moments was equally as entertaining. The first quarter was a display of both teams' strengths. Right off the opening jump, the Sting excelled in working the ball around, including a nearly minute long possession capped off with a three pointer from junior guard Akiva Schanzer on the first play of the game. The Storm had a focus of feeding senior big man Yis Kaminetzky in the paint and letting him go to work. This proved to be very successful with Kaminetzky scoring all of his teams first quarter points, but the Sting held an early lead at the end of the first frame with a four point advantage.
The second quarter featured a similar start to the previous period, with a Schanzer three. This time around the Storm added to the tenacious play of Kaminetzky in the paint by adding on a three point barrage from his teammates. The Sting would continue to work the ball around for open looks and match every score from the Storm leading to a tied game at the half.
The Sting started off the second half on fire, going on a fourteen to four point run and the game appeared to be in their back pocket, but TABC was determined to display why they are a top team in the league. Kaminetzky continued his paint dominance as Shmuel Yablok consistently hit three and after three in addition to a few great plays in transition. Yablok’s moment of stardom came with thirty seconds left as he hit a three with a defender in his face to not only give the Storm the lead, but the momentum they needed. On the following possession Akiva Schanzer put the Sting on his back going against three Storm defenders to hit a highly contested layup to take the lead. On the final play of the game TABC had two great looks from beyond the arc to seal the game, but unfortunately neither fell. With this win the SAR Sting were off to a great start to their week, but were not even close to being finished.
The following evening the Kushner Cobras entered the Sting’s homecourt as their next challenge. The Sting clearly displayed their superiority going on a thirteen to two run to start the game and would not let up. The Cobras would go on a five point run of their own to end the first frame to give them some momentum, but the Sting were just getting started. The second quarter was a complete takeover on both ends of the court by the Sting as they only let up three points defnesily, while doubling their first quarter total for points scored.
In the third quarter, the Cobras showed some positivity on the defensive end by only allowing seven points, but the Sting matched their opponent defensively allowing them to still maintain a serviceable lead. This advantage was still essential in the fourth quarter as the Sting continued to provide fuel to their already comfortable lead and ended the night with a twenty one point victory.
In their final game of the week, the Sting continued their winning ways against the Frisch Cougars. The Cougars had high aspirations with the return of stars Jonny Levine and Ben Haber from injury, but were unfortunately unable to stop the scoring duo of Nitty Hyman (18 points) and Josh Brody (14 points). This victory for the Sting helped them sweep their season series against the Cougars which will be useful when playoff seeding arrives.
Stay tuned as the Sting will look to end their season on high note when they visit the TABC Storm this week! Stay tuned for an in depth analysis in next week's column.