On Saturday night, the TABC Storm and Frisch Cougars, notorious crosstown rivals, faced off in a suspenseful double-header in Paramus. In what was one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season, students came out in droves to support their respective schools, maintaining a spirited presence throughout. After the JV Storm lost 55-42 in the opener, the onus was on the Storm Varsity team to ensure TABC didn’t leave empty-handed. The ensuing battle, wrought with tension, saw TABC hold onto a precarious lead the whole game, ultimately winning 40-36.
The game began in dynamic yet relatively low-scoring fashion, with TABC pulling ahead 7-2, and then maintaining their advantage for the remainder of the period, concluding the quarter up 13-8. The score would stay unchanged until halfway into the second quarter, as both teams exhibited strong defense and struggled to put points up on the board. However, with two buckets from seniors James Dyckman and Hudi Shatzkes, Frisch would break through TABC’s defensive wall, whittling the Storm's already-slim lead to a mere one point. Thanks to a 3-pointer from junior Yonah Mandel late in the period, TABC entered halftime with a 17-14 edge.
The frenzied ebb-and-flow of this contest continued in the third quarter. TABC returned from the locker room rejuvenated, suddenly widening their lead to a much more comfortable eleven-point spread. However, the Cougars refused to go down without a fight. After a timeout, they began to gain momentum, as senior Ezra Berkowitz drained two free throws and junior Max Schachter hit a layup. The remainder of the quarter was back-and-forth, as TABC’s Eitan Sulemanoff and Frisch senior Josh Markovitz traded 3s, Berkowitz got to the line again and went 1/2, and TABC junior Eyal Kinderlehrer hit a layup.
The Cougars, down six heading into the fourth having steadily placed dents in the Storm’s advantage, proceeded to surge from striking distance, and with a Berkowitz and-1 and a phenomenal 3 from the corner by senior Jakey Heumann, the game was tied up, 32-32.
The capacity crowd, on the edge of their seats, watched, rapt and more energized than ever, as Frisch turned over the Storm, only to give it right back and have Kinderlehrer score once more. After a foul shot by senior Noah Fischman, a lane violation by Markovitz gave the ball back to TABC, and Kinderlehrer proceeded to score twice more. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Heumann drained another remarkable 3, bringing Frisch within two, 38-36.
The last moments of the game were utter mayhem. Frisch had the ball and called timeout, but TABC regained possession due to a great steal by Kinderlehrer. The Cougars then played the foul game, and the Storm could not capitalize, giving Frisch one more chance to win it. With 12 seconds remaining, Schachter grabbed hold of the missed second free throw, and sprinted down the court. Mandel put his body on the line and took a controversial charge. On the ensuing possession, Mandel stepped up to the foul line and connected on both of his attempts, putting the final nail in the coffin for the Cougars. Confetti cannons and mosh pits alike erupted on the Storm side of the bleachers as TABC celebrated their triumphant victory.
Mandel, in addition to his game-sealing efforts, finished with 10 points. Kinderlehrer had a double double, finishing with 13 points and 10 boards. Sulemanoff recorded 8 assists for the Storm. Berkowitz had a phenomenal game for Frisch and was dominant in the paint even with a tough matchup against Kinderlehrer. These two teams will rematch on Motzei Shabbos, January 6th @ TABC!