If you've read this column in past weeks, you've been entertained by upsets, gamme winners, scoring outbursts or defensive takeovers, but all those great feats are far behind us because the playoffs have arrived. The top story of the western conference has been the Sar Sting and their unstoppable streak since early November. Will any team be able to surpass them?
The only team that has been able to contain the Sting has been the DRS Wildcats, but due to the seeding format, the only way these two teams can face off would be in a championship at Yeshiva University. Due to their top conference seed, the Wildcats received a first round bye, but will be challenged in the quarter-finals by either the Frisch Cougars or MTA Lions. This first round matchup will feature too streaky teams, as the Cougars are coming off a road victory against a powerhouse team in the TABC Storm, which knocked them out of a first round bye. This win was much needed for the Cougars as they previously dropped four of their past five games. The Lions have been on a tear lately as well, ending the season winning six of their final eight games, but many questions will arise as they Lions haven't beat a higher seeded team even once throughout the regular season. Additionally, they suffered a twenty five point loss against the Cougars earlier in the season who were playing without big man Ben Haber. Will the Lions stay hot on the road?
In the other western conference first round matchup, the Hillel Heat will look to avoid losing their fourth straight game as they visit the TABC Storm on the road. The Storm have been a constant presence in postseason basketball over the past few seasons, and hope for this year to be much of the same. The Storm were the early favorites this season starting out with an eye opening record of 8-1, but after struggling to contain opposing defenses late in the fourth quarter they suffered three more losses. This senior heavy Storm roster will need to be able to play all thirty two minutes as if it is their last, if they can work on their free throw consistency and defense, the Storm will make a deep run. The winner of this matchup will need to travel to Brooklyn to face the Flatbush Falcons.
The first matchup that will take place in the eatsrern conference will be a battle of the Magens, as the Magen David Warriors will host the Magen Abraham Kings in a crosstown Brooklyn matchup. This will be the inaugural playoff game for the Kings, being their second official season in the yeshiva league and making great strides this season. Throughout the season they have lived on the scoring of Aaron Levy and tenth grader Albert Swaid, in order to out up a fight with the Stars, these shooters will need to be lights out. On the opposing end, the Warriors will be led by one of the most underrated duos in the yeshiva league, Allie Dweck and Asher Melamed. Dweck has been a focal point of the Warriors offense, while Melamed has been a beast in the paint recording several double-doubles putting his name in the mix for underclassmen of the year. Regardless of which Magen wins this game, Brooklyn will be well represented as they will take on the Ramaz Rams in the quarter finals.
The final first round matchup will feature two very balanced and similar styles of play between the Waterbury Wolfpack and YDE Thunder. The two teams have split their season series, highlighted by a triple overtime victory by the Thunder on the opening night of the yeshiva league season. Early in the season, the Thunder appeared to live on the shooting of foard Isaac Tawil, but as the season has continued the entire team has demonstrated their ability to contribute on both ends of the court. Most recently, in an upset victory against the Flatbush Falcons, the Thunder were led in scoring by upperclassmen David Sayegh. Both teams have earned their playoff spot, but only one will advance to possibly sting the top team in the 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.