April 12, 2024
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April 12, 2024
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JEC/RTMA Thunder on Fire

It has been the best year for JEC/RTMA high school and middle school basketball in decades. Things are changing at JEC on the hardwood, and the basketball being played at the Wilf gym this season has been as bright as the new orange color scheme adopted by all three Thunder teams at JEC/RTMA.

The RTMA high school varsity posted an 8-6 record this season, with wins over powerhouse teams like SAR, Rambam, Magen David, MTA and TABC. They won the first varsity home playoff game in many years.

Matching that feat, the RTMA Thunder also notched a home playoff game for the first time in more than 20 years, garnering a 7-3 regular season record, with wins over TABC, Hillel, Kushner and MTA among others.

To round off the outstanding year for JEC, the middle school, for the first time, won its division with a 9-1 record, and earned two home playoff games in the quarter and semifinals. This included two wins against the Hillel Heat in the regular season, but each of the two wins required comebacks and late-game closeouts.

The playoff game last Saturday night promised to be more of the same competitive, never-say-die basketball between the two long-time competitors. In that quarterfinal round game against Hillel, in front of a huge home crowd, with many Heat fans also in attendance, the middle school Thunder found itself in a battle royal against the talented and well-balanced Hillel team. The Thunder seemed up to the challenge and on the strength of dominant scoring by the Thunder “Three Musketeers” of Yitz Weis, Hillel Glick and Dovid Rozehzadeh, the Thunder amassed an early 18-7 lead entering the second period.

The Heat, however, were far from done. Changing its defense from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone, the Heat altered the tempo of the game, and only sixth grader Ikey Rozehzadeh scored for JEC/RTMA with a corner 3. But that was far from enough to cool the boiling Heat, and by the time the halftime horn sounded, Hillel had stunned the partisan crowd by outscoring JEC/RTMA 15-3. They captured the lead, 22-21 going into halftime.

Adjustments were required at the half, and adjust the Thunder did. Installing its trapping press and reasserting itself on the defensive side, while settling down on offense, the Thunder managed to outscore the Heat 7-6 in the third period, and tied the game at 28 going into the fourth period.

The Thunder pressure continued in the final stanza, and the Heat were held to 7 points again. But, on the Thunder side of the ledger, Hillel Glick exploded for 4 3-pointers, and a layup. Thus the Thunder close the game in a dominant fashion by outscoring Hillel 18-7, and managing an exciting 46-35 win over the Heat.

The Thunder awaited the winners of the final two playoff games on Tuesday night to determine their next opponent. In the first game of the night the Yavneh Redhawks bested Manhattan Day School 55-42. For the nightcap, the Noam Knights hosted the RYNJ Jaguars for the third time this season. In a game that was back and forth throughout, with many lead changes, the Knights came out on top 45-42. They will head to RTMA for round two.

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