April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

MGBL Championship Sunday

Wow! Those three letters sum up what was an amazing end to season six of MGBL boys’ basketball. After two exciting championship games in the younger divisions last weekend, one spectator said that “there was no way this weekend could not be a letdown.” The spectator could not have been more wrong.

Saturday night in the 7th and 8th grade semifinals game, team Luxuryvilla.com matched up against the undefeated Freed Oil team. In a back-and-forth game, Luxuryvilla was up by three, with three seconds on the clock. Freed Oil got the ball to Eitan Warburg who was significantly behind the half court line. Warburg set, released and a hushed crowd saw the ball enter the cylinder, nothing but net, sending the game into overtime. Freed Oil fed off that excellent shot and won the game with a final score of 53-49. Freed Oil advanced to face team Arnold Schoen, MD on championship Sunday.

The game started with a great three pointer from Freed Oil’s Aaron Tuchman, and Ben Tyler hit a few quick shots. The Schoen fans were worried that the Freed was still on fire from the previous night’s heroic finish. Coach Wolk and his team would not go down without a fight. Yonah Hook shadowed Warburg all over the court, Ari Katz was omnipresent on both sides and Avi Wolk was a force on the boards as his father kept encouraging team Schoen to “run the play.” In a game that was close throughout, Schoen found themselves up by six points, with twenty seconds on the clock.

The game was far from over. Warburg came down the court and sank a three from the top of the key, bringing the game within three. Freed’s foul of Avi Wolk stopped the clock. Wolk hit the first of two shots making it a two possession game. Warburg soared to collect the rebound, ran up court and sank another three from almost the same spot as his shot from just seconds before. As the clock expired, Freed Oil suffered their first loss of the season 40-39.

After the game, the league thanked the sponsors, coaches, referees and participants. All players received well deserved trophies. MGBL co-commissioner Steve Gutlove told the JLNJ “I wish we had 19 MVP trophies to give out, these boys all played their hearts out.” Alas, there can only be one MVP. Ari Katz led team Schoen with 14 points and walked away with the prize.

The 5th and 6th grade championship game that followed was no less a thriller. Team Hey Boyz matched up against the Teaneck Doghouse squad. The Doghouse was the only team to beat Hey Boys this season. Team Hey Boyz, determined not to see history repeat itself, started the game strong behind the wizardry of Netanel Wiener and the solid post play of Jacob Louk. When the buzzer ended quarter number one, Hey Boyz was up 12-9. Doghouse came on strong in the second half of the second period and the two teams went into the half 19-17. In the third quarter, Gellis and Weiner were sitting out their final shift and Isaac Rubenstein played unbelievable defense; he forced Hey Boyz to commit multiple turnovers.

Despite a terrific game from Weiner, Louk and Sam Ashendorf, the Doghouse tied the game up at 35 with 3:21 to play. Gellis then put the team up by two with thirty seconds left. Rubenstein forced another turnover and Hey Boyz had to foul him to stop the clock. Rubenstein hit a very clutch first shot. He missed the second, but by the time Hey Boyz collected the rebound the clock was below ten seconds and the game was out of reach.

It was a tremendous exhibition of teamwork and a fitting end to the season of a league named after Mitch Gross, a”h. If the thought of weekends without MGBL is more than you can handle, not to fret. The non-stop action will resume in two weeks as the MGBL High School Division tips off. Spots are still available but going fast. Sign up to play or sponsor a team at mgbl.org.

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