July 21, 2024
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RYNJ Jaguars Hand Noam Knights First Loss of Season

On February first, the Yeshiva Middle School Sports Association (YMSSA) unveiled their new spectator policy, allowing masked and fully vaccinated fans (both home and guests) at games for the first time since before Covid. The league couldn’t have asked for a better game to kick off the second half of the season and its new policy.

The matchup saw long-time RYNJ coach Steve Gutlove, heading up the seventh grade Noam team, coaching against the RYNJ Jaguars for the first time. The Jaguars came out under Coach Van, in their throwback gray and teal uniforms, running the floor and shooting like the pre-Covid Gutlove Jaguars teams. Huge threes from Akiva Jacoby (in route to his game high 19 points) and Aaron Edell (nine points) got the Jaguars going, and Eli Wiederkher (13 points) orchestrated the offense like a pro. The Knights got off to a slow start, shooting under 25% in the first half. Buckets from Sammy Haberman and Judah Suss kept the Knights in the game. The Jaguars took a 23-16 lead into the half, with Noam sharp-shooter Suss, questionable for the second half with a tight calf muscle.

Both teams came out of the half strong, but the Jaguars were a team on a mission and extended their lead to 18 points in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. During a time out, Coach Gutlove told the Knights to forget about the scoreboard and go out and play “our game.” The Knights did just that, chipping away at the deficit, with solid defense and lights-out shooting from Charlie ‘the sniper’ Furer, who made three consecutive 3-pointers. Jacob Gervis scored many of his team-high 13 points in transition and several buckets from Isaac Stepner (10 points) put the Knights up one with 30 seconds to play. On the next possession, some nice ball movement from the Jaguars found Rafi Karasick with an open jumper that he sank, taking the lead back with 17 seconds to play. After a time out, the Knights pushed the ball up court and were left with one possession after a Jacoby foul on Gervis, with eight seconds on the clock. The Knights got the shot they were looking for but couldn’t get it to fall as the Jaguars walked away with a thrilling victory in a two way tie with Noam for the top spot in the division at 5-1.

By Jewish Link Sportsdesk

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