The SAR Academy Sting came into TABC on Championship Sunday with one goal in mind: three-peat. SAR had won the last two championships in 6th and 7th grade while compiling a 23-1 record. This year, the 8th grade team sported a 12-0 record including the playoffs with an average margin of victory of 30 points. Was this team undefeated based on its weaker division or was it legitimately a dynasty? Over 300 people came to TABC Sunday night to find out as the Sting faced the 11-1 Yavneh Huskies for the first time. The Huskies had just come off a convincing semifinal win over rival Moriah.
The Sting started the game on a 12-2 run led by “BIG MAN” Sammy Sokol, who scored 6 early points while dominating the paint. Judah Fortgang contributed 4 points as well. The Huskies, however, fought back with a 5-0 run led by Eitan Zwebner’s two outside shots, including a bank shot from downtown.
In the second quarter the teams traded baskets throughout with Noam Kuritsky scoring 3 points and Avi Eisenstadter scoring 6 points. SAR only scored 6 points in the quarter led by Oshi Bloom’s 4 points. The score was 20-18 SAR at halftime.
In the third quarter both teams played sloppily as there were more turnovers and fouls than points–the players clearly were feeling the pressure of the game. Kuritsky led all scorers in the third quarter with 5 points. The Huskies were not able to pull ahead of the Sting, however, as the score at the end of the third quarter was 31-29 Sting
At the beginning of the fourth quarter the Huskies were able tie it at 32-32 and the SAR faithful were getting very nervous, especially the dads. On the ensuing possession, Joseph Minkove hit two key foul shots to put SAR up by two with 6 minutes left. SAR then decided it was time to change the defense and Coach Ken Gleason put his defensive stalwart Minkove on Kuritsky in a box and 1. The Huskies had no answer offensively for this change. SAR went on a 14-4 run to close out the game led by Bloom’s 5 points and 4 unbelievable no-look assists to Yoni Fine who was already making himself at home at his high school for next year.
SAR ultimately prevailed in a hard fought battle, 48-36. Bloom led SAR’s balanced attack with 14 points, 6 assists and a few handshakes and hugs to fans during the game. Sokol and Fine each had 10 with Sokol also contributing 6 blocked shots and 15 rebounds. Minkove had 6 points and Noah Gurin and Fortgang each had 4. The Huskies were led by Eisenstadter’s 12 points and Kuritsky’s 10 points.
The Sting persevered and secured a third straight championship and an overall record in three years of 36-1.
By Daniel Bloom