April 17, 2024
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April 17, 2024
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As exciting as the MYHSAL Yeshiva League regular season and playoffs can be, there is no Jewish high school basketball more entertaining than the annual Red Sarachek Tournament. This year the tournament will be hosting a pool of 24 teams from North America, including eight teams from the Yeshiva League. The MYHSAL champion North Shore Lions headline the Yeshiva League seeding in the tournament at the number three spot, while the Frisch Cougars and SAR Sting are right behind at seeds four and five. The Magen David Warriors and the DRS Wildcats appear at seeds eight and nine, while the TABC Storm and MTA Lions hold down the final spots in the first tier of tournament as the 15th and 16th seeds. The JEC Thunder are the lone Yeshiva League team in the second tier at seed 19 as they look to make a nice push in the tournament.

The opening game of the tournament will have the North Shore Lions host the Fuchs Mizrachi Mayhem. The Lions have a plethora of momentum coming off their championship win earlier in the week and will be inspired to continue their undefeated streak. They feature a very strong rotation loaded with junior talent like juniors Ben Abizaadeh and Jonah Carmili, who displayed great skill in the playoffs, while senior center David Orbach has been their rock all season long. The Mayhem has a high flying forward in Ephraim Blau complemented by several sharpshooters. Look for this game to go down to the wire.

The next matchup features an Eastern Conference game between the Magen David Warriors and DRS Wildcats. During the regular season, the two teams split the season series in two very hard fought games, one which was decided by two points and the other game extended into overtime. The keys for the Warriors’ success will be to feed center Asher Melamed in the paint to allow him to get into his offensive bag early on the game. Junior guard Mark Sardar is a nice complementary piece to Melamed; Sardar is a pure shooter who can get hot at any point in the game. If the Wildcats want to be successful they will need to contain Melamed in the paint, while allowing tournament veterans Ari Saffra and Isaac Solomon to get comfortable on the offensive end.

After that game concludes, the Frisch Cougars will be facing Berman Hebrew Academy. The two teams played in a hard fought game earlier this year on the West Coast in the Steve Glouberman Tournament where the Cougars were victorious. In that game, Berman got out to a quick lead, but the Cougars offensive was unstoppable in the late portion of the game. The key for the Cougars’ success will be the same as it’s been all season long. As dominant a presence as Alex Zakheim is, he will need assistance from his teammates in order to make a deep run. Look out for Isaac Schiffman to be an x-factor for the Cougars offensively.

Next up will be the MTA Lions, playing on their homecourt against a team that usually treats the Max Stern Athletic Center as their East Coast homecourt in this tournament, the Shalhevet Firehawks. The Lions had an eventful season plagued by the injury bug and unfortunate losses, but now a month removed from the regular season, hopefully the Lions are in better shape to do some damage in the tournament. Beating the Firehawks is a tall task for the Lions, since the Firehawks are the number one seed in the tournament. Senior guard Avi Halpert has been a presence on the Firehawks for four seasons already, and in his final high school season he is ready to lead his team to a Sarachek title. In order for the Lions to stand a chance they will need to control the quick pace play of the Firehawks defensively, while on the offensive end they will need to get the ball in the hands of senior guard Gavriel Rudman who has been their leading scorer all season long. If Rudman is on his game and the Lions defense is strong, this game might be closer than anticipated.

Coming off a semi-final loss, the SAR Sting are determined to make their presence felt in this tournament. Their first challenge will be facing a strongly coached Yeshivat Mekor Chaim team. The key to the game for the Sting will be to get comfortable in their offensive sets. Throughout the season the Sting have controlled the tempo of many of their games by taking it slow and controlling their offensive possessions, on occasion even working the ball around for over a minute until the correct shot was found. Look out for senior guard Akiva Schanzer to be a problem for opposing defenses.

In the final game of day one of the Sarachek Tournament, the TABC Storm will be playing against the Valley Torah Wolfpack. These two teams faced off against each other in the tier 1 semifinals in last year’s tournament, where the Wolfpack were victorious, so both teams are definitely excited for this rematch. The Wolfpack are going to be a challenging team for anyone in this tournament to contain as they feature two Mcdonald’s All-American merit athletes Noam Mayouhas and Johnny Dan. As if that accolade is not impressive enough, both these players averaged nearly 20 points per game this season in their league in California. The Storm will need to contain both these players and look to their own star player Natanel Benloulou to lead the offense. Benloulou has also been a constant challenge for opposing defenses, most notably his YL season-high 36-point performance against the Ramaz Rams earlier this season. If Benloulou can find his shot and Dan and Mayouhas are contained, an upset could be possible.

Since the JEC Thunder placed out of tier 1, their first game will be the following day in a tier 2 qualifier game. The Thunder had a very strong regular season and even upset the Hillel Heat in the opening round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual champions, the North Shore Lions. Look out for the height of the? Thunder as they feature three players above 6’4” in their standard rotation.

Stay tuned for all the updates from the Red Sarachek Tournament in next week’s issue!


Ikey Gutlove is the Jewish Link sports intern. Please contact [email protected] if you have interest in contributing to this column by providing stories and updates from any high school athletic teams.

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