On Sunday May 7, the first ever Moriah eighth grade boys basketball tournament was played at TABC. The tournament featured host Moriah, Yavneh, Kushner, Hillel, He’Atid, JEC, Barkai and a Bergen Broncos Team comprised of seventh graders.
The first game of the day featured Moriah and He’Atid with Moriah advancing to the semifinals behind the solid play of Nathan Wild and Amiel Ottensoser. In the second game of the day Yavneh took on JEC. In a back and forth battle, Yavneh advanced behind the strong performances of Zachy Lowe and Ezra Krohn. JEC was led by Aharon Rozehzadeh’s outside shooting.
The third quarterfinal of the day pitted Kushner against Barkai. Barkai, behind the solid backcourt play of Joe Dweck and Eli Harari and the inside presence of big Marvin Falack, took command early and won 35-20 to advance to the semifinals—where they awaited the winner of Hillel and Bergen Broncos 7. In the most competitive of the quarterfinal games the Bergen Broncos came back from 10 points down in the second half, behind the solid play of Josh Neiss and clutch late game free throw shooting from Jakey Csillag and Ezra Baron, to upset Hillel 53-50.
The first semifinal game of the afternoon pitted Moriah vs. Yavneh. As in their previous two meetings Moriah came out strong and dominated Yavneh, to advance to the finals. Moriah received standout performances from Nathan Wild, Simon Fischman, Ethan Sussman, EJ Heumann and Jaren Ulmer. Yavneh was led by Ezra Krohn and solid shooting from Noah Barishansky and Shep Melzer. Unfortunately for Moriah, Sussman hurt his knee on the last play of the first half which would force him out of the tournament.
The second semifinal featured Barkai and Bergen Broncos. Barkai again enjoyed the steady play of their backcourt guards Dweck and Harari and the inside force of Falack and overpowered the younger Broncos. Despite being overmatched from a physical standpoint, the Broncos never gave up, cutting a 22 point third quarter lead to eight with six minutes to go in the game. In the end, Barkai dominated and advanced to the final versus Moriah.
Before the championship game took place the 3-point contest showcased the top six qualifiers from the morning. In the end Aharon Rozehzadeh of JEC bested Jackson Schechter of Moriah in the final 11-10 to win the Burger Boss 3-point contest.
The championship game matched the Moriah Mountaineers and the Barkai Suns. Barkai jumped out early and held a 28-17 at halftime, capitalizing on their strong backcourt play. Moriah made some adjustments at halftime and, behind a strong defensive effort, clawed their way back to take a 37-33 lead late in the third quarter. Barkai’s dynamic guards carried them back and with timely 3-point shooting from Jeremy Sakkal, they gained an eight point lead into the game’s final minute. This is where the game got interesting. EJ Heumann of Moriah put his team on his back, making four long 3-pointers, leaving the crowd, the players and even the refs in shock as Moriah came within two points. Ultimately, Moriah ran out of time and Barkai held on to win 52-50 to secure the first ever Moriah Basketball Invitational championship.
All Tournament First Team
Nathan Wild, Moriah
EJ Heumann, Moriah
Joe Dweck, Barkai
Aharon Rozehzadeh, JEC
Eli Harari, Barkai
All Tournament Second Team
Simon Fischman, Moriah
Ezra Krohn, Yavneh
Marvin Falack, Barkai
Jakey Csillag, Bergen Broncos
Alphonse Sutton, Hillel
Snacks and beverages were served, with all proceeds donated to Chai Lifeline, in loving memory of Moriah parent and employee Aleza Winslow z”l.
Thank you to sponsors Moriah, NCSY Jumpshot, Cool Kippahs, Burger Boss, Jerusalem Express and Signarama. Thank you as well to all the participating schools.
Looking forward to next year!