Tuesday, July 07, 2020

HALB hosted a middle school boys basketball tournament this past Sunday. Five teams came from three states (Noam and RYNJ from New Jersey, Berman from Maryland, and YDE and HALB from New York) to compete and left it all on the court. HALB came out on top, defeating RYNJ in the championship game. Thank you Hustle & Heart Sports for helping HALB organize the tournament.

All the games were very competitive, with background stories for many of the match-ups. YDE defeated HALB in their Yeshiva League semi-finals earlier this year and Noam defeated RYNJ two out of the past three years in their Yeshiva League playoffs, this year defeating them in a closely contested quarterfinals game.

After two rounds of play in games, the teams entered the single elimination tournament ranked RYNJ, HALB, YDE, Noam and Berman. Noam defeated Berman to advance to play RYNJ and YDE met up with HALB. Both games were repeats of playoff games earlier this year.

HALB knocked off YDE to avenge the playoff loss and awaited the winner of RYNJ vs Noam. Both RYNJ and Noam were both down a starter (Noah Gutlove and Rafi Suss) going into the tournament and RYNJ lost their sixth man (Shmuel Weiss) during the qualifying rounds with a wrist injury. Noam’s powerful inside presence of Yona Luber and Netanel Benloulou complemented their sharpshooting guards. But when the final buzzer sounded, ending double overtime, the twin towers of Haselkorn (Eitan and Ezra) lead a determined RYNJ defense that enabled the RYNJ offense powered by Kovie Lightman and Avishai Jutkowitz to a hard-fought double overtime victory.

HALB defeated an exhausted RYNJ team in the finals, to win the inaugural tournament. Congratulations to the Hustle & Heart 3-point winner Jack Levy (YDE); Hustle & Heart All Stars Erez Epstein (Berman), Netanel Benloulou (Noam), Ikey Greenstein (YDE), Ari Saffra (HALB) and Avishai Jutkowitz (RYNJ); and Tournament MVP Aharon Cohen (HALB).

By Shana Steinmetz