Monday, October 26th, marked the beginning of the sophomore year for the Yeshiva Middle School Sports Association. The YMSSA is coming off of a terrific first season and with all of the talent on display, year number two promises not to disappoint. The best thing about this new league is that local sport fans have the opportunity to watch the same core play together and grow as a team from sixth to eighth grade.
Going into the season, Moriah is the obvious favorite. Last season, they posted a dominant 9-1 regular record and soundly defeated RYNJ in the year’s seventh grade championship game. Moriah has a solid returning core of playmaker Max Mayerhoff and the best front court in the league with Jake Froman, Joey Strobel and JJ Blinken. Without any additional talent, Moriah was destined to be a powerhouse this season. Transfer student Benny Matheson rounds out what promises to be terrific starting five.
The RYNJ Jaguars finished last season with an identical 9-1 record, splitting the home and away game with Moriah. Tri-captains Eitan Warburg, Avi Wolk and Eitan Pfeifer combined with Ari Katz and Doni Heideman to lead the Jaguars as last season’s most potent offense, outscoring opponents by almost 18 points per game.
Last year’s number three seed, the Yeshivat Noam Knights, suffered a premature exit from the postseason and looked poised to make a run this year. That was until Joe Baron and Yechiel Keiser opted to play for the Noam Hockey team and Matheson switched to Moriah over the summer. The team still has a lot of talent and will be a dangerous opponent.
Yavneh, led by point guard Jack Reinhart and sharp shooters Daniel Hirsch and Yosef Borodach, are looking to build on last year’s run to the semifinals. The team is hoping Isaiah Anderson can fill the void created when swingman Moshe Scharlat made Aliya over the summer.
Rounding out the division, SSDS is looking to bounce back off of a 2-8 season, building chemistry with their new coaches and players. Led by Point Guard Jesse Abed, and a presence down low consisting of Justin Yehuda and Gilad Amir, they are seeking to make the playoffs this season. Coaches Matt Ospala and Akeem Clayton are getting to know the players better, and working on all their strengths and weaknesses. They have high hopes for guard/forward Abe Teicher and shooters Zeke Rosenblatt and Evan Wertheim to contribute greatly to the team’s success. They also are focusing on big men Aidan Advocate, Zach Kauderer and Jake Diamond to compete with the league’s size.
No matter which school you root for, it is going to be an exciting season. You can follow all the action at the leagues site YMSSA.ORG.