Sunday, June 04, 2023

MTA junior varsity basketball has established themselves as a powerhouse over the past few years, and this year proves to be no different. The Lions opened their season on Wednesday, November 9, hosting the JEC Thunder in the Max Stern Athletic Center. Straight off the opening tip, all those who were in attendance, or watching the livestream, could tell the Lions were a force to be reckoned with. The Lions jumped out to a quick 17-3 lead due to crafty play of freshman guard Yishai Neiss and the Nikola Jokic-esque passing of center Josh Truehaft. Throughout the second quarter, the Thunder hit several 3s in an attempt to minimize the deficit, but the Lions matched their shots on every possession with multiple long range triples from Ephraim Abramov and Nochi Book. At the half, the Lions appeared to be running away with a score of 36-21 in their favor, but they were not even close to done.

The story of the third quarter was the Lions’ defense, which sparked many transition opportunities on the offensive end. The 3-pointers continued to rain as Gavi Engel, Nochi Book and Yos Kahn, were on fire from beyond the arc. The third quarter came to a close with Abramov hitting a half-court buzzer beater as time was expiring, giving the Lions all the momentum as they approached the final frame.

The Lions continued to maintain their dominance with great paint control from Dov Klar and Binyamin Sheinfeld. It seemed as if the Lions were playing NBA 2K on rookie mode as none of their shots could miss. Evyatar Alon contributed two late 3-pointers which appeared to be the daggers that took the Lions over the Thunder, with a final score of 75-44.

Nearly a week later, the Lions replicated their success with their first challenge on the road as they traveled to Deal, New Jersey to face the Maor Flames. Despite the long bus ride, the Lions appeared to have no jitters as they sprung into their disruptive defense, forcing many quick turnovers. On the offensive end, Josh Treuhaft asserted his dominance and could not be contained in the paint leading to 12 first half points. On the opposing end, point-forward Hayim Menaged did his best to keep Maor in the game, as he could not be stopped offensively. Unfortunately for Menaged and his teammates, the Lions’ wide array of offensive weapons proved to be too much for the Flames.

The freshman backcourt duo of Abramov and Neiss proved once again that underclassmen can control the league as they combined for 31 points in the game and countless defensive stops. In the second half, the Lions showed their depth once again with great play from Engel, Klar and Kahn.

Though Maor went on a promising run in the final minutes of the game, it wasn’t enough as MTA escaped with an 18 point victory to remain undefeated. Up next the Lions will host an in-conference matchup against the top team in the Yeshiva League Pass JV power rankings, the SAR Sting, this upcoming week. Stay tuned for all the latest updates! Also, a special shout-out to Dr. Yechiel Engel.

Make sure to check this section weekly for all updates and the latest news from around the yeshiva league. Also check out Yeshiva League Pass on Instagram and their website for nightly updates on varsity basketball and hockey.

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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