After a promising two victories to start the season, the MTA junior varsity Lions hit a cold spell suffering four consecutive losses. With slightly over half of the regular season remaining, the Lions were determined to get back to their winning ways and have been on fire as of late.
The Lions picked up their third victory of the season in the opening game of an at-home doubleheader against the Heschel Heat. Right off the opening jump, the Lions attempted to control the pace of the game by setting up in their full court press. The Heat had no issue surpassing the press, yet once their offense was set up, the Lions’ defense presented challenges for their opponent on each possession. On the offensive end for the Lions, the freshman duo of Ephraim Abramov and Yishai Neiss combined for 14 of the Lions’ 24 first-half points to hold an advantage going into the break.
In the early part of the second half, the Lions revisited their full court press once again, this time forcing countless turnovers, not allowing the Heat to set up any plays on offense. Throughout the third period, the Lions continued to add on to their lead. As the game continued, the Lions expanded their dominance to the boards, with crucial rebounds from Josh Treuhaft, Gavi Engel and Binyamin Sheinfeld.
In the final period, the Lions were able to secure their victory with countless clutch shots from Yos Kahn, Nochi Book and Gavi Samuels. When the final buzzer sounded it displayed a final score of 48-32 in favor of the Lions.
Shortly after the conclusion of Chanukah, the Lions continued where they left off with a road matchup against the Kushner Cobras. In the first quarter, Lion’s center Josh Treuahft took advantage of the undersized Cobras, by flashing his post-up moves and controlling the offense glass, leading to countless offensive opportunities and chances at the charity stripe. The Lions continued to present a challenge to the Cobras offensively with a pair of clutch 3-pointers from Abramov, but at the half, the Lions’ lead wasn’t too advantageous.
The Kushner Cobras’ second half efforts clearly showed their inspiring half time pep talk. Freshman Jayden Rosenfled converted on two 3-point attempts, while Ben Leeds went on a run of his own scoring 14 of his game high 20 points in the second half. The Lions were unable to keep up with the offensive entourage of the Cobras, leaving them with a three point deficit with two and half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Coach Hod of the Lions called a quick timeout and changed up the lineup, which proved to be game changing. Freshman Ethan Vaysman decided to take the game into his own hands, scoring nine of the Lions’ final 11 points to give the Lions the late advantage and, ultimately, the victory.
Up next for the Lions will be a road matchup at Heschel, as they look to sweep the regular season series against the Heat and achieve a winning record.
Make sure to check this section weekly for all updates and the latest news from around the Yeshiva League. Also make sure to 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.