Nearly every season junior varsity Yeshiva League basketball is overshadowed by the varsity stage, but all the excitement and entertainment from the junior varsity level has given the upperclassmen some competition for the spotlight. As we approach the playoffs in the coming weeks, here is an update on what the playoff standings would be if the postseason started this week.
At the top of the hierarchy is the TABC Storm, who have been the indisputably best junior varsity team to date. It’s not too often that a Jewish junior varsity team will have multiple players soaring above the rim in pregame warm-ups, but that is the case with the Storm and they continue the amusement during the games as well. The Storm already finished their regular season schedule going a perfect 10-0, with only one of their victories being decided by a single digit margin. The leaders of the Storm have been sophomore forwards Eyal Kinderlehrer and Yakir Adams who are complemented perfectly by an outstanding pair of guards in Yonah Mandel and Dovid Saks. Although anything is possible, don’t be surprised if the TABC Storm continue to be unbeatable once the playoffs arrive.
Believe it or not, seeds two through six were almost finalized due to the outcome of one game. When the (5-4) Frisch Cougars upset the (6-2) SAR Sting almost every team had a change of placement in the standings. The Sting dropped from their tie with the Ramaz Rams at the second seed to third place, while the Frisch Cougars positioned themselves into a potential three-way tie with the (5-4) Hillel Heat and (4-4) MTA Lions for seeds four through six if all the teams finish with identical records.
The MTA Lions still have two games remaining on the season and their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is one. This can be achieved as early as Wednesday, February 1, when they visit the Heschel Heat and try to sweep the season series against them. If the Lions succeed in being victorious, their next challenge will be to defeat the Hillel Heat on their homecourt in Washington Heights. If the Lions win both games, the three way tie will be in play.
This is where it gets slightly confusing, but all the more so entertaining. In the event where all three teams end up with identical 6-4 records, the deciding factor would usually be the amount of victories against playoff teams. In this situation, the Cougars would receive the higher seed due to their victories against both the MTA Lions and SAR Sting, but for the remaining two teams an extra level of rules will come into play. According to the MYHSAL website rules for tiebreakers in this scenario, the seeds would be decided by greatest victory margin against playoff teams. Earlier in the season when the Hillel Heat beat the Frisch Cougars in their lone victory against a playoff team, it was by a 15 point cushion, so the MTA Lions would need to beat the Hillel Heat by at least 16 points in order to earn the number five seed.
The part that makes this all even more entertaining is that the MTA and Hillel matchup will be the last regular season game for junior varsity, so the final playoff standings won’t be decided until that game takes place!
Stay tuned for playoff updates and all the other excitement throughout the Yeshiva League as we reach the final stretch of the season.
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 the 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.