April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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TABC Wins Tier II After Undefeated Sarachek Run

After a hard fought season ended early for the TABC varsity basketball team, they were given another chance to prove themselves at the Red Sarachek Tournament at Yeshiva University. The Storm were ranked #13 going into the tournament, but were determined to prove that they were better than their ranking. Though they weren’t eligible for the Tier I because of their seeding, the Storm were seen as a dark horse candidate to win Tier II.

TABC’s opened against the #20 Harkham Gaon Academy Lions and came out fighting, building an early 10 point lead in the first quarter. The Lions offense struggled to find any room against the Storm but were able to keep TABC from expanding its lead as the first half went on. Though they remained on top, the Storm were expecting better from their first half performance, and made sure to come out firing after the break. TABC spread the ball around well as they continued to outplay Harkham. Senior Eli Harcsztark led the scoring with 14 points, and juniors Jonathan Haberman, Alex Ostrin and Avi Proctor finished in double figures as well in TABC’s qualifier victory.

On Friday, TABC faced the #12 Beren Academy Stars who dropped to the Tier II qualifiers after losing to SAR the day before. TABC’s performance exceeded even their own expectations, as the Storm forced turnover after turnover and converted on offense. TABC found themselves on top by a large margin the entire game, and the entire team had a chance to get on the court and show off their skills. Scoring was led by Proctor and sophomore Eli Jarashow, who each hit multiple three pointers to reach double digits. The 47 point victory allowed TABC to cruise to the Tier II semifinals.

After two days of highly competitive and exciting basketball, all the teams came together for a shabbaton. The Shabbos was a great chance for each team to bond amongst themselves and come together as one big group.

TABC returned to the Max Stern Athletic Center on Sunday for their semifinal game against the #8 HANC Hurricanes. The Storm felt extra motivation in this game after losing a tough one against HANC in the regular season. Senior Ami Gerszberg was vital to the team’s success, shutting down HANC’s sophomore star Oren Betesh for most of the game. Haberman dominated offensively, scoring 25 points for the TABC Storm. Ostrin also contributed on both ends of the court, bringing aggressiveness on the defensive end and finishing with 13 points of his own. The Hurricanes were able to keep the game close in the first half, but the Storm turned up the heat and advanced to the Tier II finals.

On Monday, the final day of the tournament, the only school left between them and a trophy was Berman Hebrew Academy. Berman started off strong, opening to an early first quarter lead with TABC missing open looks and struggling defensively. In the second quarter, the Storm went on a run of their own, and finished the half with a four point lead after a tip-in buzzer beater by senior big man Yoni Fine. Fine’s biggest contribution, though, came on the defensive side of the court, as he managed to contain Berman’s 6’3” center Josh Levieddin, holding his larger opponent to just seven points. Knowing it was the last game of his high school career, Fine was committed to leaving everything he had on that court and ending the season with a win. TABC’s shooters heated up in the second half, especially Proctor, who finished with 13 points after struggling from three in the first. Ostrin scored 11, using his strength in the post to help secure TABC’s lead, ultimately resulting in the school’s first ever Sarachek championship win.

Coaches Oz Cross and Robert Hoenig were very proud to see how far the team had come over the course of the season. What started off as a group of talented players who struggled against stronger teams developed into a strong and energetic unit that could compete with any team they faced. With a championship win, TABC would become just the second team in Sarachek history to go undefeated and win Tier II. The Storm also had the largest combined point margin in this year’s tournament, beating their opponents by a combined 87 point.

The tournament was especially meaningful for the seniors on the team, who were able to end off their careers with a win. Senior captain Yoni Fine summed it up, saying, “After our Yeshiva League season ended the way it did, to be able to end off our careers with a Sarachek championship meant everything to us. Having one last chance to go out onto the court as a team and to cap it off with a win was a really special moment.”

By Eli Rifkind

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