The only feeling worse than losing a conference matchup on a buzzer beater, is taking that loss on your home court. The Magen David Warriors were on the losing side of this gut-wrenching affair when they lost to the DRS Wildcats early in November. Many teams would be upset, depressed or even confused, but the Warriors proved that one minor setback can lead to a major step forward—or maybe even three steps, in four days.
On Monday November 29, the Magen David Warriors faced off against the Waterbury Wolfpack. Both teams started the night at a relaxed pace with many long offensive possessions. At the end of the first half the Wolfpack had a five point advantage. The second half featured an entirely rejuvenated Warrior team sparked by the shooting and facilitation of Jesse Cohen. On the defensive end, the Warriors were a force to be reckoned with, only giving up two points in the third frame.
The Wolfpack started out the fourth quarter strong, easily tying the game in the early minutes. The two teams would continue to trade baskets. With just over a minute remaining the Wolfpack had a mere one point advantage until Warriors center Asher Melamed picked the pocket of his man and ran the length of the court to hit a layup. After another quick steal, Mark Sardar hit a clutch three to give the Warriors a four point advantage. On the next possession, Waterbury’s Hudi Kalish converted an and-one opportunity, and after a missed Warrior one-an-one opportunity, Waterbury hit another free throw to tie the game. With five seconds remaining, Coach Dweck of the Warriors drew up a play to perfection resulting in a game winning layup from Melamed.
?After that exciting win at home, the Warriors traveled to face the HAFTR Hawks the following evening. Unlike the previous game, both teams jumped out to a fast-paced style of play with baskets and leads being exchanged on countless possessions. In the second half, the Warriors were locked in defensively, not giving the Hawks any chances to produce on offense. The Warriors would go on to give up only 10 second half points, while scoring 31 of their own to secure the victory with ease. Melamed proud to be the hero once again as he led all scorers with 24 points in the victory.
After a night off, the Warriors were back in action once again for their third game in four nights as they hosted the “battle of Brooklyn” against the YDE Thunder. The Warriors once again started out strong with a 7-0 run to begin the night. The Thunder were not even close to giving up yet as they would go on an 11-2 run of their own to hold a lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Thunder brought lockdown defense leading to many offensive opportunities, replicating the Warriors second half performance against HAFTR a few days earlier; It was almost as if the Thunder watched the game tape of that HAFTR game. The Thunder lead reached a peak of 14 points, but once again Melamed made an impact on the game and willed the Warriors back to a six point disadvantage with a quarter to play.
The fourth quarter featured a complete takeover by the Warriors. On the offensive end, it appeared as if the rim expanded and the Warriors could not miss. While on the Thunder’s end of the court, the opposite appeared to be the case as they didn’t score a point the entire quarter, giving the Warriors a hard earned victory.
Winning three games in four days is a challenge for a team in any sport, but the Magen David Warriors proved that no feat is impossible to achieve. After achieving the three victories the Warriors now rest comfortably at a 5-1 record, and with over half the season remaining the excitement can only continue!
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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.