July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘To Live and Die by the Three’

There are those who loathe the three-ball. Others accept it, but do not want to live and die by the three-ball. This season’s version of the JEC/RTMA Thunder embraces the it as a major staple of their offensive scheme.

On Monday November 9, 2015, JEC/RTMA, with its vibrant offense, battled powerful Frisch, from Paramus, and lost 41-34. If JEC/RTMA was offered in advance to hold Frisch to 41 points for the game, the Thunder would have accepted it every time. Given that the Thunder were averaging 58 points a game, most observers would have taken that outcome. But, against Frisch, while the Cougars were held well below their scoring average, RTMA scored only 34 points, and lost to Frisch 41-34. In that game, the Thunder almost overcame a 15-point deficit, got it down to 4 points with 2:02 to play in the fourth period, and had the ball, but missed three treys in the last two minutes, and ultimately lost by the 7-point bulge. The Thunder only tallied 4 treys for that game. The real blow was from the foul line, where RTMA shot only 4-10, in contrast to season-long shooting at 80% from the charity stripe.

The NJ Thunder needed to get back on the competitive horse, and that opportunity was offered in a cross-conference game against Brooklyn power Yeshiva Derech Erez, known as YDE Thunder. Yes, there are Thunders in the West and the East in the Yeshiva League. JEC/RTMA had already played YDE twice in exhibition play. YDE knocked JEC/RTMA out of the pre-season Magen David Tournament with a 59-50 quarter-finals win. JEC/RTMA avenged that loss in a pre-season exhibition game played at JEC, with a 61-60 win over the Brooklyn Thunder.

The game on Veteran’s Day was a League game between the inter-conference rivals, with similar names and cross-coaching histories. Both teams needed to maintain their standing in their respective divisions.

JEC/RTMA immediately resumed their gunning, as junior SG Ranann Kimmel netted two treys in the first period, of his 8 points in the initial period, to lead JEC/RTMA to a surprising 15-4 first period lead. JEC/RTMA continued to pour the offense on in the second period with balanced scoring, while YDE, an offensive powerhouse in its own right, matched the NJ Thunder point for point, and JEC/RTMA won the period by only a 15-14 result. The score at the half was 30-18.

As seems to be the pattern, JEC/RTMA came out of the halftime locker-room flat. YDE was on fire. The Brooklyn Thunder scored 11 points to the New Jersey Thunder’s 7, and the score was narrowed to 37-29, JEC/RTMA. From there, YDE battled valiantly, and with four minutes to play in the game, reduced the deficit to 4 points, 44-40. Senior PF Captain Jacob Felier decided enough was enough, and bombed a trey to drive the lead to 7 points, and then, after a defensive stop, a second trey, giving JEC/RTMA a 10-point margin. From there, senior PG Captain Shmaryahu Shulman took the wheel and ran the NJ Thunder to what became a 17-point victory, 60-43, with 8 points. To quote Clyde Frazierizm, the NJ Thunder PG, the team “sliced and diced” YDE. The result was another satisfying team win.

This win drives the JEC/RTMA season long record to 7-2 and a seat at the table of second place in the West Division of the Yeshiva League at 4-1. S. Shulman led all scorers with 19 points. Kimmel had 11, and senior SF Akiva Shulman and Feiler each tallied 9 points. Rounding the scoring for the NJ Thunder were senior PF Marc Shapiro with 6 points, senior Avi Roth, who added 4 points on an important bucket and 2 FT’s and Sholom Becker who added a timely score at the end of the game for his 2 points.

JEC/RTMA returned to form with 8 3-pointers, all at clutch moments in the game (Kimmel 3, Feiler 3, S. Shulman1, and A Shulman 1). The threes are alive and well for the NJ Thunder.

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