HAFTR JV Remains Undefeated

The HAFTR Hawks JV boys’ basketball team opened the 2018–19 regular season on Monday night, October 22 versus the Flatbush Falcons at the Hawks’ Nest. The Hawks were coming into the game flying high off their recent championship win in the North Shore Hebrew Academy preseason tournament. HAFTR started out strong and led from start to finish. The first quarter saw a lot of early-season jitters as both teams looked to establish their game plan. The highlight of the first half was a 7–0 run led by Benjamin Witkes as he hit a long-range three and scored on some tough drives to the basket in successive possessions. The Hawks finished out the second quarter up by 15, courtesy of some nifty baskets from Haimy Salem.

The Falcons came out of the half with a little more urgency and were able to cut into the lead. The fourth quarter was back-and-forth action, but the Hawks were able to maintain the lead. They were led by the mid-range game of Jacob Steinmetz and some strong foul shooting to close it out. The final score was HAFTR 40, Flatbush 29. The Hawks had a balanced attack and were paced by Witkes with 12 points, Salem with 11, and Steinmetz with 10. Calvin Oliner provided the pressure defense and big man Jamie Berger cleaned up the glass. The Hawks improved to 4–0 overall and 1–0 in league play.

Boys’ Varsity

The DRS Wildcats opened the MYHSAL basketball season with a dominating home win over SSLI 79–23. Coming off an impressive performance in the Magen David preseason tournament, in which they eventually lost to the host team in the championship game, this year’s team starts the season with high expectations.

The game’s high scorer was captain Gavriel Kahn with 23 points. Ezra Sicklick added 10 points and Alex Lyons chipped in with 9. DRS’s record is now 4–1 overall and 1–0 in league play.

Girls JV And Varsity

The Flatbush girls’ JV and varsity basketball teams headed back out on the road Tuesday night, October 23 for the second consecutive doubleheader, and came away with opposite results. This time the varsity team lost to the host Ramaz Rams and the JV team came away with their first win of the season over the younger Rams at the Manhattan-based school.

The varsity girls took the court first, and from the outset it was clear they did not have the same intensity that sparked them to a win over HAFTR on opening night. The lack of energy was a problem from the opening tip. The offense lacked efficiency, and the Falcons were far from sharp, missing on open lay ups and throwing a slew of errant passes that led to easy Ram baskets. In a short period of time, the Falcons had dug themselves a 14-point deficit from which they just could not recover.

The bright spot for the varsity team was the spirited third-quarter play of senior Raquel Oved. Oved spearheaded a huge defensive effort, pressuring the ball from one end of the court to the other. But it was just not enough. The varsity Falcons fell by a final score of 51–21 for their first loss of the season.

The JV squads took the court next, and it was a completely different story,  both from the earlier varsity game and the season opener last week at HAFTR. The young Falcons came out energized and spirited, allowing their skills honed in pre-season practices to shine. Flatbush jumped out to the early lead and never let up. The guards, paced by Alexa Greenstein and Esther Mizrachi, pressured the Rams backcourt and also paced the Falcon attack that built a 14-point cushion. The Falcon post players, Marcy Ashear, Sarah Cheney, and Lynn Franco, collapsed inside, and combined with the backcourt pressure made it difficult for Ramaz to get off any open shots. Smart guard play and forward efficiency in the paint sealed the deal, and the Falcons put their first game in the win column, 34–24.

Judah Rhine, who has been coaching youth basketball for more than 35 years, is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and MVP Girls Basketball Camp and co‑commissioner of the National Council of Young Israel basketball league. He can be reached at mvp4boys@gmail.com or mvp4girls@gmail.com.


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