At the HAFTR vs. North Shore 7th-grade game

By Judah Rhine

At the HAFTR vs. North Shore 7th-grade game
At the HAFTR vs. North Shore 7th-grade game

North Shore Hebrew Academy 6th grade defeats HALB, 37—11. The North Shore team was led by the strong play of Steven Levian and Aaron Hajabia. NSHA is now 2—0.

7th-grade hoops. HAFTR continued their perfect season with a dominating victory over North Shore by a score of 43—22. North Shore came out strong and played with HAFTR in the first half and were down by one at halftime. In the second half, HAFTR got their running game going and cruised to their third victory of the season.


NSHAHS 50 and YDE 36. Leading scorer C. Cohen, 18 points; Setton and Haft, 8 points each.

MDY trailed the whole game by as much as 10 points, but stayed close enough to mount a comeback and take their first lead of the game with 65 seconds to go. A last-second desperation try was no good, and MDY came away with a 49—48 victory over YDE. MDY was led by Jack Chehabar with 22 points. Elliott Elo scored 15 for YDE.

The Heschel Heat withstood an initial eight count as a fired-up Ramaz Rams team stormed out to a 14—7 early lead, playing active-zone defense and riding senior Sam Merkin’s 10 first-quarter points (2 threes). But Heschel came right back and took an 18—16 first-quarter lead and extended it behind some very hot shooting to a 39—23 lead at the half, holding Ramaz to 7 points in the second quarter. The Heat shared the wealth between their senior leaders Jonathan Granowitz and Sam Lippman and their sophomore guards Jeremy Spiera and Michael Gatan who combined for 35 of the points. The Heat continued their torrid shooting and excellent man-to-man half-court defense to build a 24-point lead in the third quarter, though the Rams did get to within 11 in the early fourth quarter. The Heat withstood the Rams’ onslaught and cruised to the 15-point win. Four Heschel players scored in double figures, led by Granowitz with 15, Lipmann with 14 (8 rebounds), and guards Spiera and Gatan with 11 each. The Heat also got good production from their bench with juniors Sam Schwartzben and Mathew Goldstein chipping in with 6 and 4 points respectively. The Heat, now 13+7 and 6+3 in league play, travel next to Long Island to take on North Shore, who ended their season last year on the same court in the semifinals.

YOF vs. Derech Hatorah. Coming off a strong offensive showing against St. Luke’s of Sydney, Australia, the Flatbush Varsity exploded against a high-scoring Derech Hatorah varsity, with a 73—56 Eastern Division win. In their first meeting earlier this season, the Falcons were able to net 72 but held the Bulldogs to 25. This time, playing at Derech Hatorah’s home gym in Hudde Junior High in Brooklyn, defense was in short supply on both sides, and the Bulldogs’ potent offense exploded as they almost matched a depleted Falcons’ roster, blow for blow, in the first part of the contest.

The Bulldogs’ Adam Motovich, a sophomore, had just come off a Yeshiva League Jewish Hoops America record 52 points against Rambam and was raring to go.

In the first quarter, Flatbush took an 18—14 lead, as the teams traded baskets in a highflying game.

In the second quarter, Flatbush erupted for 24 points to the Bulldogs’ 15, and at the half, the Falcons held a 42—29 lead, punctuated by junior PG Elliot Beyda scoring 10 points, on 2 threes, and senior captain SG Bobby Soffer exploding for 12 points with 2 threes of his own and 3 breakaway layups on steals. But the half belonged to senior PG Matan Guez, whose inside grit resulted in 8 points and helped the Falcons establish glass control in the half.

In the third period, the Falcons began to creep away, outscoring Derech Hatorah 15—9, taking a 57—38 lead into the final period. From there, the teams traded bucket for bucket, and the Falcons won the contest by a 73—56 margin.

Soffer led the Falcons with 21 points, 6 steals, and a commanding performance. Beyda led the Falcons at the point with 12 points and 8 assists. But the story of the night was Guez, who scored 10 points and snared 10 rebounds, both career highs. All 11 of the Falcon players scored.

For the Bulldogs, despite being double-teamed all night, Motovich finished with 16 points on 4 threes, even as junior PF Albert Richter was draped all over him in the special D. The Bulldogs’ SG Buzuglow added 9 and freshman Stern added another 9 on 3 treys.

Flatbush at HANC. The game was a brutal battle of will, desire, skill, and depth. The officials let the action play, with often brutal results. The Falcons feature the best defense in the league, if measured by points allowed, but have been struggling this season to gather points of their own. The Hurricanes play an über-aggressive, man-to-man trapping defense, and that style was likely to be a challenge for the points-strapped Falcons.

The first period started relatively high scoring with Flatbush taking an 11—10 lead. In the second period, the Falcons reduced the Hurricanes to a category “no score” and held the high scorers to 4 points, while running off 15 of their own, and a 26—14 halftime score.

The Falcons repeated the feat in the third stanza, holding HANC to 4 points again. But this time, the dreaded failure-to-score in the third period hit the Falcons, and the team from Avenue J mustered only 4 points of their own. Entering the 4th period, the score was 30—18, and it was anyone’s game. The defensive battle continued in the fourth period. Flatbush could score only 7 points, but held HANC to 6, and won the game 37—24.

The 24 points held represented a continuation of the Falcons’ defensive prowess. Earlier this season, the Falcons held the powerful TABC storm to 25 points, in a 27—25 win in the Emunah/Rubenstein Tournament semifinals.

In this game for Flatbush, Meyer Kamkhachi (9 rebounds), Alan Maleh, and Sam Silverman led the squad with 6 points each. Junior PG Elliot Beyda had 5 points. Scoring 4 points in this bruising battle were senior SG Bobby Soffer, senior SG Ely Cattan, and senior PF Matan Guez. Nine players scored for Flatbush.

But the Falcons shot a dismal 4—21 from the charity stripe, and 1—11 in the fourth quarter as the Canes were fouling Flatbush to regain the ball, and the Falcons’ misses gave it to them–only to get a stop on the defensive side.

With this win, the Falcons are right in the playoff mix, with upcoming important games against North Shore as part of a quadruple-header, with the girls’ and boys’ JV and varsity teams of local rival YDE and #1 nationally ranked and undefeated HAFTR at HAFTR, and again at Barclay’s Center on December 28.

The Heschel Heat traveled to Great Neck to take on North Shore, and coming off an emotional win the night before came out a step slow the entire first half and found themselves in a 10-point hole, 33—23. Cody Cohen and Ryan Paul combined for 24 of the points with Paul stroking four threes. Jonathan Granowitz, the only Heat player to show any fire, had 12 at the half. North Shore opened an 18-point lead halfway through the third period but behind junior Sam Schwartzben, Heschel pulled within 8 with 4 minutes to go but could get no closer. Schwartzben had 12, all in the second half, but a tired Granowitz went scoreless the second half. Sophomore guard Jeremy Spiera finished with 13 to lead the Heat, with 3 in the fourth quarter. C. Cohen scored 22 and Ryan Paul, 18. Final score: NSHAHS 63, Heschel 54.

Junior Varsity

SAR JV boys beat Frisch 55—52 in overtime. SAR was led by Dovie Marcus’s 23 points and Daniel Wisotsky’s 10. SAR is now 5—1. It was a seesaw battle the entire way with no team possessing a lead more than 5 points. SAR persevered despite the illness of starting center Sammy Sokol. Frisch was led by some crafty moves by Yisroel Solomon and several brilliant plays around the hoop by Sammy Turner.

The Falcons’ JV so far this season has combined outstanding defense and potent offense to achieve its record. This game was no different, as Flatbush jumped off to a 21—7 first-quarter margin versus HANC.

The Falcons combined the inside-outside balance between captain Abie Rosow and captain SG Kevin Haddad, coupled with the interior play of PF Yoel Goldberg and Isaac Arazi, and the leadership at the point of Louis Zarif.

By the time the second period started, the Falcons had pulled off their press and substituted liberally, and built a 25—11 lead at the half.

In the third period, Flatbush erupted with 20 points to HANC’s 11 and enjoyed a 45—22 bulge. The game finished with more of the same, as the Falcons won the contest comfortably, 60—34.

Haddad had another dominant performance with 20 points, playing about half the game. Kevin’s partner in scoring, Rosow, had another big double-double, scoring 16 points and snaring 14 rebounds, also in part-time play. Zarif had a career-high 10 steals to go with his 7 points and 6 assists. Goldberg and Arazi controlled the glass for Flatbush, with 10 and 8 rebounds respectively.

The entire Falcons roster of 11 played and 8 scored. Gamliel led HANC with 8 points and Levy added 6. Despite their dominance on both ends of the court, the Falcons went to the foul line only 4 times, netting 2.

Game Of The Week:

NSHA and HAFTR is always a big game, but to make this even bigger, this was a battle of two undefeated teams and the home opener for the Hawks at the Nest on December 19. Both teams have taken care of business in the early part of the schedule with NSHA coming into the game with a 7—0 record and HAFTR at 4—0. The crowd was ready from the start as Flappy the HAFTR Hawk got the crowd roaring. The game started with a tight first quarter as both teams were trying to establish their game plans.

The second quarter saw some back-and-forth action, with HAFTR getting their points in transition and the stars hitting some shots from downtown. The first half ended with NSHA leading 23—22 over HAFTR.

The third quarter saw the Hawks come out of the locker room with aggressive play led by Jason Mishkin and Noah Fruchter. The Hawks began to play like a team moving the ball and finding the open man, highlighted by two big threes from freshman Harrison Kuritzky. The quarter ended with HAFTR clinging to a small lead and determined to send their crowd home with a victory.

The fourth quarter featured some big shots by NSHA guard Hakakian, and the Hawks lead was just a few with minutes left in the game. The Hawks were able to manage some foul trouble to Zach Schwartz with solid play from Kuritzky and Shai Laniado as well as big shots from Jeremy Schneider.

In the end the Hawks iced the game on clutch foul shots from Mishkin and pulled out a 48—43 victory to up their record to 5—0. HAFTR was led by Mishkin’s 15 points, a balanced attack from Schwartz with 9, and 8 points each from Schneider, Kuritzky, and Fruchter.


HAFTR 2, DRS 1. The game against DRS was one of the most intense hockey games the Hawks have ever been faced with. Thanks to Evan Feder and Sam Schechter’s clutch goals and Ryan Gluck’s outstanding goaltending, the Hawks were able to win one of the most important games of the year.

League Standings

Boys’ Varsity Basketball

Eastern Division

HAFTR                                                    7—0

DRS                                                          8—1

North Shore                                            7—3

Magen David                                         4—3

YDE                                                         5—5

Flatbush                                                  4—4

HANC                                                      3—5

Derech Hatorah                                   1—10

Rambam                                              1—11


Western Division

Frisch                                                       8—0

TABC                                                      6—2

Hillel                                                         6—3

Heschel                                                    6—3

Ramaz                                                     6—4

JEC                                                           5—5

SAR                                                          3—6

MTA                                                        3—7

Kushner                                                 0—10


Boys’ JV Basketball

Eastern Division

North Shore                                            7—0

Flatbush                                                  5—0

HAFTR                                                    4—0

HANC                                                      3—3

DRS                                                          3—3

Shaare Torah                                         3—4

Magen David                                         2—4

YDE                                                         2—5

Rambam                                                 2—5

Ezra                                                          0—7


Western Division

SAR                                                          5—1

MTA                                                        4—1

Ramaz                                                     5—2

Frisch                                                       4—2

TABC                                                      4—2

Heschel                                                    3—3

JEC                                                           3—5

Kushner                                                   2—7

Hillel                                                         0—7


Boys’ Varsity Hockey

Eastern Division

HAFTR                                                      17

DRS                                                            16

HANC                                                        11

North Shore                                               10

Rambam                                                     9

Flatbush                                                       5

SSLI                                                              4

Magen David                                              4


Western Division

Ramaz                                                       16

SAR                                                            14

Kushner                                                     13

MTA                                                           12

TABC                                                         12

Frisch                                                            7

JEC                                                               6

Heschel                                                        0


Boys’ JV Hockey

Eastern Division

Rambam                                                   12

Flatbush                                                     10

North Shore                                                 9

DRS                                                              8

HANC                                                          7

Magen David                                              6

HAFTR                                                        4

YDE                                                              2

Shaare Torah                                              0


Western Division

SAR                                                            12

Frisch                                                          10

JEC                                                               8

MTA                                                             8

Ramaz                                                         7

TABC                                                           6

Hillel                                                             4

Westchester                                                 0

Judah Rhine is co-director of MVP Boys Basketball Camp and has been coaching youth basketball for 30+ years. He can be reached at


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