BMoney Cards Wins Championship!
By Zak Lenik and Monty Wayland
In a Championship game that hung in the balance until the final minute, the BMoney Cards edged the Tubi Titans, taking home the trophy in the FM Home Loans Israel Basketball League. The raucous gym was packed, and elated fans flooded the court at the final buzzer, celebrating late into the night.
The game went back and forth throughout the first half, with the teams trading buckets as the excitement mounted amongst the roaring crowd. The Titans’ hordes, including a huge contingent of Netiv Aryeh students, shook the building with raucous cheers, while BMoney’s multitude of fans, proudly representing Reishit, raised the roof with boisterous anthems.
The first half came to a close with a BMoney run, giving them a 7 point lead heading into the locker rooms. During the intermission, lucky fans competed for league merchandise, provided by FM Home Loans. When the second stanza commenced, BMoney’s coach Brian Alter and manager Avi Bursztyn decided they liked what they saw, and put all their chips on the “Spencer Strategy” - they put the ball in the hands of Spencer Rubenstein, trusting him to attack from the perimeter, penetrate, and take it from there. Rubenstein was up to the task, both physically and mentally, alternately getting to the hoop to score, and making split-second decisions to kick out to teammates. That allowed big man Jason Zucker to dazzle with his deceptively deft euro-steps, Brendan Lasko to nail threes, and Eli Jesselson to score and-ones with late-game nerves-of-steel free throw shooting. Meanwhile, Shmuli Coates used an inside-out attack, including a huge three and great penetration, and Coates and Yosef Zakon anchored the lockdown defense.
Zakon, in particular, was charged with the primary assignment of limiting the damage from Tubi’s dangerous Jojo Velenski. And while Velenski, Steven Levian, Zack Brown, Elie Ibgui and Abie Loew among others all scored their share for Tubi Titans, this would be the end of Coach Berman’s charges’ magical run, at least for 2022, as BMoney closed things out in the game’s waning moments, for a 47-39 final tally.
With ecstatic fans filling the court, the two teams traded handshakes and hugs, and BMoney hoisted the FM Home Loans Championship trophy with their ecstatic fans.
Final Four: Tubi Titans vs. Cyclone Investment Group
Tubi Titans matched up with Cyclone Investment Group, after the Cyclone’s miracle buzzer-beater to advance to the Final Four. The Titans were unphased by the magic performed by the Cyclones, winning 54-47, though not without drama - in their inimitable fashion, the Cyclones stormed back toward the end of the game, cutting the gap to within 4, as Jackie Haber rained down 26 points in the would-be upset.
But, down the stretch Tubi got buckets when they needed them most, for the win. Jojo Velenski led the way for Tubi with 24.
Final Four: Chovat Piasceznas vs. BMoney Cards
These teams had matched up twice before, splitting the two games. This game had the hype worthy of playoff basketball, but Bmoney had done their homework, and came with a tenacious defensive look tailor-made for the game. BMoney took the lead early and never looked back, slowly but inexorably growing their lead, and winning 52-38.
Tier 2 Championship: Team Samet vs. Aish Heat
In a hard fought game, Team Samet took down the Aish Heat 48-40 to claim the Tier 2 Championship Trophy. The protagonists went back and forth all game, and only towards the end Team Samet began to mount a lead. The offense was spearheaded by Avi Rose with 17 and Mordy Kirschner with 15, who ran the 2 man game to perfection. Team Samet played a composed and patient game, with Avi Rose, the floor general, both rallying and calming his troops at key moments, which paid off in particular in patient, high-percentage shot selection. Aish brought a balanced attack with 3 players in double figures.