By Kevin Roberts
This week's playoff action had some March Madness fever. Teams left it all out on the court and the results were rather dramatic. Game winners, clutch plays, and good defense highlighted this week’s games in the FM Home Loans Israel Basketball League.
Chovat vs YLP Shaya’s
In playoff action, Chovat Piasecznas matched up with YLP Shayas and won in convincing fashion 63-48. Chovat maintained a steady lead throughout the game. YLP Shaya’s made a few runs and each time Chovat stemmed the tide with big shots. Jesse Spear shouldered the load for Chovat, collecting 24 points. They moved the ball well and got stops when they needed them. Chovat advances to the next round.
BMoney Cards vs Symphony Care Network
This game had all the intensity you could hope for in a do or die situation for both teams. The game was tight throughout, each team played smart basketball. Yisroel Wasser had a huge first half propelling Symphony to a lead at the intermission. In the second half BMoney came back strong and consistent, getting stops down the stretch and big buckets. Symphony was up 3 with only seconds left. Spencer Rubenstein took a shot from downtown to tie it up for BMoney, and though he missed, he drew the foul. With the season on the line, Rubenstein coolly proceeded to knock down all three free throws, sending the game into overtime, where Bmoney would go on to complete the incredible finish 57-56.
Tubi Titans vs Sinai Schools
In a tightly contested matchup Tubi Titans pulled away at the end, winning 57-45. Throughout the game Sinai distributed the offense evenly. For the Titans, Steven Levian led the way with 22. The numbers don’t show the truth of this game, as it was close for a long time, and Tubi just proved too much down the stretch.
Derech Etz Chaim vs Cyclone Investment Group
This game was, in the view of some league observers, perhaps the best game in Yeshiva Basketball League history. In the beginning it was all DEC, who shot well, got stops, and moved the ball around nicely. Jackie Haber decided to take things into his own hands in the second half for the Cyclones. He was simply unstoppable, pouring in 37 points. He fought through double teams and put the team on his back. The Cyclones came all the way back, to tie the game up with 5 seconds to go. DEC then had a chance for a game winner - but Jackie Haber had other plans.
Haber stole the ball, flew down court, and still three full steps behind the three-point line with the clock about to hit zeros, launched a running buzzer-beater, which won the game and sent the crowd storming onto the court in delirious pandemonium.
Aish Heat vs The Underdogs
This game was a hard fought defensive matchup, neither side would cede a significant lead, and even after 40 minutes the teams wouldn’t back down, as extra time was needed to decide who would advance. In the end the Heat pulled out a 33-29 overtime victory. Now the Heat are headed to the Tier 2 championship.
Midrash Ballers vs Samet Team
This game was the story of a team playing together and a titan trying to put his team on his back and pull off an upset. Natanel Assayag racked up 29 points trying to be the Cinderella story of the tournament. Samet Team would have no part of that as they played solid team basketball and got stops when they needed them. Samet Team went on to win 55-43.