By Marvin A Azrak
After a two year hiatus, Yeshiva league sports are back in action.
Winter Yeshivah sports has returned to the tri-state area, and while many things have changed, some have remained the same as far as league landscapes go across hockey and basketball. But after two years in their respective labs, we’ve seen league action that has garnered many memorable early moments as we prepare for what the 2021-2022 season holds for our fans.
VARSITY BASKETBALL TAKEAWAYS:
YDE ARE TITLE CONTENDERS:
A change to their coaching staff, in addition to the acquisition of superstar Isaac Tawil out of Shaare Torah, has given the Thunder something they didn’t exactly have two seasons ago, which is cohesion. They were mediocre at best in 2019 when they made the JV playoffs only to fall in the Wild Card round to Northshore 51-35. They lacked a playmaker and a structured defensive philosophy which is what Corey Sandusky brings to the table. His intensity has rubbed off on the players to the point where they have completely bought in, and it has shown in the first two games of the season. The Thunder held the Waterbury Wolfpack to 61 points, but it took seven quarters for them to get there in their 69-61 triple-overtime victory. Although Tawil led them to that win posting 43 points, ten blocks, and 20 rebounds in his school debut, he didn’t need to do much in YDE’s (Yeshiva Darchei Eretz) 88-39 thrashing of a HANC(Hebrew Academy of Nassau County) Hurricanes team they defeated 40-36 two seasons ago. Considering Waterbury went on to defeat title favorite DRS in the Green House, the Thunder are feeling confident about their chances to deliver a maiden championship to their school.
IMMENSE PRESSURE ON MDY:
The Warriors haven’t been challenged for the best basketball team in the Sephardic community and have been a powerhouse in the league for a while, yet it seems that run may be coming to an end. Although preseason tournament champions over Flatbush, Hillel, and YDE, Magen David Yeshivah showed significant signs of rust that day and had been out of the public eye until this past Saturday night when they battled with the DRS(Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva) Wildcats at the warrior dome. Jack Cohen was cooking early with 11 straight first-quarter points, but DRS made adjustments and held him to nine points the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Allie Dweck and Asher Melamed had Magen up 39-27 in the third quarter, but careless mistakes allowed the league #1 to regain their footing and claw their way back into the contest. It resulted in a 17-0 clip that put the Wildcats on top for good in a 60-53 win led by Avi Ivry, who poured in 28 points and was a dominant force down the stretch. The Warriors should be able to reassert themselves moving forward, but this slog-fest has to trigger some alarm bells inside a passionate and loyal MDY nation.
TABC MAY “STORM” THROUGH THE WESTERN CONFERENCE:
The Storm will begin their season this week against HAFTR (Hebrew academy of five towns and rockway). Still, the country has seen its potential with Torah Academy of Bergen County going down to Los Angeles and taking home the title in the Steve Glouberman tournament defeating league rivals in Flatbush(56-50) and Frisch(62-52) before taking down hometown dynasty Shalhevet 75-51 with Yitzy Kaminetzky winning MVP.
Before the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID, the Storm was set to play SAR in the semifinals for the right to play DRS in the final, with many around the game believing the inventible rivalry matchup will happen this season.
SAR LOOKS INVINCIBLE:
The Sting felt they were denied a title when the season was halted due to the pandemic days before the final against the TABC Storm. It must be why they’ve been running roughshod teams in their first three games to ensure nobody gets in their way of what they believe is rightful there’s. Through three games, the boys out of Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy located in the Bronx have an astonishing goal differential of +46 with wins over Rambam(9-0) and newly instated OhorYisrael(18-1), before recording the most significant victory in school history over JEC 20-0 at the hive this past Thursday. The critical period in that football-sized win was the 11 goal second. The ring leader has been rising star Eytan Krauz with 13 goals in three games, including six in the “Thunderous Thursday” victory against JEC. Noah Lerman and Joe Shaykin have also recorded hat tricks for the Sting this season, while Jed Konovitch sports a 1.00 GAA(Goals against average) on the year with already one shutout to his name.
WELCOME OHOR YISRAEL:
Across the Yeshivah leagues, these guys have been added to the mix. They are indeed the third expansion Yeshivah league varsity basketball team in the past five seasons(Thanks Yeshivah league pass). But here in the hockey world, they are the MYSHAL’s version of the Seattle Kraken and are new to the competition. Although they fell in their franchise opener to a team challenging great Yeshivah league champions in SAR, they did score their first of hopefully many goals in the defeat.
MDY WILL BE A PLAYOFF TEAM:
The Warriors were a far cry from the postseason two years ago, going 1-9, but have drastically improved with the additions of Gerry Cohen, Morris Cohen, Albert Cohen, and all-star goaltender Joe Shweky to the squad. Although the “2” part of their 2-1 record came against dregs of the league in NorthShore(0-4) and Rambam (0-2), they not only have got both on the horizon again but also are part of a wide-open Eastern Conference(Excluding DRS) that features undermanned Flatbush and HAFTR(Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockway) teams ripe for the picking. Offensively Magen David has doubled their total from 2020 with four in each of the first three games. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to hold off the HANC Hurricanes from Nassau County on Thursday night in a 6-4 home defeat that MDY will reminisce about when they make the trek over to Great Neck on December eighth for the rematch.
KUSHNER > FRISCH
We haven’t seen much JV hockey overall, but we know the Cobras have the Cougars number after posting 6-3 and 5-4 wins, respectively, to open the season.
MDY ARE MY CHAMPIONSHIP FAVORITES:
They’re only 2-0 on the season, but they’re doing it in blowout fashion. First, they routed the lowly Rambam Ravens 74-19 before running away with a tight contest against the DRS Wildcats led by Jack Franco’s 20 point outing. This start, as well as the fact that two years ago, most of these guys were champions back in the Elementary school leagues, gives me a tremendous boost of confidence in the Magen David’s chance for another ring.
YESHIVAH LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Isaac Tawil(YDE varsity basketball)
HART TROPHY OF THE WEEK: Eytan Krauz
TEAM OF THE WEEK: SAR STING (VARSITY HOCKEY).
UPCOMING GAME OF THE WEEK:
North Shore(1-1) @ YDE(2-0) on Thursday 11/18:
It’s the new-look Thunder against the team that knocked them out of the postseason two years ago.