With just over 2:30 left in the game, the Ida Crown Aces had clawed back into the game thanks to four straight clutch free throws from Amitai Kolom. After getting a stop on defense, it looked like they were about to cut the deficit down to two on a fastbreak layup when Katz Yeshiva Storm guard Abie Betesh rose up from behind to swat the ball off the backboard. The Storm corralled the loose ball and turned defense into offense as Andrew Pearl converted two free throws to push their lead to six.
That sequence would prove to be the turning point in the game, as up until then the Aces had come marching back from a double-digit 4th quarter deficit, only to see their comeback fall apart in the final minutes, as they fell to Katz Yeshiva 49-38.
The Storm were carried by the red-hot shooting of Andrew Pearl, who led all scorers with 22 points, connecting on four of his nine three-point field goals. Leading the scoring for the Aces once again was guard Amitai Kolom, who finished with 16 points to go along with seven rebounds.
The game was a close one in the first half, with Ida Crown using full-court pressure to force turnovers and create fastbreak opportunities. Aces’ Forward Ryan Bokor was a force under the hoop on the defensive end, but Katz Yeshiva was able to stay afloat thanks to two triples from Pearl as the storm went into the half trailing 17-15.
Bokor got the second half started with a nice jumper, but Pearl answered right back with yet another long-distance bomb, followed by a floater in the lane which gave the Storm a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Bokor struggled from the field although he did absorb a significant amount of contact on most of his shot attempts. However, when the Aces did get to the charity stripe, they shot a combined 12/26 (46%), which proved to be the difference maker in the game, as the Storm capitalized on their own free throws to put the game away late.
Aces’ guard Jordan Benditzson seems to have a signature move. Just like he did yesterday, he sent yet another defender flying with a nice pump fake at the end of a drive to the hoop, easily converting the bucket for two points. Benditzson finished with seven points and two rebounds.
Nerya miller, Max Baker, and Shmuel Horowitz each contributed two points for the Aces, while Ryan Bokor was just shy of a double-double finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.
For the Storm, Jonah Lasko, who in yesterday’s victory led the Storm with 15 points, fell back down to earth today, converting on none of his 13 field goal attempts, although he did contribute three assists, two rebounds, and solid defense which was key to the Storm’s victory.
Jonah Tripp, Daniel Portnoy, and Abie Betesh each chipped in five points for the Storm, with Jacob Schulman and Brandon Munter scoring two apiece, Ariel Berger with three, and center David Kahane contributed six points, grabbed six rebounds, and played physical defense under the basket.
The Katz Yeshiva Storm entered the Sarachek tournament as the number 17 seed and have gone on to upset the number 16 seeded Kohelet Kings and the number 10 seeded Ida Crown Aces. They will look to continue their Cinderella run in the Tier II semifinals on Sunday. To do so they will need to keep up their team defense and maintain their balanced scoring attack, as well as get their shooters going early, namely Lasko and Pearl.
With today’s loss, the Ida Crown Aces will be seeking redemption when they begin Tier III play on Sunday. To keep their hopes alive the Aces will need Kolom to keep scoring, but they should also look to feed Bokor more post touches, as he possesses a unique combination of finesse and size.
All of the action can be followed on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.
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