Zach Muller had 23 points and the Shalhevet Firehawks overcame foul trouble and a fiesty YULA Panthers team to take this Tier I game 55-38. Noah Pomerance had 10 points and Albert Fallas played well as YULA stayed within striking distance for most of the game until Muller caught fire and put the game away.
Shalhevet jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but YULA answered with four points. The Firehawks’ intense man-to-man defense bothered YULA throughout the first quarter and limited their star players Pomerance and Noam Meisels. The game was a little bit chippy at times, with two technical fouls called in the first half. This was a manifestation of the intensity, heart, and emotion that both teams played with all game long today.
Shalhevet used a dynamic, full-court press to stifle the Panthers' offense and an aggressive offensive rebounding attack to gain more possessions for the offense. Trailing 20-12 with only a minute left in the half, Luria Hadad hit a big three for the Panthers. However, Shalhevet was quick to answer with a nice jumper from the struggling Zach Muller and a corner three from Zeev Reemer with three seconds left to give the Firehawks a 25-15 lead going into the half. Despite the lead, Coach Coleman of the Firehawks was not happy with how his team played, saying that it was "horrible" and "disappointing" and that "We didn't travel 3,000 miles to embarrass ourselves."
Sitting for most of the first half, Pomerance came out and started YULA on a little bit of a run as they cut the Shalhevet lead to six. As the Panthers gained momentum, Shalhevet countered with a nasty halfcourt trap that threw off the YULA offense and caused a number of turnovers. With the tide starting to turn towards Shalhevet, Zach Muller took advantage with a personal 7-0 run that included two technical free throws, a sick, backdoor alleyoop layup, and an and-1 jump shot that he was able to convert. Down 15, Fallas hit a big three and drew an offensive foul to slow down the Firehawks run and bring his team to only a 36-25 deficit going into the final quarter.
Joeseph Sassoon got a big offensive rebound and fed the ball to a cutting Noam Meisels who absorbed the contact and snuck the ball in the hoop for big three point play that cut the lead to 39-30. However, Shalhevet responded immediately with a big 7-2 run featuring a big three by Ben Zaghi and a nasty eurostep by Jeremy Asheghian. YULA employed a full court press, but Shalhevet's calm, perfect passing easily broke the press and led to easy shots.
YULA’s comeback and upset attempt fell short, and they will head to the Tier I consolation bracket. Meanwhile, Shalhevet will advance to play the SAR Sting in what should be a thrilling game in the Tier I semifinals on Sunday.
Be sure to follow all of the action on on MacsLive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva Sports and exclusive home of the Red Sarachek Tournament.
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