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Falcons Survive Battle in Shaare Band Box

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The Flatbush Varsity Boys Basketball Team did just enough to secure the victory in their final game of the regular season, defeating the Shaare Torah Stars on Tuesday night (2/14) at the home of the Coney Island Avenue school in Brooklyn, NY.

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The Flatbush Falcons traveled the one mile distance that separates the two schools to face off in what is arguably the smallest venue in the MYHSAL for the final regular season game for both programs.  On the line for the Falcons was playoff seeding (a win held the possibility of earning Flatbush a share of a three-way tie for 1st Place while a loss could drop them to a tie for 5th Place); on the line for the Stars was nothing more than pride, and the ability to knock the mighty Falcons down a peg to a lower place finish in the Eastern Division of the MYHSAL.

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Early on, Flatbush looked like they might just run away and hide, jumping out to an early 9-point lead, but playing hard and loose, the host Stars played patiently on offense and let their home venue work its magic in forcing the Falcons to play away from the team’s strength of speed, and by the time the buzzer sounded to end the opening half, Shaare had come all the way back, and enjoyed a two-point lead at the midpoint break.

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From that point on, it would be a real battle.  Midway through quarter number three, Flatbush finally pulled even on a pair of Louis Zarif free grows, then took the lead at 42-39 on a Kevin Haddad three that rattled home. Shaare answered right back to tie things at 44, but the Falcons went on a 10-2 run to close out the third, behind strong rebounding from Yoel Goldberg and Abie Rosow and with Rosow and Haddad feasting on the inside.  the advantage was 54-46, with the Falcons looking to salt away the game.

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The Stars had other plans, though, and with three minutes gone in the final period, YST was right back in it, knotting the score at 59-59. On their next possession, the stars moved back ahead, and soon had a 66-61 lead, before Haddad drove hard to the basket, converting the hoop while drawing the foul, hitting the traditional 3 point play. A Falcon defensive stop and a Goldberg corner jumper later, and the score was knotted at 66-66. Shaare then made a strategic decision to shorten the game, and ran a minute of clock before drilling a huge three, bringing the hometown faithful to their vocal loudest of the night.  Flatbush closed to one on the next possession, then got a great performance from their defense, inducing a Stars turnover.  Hitting the offensive boards hard, Flatbush took the lead on an Isaac Arazi tip in, 70-69. Shaare immediately pushed the ball up the court to answer with a drive, but Haddad took the lead right back.

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With 30.9 seconds left to play and the Falcons clinging to a 1 point lead, the defense made its biggest play of the night.  With The Stars guard setting up at midcourt, Haddad played tight defense and drew a 5-second closely guarded call giving Flatbush the ball with 14.7 seconds to play and the 1-point lead.  Shaare immediately fouled, sending  Rosow to the line, but he missed both free throws.  Again the defense got a stop.  Again Shaare sent Flatbush to the line, this time with 5.3 second left to play.  Zarif hit on one of two, and the Stars still had life.  One final time, Head Coach Michael Gurock implored his Falcons to play shut down – no fouls defense, and one more time his players rose to the occasion.  Though the clock never started, and it looked like the home team enjoyed more than the remaining 5.3 seconds, Flatbush forced an errant shot from the Stars, gathered the final rebound and secured the victory, 73-71, in the final regular season game of the season.

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NEST NOTES:  The win put the Falcon Varsity Boys record on the season at 10-4, good enough for a three-way tie for second place in the Eastern Division of the MYHSAL.  By virtue of the tie-break process, Flatbush finishes with the 3rd seed, behind DRS and ahead of Rambam.

The Falcons will host 6th Place finisher HAFTR in the opening round of the MYHSAL Playoffs.  That game is set for Monday, 2/27, with a 7:00 pm start time at the Falcons Nest.

See you there, and GO FALCONS!!!

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