The student-athletes, coaches and committee members all arrived early on Sunday morning (12/3) a bit tired, but fully energized for the final day of Hausdorff activities for the 2017 edition of the annual Flatbush JV Boys Basketball Tournament and Shabbaton. After completing Shacharit tefilot and enjoying a nice breakfast of Dukin Donuts and bagels in the Student Lounge, it was all about the games for the remainder of the morning.
The day would be a reset of the match ups from the Tournament’s opening night. Taking the court in the first game would be Memphis’ Cooper Macs and Philadelphia’s Kohelet Kings. The Kings were looking to recapture the rhythm they had at the start of the weekend while Cooper was hoping to continue to build on the improvement they made as a team with each ensuing game. With a bit of minor drama before the start (the second official was delayed, so a substitute official was quickly put in place in the person of Tournament Director Mike Gelber!), the game was soon underway, and like the first match up between the schools, it was Cooper that put up the first points – this time in the form of a 3-ball. Cooper held Kohelet scoreless for almost half of the opening period, but by the 3:30 mark, the game was all even at 5-5. By the end of the quarter, the Kings had moved past the Macs and held a 10-8 advantage.
In the second quarter, Kohelet looked to build on its small lead, but Cooper would just not go away. The Macs hit the boards hard, and another 3-pointer kept them within range. At the midpoint break, Kohelet had added to their lead, but only by the smallest of margins, 21-18. Midway through the third quarter, the Kings began to assert themselves, with a big 5-point swing being the key play when Cooper went over the press for a breakaway lay up, but the shot rimmed out, and at the other end Kohelet buried a 3 for a 10-point Kings lead. Yet again, though, Cooper would not go away. They closed to with 7 at the end of the third period, and with 6 minutes left in the game, a Mac jumper in the lane made it a three point game once more, 32-29. And, it would remain a game down the stretch. In fact, with just under two minutes to play, Cooper hit a 3 to take their first lead since early in the first quarter, 37-36. Kohelet answered with a jumper from close in. The excitement was just beginning to build. The macs came up empty on their next possession, and Kohelet hit a jumper to add to their lead, making is a 40-37 ball game. With the clock winding down, Cooper’s Joel Weinstein stepped up and drilled a three-ball with 10 seconds remaining, bringing the crowd to its feet and bringing the din in the Falcons Nest to a crescendo! But, looking to keep the Kings in the backcourt and deny a game-winning shot, the Macs erred, and fouled the Kohelet ball carrier. With the gym shaking and everyone on edge, Kings guard Michael Batushansky calmly swished both free-throws. With 5.3 second left, Cooper had one last chance. They pushed the ball up court, and at the last possible second launched a three towards the hoop. It arced down towards the rim, but it was just a bit off line. It fell short, the buzzer sounded and the Kings survived to take 3rd Place in the 2017 Hausdorff Tournament. Kohelet’s top scorer on the day was Ori Bach who led all scorers 14 points. Cooper was led by Eli Stone who had 12 points.
The stage was now set for the final game of the day, the Tournament Championship between the host Flatbush Falcons and the boys from outside Detroit, the Farber Fire. Flatbush jumped out to the early 2-0 lead, but it settled into a defensive battle at that point, with neither team able to score until the 2:55 mark when Falcon AJ Cohen put in a rebound follow. David Kleiman followed with a 3-pointer on the next possession for Farber’s first points, making it a 4-3 game. It sparked the home squad, who went on a mini-run late in the period to take a 12-3 lead into the quarter break. Flatbush found it offensive groove in the second quarter, paced by the backcourt savvy of Freshman Guard Yigal Laham, who both distributed and then finished on consecutive possessions. At halftime, the Falcons held a comfortable 29-6 lead.
Quarter number 3 belonged to the Fire, who played like Farber Head Coach Brock Goff lit one under them at the half. They held Flatbush to 6 points in the quarter, and behind a pair of late threes from sharpshooter Jeremiah Wolfe, closed the gap slightly, 35-14. Wolfe kept the pressure on with 5 more points to start the 4th quarter – another three and a nice finish in the lane, but Flatbush answered with a big inside presence from Center Eli Cohen, who cleaned up the glass and also contributed with a point from the free throw line. Farber did everything they could to shoot themselves back into the game, but in the end, Flatbush had too much inside today. When the final buzzer sounded, Flatbush was again Hausdorff Champions, with a final score of 50-24. Flatbush’s balanced attack was paced by Kal Abed’s 12 points. Farber was again led by the hot shooting of Jeremiah Wolfe who scored a game-high 15 points.
No Hausdorff weekend would be complete without the concluding banquet and awards program. With the Tournament Committee on the clock as the Memphis group had an early departure time out of Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, it was a somewhat abbreviated affair. The traditional Chinese food spread was on full display, along with the requisite 5-foot sub sandwiches. But, as it was all weekend long, it was all about the people and the connections made over the course of the Tournament and Shabbaton. With Cooper on the clock, Head Coach Jason Redd addressed the group first, then Tournament Director Michael Gelber announced the All-Tournament team. The team was made up of the following student-athletes: Ezra Somer of the Cooper Macs, Michael Batushansky of the Kohelet Kings, Farber Fire teammates Jeremiah Wolfe and Micah Eizen and Flatbush Falcon Remy Zohni. Joining them as the tournament MVP was Kal Abed of the host Flatbush Falcons. Amidst the thanks spread by Tournament Director Michael Gelber and Shabbaton Coordinator Rabbi Naftali Besser (both titles do not begin to cover the impact both individuals have had on the true reality of what the weekend has come to encompass), they made specific note of the work put in by the Hausdorff Tournament Committee, led by Student Commissioners Marlene Levy, Dani Aiash and Sammy Salzman.
The last word has always belonged to the coaches, and to that end, Coach Andre Hardy of Kohelet shared how appreciative their team was to be invited and welcomed this weekend. He shared that his goals for his boys were echoed throughout the event; to work hard, play hard and be a gentlemen at all times. Coach Brock Goff of Farber shared how much he and his team enjoyed every aspect of the weekend, and that this time, in leaving “I feel like I am leaving family.” He, too, saw one of his regular messages to his players exhibited by all – win or lose, you do it with class! Coach Gus Kennedy spoke on beahlf of the Flatbush staff, noting how much he looked forward to meeting and welcoming all to this tournament and that one of the things he most looks forward to each year is “celebrating the spirit of shabbos that is a huge part of this tournament.” Like his counterparts, he noted how impressed he was with the respect shown by all in each and every game of the Tournament. Finishing up was Flatbush’s Athletic Director, Eric Amkraut – the school’s “Coach of the Coaches.” He shared that two things stood out most for him at this 22nd Edition of Hausdorff; warmth and growth. Warmth – noting the almost spring-like temperatures enjoyed all weekend long, but more significantly warmth in the way the boys connected with each other over the course of the extended weekend, making connections and building bonds that will last a lifetime! Growth – noting that that is what is most significant in his programs; the ability to show improvement over the course of a season (“From day 1 to day 30 to day 60 to day 90”), but in this case in the 4 days of the tournament. That was clearly evident in the way the teams improved with each and every game. In both cases, it was clear that every participant – from player to coach to committee member – had a most successful weekend, taking to heart and keeping alive the values promoted each and every day by Thomas Hausdorff, A”H. Morris Dweck’s “ripple effect” continues!