With a vocal fan section on hand growing louder as the clock wound down, the Boys Varsity Basketball Team came back from an 11-point 4th Quarter deficit to defeat the North Shore Stars on Tuesday night (1/2/18), just after the JV succumbed to the Stars JV squad at the Falcons Nest in Brooklyn, NY.
The JV teams faced off first, and it was clear from the start that the Falcons were just not on top of their game. The boys ran the offense, but just could not get the ball to drop, whether it was finishing on drives or follows inside or shooting jumpers or threes from outside, all they found was rim – and no net. They went the entire opening quarter without registering a single point. So, after spotting the Stars 25 points to start the game, Flatbush got a lone free throw midway through the 2nd quarter to finally get the hosts on the board. It provided a much needed spark, as the falcons then outscored North Shore 16-4 the rest of the quarter, with the big shots provided by Sophomore Alan Sassoon’s three 3’s. At the half, the Falcons trailed 29-16.
Flatbush kept the pressure on with a jumper to open the second half, but North Shore answered right back to push the lead to 14. Flatbush managed only three more points in the 3rd quarter and trailed 54-21 at the period’s end. The final quarter was more the same. Flatbush played hard, but just could not successfully solve the Stars defense. North Shore doubled up the Falcons for a final score of 64-32.
The Varsity teams took the court next, and it looked like Flatbush might be in for another long night. Sharp defense was matched with sloppy offense to start the game, with the Falcons committing turnovers and getting no shots on their opening three possessions. A Sammy Salzman rebound put back got Flatbush on the board at the 5:30 mark. A Jack Mishaan rebound and assist to Eddie Lincer for a three made it a 1 point game with under two minutes in the quarter, and it looked like Flatbush had righted the ship and was on the move. Another Lincer three with 43 seconds on the clock gave Flatbush it’s first lead of the game, which they held at the quarter break, 10-8.
Jack Mishaan continued his dominance on the boards, and started a Falcons break with another strong rebound to start the quarter. But the Stars were not about to let Flatbush run away and hide. North Shore got a friendly bounce on a three then followed that with a lay in, and the game was 13-13 with 5:18 to play. A Salzman finish inside and a Joe Kattan jumper from outside gave Flatbush a 20-15 lead. But it did not last long, and when a Stars rainbow from the corner fell through, North Shore went ahead 21-20 with a minute to play. Flatbush showed patience on the final possession, and it paid off as the extra pass at the end found an open Maurice Mosseri under the basket for an easy buzzer lay in. At the half, Flatbush held a slim 22-21 lead.
The Flatbush lead disappeared very quickly, and it took a Mosseri three from the corner at 4:30 to pull the Falcons back even at 27-27. Impatience plagued the Falcons again, leading to rushed shots that fell away and turnovers after big defensive stops. With 1:16 left in quarter three, North Shore has opened a 35-27 lead. That same point differential held at the end of the period, 37-29 Stars, with the momentum clearly in the hands of the visitors.
The Falcon struggles continued at the start of the final period, and soon Flatbush found themselves down 11 points with about 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter. At that point, Head Coach Michael Gurock made a big defensive change, calling for a switch out of the zone defense “because we were being too passive,” and went to man-to-man. The change made Flatbush able to make the stops and the hustle plays that they struggled with early in the game. There was a renewed fire in the Falcons play. They got a couple of transition layups by Mosseri and Lincer. Then Lincer hit a big three to further cut in to the deficit. Richard Silverman next notched two foul shots. The big hammer came courtesy of Joe Kattan, who hit a clutch three, bringing the student section to its feet in raucous excitement and giving Flatbush the lead for the first time since the start of the second half.
That set the stage for a wild final two minutes of play. North Shore answered and took back the lead. Flatbush reclaimed it in the final minute on a nifty pass from Lincer to Mosseri underneath for a 49-47 lead. North Shore missed on their their next shot and was forced to foul to stop the clock. Lincer was sent to the line for a one-and one. He missed the front end, but Sammy Salzman came up with a huge offensive board, tipping the rebound to himself and securing it in the corner. The ball found its way to Lincer, who was again fouled and sent to the line. This time, he hit both free throws to make it 4 point game with 15.1 left on the clock.
North Shore then went coast-to-coast without any significant defense from the Falcons to slow him down, cutting the lead to two, 51-49. Things got dicey at that point. North Shore called a timeout immediately after the ball fell through but some extra time ran off the clock. It appeared that the time out was called with just under 9 second to play, but the clock did not stop until 7.4 seconds were left on display. The officials ruled that 10.0 seconds should be put back up. But, that did not sit well with the North Shore bench. They continued to press the officials, and eventually were awarded a technical foul for their efforts. Kattan swished both free throws, and Flatbush then put the ball in play from midcourt. Kattan fed Silverman under the basket for two morepoints. Seconds later, the final buzzer sounded and the fans spilled out to mob the boys as they joined in celebration of the comeback 55-49 win that keeps the Falcons playoff hopes alive.
NEST NOTES: The JV game marked the end of their 2017-18 campaign. They finish the season with a 3-7 mark in league play, and a 7-7 record overall on the season.
The Varsity now has about a month off as the school heads into midterm exams followed by Winter Break. Two games remain on the season, and they will need both to finish at .500. However, a win in their next game – Thursday, February 1, 2018 at YDE – coupled with a North Shore loss against MDY on the same night will likely guarantee the Falcons the 6th and final spot in the playoffs. Game time at YDE is set for 7:00 pm.