The Flatbush Middle Division 6th and 8th Grade Girls whetted the community’s competitive whistle in advance of the Super Bowl on Sunday morning (2/4), with a doubleheader against Yeshiva Har Torah, with YHT taking the opening 6th Grade game and the 8th Grade Falcons shutting down the Har Torah attack in game two as the school’s split the day’s contests at the YoF Elementary School Gym in Brooklyn, NY.
The 6th Graders opened the morning’s contests, and Flatbush’s Falcons controlled the tempo early on.
Flatbush’s girls were very active at both ends, with Allie Abraham providing pressure and Renee Franco getting multiple looks at the hoop, but the Falcons ended up with nothing to show for it. In the first quarter Flatbush outshot YHT, but only Har Torah got the ball to go in. At the end of the quarter, YHT held an 8-0 lead.
A Franco jumper early in the second quarter finally got Flatbush on the board. The Falcons cut the deficit to 6, but Har Torah scored a few baskets late to take a 16-4 lead at the half.
Out of the break, the Flatbush defense was back in form. And, a Shaham bank shot followed by a Zalta free throw made it a 16-7 game 3 minutes in. Two minutes later, Franco contorted to put back a rebound, and the lead was cut to 7 points. But Har Torah got a late basket to push the lead back out. After three quarters, YHT led 20-11.
At that point, the Falcons appeared to have run out of gas. The fourth quarter belonged to the visitors. Only Franco got a Falcons shot to fall. Final score: 26-13 Har Torah.
It was not the result the coaches and players were looking for, but the coaches were very pleased with the effort put forth by their young Falcons. “I am so proud of our girls,” beamed Head Coach Renee Dweck after the game. “What an improvement over the first time we played Har Torah. Allie Abraham was amazing in defending their top scorer, and we did a great job with our team defense.” It is exactly what a coach looks for from one game to the next.
Shortly after the 6th Graders finished, Head Coach Rozan Mizrahi’s 8th Graders took their places on the court. Flatbush established their defensive presence right from the start, with Lynn Franco and Norma Mattout pulling down rebounds on the first two YHT possessions. But two minutes in, it was Har Torah that got on the board first with a long three pointer. An Eliana Brand inside hoop got the Falcons on the board 4 minutes in, making it a 5-2 ballgame. A late rebound and putback with 18 seconds left in the quarter kept it a three point game at the quarter break, with the score 10-7 in favor of YHT.
A Mattout three from the wing brought Flatbush even 30 seconds in. A few minutes later, a Sarah Greenberg runner in the lane gave the Falcons their first lead of the game, 14-12. But it was the defense that set the tone, creating turnovers and denying multiple looks at the basket. Har Torah came back and took the lead on an open three, but Flatbush responded immediately, taking the lead right back as Mattout answered with a three of her own, then Brand converted a steal and lay in to make the score 22-19, Flatbush, with 2:09 left in the half. A Jessica Saadia rebound and put back in the final seconds gave Flatbush a 7-point lead heading into the intermission. 28-21, Falcons.
Alexa Greenstein hit the restart button in style with a three to open the second half scoring, giving Flatbush its first double-digit lead of the game. Sandwiched around a pair of Brand free throws, another Greenstein three made it a 36-21 game, prompting a YHT timeout with 5:48 left in the quarter. However, it was the defense that continued to be key, as the score was 38-21 before YHT finally got back on the board with a three at the 3:47 mark. A buzzer beater by Brand made it a 42-26 Flatbush lead at the end of the third quarter.
Two quick hoops by the visitors cut the lead down to 12, and another YHT basket off a Flatbush miss made it a 10 point game. Franco ended the run with a lay in to make the score 44-32 with 5:40 to play. It was the lift Flatbush needed to regain order in the game. Two minutes later, a pair of Saadia free throws, followed by a Mattout conventional three point play (converting a lay up and free throw on the foul) pushed the lead out to 20 points. Flatbush won going away, 57-33.
NEST NOTES: The 8th Grade Girls were led in scoring by Eliana Brand’s 18 points. Norma Mattout was right behind with 16 points. Lynn Franco and Alexa Greenstein each had 8 points, Jessica Saadia scored 4 points and Sarah Greenberg rounded out the scoring with 3 points.