The Flatbush Middle Division Boys 7th and 6th Grade Basketball teams hosted their counterparts from rival Magen David Yeshivah on Sunday afternoon (2/11), and the visiting Warriors took both ends of the doubleheader, handing both Flatbush squads their first loses of the season, at the YoF Elementary School Gym in Brooklyn, NY.
Patience on offense, smooth passing and a strong finish inside from Danny Hanan gave Flatbush’s 7th Grade Boys team the early advantage in the heated rivalry game. It soon settled into a defensive battle, with both teams struggling to score against the opposing pressure. The Warriors soon found success from outside, stringing together multiple threes, while Flatbush could not finish on open looks from outside. Only a Moshe Kopolovich block at the buzzer kept it from being worse. At the end of the first quarter, the visiting Warriors held a 14-3 lead.
Joey Levy registered the first outside shot for the Falcons as his three cut the deficit to 8, but Magen answered right back, pushing the lead out to 17-7 midway through the quarter. The Flatbush defense was in gear, as they held the Warriors to only four points in the quarter. The problem was that the Falcons could only muster 4 points of their own, including a paltry 1-7 from the free throw line (including misses on two front ends of one-and-ones). At the half, Magen led 18-7.
Flatbush had five shots on their first possession of the second half, and two on their second, but came away with no points. It took over four minutes for the Falcons to score, when Abraham Tawil finished on the inside after a Hanan steal. But, Flatbush got a momentum swing when the MDY coach was called for a tech. Levy hit both free throws, then Tawil hit from outside and Ben Falack finished off a feed from Hanan to get the score to 21-15 with 1:20 to play. A Sammy Benun lay in on another steal cut the deficit to four. Then things got heated. Flatbush hit on two threes, and another steal with a Benun finish brought the Falcons all the way back, tying the score at 25. A buzzer jumper from Magen made the score 27-25, Warriors, heading into the fourth quarter.
After another Magen score, a now blazing hot Levy hit on another three to make it a one point game. Magen once again responded, as a three ball three minutes in gave the Warriors a 35-30 lead. Another Tawil three cut the deficit to three with 3:30 to play in the game. Flatbush’s next possession saw Benun tie the game again with a three, 37-37! Flatbush’s defense then did its job, getting a big stop, but the offense could not capitalize. MDY next hit on a lay in to retake the lead. MDY extended with a corner jumper to lead by 4 with 1:12 to play. A huge Hanan rebound put back got the points back, and the score was 43-41 MDY with 41.5 second left to play. A turnover on the press gave Flatbush back the ball with 30 seconds left in regulation. After working the clock down to 15 seconds, the Falcons began their attack. With Magen closing out the three point line, Tawil got the ball in the corner with the seconds ticking away. He drove the baseline, but missed on his shot. Hanan was there. He gathered the rebound, pivoted and went up looking to tie the game. Unfortunately for the Flatbush faithful, his shot fell short of the goal. Magen got the rebound, and time expired, preserving the Warriors win, 43-41.
The 6th Graders from both schools stepped out to begin their warm ups, and soon tipped off game two of the Flatbush-Magen doubleheader. Isaac Cooper and Joey Hara opened the scoring, hitting on three straight possessions to give Flatbush an early 6-0 lead. The defense aided the effort with strong play down low from Joey Grazi. Later on, a Darren Kassin jumper in the lane made it an 8-4 ballgame. That was the point difference at the quarter break, 12-8 in favor of the Falcons.
The second quarter saw strong defense at the outset, with Flatbush’s Victor Ryba recording a nice block under the basket. The offense was slow to get going, though. Jacob Zeitoune finally got Flatbush back on the board with an inside finish off an assist from Kassin to make the score 14-9 with 2:45 to play in the half. Sloppy play on offense led to Flatbush turnovers and Magen soon took the lead. At the half, the score stood 15-14 in favor of the visiting Warriors.
A Cooper steal and breakaway lay in gave Flatbush back the lead early in the quarter. But, the game stayed close, and with 2:29 left in the quarter, the score was even at 19-19. Two straight baskets out of the timeout gave Magen a 23-19 lead. That is where things stood at the end of the third quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Flatbush fanned on the chance at an open lay up; Magen did not, and they extended their lead to 6 points with 5 minutes left. A minute later, the Falcons’ inability to protect the ball let Magen extend the lead to 9. Benny Keda finally got one to fall for Flatbush, but by then there were only two minutes left in the game, and MDY still had a 9 point lead. Even with two late baskets from Hara and Cooper, it was just a tough day shooting for the 6th grade Falcons. Magen closed out the win, 33-25.
NEST NOTES: The losses in both games were the first of the season for both Head Coach Judah Rhine’s 7th graders and Head Coach Gus Kennedy’s 6th Graders.
Both teams will now have a few days to get back their rhythm and regain their winning form. They each return to action on Thursday, 2/15, in games with the HAFTR Hawks. The 6th Grade boys will host their counterparts, while the 7th Graders will travel to Lawrence, NY to face off against the 7th Grade Hawks. Both games will tip off at 7:00 pm.