Memphis Yeshiva Invitational

10-28-2012 | Chicago Tigers Defeat NSHA Stars, 61-58, Claim Cooper Invitational Championship

10-28-2012 | Chicago Tigers Defeat NSHA Stars, 61-58, Claim Cooper Invitational Championship

By: Josh Kahane

The Cooper Invitational National Championship featured two unlikely foes: the No. 4 seeded NSHA Stars who defeated No. 13 Fasman, No. 5 SAR, and the overall No. 1 seed Magen David Yeshiva in route to their final appearance and the No. 6 Chicago Community Tigers who defeated the No. 11 seeded Weinbaum Yeshiva (the eventual Tier II Champions); No. 3 seeded YULA; and the Cinderella story, No. 10 seeded RASG.

Playing without start shooting guard, Jake Newlander, the Tigers were forced to create new rotations and play unique line-ups. NSHA coming off some pre-season success last week in New York was churning on all cylinders come Cooper Invitational time especially after their big win the previous night against the Warriors.

The game started off with the STARS shooting well right out of the gate and jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead. But the Tigers stayed determined and focused, and by the end of a well-played and disciplined first quarter, the Stars led 17-14.

The frenzy picked up in the second quarter with Chicago trapping NSHA at half court and in the base line corners. Chicago forced multiple turnovers which led to two transition 3’s. Chicago led by one at the half, 32-33.

The third quarter began with a scooping drive by Josh Newlander followed by a power play down low by Nathaniel Moses. While Chicago picked up the defensive pressure, NSHA turned the ball over on consecutive trips. At the 6:00 mark, Chicago led 38-32. NSHA began chipping away at the lead by pushing the tempo and with 4:21 left in the third quarter, a once 9 point Chicago lead was cut to 4. Back and forth the game went, but NSHA could not trim the Chicago lead below 5. The third quarter ended with Chicago leading 46-42.

The fourth quarter began with a drive to the bucket by NSHA’s Josh Cohen. A foul on the scoop put Cohen on the line where he hit 1 of 2. But Chicago came back with an immediate 3 to extend the lead to 49-43. On the next 3 trips down, Chicago drove to the bucket and on each of those 3 drives the shots were swatted by NSHA’s Benji Hakakian. But the margin remained and with 5:43 left in regulation, Chicago led 51-45.

NSHA turned up the defensive pressure and, after back-to-back steals and break away layups, narrowed the Chicago lead to 55-49. Chicago made an adjustment of its own and went into a man-to-man defense; but NSHA’s transition offense could not be slowed and NSHA cut the lead to 55-51 with 2:53 left. A bomb from dowtown by Avery Lubin narrowed the Chicago lead to 1 with 2:13 left. NSHA turned up the pressure defensively and forced another Chicago turn over. With 1:33 left, NSHA inbounded the ball down by 1, 57-56. But an immediate steal by Josh Newlander and a foul on the shot put Nathaniel Moses on the line for 2. Moses hit 1 of 2 extending the lead to 58-56. A quick bucket by Chicago put them up by 4 but 2 free throws by Avery Lubin again narrowed Chicago’s lead to 2, 60-58.

With 11 seconds left, Chicago inbounded the ball up by 2. An immediate foul by Benji Hakkakian put Josh Newlander on the line shooting 2 – Newlander hit 1 to put Chicago up 3. With 6.2 seconds left, NSHA controlled the ball down by 3. After an inbounds pass and a 3-point attempt by the Stars fell short, the Tigers had won the 2012 Cooper Invitational by a score of 61-58. The high scorers for the game were Benji Hakakian for the Stars with 16 points and Josh Newlander for the Tigers with 15 points.

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