Memphis Yeshiva Invitational

11-6-2015 | DRS Wildcats, take spin out of Storm, 55-45, Advance to Final Four

11-6-2015 | DRS Wildcats, take spin out of Storm, 55-45, Advance to Final Four

By: Shmuel Perl

The final Tier I game of the day featured the #1 DRS Wildcats and the #8 YHS Storm. With a semifinal matchup against #4 RASG on the line, both teams knew they had to step up their games. Neither team had much of a challenge in the first round, as DRS manhandled AJA to the tune of a 90 point game, while YHS destroyed the CJHS Tigers. Both teams missed threes to start the game, but a turnaround jumper from Gabe Leifer gave DRS the first basket of the game. Ethan Lasko then countered with a deep three for the Storm, and another basket by Lasko off a turnover put YHS up three. Leifer scored again, but Ethan Lasko hit another deep three and the Storm extended their lead to four. After a few more missed baskets by DRS, Sammy Baum hit a jumper and Ethan Lasko took a steal the length of the court and all of a sudden the title favorites were down eight late in the first quarter. Leifer, who was the only Wildcat that seemed to be able to do anything early in the game, scored again, but DRS still found themselves in a 12-6 hole after one quarter of play.

YHS was not able to convert on some easy opportunities to start the second quarter, and after one free throw by Leifer and a corner three by Yoav Deutsch, the game was back to being a four point contest. The Storm hit a free throw, but DRS responded with a basket by Jeremy Brody to make it a three point game. DRS continued to score, as Leifer converted on a beautiful three point play to tie up the game. Sammy Baum knocked down a free throw line jumper, but a bucket by Zev Ben-Ami and two free throws by Leifer gave the Wildcats the lead for the first time since the opening minute. The Storm did not let the Wildcats stay on top for long as Jared Stern nailed a three and Sammy Baum connected on a free throw to put YHS up two. With under a minute left in the half, the Wildcats forced a turnover and Zev Ben-Ami scored to tie up the game. With 20 seconds left in the half, DRS dialed up a play to get their star shooter, Yoav Deutsch, the ball in the corner. The play worked, and Deutsch launched a three that rolled around the rim and dropped in to give DRS a three point lead with under ten-seconds in the quarter, but YHS was not done just yet. The Storm put the ball in the hands of their point guard, Jared Stern, who pushed the ball quickly up the court but was immediately double teamed by the Wildcats. Stern just barely got off a deep triple before the buzzer sounded, to make it a 24-24 game at halftime.

Judah Levine of DRS missed an easy layup to start third quarter, but redeemed himself with a put back layup not one minute later. DRS added to their lead on a basket by Leifer, but Ethan Lasko responded with two free throws and then a floater to tie up the game again. Lasko, who also got hot at the beginning of the first quarter, stole the ball, took it the length of the court, drew a foul, and dropped in a layup to make it a 30-28 game. Lasko hit the one free throw, but followed it up with a costly foul on Leifer, which gave DRS a chance for a three point play and sent the Storm’s best player to the bench with three fouls. Leifer missed the free throw, but Jeremy Brody made two foul shots on the next possession to give the lead back to the Wildcats. Lasko, who didn’t stay sitting for long, weaved through the defense to give YHS the lead with less than a minute left in the third. The Storm missed an easy layup that would have given them crucial lead heading into the fourth, and instead found themselves trying to stop the Wildcats from extending their lead with thirty-seconds left. DRS tried for one shot and were able to move the ball well to find an open Zev Ben-Ami for three as the buzzer sounded. The score after three quarters was 37-33 DRS.

Lasko gave the ball away on the Storm’s first possession, and Gabe Leifer turned it into a three point play on the other end. DRS seemed to have found its groove halfway through the fourth, as they went on a 6-0 run to put them up double digits for the first time. Lasko, who had been cold for most of the second half, finally hit a three to cut the DRS lead to 10. The Storm started to press, but DRS easily broke it which led to a free throw by Akiva Ackerman. Lasko was not done though, as he hit a three and then made a free throw on the next possession to make it an eight point game. Ackerman scored again on the press break, but after a silly foul by DRS on a Lasko three point attempt, the Storm’s best player went to the line with a chance to cut the Wildcats’ lead to six. Lasko made only two of three free throws, and Yoav Deutsch hit four free throws for DRS, so the score was 52-42 with 1:14 to play. Jared Stern made a three to cut the lead to seven, but Gabe Leifer stole the ball, took it up the court, and threw it down to seal the game for the Wildcats. The final score was 55-45, DRS, who was led by Gabe Leifer with 23 points. Ethan Lasko led the Storm with 29 points. The win puts the Wildcats into the Final Four on Saturday night, while the loss pushed the Storm into the Tier 1 consolation bracket.

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