This past Saturday night, November 25, the MTA junior varsity Lions took on the Kushner Cobras in a double header at the Max Stern Athletic Center at Yeshiva University. The Lions were led by Coaches Ushie Selevan and Yehuda Halpert, both coaching their first game of the season for the Lions, but between them they have coached Yavneh, Frisch, TABC and MTA.
The first game started out slowly for both teams, with the Lions up by two points at the end of the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter, the Lions started to mesh under their new coaches. In the final three minutes of the game, tri-captain Ikey Gutlove went 6/6 from the free throw line to extend the Lion’s lead to double digits. When the final buzzer sounded the scoreboard showed the score 44-32 in favor of the Lions. The Lions were led by the scoring of Ikey Gutlove (game high 13 points) and Tzvi Motechin (11 points) and the great playing of big men Eli Goldberg and Mendel Hein.
In the second game, the Cobras held off a furious comeback by the Lions. Both teams played stifling defense in the first half as Kushner led 4-2 after one quarter and 13-11 at the half. MTA took their only lead of the game in the second quarter, but on the ensuing possession, junior center Gabe Plotsker hit a three, showing off his range to put the Cobras back in front.
Kushner came out of the halftime locker room with energy and pushed their lead to eight after the third quarter. A great start to the fourth quarter for the Cobras led to their lead ballooning to 15 with five minutes to play. At that point MTA employed a full court press defense and went on a run that saw the Kushner lead shrink to just two with seven seconds to play. Kushner played stifling defense on the final possession not allowing the Lions to attempt a shot before the final buzzer sounded. With the victory, the Cobras improve to 3-2 in league play while the Lions fall to 1-3.
Plotsker led Kushner with 16 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots, while fellow junior Jake Indyk contributed with 11. The defensive effort was led by senior Jon Kirsch and juniors Kobe Garber and Sam Shulman. Junior Nadav Twizer contributed with a big three point shot down the stretch and two clutch free throws, while classmate Harry Stiel played a great floor game and had four points.
The Lions were led by 15 from junior Eitan Warburg and 11 from junior Eitan Pfeiffer.