With the West JV bye on the line on Superbowl Sunday afternoon, the 7-1 JEC JV Thunder traveled to Yeshiva University, at the Stern Gymnasium, to take on the MTA JV Lions.
JEC was short-handed for this game due to unavailable personnel on Super Bowl Sunday, and despite beating MTA in early December in the Emunah/Rubenstein JV Basketball Tournament, by a 65-43 score, the outcome in this tiff was very much in doubt.
The Thunder, however, was up to the challenge and utilized the bench to beat the MTA Lions by a 48-34 score. Fr Ellie Krul from Highland Park got the start for JEC, and JEC took a fast 2-0 lead on a designed tip-off play, and never lost the lead. Fr. PG Dani Hess, from Linden, came off the bench and gave shorthanded JEC a huge lift with eight first half-points, to go with seven assists, and outstanding floor play.
At the half, with several starters in foul trouble, the JEC bench still was able to build a 22-18 lead, not comfortable, but enough to hold the first for the regulars to take over in the second half. And that is exactly what JEC did under the leadership of JEC Co-Captain, PG Dovid Rozehzadeh, from West Orange. Rozehzadeh quarterbacked the Thunder to a dominant 13-1 third quarter, as JEC built a 35-19 lead. From there, JEC maintained its lead and won the game 48-34.
JEC field general, Rozehzadeh, finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The performance of the game, though, was the dominance of JEC freshman center, Ethan Thurm, of East Brunswick, who powered to 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.
JEC has now earned its first JV playoff bye since the 2004-5 season, with Hillel remaining on the schedule Tuesday night. After the Hillel season finale, JEC travels to Montreal to compete in the Gruenbaum/Montreal Academy JV Tournament.