In the game for third place in Tier I, two powerhouses from opposite sides of the country faced off. The #5 TABC Storm hailing from Teaneck, New Jersey had beaten the Fasman Yeshiva and the Weinbaum Storm, but lost to the North Shore Hebrew Academy Stars in the semis. YULA had beaten Kohelet and Frisch, but lost to the HAFTR Hawks in the semis.
The Panthers started out with a bucket from Motti Zilberstein, who had been their most reliable scorer thus far. Tai Gerzburg hit a free throw for TABC, but YULA made one on the other end too. Zilberstein scored again, this time a jumper from the corner, but a jumper by Moshe Brum and a 3 by Dan Poleyeff gave TABC the lead. YULA countered with a 5-0 run, with all the points coming from senior guard Daniel Elias. Moshe Brum responded with 3 points of his own to make it a 1 point game, but 3 points for YULA put them back up 3. At the end of the 1st quarter, the score was 13-9 YULA.
Moshe Brum had a nice finish at the rim to start the 2nd quarter, but YULA countered back with a basket. With five minutes left in the half, Poleyeff scored again, but YULA once again scored on their end. A Solo Shulman 3 made it a 1 point game, but YULA came back with a 5-0 run led by Motti Zilberstein. Brum scored again, but so did Daniel Tzion on the other end. The Panthers tried to get one last shot to end the half, but turned it over and gave TABC another chance to score with 8.8 seconds left. Yosef Bram made the put back layup and made the score 24-20 in favor of the Storm at halftime.
Noam Posner scored 4 points to give YULA an 8 point lead early in the 3rd, but a Moshe Brum layup cut it down to 6. Posner scored again, but TABC countered with a 5-0 run led by Solo Shulman. Both teams scored off of turnovers, and at the end of the 3rd the score was 32-29 in favor of the Panthers.
Dan Poleyeff nailed a jumper to start the final quarter and put TABC within 1. Gavi Smith made a game tying free throw with six minutes left, and a Moshe Brum jumper gave TABC its first lead. With four minutes left, Asher Remer hit a clutch 3 to put the Panthers back on top. The Storm took back the lead when they forced a turnover, and Aaron Heiderman made a layup. With a minute left, YULA had the ball, but they turned it over and squandered a chance to take back the lead. YULA got the ball back, but turned it over once again. YULA fouled, and Solo Shulman hit one of two free throws. The Panthers got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining, and had one last chance to tie or win. But the Panthers last chance came up short, and TABC won by a final score of 36-35.
The high scorer for TABC was Moshe Brum with 12 points, while Noam Posner led YULA with 8 points.
By Shmuel Perl