Memphis Yeshiva Invitational

11-7-2015 | DRS Wildcats Take Fight out of RASG Warriorrs, 54-36: Advance to Cooper Invitational Championship

11-7-2015 | DRS Wildcats Take Fight out of RASG Warriorrs, 54-36: Advance to Cooper Invitational Championship

By: Shmuel Perl

In what was expected to be one of the best games of the tournament, the #4 RASG Warriors faced off against the #1 DRS Warriors in the first semi-final game of the night. This highly anticipated matchup featured arguably the best two players in the tournament, RASG point guard Ben Tal, and DRS power forward Gabe Leifer. Tal had a chance for a three on the Warriors’ opening possession but missed it, while on the other side of the court, Yoav Detusch drove baseline and made a layup for DRS. RASG’s other star player, Jack Esformes, missed his chance at a three pointer, while DRS continued to be efficient offensively, going on a 5-0 run led by the play of Leifer. With a few minutes gone by, Salomone Rosenthal helped the Warriors get on the board for the first time, with a crossover and a three. But the DRS offense could just not be stopped, as they scored four more quick points to put them up by eight. Finally forcing DRS into a turnover, three subsequent free throws from Ben Tal slowed down the Wildcats attack temporarily. After a few more sloppy possessions from both teams, and some questionable no-calls by the refs, a high flying Michael Bixon put back a missed layup by Tal to cut the DRS lead to three. With only a little bit left in the first quarter, Yoav Deutsch, who started off really hot, made another bucket, and four missed free throws by Bixon kept it a five point game. With the clock winding down, Gabe Leifer made a beautiful pass to a wide open Zev Ben-Ami to make it a 15-8 game at the end of the first quarter.

Deutsch continued to be hot heading into the second, draining a three in the quarter’s opening minutes. Leifer hit a free throw, and Deutsch was money once again from three to extend the DRS lead to sixteen. With the first half almost complete, the story so far was the RASG defense just had not shown up. The Warriors, who rely heavily on the three ball, were not making their shots either and quickly fell behind. With about three minutes left in the quarter, their offense started to show some signs of life, as Rosenthal hit a three and Shmuel Kahn banked home a layup. The next two possessions were a battle between two lightning quick guards with tremendous finishing ability. First Deutsch scored for DRS, then Tal countered with two baskets of his own for RASG, but then Yoav Deutsch came back down, drove to the hoop, and showed off his ability with an acrobatic finish to put DRS up 28-17 at halftime.

The second half started with a missed jumper by Jack Esformes, who continued to shoot terribly, while at the other end of the floor, Gabe Leifer, who was also relatively cold in the first half, powered his way to a score and then found a cutting Deutsch for a reverse only a few seconds later. Meanwhile, Deutsch and Leifer scored a bucket each to extend the Wildcats lead to seventeen. With about three minutes left in the third, Esformes finally got on the board and Bixon followed it up with an athletic drive and finish. Both teams scored twice to end the third, but a wide open three by Zev Ben-Ami gave the Wildcats a 43-26 lead after three quarters of play.

DRS opened the final quarter with a steal and score by Deutsch who was closing in on a thirty point game with six minutes left. At the other end, Esformes hit his first three of the game, but it was Deutsch once again, who countered with a nice drive and a layup. With about four minutes left, DRS decided to try and hold the ball as long as they could and had a beautiful possession, led by the play of pass-first point guard Jeremy Brody, in which they moved the ball well and were able to take a minute off the clock before Brody cashed in on two free throws. With a double digit lead, the Wildcats took their foot off the gas pedal and put in their bench. While RASG was able to get a few free throws against the new lineup, the Wildcat’s second unit was still able to be efficient offensively and made a couple of nice buckets to put the Warriors away. The final score was 54-36 DRS in what ended up being a pretty one-sided affair.

The win puts the Wildcats into the Cooper Invitational Championship game, while the loss moved the Warriors into the Tier 1 consolation game.

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