Memphis Yeshiva Invitational

11-8-2015 | DRS Wildcats Defeat HAFTR HAWKS, 54-45 win 2015 Cooper Invitational Championship

11-8-2015 | DRS Wildcats Defeat HAFTR HAWKS, 54-45 win 2015 Cooper Invitational Championship

By: Shmuel Perl

The 2015 Cooper Invitational Tier I Championship game featured the defending champion #3 HAFTR Hawks, and the preseason favorites #1 DRS Wildcats. The battle of the Five Towns was an exciting game, which featured arguably the best matchup in the tournament: HAFTR center Abie Perlow and DRS forward, Gabe Leifer. These two were not only battling for the OrthoMemphis Championship trophy, but also the Tier I Most Outstanding Player. HAFTR’s road to the championship went through a frisky Fasman team, a Cooper Macs squad that was not playing great basketball, and a great YULA Panthers team that played them tough. DRS had to go through the AJA Jaguars, who they absolutely destroyed, the YHS Storm, who they almost lost to, and the RASG Warriors, who they also beat handedly.

The Wildcats started #11, Jeremy Brody, #3 Yoav Deutsch, #5 Zev Ben-Ami, #42 Gabe Leifer, and #21 Judah Levine. The Hawks came out with #33 Sammy Mandel, #30 Jason Abraham, #15 Jason Mishkin, #21 Max Rosne, and #32 Abie Perlow. HAFTR won the tip and immediately scored on a drive by Abie Perlow. But DRS quickly responded, with a sweet jumper by Gabe Leifer to tie it up. DRS then followed it up with a corner three by their athletic forward Zev Ben-Ami. Both teams hit free throws, but a fast break layup by Gabe Leifer on a play that could have been called a charge, gave DRS a four point lead. On the next DRS possession, Leifer again got the ball inside and converted a three point play to put the Wildcats up seven. With under a minute left, DRS got the ball back and tried to hold on for one last shot, but Jeremy Brody drove in the lane and put up a floater for some unknown reason, and HAFTR got the ball right back. The Hawks capitalized on their extra possession when Jason Mishkin hit from downtown, and it looked like they would be heading into the second quarter only down four. But with only a few ticks left on the clock in the first quarter, Gabe Leifer rose up and knocked down a deep three to preserve the Wildcats’ seven point lead going into the second quarter.

The Wildcats came out of the quarter break with momentum, as Leifer hit a sweet jumper from the top of the key and then soon followed it up with a put back in transition to give DRS their first double digit lead. After a backcourt violation by HAFTR, Jeremy Brody nailed a three, but Perlow countered with two free throws for the Hawks. Perlow then hit two more free throws, but so did Leifer for DRS. Akiva Ackerman added two more foul shots for the Wildcats, and the 6’6 Judah Levine drove baseline banked it home to make it a 16 point lead for the Wildcats. Toward the end of the first half, Leifer scored again, and Sammy Mandel missed a floater at the buzzer to make it a 29-11 game, with DRS on top, after two quarters of play.

Neither team could really make a shot to start the third quarter, but HAFTR, who could not score from the floor, got two points off of Max Rosener free throws. Judah Levine then scored two points from the line for DRS, but it was at this point that HAFTR turned it on. The Hawks got a three from Sammy Mandel, and then started to force turnovers with their press. However, they could not get it going offensively, while DRS continued to hit free throws. Once again, HAFTR came out with their press and this time was more successful, forcing turnovers and getting two fast break buckets. Yoav Deutsch stopped the run with a nice move to the hoop and a scoop shot to put DRS up 13. Perlow then responded with a great drive and score, but Leifer came right back with his first two points of the half from the free throw line. With a minute left in the quarter, Perlow scored again, but a controversial offensive foul on the next play gave the ball back to DRS which they turned into a three-point play from Gabe Leifer. With ten seconds left in the quarter, Perlow made two free throws, but DRS still led 40-28.

DRS got the ball to start the fourth quarter, and Jeremy Brody got fouled going to the basket which sent him to the line. Brody made one of two, but a three-point play by Abie Perlow on the other end made it a ten point game. Judah Levine then scored on baseline drive, but Sammy Mandel came up big with a deep three to cut DRS’s lead to single digits. Leifer hit another free throw, but this time it was Max Rosner with a triple to make it a suddenly interesting game. DRS then brought the ball up the court, hoping to stop the run by the Hawks, but instead turned it over which led to a fast break score by the HAFTR Hero, Abie Perlow. With four minutes left the score was 44-39 DRS. After another questionable call by the refs, Leifer made one of two free throws, and then Yoav Deutsch, who had been quiet most of the game, got fouled and made two free throws. On the other end of the court, Jason Abraham drilled a three off the dribble and Yoav Deutsch stole it, lost control, but was pushed out of bounds and because of the double bonus, got to the line. Deutsch knocked down both, but HAFTR then got a put back from Perlow, drew a charge, and Perlow made a free throw to make it a four point game with 45 seconds left. The Wildcats moved the ball well and took twenty seconds off the clock before Leifer made a free throw. HAFTR got the rebound on Leifer’s miss, but had a badly executed possession in which they took a lot of time off the clock and did not score. Zev Ben-Ami then got fouled in a last ditch effort by HAFTR to make a comeback. Ben-Ami made both, and a HAFTR three was rebounded by Leifer on the next play, which he took the length of the court and dunked emphatically as the buzzer sounded. The final score was 54-45 DRS, who were led by the 27 points and 12 rebounds of Gabe Leifer, while HAFTR was led by the 24 points and 11 rebounds of their star center, Abie Perlow.

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