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Monday, November 25, 2013

Falcon's Nest Notes: Falcons Get Back on Track This Past Week

Hockey's First Line celebrates one of Sam Laniado's 4 goals
The Flatbush Falcons returned to their winning ways with two stunning comebacks bookending the week.

That was what the scoreboard showed at the end of the 1st quarter of the Varsity Girls Basketball game against the visiting Central Wildcats on Monday, November 18. Then someone woke the sleeping lion – er, Falcon! Over the next three quarters, the Flatbush girls outhustled, outgunned and outscored their Central guests by 24 points to win going away 41-28. For one quarter, it was as if there was a lid on the basket. Anything Flatbush put up towards the basket just bounced off, rolled around or just plain missed the rim. To make matters worse, when they weren’t missing shots the offense did a poor job of protecting the ball, creating turnovers that led to easy lay-ups for the Wildcats. But right from the start of the second quarter, it was clear something was different. Guards Victoria Gindi and Rachel Linfield settled the offense down and the team began moving the ball more crisply on offense, working for good shots. And, Center Merle Cohen began to dominate inside on both ends, finally converting on an inside basket on offense and controlling the lane on defense by both altering shots and grabbing any rebound that came near her. Cohen’s defensive presence balanced by strong rebounding from Robyn Dweck, sparked numerous fast break opportunities that led to Jen Maleh conversions on the other end. The hard work and concerted effort allowed the Falcons to draw even at halftime and then sprint past Central from the get go of the third quarter. The comeback was complete with the return of offensive spark Rose Mishaan (who missed the first 3 quarters due to a performance conflict) who added a dramatic floating drive, helping seal the comeback victory.
Victoria Gindi runs the offense
Jen Maleh drives in for the score
Jackie Baum plays pressure defense
JV Girls Set the Tone
Before the Varsity dramatics, the JV’s had their turn with their Central opponents. The game started off slowly for both squads, with neither team able to establish a steady rhythm or build a lead. Then Sarah Horowitz took over. Demonstrating why she could well be considered a point forward (much like the famous LA Laker Magic Johnson), Horowitz was taking care of business at both ends, playing tenacious defense, grabbing rebounds, leading the fast break, and either converting baskets or drawing fouls on the offensive end. With sound overall team defense and more ball control on offense under the steady ball control of guards Sylvia Franco and Sarah Linfield, the Falcon JV’s slowly built a lead they would never relinquish, closing out the victory by a final score of 38-24.
Sarah Horowitz breaks the Central press
Samantha Chabot looks to score
Hockey Finds There’s no Place Like Home
Closing out the week, the Boys Varsity Hockey team looked to put the previous two clunkers in the rear view mirror. With another Long Island opponent on the slate, the team hoped to do just that. The first period was a see-saw battle that ended as it started, a 0-0 score, and that looked like the early rounds of a prize fight where the boxers seem to dance around the ring sizing each other up. That would change as the Falcons struck early in the second period on a solo blast from the stick of Senior Co-Captain Moe Maleh to take a 1-0 lead. As quickly as thinks were looking up, they turned right around as the Falcons yielded the next two goals in succession to the Stars from North Shore. To make matters worse, the team played as if stuck in quicksand, getting late to the ball or standing around watching the game go by. Nevertheless, the team netted the equalizer at 2-2 behind a strong play from the Falcons first line offense. But, just as quickly as the game was tied, the Falcons were down again as a weak roller found its way under the leg pads of Goalie Stephen Esses. The 2nd period ended with the Falcons trailing 3-2 and looking hard for answers.
Moe Maleh lets fly a blistering shot
Sam Laniado Has Arrived
The team that took the floor in Gold for period 3 looked like a different team than the one that sloshed through the first two periods. Both the first and second lines applied pressure on offense and were quick to the puck on defense. Nevertheless, North Shore struck again early in the period, taking what then appeared to be an insurmountable 2 goal lead. But rather than fold, the Falcons continued their spirited attack led by the inspired play of Co-Captain Morris Bijou, peppering the Stars goalie with shot after shot. And when Sam Laniado broke through with the Falcons’ 3rd goal of the night off a feed from Bijou, you could feel the tide turning. On the defensive end, Stephen Esses stepped up his play in goal, turning away a number of hard slap shots. Offensively, the Falcon first line was not to be denied. They were relentless in chasing the puck, in blocking North Shore’s clearing efforts and continuing to keep putting the puck on net. When the team broke through for goal number four, there was a buzz in the gallery of fans. The equalizer again came off the stick of Laniado, who went top shelf to beat the Stars goaltender. With fans hanging over the balcony railing, urging on the home team, the energy in the arena was electric! Yet there was one more scare the home faithful would endure. With the clock under 4 minutes, Flatbush could just not clear the puck from the defensive zone, and the Stars managed to send a deflection towards the net that got behind Goalie Esses. As if in slow motion, the ball rolled into the crease, nearing the goal line. But with the help of defender Marc Barsano who sprinted in behind Esses, the Falcons covered the puck mere millimeters before it crossed the goal line, preserving the 4-4 tie. From here, the Falcons were not to be denied. After dumping the puck into the offensive zone, Bijou chased it into the corner, working it out and feeding a flashing Laniado in front of the net. Laniado let fly with a rising shot that found the top right corner of the net giving the Flacons the lead and netting Laniado a natural hat trick – the first of the Freshman’s young Varsity career! With under two minutes to play, the Falcons looked to the defense to protect the slim margin. And, when North Shore pulled their goalie for an extra player, Michael Tawil intercepted an errant pass at mid-court and sent the puck into the empty net, notching his first goal of the season and sealing the Falcon victory, 6-4, and sending the crowd home exceedingly proud of the Flacons’ effort.
Sam Laniado shoots on goal on a feed from Morris Bijou

Nest Notes:
In addition to scoring the first goal, Moe Maleh added two assists from his key defensive position on the floor. Freshman Sam Laniado registered his first career hat trick as a Falcon. With his goal in the second period, Laniado tallied 4 goals on the night. Morris Bijou had 4 assists, setting up each one of Laniado’s goals.

The JV Girls Basketball team was led in scoring by Sarah Horowitz, who scored a team high 16 points. Samantha Chabot added 8 points of her own. The Varsity Girls Basketball team was led by Jen Maleh who led the team with a career high 17 points. Robyn Dweck and Merle Cohen each scored 8 points in the victory. The Girls return to action on Monday night with a doubleheader at Ramaz in Manhattan.

The Boys JV Hockey team also landed in the victory column behind a seven goal barrage to defeat Westchester Hebrew High School 7-1 on the road. Key scorers on the night for the JV Boys were Joseph Habert and Sam Beyda.
The Flatbush Middle School teams saw their first action of the fall season, with the 7th & 8th Grade Girls Basketball team completing a dramatic 4th quarter comeback from a 19-14 deficit to defeat The Brandeis School, 22-19; the Boys Hockey team played Magen David to a 1-1 tie.