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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: “Sackin” an Instant Classic

After more than a one month lay-off from competition, it is only natural that a team will be rusty on the offensive end. The Falcons were clearly that in both ends of Saturday night’s JV/Varsity doubleheader against cross-borough rival Magen David Yeshiva. On a night when Flatbush would honor the memory of one of their own, the Falcons would have to look deep inside for the fortitude necessary to overcome offensive adversity in order to earn victory.
The JV took the court first against the Warriors. Showing the effects of over a month without game competition, the Falcon offense performed as if there was a lid on the basket. Shots that routinely fell in December registered a lot of iron and little net Saturday night. Fortunately, the defense was not similarly afflicted. The defense came to play! Sophomore Captain Albert Richter and Freshman talent Jackie Mishaan controlled the boards, and the guard group of Elliot Beyda, Kevin Haddad and Louis Zarif – supplemented with Jake Shalom’s tenacity off the bench – stymied the Magen David JV’s. So while the normally potent Falcons could only muster 8 points of offense in the first quarter, the Warriors produced less, and Flatbush found themselves staked to a lead they would never relinquish. With Richter in foul trouble and out the entire 2nd quarter, Yoel Goldberg took his place and was equal to the task, complementing Mishaan’s rebounding and adding to the Falcon point total as well. With the player rotation suffocating the Warrior offense, Flatbush slowly stretched its 2-point lead to 22-14 at the half. That comfortable lead would balloon in the second half with the return of Richter who converted 4 baskets in the second half, and the Falcons cruised the rest of the way to a twenty point victory, 48-28, and a perfect Brooklyn Division record of 10-0 in closing out the regular season.
Yoel Goldberg and his teammates have the last laugh
Following the JV game, the Varsity took center court. But before tip-off, the Flatbush basketball program took a few moments to remember one of its own, Marc Sackin z”l, a star student and former basketball team captain who was taken from this world way too soon when he suffered a fatal car accident mere days before he was to graduate from Flatbush. A D’var Torah, penned by Senior Murray Mizrahi and delivered by Assistant Coach Gus Kennedy, was presented followed by words on the passing of Marc offered by Athletic Director Eric Amkraut. Tehillim was read by Senior Victor Silverman followed by a moment of silence in Marc’s honor. After the ceremony, players from both teams were introduced followed by outstanding renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and Hatikvah offered by Flatbush student Janet Chrem. Not only was the crowd now ready for action, the players were set to tip off!
Reflecting on the memory of Marc Sackin
Janet Chrem Rocks the Nest!
With the ceremonies completed, the Varsity Boys took to the court and quickly jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. But just as quickly, the Warriors doubled that score and took a 3-point lead of their own at 6-3. And it was a lead they would maintain throughout near the entirety of the contest. MDY would stretch it to 8; Flatbush would battle back and pull to 2. The game continued like this, back and forth, but the Falcons just could not seem to get over the hump.

Defense – Defense – Defense
Defense was the order of the night. It was trademark pressure defense from the home team that kept MDY from ever reaching a double-digit lead, and it was a unique triangle-and-two from the guest Warriors that kept the dangerous Falcon guards Joey Dayon and Michael & Nathan Haddad off their games, pressuring every dribble and contesting every pass. But such defense would take its toll on the visitors. To keep the Flatbush offense in check, MDY began piling up the fouls. While the Falcons could not capitalize from the free-throw line in the first half, clutch shooting from Senior forward Buddy Setton and sharp offensive minded presence from Senior guard/forward Joey Dweck kept the game close, and a 5-man rotation at the post position of Mayer Kamkhatchi, Murray Mizrahi, Shawn Blinder, Victor Silverman and Buddy Setton let the Falcons maintain control of the area close to the basket.
Joey Dweck brings the pressure on defense
“Technically” speaking
For all the strong defensive efforts of the Flatbush boys, the offense could not seem to find that final burst to push past the Warriors. With two minutes left to play, and facing a seemingly insurmountable six-point deficit, it looked as if the hometown fans would be going home unhappy. But then, MDY’s pressure defense succumbed to the ref’s whistle. Fouls were a key element to the Warrior defensive success, but they continued to pile up, and with one key player already on the bench with 5 fouls, MDY’s top defensive guard picked up his fourth while forcibly hand-checking Falcon guard Joey Dayon near mid-court. The Warrior guard took issue with the call of the obvious foul, and earned a technical foul for his protestations. That earned him his fifth, and final, personal foul. Now, instead of Flatbush shooting two free-throws and MDY getting the ball back, Dayon calmly whet to the charity stripe and dropped in four consecutive free-throws, and the Falcons were awarded possession of the ball trailing by two points. But Flatbush still could not equalize, missing the shot and giving the ball back over to Magen David. The outlook still looked bleak for the Flatbush players and their fans. Then the rule book took over. With the previous guard fouling out, MDY substituted a new player who entered the game for the first time. It was that player that was immediately fouled and sent to the line. He hit one of two free throws, but when the scorers went to record the score in the book, the player’s uniform number 1 was nowhere to be found. The Magen David staff pointed out that the player was in the official scorer’s book, only with the uniform number of 11. Inserting a player into a game who is incorrectly listed in the book is, by rule, a technical foul. By the time this was recognized, Flatbush had already rebounded the missed second free-throw, pushed the ball up the court and closed the gap to one point on a driving lay-up by Co-Captain Nathan Haddad. With the score 58-57, the recording error was now pointed out the officials. By rule, a technical foul was assessed to the Magen David bench, which went ballistic at the call. With the packed house now on its feet, Joey Dayon went to the free-throw line. With 12 seconds remaining on the clock, Dayon gave the home team its first lead since the start of the game. Advancing the ball to mid-court, MDY called its final time out. With seven seconds to play, MDY put the ball in play, took a mid-range jump shot that bounced off the rim and was corralled by Senior Co-Captain Michael Shalom. With 1.2 second remaining, Shalom drained a free-throw to push the lead to two. MDY’s last-second desperation heave fell far short of the mark, and the Falcons escaped with a 60-58 “Classic” victory.
The Falcons storm the court in joyous celebration with their fans!

Nest Notes:
The doubleheader with visiting Magen David Yeshiva marked the first time the new scoreboard was in operation for Flatbush Falcons home basketball. The Athletic Department wishes to express sincere thanks and appreciation to the members of the Yeshivah of Flatbush IT department for their work in getting the new boards up and running, with special appreciation of the efforts put forth by Paul Levy, Ralph Abettan, Tehilla Greenstein and especially Alan Sabo. Chazak U’Baruch!
The new scoreboard in the YOFHS gym displays the final score
 of Saturday night’s boys varsity victory over rival MDY
On Thursday, January 30, the Girls Varsity Falcons closed out their road schedule with a pasting of host HANC, 51-23. The Falcons were led in scoring by Sophomore Rose Mishaan who dropped in 15 points on the Hurricanes. Jennifer Maleh added 10 points.

Yeshivah of Flatbush Athletics will honor its senior basketball players on consecutive nights this week. The senior boys will be recognized before the start of their final scheduled home game on Tuesday, February 4 against HANC (ceremonies at 6:15 pm; tip-off at 7:00 pm). The senior girls will be recognized in advance of their final home contest against Hillel on Wednesday, February 5 (ceremonies to begin at 7:30 pm; tip-off at 7:45 pm). During both games Senior Council 2014 will be selling popcorn and cotton candy to raise money for their senior trip.