Added Pages

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: Wild Ride Ends With the Wildcats – JV Boys Fall in MYHSAL Finals, Cap Great Season

The Flatbush Falcons look to "ROCK" Yeshiva University
Flatbush’s JV Boys Basketball team arrived early to the Max Stern Athletic Center on the campus of Yeshiva University for what would be the last game of the season, win or lose. Planning to play on a college sized court for the first time, the players entered the arena as one of the last two JV squads still standing. After a close-fought first quarter, the interior size and the outside shooting of the Wildcats proved to be too much for the young Falcons, and DRS came away with a convincing 43-25 victory and the MYHSAL JV Boys Basketball Championship.

On the heels of three consecutive playoff victories over top-notch opponents culminating with a hard-fought victory over New York City Division Champion SAR, the Falcons knew they would be in for their toughest test yet. The DRS Wildcats entered the game with an identical division record (10-0) to the Falcons, and like the Falcons also won three consecutive playoff games, albeit the last one on the road in a hostile gym in Paramus, NJ. DRS boasted a strong, physical line-up, heavily laden with sophomore talent, while the Falcons would counter with a line-up that while season-tested, relied on significant input from rookies, with freshmen starters Kevin Haddad and Jackie Mishaan at the key positions of shooting guard and power forward.
Rabbi Levy, Principal of Yeshivah of Flatbush HS,
 greets Freshman Guard Louis Zarif before the start of the game
With most of the crowd in their seats, the players took to the court after the fanfare of full roster introductions of both teams and the playing of the Israeli and United States national anthems. DRS had a full compliment of followers in the bleachers behind the visitors bench (with identical records, Flatbush was designated the home team and dressed for the game in their home whites by virtue of the same coin toss that fortuitously afforded the Falcons home court advantage in the semifinal round of play against SAR and sent DRS on the road to battle New Jersey Division champion Frisch). Flatbush’s fans scattered themselves throughout the bleachers facing the two teams, and with the arrival of the student fan bus (kudos to Senora Shterenzer for her dedication to the Flatbush students on affording the students the opportunity to be in attendance and to support their classmates in competition), immediately started in with a loud and raucous rally chant of “F-L-A-T - BUSH, BUSH, BUSH!” to infuse the team with added energy.
Honoring Israel before tip-off
Recognizing DRS’s size advantage, Flatbush adjusted its starting line-up for the first time in the playoffs, opting for a greater inside presence with big man David Dayan getting the nod in place of guard Louis Zarif. From the outset, the change paid dividends, as the Falcons battled the Wildcats inside for every rebound, successfully moved DRS’s bigs just a bit out of their comfort zone under the basket and forced DRS to look to secondary and tertiary options on offense. Meanwhile, Flatbush looked to settle in to its methodical offense that they executed with precision in the semifinals. They demonstrated patience on offense and worked the clock in search of good looks at the basket. While DRS opened the scoring with a big 3 from outside (portents of things to come), The Falcons struck gold of their own with a big basket from Sophomore Co-Captain Elliot Beyda to answer right back, bringing the Flatbush faithful to a roar in response to the Wildcat cheers on the opposite side of the Maccabees’ arena.
Kevin Haddad looks to set the Falcon offense
In addition to the customary sizing up of each other by the two teams, the first quarter proved to be a real back-and-forth between them. DRS would take the lead; Flatbush would close it. DRS would look again to string a few baskets together, and the Flatbush defense would step up and deny shots close to the hoop or close from behind on a DRS fast break and at the last moment knock the ball away. And late in the opening quarter, Flatbush took the lead, elating the Flatbush faithful and letting the team in green know they would not be an easy out. DRS would close back to tie the game, but could not extend it, and the quarter closed with the Falcons and Wildcats deadlocked at 11 points apiece.
Albert Richter and David Dayan (hidden) control the defensive rebound
But with the start of the second period, the fortunes of the two combatants would change, with one achieving great success and the other struggling mightily to stay in the game. From the inbounds, DRS kicked its perimeter defense into another gear, virtually shutting down the previously potent Falcon attack, denying passing lanes, pressuring every dribble and closing out on every shot. Meanwhile, the Wildcats equally amped up their offense from the perimeter as well. With Flatbush opting for a big line-up with David Dayan and Abie Rosow together along with the athleticism of Jackie Mishaan to combat the Wildcat bigs inside, they did a very good job of patrolling the lane, battling inside to deny easy baskets and challenging for every rebound. But while Flatbush did a solid job with their interior defense, the Wildcat guards simply caught fire. Specifically, DRS Guard Deutsch had the hot hand. The son of a Flatbush graduate and former Falcon basketballer, Deutch hit four 3-pointers in the quarter. He simply could not miss. In the parlance of the game, he was “in the zone.” Nothing showed that as clearly as the final shot of the half. Hoisting the ball up from the neighborhood of the George Washington Bridge, Deutch drew nothing but the bottom of the net. Bottom line, in a period that would prove to be the turning point of the game, DRS made shots, and the Boys from Flatbush were cold as a winter polar vortex. Flatbush hit a basket at the beginning of the period and another one late in the quarter, but in between all the offense came from the boys clad in green. And when coupled with the Wildcat buzzer-beater from another zip code, the Falcons found themselves down double-digits at 28-15 and searching for answers.
Elliot Beyda calls the offensive play
If the Falcons thought a change of direction would improve their fortunes, it was not to be. Opening the second half with the ball, the Falcons began with another empty possession while the Wildcats picked up where they left off, knocking down a quick basket with their first possession. But the Falcons would not go easily. The one bright spot for the Boys from Flatbush was the play of their front line. David Dayan showed off a consistency in his play, holding a commanding presence in side for the third straight play-off game, and with Abie Rosow playing solid minutes and showing some more comfort in his second game back from injury, the two provided a scoring presence for the Falcons and forced the Wildcats to settle for shots from outside rather than their usual compliment of points in the paint. Both Rosow and Dayan would finish the game as Flatbush’s top scorers with 7 and 8 points respectively. As a result, Flatbush and DRS finished the third stanza with 7 and 9 points respectively. It was a respectable performance, but the deficit still grew by two, and only 8 minutes were left to play to decide the JV Championship.
Abie Rosow and Jackie Mishaan give DRS no room to move inside the paint
Yoel Goldberg swings the ball
While Flatbush battled valiantly to stay in the game, the lack of offensive production outside the paint proved to be the Falcons undoing. The normally reliable backcourt of Kevin Haddad, Elliot Beyda and Louis Zarif along with power forward Jackie Mishaan plainly and simply could not hit shots. On a normal occasion, when one player is cold, his teammates have been able to step in and pick him up. But on this day, it was a clean sweep. All four were as frozen as a penguin in an arctic freeze. Clearly, the DRS backcourt defense had something to do with this, but when the open looks were there, the shots just would not go down. All the while, DRS grew more and more confident. And as the seconds ticked away, the lead kept getting a little bit larger and a little bit larger and a little bit larger. To their credit, like their Varsity counterparts displayed all season, the JV Falcons never quit. Every player on the court played the game at 100%, believing to the last that if they could just find their shooting stroke, they could climb back in. But on this day, it was just not to be. When the final buzzer sounded, the Falcons ended up on the short end of a 43-25 final score. It was a disappointing way to finish. Nevertheless, for a team with a large freshman presence and sporting a new system under a new coaching staff, the team accomplished much in making the championship game, giving the Flatbush faithful a glimpse of what promises to be a very successful future.

Nest Notes:
The Falcons were led by David Dayan and Abie Rosow, who in addition to leading all Flatbush scorers, tallied 10 and 5 rebounds respectively. The team finished the season undefeated in divisional play, taking the Brooklyn Division of the MYHSAL registering 10 wins against no losses. They finished the season with an overall record of 19-5 (13-1 in MYHSAL play).