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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hausdorff 2016: Day 3

Words can only begin to describe the amazing atmosphere that is the Shabbat experience of the Hausdorff Weekend in Brooklyn, NY. When they say “you had to be there,” it is truly applicable in this instance. With Rabbi Besser at the helm, the Hausdorff Tournament not only brought boys from four distinct and different regions of the country together in welcoming the Shabbat, the boys and their coaches shared Divrei Torah and Mishnayot that were both insightful and inspirational in ways that certainly served to “elevate the spirit” of the event’s namesake, Thomas “Tim” Hausdorff.
The crowning event of the Shabbaton part of the weekend was clearly the oneg shabbat on Friday night. Hosted graciously by Flatbush family Amy and Steve Sasson in their beautiful home a few blocks from Flatbush HS, the student-athletes joined in celebration of the Shabbat with words of learning from Flatbush ballplayer Ricky Sasson and from Katz Yeshiva administrator Shimmy Kaminetsky. They heard words of appreciation from Katz Yeshiva Head Coach Uri Yudewitz and Cooper Yeshiva Head Coach Jason Redd. But it was Flatbush Coach “Rabbi” Gus who really boosted the crowd as he started the singing with a number of heart-felt zemirot. To see, hear and feel the respect and energy the Hausdorff participants and Committee members gave to their singing and celebrating was both emotionally uplifting and communally rewarding – in the real sense of coming together as Klal Yisrael!

After havdalah at the local host houses, it was time to get the action going in the Falcons Nest once again in the final round of preliminary contests. The early game saw Memphis’s Cooper Macs face off against Detroit area’s Farber Pioneers. Both teams came in to the game looking for their first win of the tournament.

Farber wasted no time getting things in gear taking the opening tip straight to the hoop for a strong inside lay in. Play was spirited, with both teams actively pursuing the ball over every inch of the court. But the hoop proved elusive to the Macs, as they needed nearly half the period to register their first points in the game. After one period of play, the score stood 13-3 in favor of the boys from Michigan. Cooper gained a semblance of equality in play in the 2nd Quarter, as the two teams each scored 6 points in the period, but it did not allow the Macs to close the gap, and the score stood 19-9 at the half.
Quarter 3 saw Farber find a little bit of its offensive groove, as they were able to put tether a big run late in the quarter to get separation from the Macs for a 39-16 advantage. The final period was more of the same, and Farber closed out the win, 48-29.
The Saturday nightcap would see two teams yet to lose at the Tournament, and by the end of the night, only one would remain perfect on the weekend. Flatbush hit their opening salvo, a long shot from Joe Kattan for the early 3-0 lead. The Katz press yielded its first dividend for the Storm when a turnover led to an easy lay in to make it a 5-2 ball game, but the falcons answered right back with a lay in by Isaac Sutton.
Katz finally got even on the scoreboard when Noah Mamman hit a 3 to knot the score at 9 apiece, but Flatbush’s A.J. Cohen swished a corner “j” to take back the lead. It was now a see-saw battle, and the score score stood even, 13-13, after one. The Storm found a new gear in the 2nd Quarter, ripping off 10 straight points to take a 23-13 lead less than a minute and a half in and prompt a Flatbush timeout. Katz eventually extended their lead to a largest of 15 points in the period, and held off a late run from Flatbush to take a 32-21 lead into the intermission.
Halftime brought one of the most anticipated activities of the Hausdorff Tournament – the “Split the Pot” drawing and the “4-Shot Parlay Shootout, for the raffle prizes (including a 50” flat screen TV, and Apple Watch, XBox-1, bluetooth speakers, Spalding Basketballs, NFL “Duke” Football and assorted pro sports memorabilia – including a NY Jets helmet signed by all the members of the 1969 Super Bowl III championship team, the crown jewel of the collection). Though no shooter hit all 4 shots (a lay up, a free throw, a three-pointer and a half-court shot: all must be in a row and in under 30 seconds to win the full memorabilia collection), Flatbush Sophomore Abe Chetrit was the big winner, taking home the top prizes.

After the what equates to Showtime at the Hausdorff Tournament, the Falcons and Storm returned to the court to finish what they started. Flatbush again scored first, but this time Katz answered immediately to extend their lead to 37-24. Flatbush got the deficit under double digits with one minute to play in the period, but the Storm got the last salvo to push the lead back to 10, leading 40-30 after three quarters of play. The final quarter was all about the defense. By the 3:33 mark, Flatbush was extra stingy on defense, not allowing a single Storm point, but the Falcons could only muster three of their own to make it a 40-33 ballgame. Katz got off with a free throw, but an ensuing hoop by Flatbush made it a 5-point game with 2:17 to play. A David Dweck falling lay in of a huge rebound cut the lead to only 2 points with under a minute to play. Then, Flatbush forced a turnover on an errant long pass by the Storm, and Dweck soon found himself on the line with a chance to tie the game. He could only muster 1-2 to cut the lead to only 1, 41-40, with 40 seconds to play. Katz drew a foul and they, too, converted 1-2, to return to the 2-point cushion. With the ball and trailing, Flatbush called timeout to set the scene for the final 27 seconds of play, and what would be the most exciting finish of the tournament to this point. But after running the offense for a bit, the back court turned the ball over, and fouled Katz’s Abie Betesh as he was heading in for the lay up. But he missed both, and Flatbush gathered the rebound with 10 seconds to play. With the clock winding down, the ball found its way to the hands of Joe Kattan, and he lofted his signature corner three – and found nothing but the bottom of the net! For the first time since the first quarter, Flatbush had the lead, 43-42. The Storm would have one last chance, but with 1.8 seconds on the clock, they overthrew the inbounds pass, giving the ball back to Flatbush. Kattan was immediately fouled, and he hit 1-2, again giving Katz one more last chance with .8 seconds still to play. Flatbush defensed the entry pass, and by the time the Storm got off a shot, the buzzer had sounded, sealing the Flatbush comeback, and setting a very competitive tone for the upcoming rematch to be played by these two squads today, when they will face off for all the Hausdorff marbles in the Tournament Championship game (tip off is scheduled for 12:30 pm).