Wednesday, June 26, 2019

MTA varsity Lions during a time out. (Credit: Mayer Sabo)

It was a sunny November morning in Los Angeles when the MTA varsity basketball Lions and TABC Storm hit the court for the Steve Glouberman Tournament quarter-finals. This game was the first of the potential three games the Lions and Storm would face off in this season and it was a back and forth game throughout the length of all four quarters. Unfortunately for MTA, TABC came away as the victors by a mere two points and the MTA Lions looked forward to a rematch.

Fast forward six weeks later to Motzei Shabbat, December 22, where the Lions hosted the Storm in the Max Stern Athletic Center, as the second game of a JV/varsity doubleheader. The JV Lions defeated TABC by a score of 45-33, but that wasn’t the only success MTA had that night.

Once the final buzzer sounded on the JV game, all fans were focused on the upcoming varsity game and whether or not recently injured MTA superstar, senior Eitan Pfeiffer would play. When the Lions came out of the locker rooms for warm ups, they were led by Pfeiffer in uniform and a taped up leg, and the Lions were hungry for a win.

TABC controlled the first half of the game, led by forwards Alex Ostrin and Avi Proctor, who combined for 22 of TABC’s 30 first half points. Although TABC led by seven at the half, the Lions hadn’t given up yet, and in the second half, they were in complete control of the game.

The Lions were quickly able to tie up the game, but the problem was maintaining the lead. This all changed when MTA big man, senior Joey Hernandez Burg took two audacious charging fouls. This got the entire MTA team—both starters and bench—fired up and they knew this game belonged to them.

In the fourth quarter, the Lions’ defense was still aggravating the Storm, which resulted in many forced shots by TABC, leading to quick offensive opportunities for the Lions, which they capitalized on. Once the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard showed the Lions as the victors, with a score of 56-52. This team win would not have been possible without the tremendous scoring of seniors David Saginor, with a team high of 18 points, and Hudy Weiss, with 16 points. Senior Eitan Warburg and Eitan Pfeiffer displayed their intensity and desire to win by making many clutch plays and senior Avi Wolk controlled the glass by grabbing many rebounds. This win displayed how the Lions are a team that has tremendous chemistry and when all players work together, they are impossible to stop.

By Ikey Gutlove (‘20)

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