By: Yoni Kram (’13)

The Varsity Basketball Lions opened up their 2012-13 season with a hard fought home win over the TABC Storm. The Storm were able to respond to MTA’s quick 15 – 5 lead to open up the game by slowing down the game’s tempo and with the help of strong front court play. The Lions held their lead throughout the game until the final minute when TABC tied the game at 37 a piece — sending the game into overtime. The Lions ultimately pulled away with the victory after a series of key offensive drives, most notably a baseline jumper by starting center Hami Alexander to give MTA a lead that they would not surrender.

After a grueling victory at home the day before, the MTA Lions travelled to Woodmere to play the DRS  Wildcats in the first round of the Magen David Preseason Tournament. DRS is a top seeded team with a strong size advantage over the Lions, so the Lions knew going in that this game would have to be a hard fought victory as well. Starting power forward Ben-Zion Feld started things off for the Lions — scoring 11 points in the first quarter, showing range as well as good post play.  The second quarter was all about starting shooting guard Zak Lenik, as he scored 7 points in the quarter to help give the Lions a 31-29 lead going into the half. The Lions came out of half time with a defensive mindset and held the Wildcats to only 10 points in the half. The Lions got strong contributions for point guard Shai Kaminetzky and small forward Shauli Naumberg to cap off an impressive 52 – 39 win over a tough DRS team.

In the Quarterfinals of the Magen David Preseason Tournament, the MTA Lions played the Ramaz Rams. The Lions seemed sluggish in the first half as they quickly fell behind 20-7. However, MTA did not give up and were able to go on a run and bring the game to within three points by the half. The teams battled throughout the second half until the Lions ultimately found themselves down by one with under a minute left. As if on cue, starting small forward Shauli Naumberg (13 points on the game) scored on a clutch drive to put the team up by one. Shai Kaminetzky (7 points) then sealed the deal with two free throws to put MTA up by three. The final score was 45-42 Lions.

On Thursday night, the Lions traveled back to McDonald Ave in Brooklyn to take on a talented Frisch squad in the Semifinals of the Tournament.  The Lions looked sharp early, despite playing in their 4th game in 5 nights. MTA jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead on the strength of several fast break buckets.  The Cougars hung around all night on the strength of the 3 point shot, making a terrific 10 of them for the game. The Lions, on the other hand, played a different style and attacked the rim hard all night.  While the Lions led the entire game, the Cougars heated up from behind the arc to cut it to 37-33 at one point before the Lions restored their lead to double digits. The Lions balanced offense was led by Shai Kaminetzky (18 pts), Shauli Naumberg (15), Zak Lenik (11), Hami Alexander (10) and Ben Zion Feld (8).

The Lions advance to face the host and one of the league’s pre-season favorite teams, the Magen David Warriors in the Championship game of the 16 team tournament.  The game will   take place this Saturday night, 10/20, at 9:00pm at the Magen David Elementary School located at 2130 McDonald Ave (between avenues S&T) in Brooklyn.


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