The JCC hoopsters built on a quick start to emerge victorious over rival Hillel Academy 69-29 in Greater Pittsburgh Independent Basketball League play.
Andrew Goleman led JCC in scoring for the evening, netting 17 points; Dan Greenwald scored a career high 14 points. Hillel’s leading scorer, Adir Shimon, had 10 points.
“It’s a big win. We’re excited with any win we get, and we want to keep the momentum going,” JCC Head Coach Andy Pakler said. “We have a big game on Thursday against Career Connections, and we really wanted to use today as real preparation.”
The JCC raced out to an early lead, as Hillel committed many early turnovers and failed to convert from the free throw line, placing them in a large deficit early.
“Free throw shooting is one of the most important things in the game as well as limiting the turnovers,” Pakler said. “Max Eichner was seven for 10 from the free throw line and we’re proud of that. He had pretty poor free throw shooting game last game, and to get to the line 10 times and make seven, that’s what we expect out of him, and we all shot good free throws today; it helps.”
“Turnovers make our fast break and they helped our offense out a lot. A lot of our points, we didn’t have to run set offense because the turnovers and the missed free throws helped us,” said Greenwald.
The JCC scored a total of 10 points, before Hillel made its first baskets of the game. At the end of the first quarter, the JCC held an 11-4 lead.
In the second quarter, the JCC started to pull away, to the chagrin of all of the Hillel fans in attendance.
“I think that it’s building off of momentum,” Eichner said. “Once we got a lead, we went from there and picked up the defensive intensity.”
JCC led 34-23 at the half.
In the third quarter the JCC outscored Hillel 15-7, preventing the possibility of a Hillel comeback. The JCC had several opportunities from the free throw line and led at the end of the quarter 49-20.
For the fourth quarter the JCC mainly played Eichner as well as the reserves. In the quarter, Greenwald shot 10 points, outscoring Hillel’s point total for the quarter.
“It is my first year playing hoops in this league, and the first time I have ever played Hillel,” said Greenwald. “I know it’s supposed to be a rivalry, so it’s good to get a win against them and have our best game of the year.”
The win gave the JCC a record of seven wins and one loss.
Up next for the JCC is a Thursday match up against GPIBL powerhouse and defending champion Career Connections.
“We have to come out firing on all cylinders, Eichner said. “We can’t lay back and be lackadaisical like we did last game. We have to make sure we control the paint and put up our signature defensive intensity.”
After the Career Connections game, the JCC will face GPIBL foe Auberle on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
(Zachary Weiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)