JCC loses to Career Connections in final game for six seniors
Career Connections squeaked by the Jewish Ccmmunity Center in the finals of the Greater Pittsburgh Interscholastic Basketball League, winning by a score of 62-61.
Career Connections guard Dan Vaughns led the way with 21 points, followed by guard Grason Woods with 13. For JCC, Andrew “Dewey” Goleman led with 12 points and both his brother Jesse and Max Eichner notched 11 points.
For six seniors on the JCC roster, it was their final game with their teammates.
“These seniors were very important to everything we’ve done this season,” JCC Coach Andy Pakler said. “I’ve had Max and Dewey for three years. I brought them up through this program as sophomores, they’ve played a lot of minutes for me and I’ve grown very close to them. The other four seniors, Matt (Abramson) who was with me for two years, Dan (Greenwald), Micah (Rafkin) and Banks brought so much to this team and I think they had an unbelievable experience playing at the JCC.”
The game was still up for grabs at halftime with JCC leading 31-30. “We wanted to start that [second] half as if it was 0-0,” JCC Coach Andy Pakler said. “We didn’t care that we were winning; we wanted to play like we were down 20 even though we were up one.”
But the third quarter opened with a quick three point shot from Vaughns that gave Career Connections a two-point lead, but JCC still led 45-43by the end of the period.
Career Connections opened the fourth quarter on an eight to zero run. Still, JCC, which had lost both of its previous games with Career Connections by over 20 points each, soon rallied and controlled the pace of play, moving the basketball around to try and get the best possible shot.
However in the final minutes, JCC scrambling and was forced to foul Career Connections. Woods nailed a clutch free throw in the final minute, giving his team a 60-58 lead.
In a last ditch effort, JCC called a time out to organize a play, which backfired, resulting in a turnover. JCC had no choice but to foul Vaughns who nailed both of his free throws to give Career Connections a 62-58 lead that stood up for the rest of the game.
Goleman sank a half court shot as the buzzer sounded making the final score 62-61.
“It was a fitting way to end my career,” Goleman said.
Pakler said his team is already looking ahead to next season.
“We want to build this program,”he said, “so if you’re out there and you think that you can play for us, come on out and try out.”