The JCC Boys’ Varsity Team defeated conference foe Auberle 49-37, Thursday, Jan. 5, in Greater Pittsburgh Independent Basketball League play.
Leading the way in scoring for the JCC were their two leading scorers, Ben Katz and Jesse Goleman, with 18 and 15 points respectively. Auberle’s Quadrikis Turner netted 16 points.
Playing their first game since a Dec. 15 victory over Project Destiny, JCC Head Coach Andy Pakler noted the rust the team displayed in the first quarter of the contest.
“Anytime that you have two weeks off, you’re going to come back and be a little out of sorts,” Pakler said, “but I think we put it together pretty well and came out with a win.”
Both teams struggled on offensive during the first quarter until Katz drilled two consecutive baskets giving the JCC a 10-9 lead — their first of the game and ultimately the final score of the quarter.
“We have a very tall front line and we like those guys to get in there and get physical,” Pakler said. “We like to get to the free throw line, we like to block shots, we like to control the boards and with Jake, Ben and Jesse we’re able to do that.”
The pace of play picked up in the second quarter, though neither team could pull away. JCC’s Goleman nailed two, three-point shots, but Auberle countered with a two pointer at the buzzer to cut the JCC lead to 25-20 at the half.
Auberle stayed on the attack in the third quarter cutting the lead to three before the JCC went on a run of its own, seized the momentum and controlled the rest of the game. The run opened up a 35-26 lead for the JCC and showed off point guard Jacob Kander’s dribbling and passing skills.
“That run was pretty much facilitated by [Kander],” Pakler said. “He basically gave guys the ball, in a position where they didn’t have to do anything except make a layup. That’s what a point guard does, and I think he did a great job of that today.”
Following an Auberle timeout, the JCC ran the score up to 43-29 going into the final quarter.
With the game in hand, Pakler pulled his starters and slowed down the pace of play. Auberle managed to outscore the JCC by two points in the period, but its effort fell short as time expired.
The JCC (5-0) is next scheduled to play Monday, Jan. 9, and Thursday, Jan. 11, against Career Connections and Propel.
“So far I think we are exactly where we should be at this point,” Pakler said. “We’re the defending champions of the league; we know what this league is all about, we’ve been in it for seven years now. We have a veteran group of guys including eight seniors who played for me last year, who all know exactly what it takes to win in this league.”
(Zachary Weiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)