Murry Bergtraum Bears 63, Stuyvesant Runnin’ Rebels 48
By Ari Hatzimemos
The Rebels went into the last game of the season with a 12-3 record and looked to end it on a high note going into the playoffs. However, having lost to the Murry Bergtraum Bears earlier in the season, they knew it was going to be a challenge. The result was similar on Monday, February 11, when a game filled with bad turnovers and defensive intensity led to yet another defeat from the Bears.
With the exception of a few missed layups, the first quarter went favorably for the Rebels, who led 10-8 by the end of the period. Through the second quarter, however, their expectations were quickly reversed with bad passes and sloppy dribbling afflicting nearly every play. During one particular moment, a Rebel pass was intercepted by an opponent who raced down the court and dunked it, one of many plays contributing to the Rebels’ 24-15 halftime deficit. “Too many turnovers—we played sloppy and lazy,” junior Matthew Dalton said.
The third quarter was once again filled with turnovers. However, there was an additional problem: the Rebels could not get a rebound and lent Murry Bergtraum many second chance opportunities. “We couldn’t control the pace of the game the way we have to with a team that’s faster than us. We got caught up in the speed of their game,” boys’ basketball coach Philip Fisher said. The last play of the third quarter ended with a Rebel turnover and fast break points for Murray Bergtraum, resulting in a 41-22 score.
The fourth quarter, on the other hand, took a very different turn. The Rebels cut down on the turnovers and became more aggressive on offense, led by senior and co-captain Thomas Cui, who scored 17 points. By then, however, it was already too late. Though they scored a tremendous 26 points in the fourth quarter, they still lost 63-48.
Despite not ending the regular season in the way they intended, the Rebels now have several weeks to practice hard in order to capitalize in the upcoming playoffs.
Stuyesant Runnin’ Rebels 57, Seward Park Campus Bears 54
By Jing Lin
The score was tied at 54-54. With seven seconds left, the Rebels huddled around Coach Philip Fisher and listened intently. The road crowd was on its feet, screaming, filling the entire gymnasium with uncontainable energy. Play resumed and junior Imtiaz Hssan drove to the basket, drawing two defenders with him. Hssan kicked the ball out to junior and co-captain Matthew Dalton with one second left on the clock. Dalton fired a desperate three-pointer as time ran out. The ball swished through the net, and the crowd went silent. “Watching the ball go in was incredible,” Dalton said.
From the first quarter of the Rebels’ game against the Seward Park Campus Bears on Wednesday, February 6, the high stakes were apparent. “Seward was 6-8 going into the game. If they beat us and another team they would be able to satisfy the 0.500 record they needed to secure a place in the playoffs,” Fisher said.
The Rebels had to fight for every possession, using screens and ball movement to counteract the Bears’ physical prowess and speed. Though ending the first quarter 14-20, the Rebels turned it around by a slim margin in the second, cutting the lead to 37-36 by halftime.
Upon coming out of the locker rooms, the Bears tightened their grip on the game once again by adapting to the Rebels’ offensive strategy. “Their team caught onto our offense and cheated our screens,” senior Thomas Cui said.
Additionally, the Rebels’ defense became porous. As the offense also began to miss open layups and turn the ball over to their opponents, the Rebels soon began to lose steam. Nevertheless, Fisher would not let his team falter and helped restore the Rebels’ energy. Cui had a huge first half, scoring 18 points; when the Bears locked him down in the second half, his teammates stepped up. Hssan scored a fast-break layup, Dalton made a basket off of a pick, and junior Nick Kalantzopoulos made a reverse layup, tightening the margin. The Rebels shifted the momentum even more by drawing a charge that disrupted the Bears’ tempo and knocking down two technical foul shots. Finally, the comeback was completed by Dalton’s heroics.
With the win, the Rebels demonstrated strong chemistry and the ability to stick together through a tough game for a well-earned victory. If the Rebels can keep up their ability to win close games and get contributions from a large number of players, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Still, they don’t want to get ahead of themselves. “We’re going to take it one game at a time,” Dalton said.