Reflections on 2019

Another year goes bye ,  the kids grow older and go through their phases of life, hopefully appropriate for their age , we enjoy and revel in it . Some played in the tournament as 15 year olds and now have 15 year olds – 31 years will do that .

This was a season of new faces and new opportunities . Having 10 new Rising Stars was a challenge. As much as i like to have new players , i like them to be Fire Islanders. Some were friends of friends , most had seen the Tournament and wanted to play in it.  I think that they  got a taste of what it is all about and will be back next year. This is how it keeps going, keep being inclusive and it will all work out.  Funny how many calls i got that last week before the draft- Matthew and I were on the phone a lot more than we wanted to be. How can you say no to Murray if he wants to add his son? Or Jon Bloom who played once back in the day? Or Alex Chili who wanted to come from Washington DC to play . Or Yuri and Sanjeev , Jonthan Noury , Josh Schechter , Zach Cohen or Josh Albert?  They all knew someone, they all had seen the Tourny, they all had played a little pick up . And what about Luca Biro , whose Dad was the BEST DISHWASHER i ever had??? His mother emailed me to put him in – luckily Tyler S knew him and pushed for him.

Jeff and Amy Mitnick running the Kids Tourney that had 50 kids this year. How great is that?

The old timers keep on coming back but sooner rather than later it will be time for them to move up into administration. Ricky Weissman getting surgery next week. Greg Slater turned 60 this year , Stranksy was 63 . Carey Lyons hit 62 – Frenchy hit 60 too . Tennis is a wonderful game gents – Stransky started playing with us this year, hope a few more of you sign up .

What a great night of Friendship at Chris Brahe’s and Marc Millman’s Hall of Fame Night . Laughter , emotion , love , i can never get enough of that.

Had a lot of BBAll moments – Roy hits 2 fouls shots, BK leads Orange over Gold in the first weekend , Neil K and I talking about Doug Gardner and his son Mike , Max Raphelson hits 3 pointers , Matt Cov is going to have twins !! and he was in great condition this season again , Kevin Pohmer and the refs have that special bond, Jeff Sorkin hits 8/9 in a game , Alex C hits a bomb during the Final, Adam Eastman hitting his jumper floating , Pullman with his son Jacob playing together and Adam  hitting for 19 one game , Luca Biro’s Thunder  jams, Mitch Grabow still has the highest shooting % in the league , Doug Worth comes back , Jordan Levine gets hurt and still plays , Justin Schnell and Zach French trying desperately to get their team wins,  same for Arie Hendeles.  Alec S can’t keep quiet but he hits some great drives , Paul S outscores Justin in the first half of a game, Ron Gonen grabs an offensive rebound , Big Bill gets knocked out with a concussion,  Al Lewin hits a couple of shady hooks in a row , Zach Cohen drilling 3’s in the Final along with Mike Lubowitz. Ethan just being too big and strong for everyone else this year.

Next year will be another story – Thank you all for being such good sports and being so kind to one another.   Friendships made here will last a lifetime. No real injuries this year because of a dumb elbow or anything like that . Arie took a shot above the eye but he was back the next game. Everything went very smoothly ( scoreboard antennae ) and everyone was super helpful. I’ll be in touch through the email during the rest of the year . Stay in touch with one another , play ball with one another , have a meal with one another , enjoy one another . We are a very special and unusual group – let’s keep it that way for another 31 years ..  

 

90 Seconds

90 Seconds

90 Seconds can change your life. You can be  walking down the street in Odessa Texas and some lunatic with a gun decides to shoot you. You can be walking down the sidewalks of NYC and someone jumps the curb because he pressed the accelerator instead of the brake and you are toast . That’s what happened to Green on Sunday. They jumped out to a big lead , they were driving and getting the ball inside. Adam Eastman taking charge of the team and Alexandra dribbling through traffic to  hit a nice drive. All the while, Gold is missing shot after easy shot and without MVP Ethan Lubowitz cleaning up rebounds they would have been toast too … but then the inevitable happened and Green breaks down and starts going one on one then  continues to try an score from the long shot and Gold goes the other way , pushing the ball inside . Then it was 90 seconds that changed their lives , as Mike Lubowitz hits 2 3’s and then MIP Zach Cohen hits 2 3’s from way downtown and the tide has turned.   A 12 point swing and now Green tried to press and Matt Cov finds himself alone under the basket 4 times for easy baskets. Credit to Gold who did not give up when the going got tough, Matt played outstanding defense on Eastman throughout,  Al Lewin brough back some memories with a steal or two , Neil Kornfeld hit his open shots . We were all hoping Max Raphaelson would hit his patented 3 pointers but not today , too windy for that high archer.  Barry Bruner grabbed a rebound and a put back and Ricky Weissman stayed calm and didn’t force anything.  Gold goes from down 14 to win it 74-60 and become the 2019 Champions.

10 Rising Stars  – Zach Cohen  Alexandra Chili   Luca Biro   Sanjeev Mago  Josh Schecter   Jonathan Noury Josh Albert Yoni Aviv   Jonathan Shapero     Jon Bloom

MVP  Ethan Lubowitz — 33 points 21 rebounds

MIP  Zach Cohen –

National Anthem : Tristan ( saxophone )

 

Fabulous Night

Another wonderful evening for the Hall of Fame induction for Chris Brahe and Marc Millman. Nothing better than seeing everyone together for a social evening in real clothes rather than in uniform.

The venue of Windswept upstairs deck was perfect and the timing was perfect too for a sunset that was more than Burnt Orange.  Everyone brought food and the clear winner was Jenn Galler – who made a pistachio chocolate chip bunt cake that was out of this world . Congrats to the Gallers as Jenn is pregnant as well as a great chef.

Marc Millman honored for his years of dedication to the Tournament . His photos are always a little better , a little sharper and always plentiful. I use a lot of them in the History Books that we keep.

Chris Brahe honored for his years as a player and as an Assistant Commissioner. His son, Tyler ,  gave a beautiful speech and his wife Patty came up with a 3 minute video that captured the essence of the man.  Jordan Schlachter gave the introductory speech with some thoughts  on growing up here on Fire Island and playing in the Tournament all these years. Then Chris gave a very insightful , humble, funny.  intelligent talk about his years waiting to be old enough to play ( 14)  with the adults and then his Tournament recollections. He gave credit to a bunch of us old timers for helping him along which was really nice to hear.  He made me laugh when he spoke about getting money for the backboards and score board ( his babies ) and how easy it was compared to Patty trying to raise money for Tyler’s school.

I was sorry to see that many of the new Rising Stars missed this night – Gents – playing in our Tournament is not everything , getting to know the other folks and honoring those that have served us is also part of it . You missed something special and i hope you don’t miss it again. It’s too good to miss out on .

Now we go on to the Final – can’t wait until 4pm –  We’ve all seen both teams , we all know what to expect , i’m hoping for some surprise defenses and some tricks on the offensive end too. Good luck to both teams – Gold -5

 

Semi Final

Gold and Green the bye teams took it to their opponents Orange and Yellow respectively. Some real nice individual basketball in the games, Credit to Gold first , with Ethan scoring 20 on a lot of his patented put backs. Matt Cov with 12 . Al Lewin contributed with his hustle, Mike L grabbed boards , Neil K hit 2 open shots and although Orange was tired they put up a fight for a while … Conditioning is everything ! BK at 58 is truly a rare specimen as is Clay Siegert at 43 but this team was TIRED and TIRED causes you to miss easy shots, not rebound and definitely not pick up 50/50 balls.  Gold wins easy and is in the Finals .

Green started out on fire with Alexandra Chili hitting the first 5 points and continuing for 16. Flipper Sorkin follows with a shooting exhibition and lesson on how to overpower a smaller opponents. He hit 8/9 with smaller people guarding him . Evan Majzner is back to his old self and went fot 9 points with some high percentage drives. Adam Eastman continues to play well and had 15. Evan Lapidus helped with the scoring as did his Dad Roy with a few foul shots. When a team in this league has 3 people score 15 or more they are tough to beat , Green waltzes to victory.

So now it’s Gold vs Green . I said this before- If ever Adam Eastman had a shot at an MVP it is this year. Gold is bigger and beat them up pretty good 66-57 last game but Alexandra had not found her groove outside yet and she has now. The question will be : Can they hold Ethan to under 15 . Can they stop that lob that Matt C throws to him . Keep one hand on the man and one eye on the ball and you should be able to do it.  We all know it’s going to be a close one . Line is Gold -5

Pick up the Fire Island News – we are on pg 22

See you all tonight –

Quarter Finals

Wow what a first game . Orange Crush vs Maroon . Orange starts out hot hot hot and Maroon starts out cold cold cold. Alec and Ross taking over with drives , those young legs blowing by their opponents and finishing. Plus they played great Defense , doubling Jordan L and forcing others to shoot . 13- 5  1st Q score . Larry B finally heats up but 23-12 at the half is extremely weak .  In the 3rd Q things switch around and Maroon starts to take over . Madeline P hits a 3, Chris B hits a baseline turnaround and then follows with a 3 and then another basket and all of a sudden the score is 30-29 after the 3rd.  Clay Seigert has an outstanding game – i said he needed to score 18 for them to win and he gets 17 . close enough The game goes down to the wire with Cash Bernard hitting a half court shot off the backboard to win it but NO it was 1/2 second late and we are in OT.Having professional refs really makes a difference. James saw right away that the clock was down to 4 and that the possession started at 35 .  It then became the Cash B show as he “showed them the money ” with 2 gargantuan 3’s to seal the deal . 50-42

In the 2nd game it was Electric Blue vs Vegas Gold – Blue started out great but could not sustain the momentum. Yoni hit some beautiful reverse layups , Jacob P hit his 3’s and added some nice moves underneath. Mitch G got into it too with a jumper , but Larry Kaufman answers with a side line shot 49-42 after 3 Quarters . John Meade played his heart out as usual but it was the Kevin Pohmer symphony at the end , he hits 4 shots in the last 5 minutes for a total of 23 . Sam Tabenfeld ices the cake at the foul line and the Electric Circus is closed for the season.  Final 70=57

So tomorrow will be a big day. 1st game will pit Gold vs Orange = i think Orange might put up a fight but Gold will wear them out . Same with Yellow , tough to play a game against a team that has been resting up . Stranger things have happened.

No matter what happens we will see everyone at Windswept at 7pm to honor Chris Brahe and Marc Millman , both of whom have given a lot to our Tournament ,

please bring a dish . and grab a copy of the FI News we are in it twice . A complete article and page plus a 2 paragraph mention in the OB column

Playoffs 2019

6 teams left on Friday – 4 will play and Gold and Green get byes.

Maroon vs Burnt Orange – 4;45pm –  Jordan will be the key to Maroon’s success but if he plays within himself and doesn’t re injure his leg and continues to set up his teammates then i have to say that Maroon has too much fire power for Orange. BK will have is hands full with the long reach of  Chris B on him . If Chris gives him  a little room and rely’s on his timing to block his shot then it will not be necessary to double him. Clay has to look to pour in some points ( like 18 ) on drives and quick jumpers and hope to get Maroon in foul trouble. Alec Schure has been playing with abandon and should continue to do so , he must make a high % so therefore , no bad shots Al . Cash Bernard and Ross give them speed – can they use it effectively and press a ball handler with a bad leg ?? Zelenko continues to hit the open shot , so get him some ! Same with Stransky in the corner . Maroon counters with Batallion ( in much better condition this season ) and Larry B ( slimmed down too )  as scorers. Craig Fine has not done much this year YET , looking for a big rebounding and defensive game from him. Fine can muscle BK and then you bring in Chris to finesse him . BK has a lot of tricks so be careful but you still have 10 fouls to give. Young Jack Fine has been playing well and scoring too and Cole’s pressing and chasing plus Sanjee’s propensity to hoist them up and Madeline’s skill at hitting the open shot – Ross Greenberg will need to keep that motor running .  Maroon -3

Electric Blue vs Vegas Gold 6:00 pm – Now this one is going to be fun. Pohmer vs Ketai on the first line but i say that’s just offense . Neither of them is partial to defense.  Give the edge to Pohmer as he is bigger and has a smoother shot but the next line Jacob Pullman vs John Meade is the most interesting . If Pohmer turns the refs against them , it will be all she wrote. Pullman playing well but is he  strong enough to handle JM and he is going to have to raise his level of intensity to match John’s motor. Sam T vs Yoni Aviv also interesting as Sam has the speed but Yoni has the bulk. Matthew Benedict has been mentioned as the early favorite for MIP vs Jonny Slater who is a 3 point machine when he gets rolling –  edge Benedict who gets his points from inside where the percentages favor you . Big Bill in on concussion protocol and we are not sure if he is going to play. They will miss his height if he sits out . Jonathan Noury gives them some tenacity but he needs to put the ball in the basket if they are going to win. Adam Pullman vs Carter K – unless someone is on Adam he is going to get a few baskets , same with Josh Schure so what i’m saying is i hope that both teams have some defensive tricks up their sleeves because sitting in a zone all game is a guaranteed L with these shooters. Upset in the making =  Electric Circus -2

Now if you’re sitting there thinking, hey, he’s making US the underdog , well , there’s only one answer my friend . PROVE ME WRONG !!!

hope to see a lot of purple jerseys out there in the stands, especially on Sunday . If you’re a Hall of Famer don’t be bashful – wear your jersey – you earned it .

Playoffs

If you scroll down this page and look at my predictions right after the draft you will have to give me some props because – HOLY MACKEREL – i was really on the money this year coming up with 7/9 exactly right ( Team 2 came in 3rd and i had them 2nd but am counting that as correct since Jordan’s injury ) . That’s 78% exactly right – come on – to get 7 in a row correct is 1/7 to the 7th power is 823,543 to 1 . Someone tell me if that’s right because i used to be a math teacher and i think it is .  The team that fooled me was the Electric Circus because i didn’t know about Yoni and i gave the young Royal too much credit .

Here we are in the bittersweet last weekend of summer . Hopefully many of you will come out in September when it is a little cooler but quite beautiful and a lot less crowded. Looking forward to Hall of Fame night , which is always a lovely evening with laughter, emotion and camaraderie. That’s Sat 7pm at Windswept.

Don’t forget – if you own a purple shirt ( how many purples you got ?)  please wear it for the Semi’s and especially at the Final – you deserve the recognition!

The schedule is posted on the website – It will be Maroon Big Boys +1 vs Burnt Out – oh excuse me Orange- in the first game on Friday . 2nd game will feature the Electric Circus vs Vegas Gold Diggers – no kidding – I cannot wait –  these will be 2 great games and i don’t want to miss a second of either of them. Predictions and betting lines will be set tomorrow  .

In addition there will be a nice spread in the Fire Island News about the Tournament so please pick up a copy as soon as it comes out on Thursday . I wrote it so it will be accurate and a lot of names dropped.