VTHS Wolfpack Wins 2022 Red Sarachek Championships In all-time Best and Historic Performance
On Monday afternoon, a new Sarachek champion was crowned. In front of a deafening crowd at Yeshiva University’s Max Stern Athletic Center, the Valley Torah Wolfpack (#2-seeded) defeated the DRS Wildcats (#4-seeded) 55-45 to win the 2022 Sarachek Tournamnent in four games and capture the Wolfpack’s first Red Sarachek Championship in 30 years.
The historic final playoff was action-packed from start to finish. As the game tipped off, Valley Torah started strong making multiple back-to-back threes. The Wolfpack knew they couldn’t begin the game off slow as they had in the past three games, so they pulled through just in time to bring home the championship trophy.
DRS responded to Valley Torah’s threes with a couple of buckets on their own to keep the game close. Ethan List (’24) fought back with fire as he responded with his second triple of the game to put the Wolfpack up 14-8 with 3:50 left in the first quarter. The DRS Wildcats pushed back in the paint, finishing off the quarter with a pair of layups from Ivry and Thurm making the New York team only down by 3. Johnny Dan (’23) led the way for the Wolfpack in the first quarter scoring 10 points to place them ahead of DRS 19-16.
The second quarter began slowly on both sides, but Noam Mayouhas (’23) drained his second triple of the game to revamp the quarter and get the team on the right track. DRS responded with a contested mid-range shot by Dubin. Jonny Dan took back control for the Wolfpack, however, as he knocked down another three to take a VTHS to a 7-point lead, 25-18, with 5:29 to go in the first half. DRS did not let up as Saffra did everything in his power on both ends of the floor, getting four quick points to cut the Wolfpack lead to 3. Although, the Wildcats had a few defensive mistakes resulting in a short 6-0 run for the Wolfpack to end the quarter up 9, 31-22.
One more half to go, as the third quarter starts with buckets from both teams in the first minute. Though, the Wolfpack came out efficiently scoring 7 points within two minutes to add to their lead, 38-26. Not only did they come out of the scoring, but they crashed the boards offensively giving them multiple possessions to work for a shot. Later on, back-to-back buckets in the paint by Daniel Hirsch (’22) gave the Wolfpack their largest lead of the game up 14, 42-28, with 2:50 left in the third quarter. Subsequently, DRS responded by scoring bucket after bucket closing the quarter on an 8-0 run to get back into the game only down by 6, 42-36.
The atmosphere in the Max Stern Athletic Center was roaring as players and fans got ready for the final 8 minutes of the game. Wildcat star Aryeh Ivry completed a tough and-1 for the first bucket of the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game! Down by three, Ivry headed to the line and seamlessly knocked down two clutch free-throws to cut it to a one-point game. Everything not going Valley Torah’s way as the lead they built in the third quarter was completely lost. With 3:43 left in the game, DRS took a one-point lead after a tough layup by Ivry. With 3:15 to play in the game, Valley Torah finally ended their scoring drought from two free throws by Gabriel R’bibo (’24), ending an insane 15-0 run by DRS! If there was any time for the Wolfpack to take back control, it would have to be at that moment.
With a one-point Wolfpack lead, Ivry headed back to the line but missed a clutch free throw to tie the game. In the next possession, with less than three minutes left, Ivry fought back and got the steal. On a fast break all alone, Ivry saw an open path for a layup to take the lead, but Johnny Dan raced close behind to swat Ivry’s shot off the backboard!
Immediately after Dan’s incredible block, Noam Mayouhas ran the fast break and found an open David Paz (’22) as he knocked down a huge three-pointer to put the Wolfpack back up by 4! On the next play, Johnny Dan stole the ball at half-court and scored a layup to extend the lead to 6, 49-43, with 2:19 left to go! When it seemed like everything was going DRS’s way, Valley Torah responded with a much-needed sequence to come back out on top at the perfect moment. Following a DRS timeout, Leifer secured an offensive rebound and put the ball back up to cut the lead to 4. But Valley Torah kept their foot on the gas with David Paz knocking down yet another clutch three to give the Wolfpack a 7-point lead and a comfortable spot to win the title. With the shot clock running at 20.7 seconds, DRS needed a miracle as Ivry launched a deep three that ultimately could not hit. With the emotions starting to kick in for Valley Torah, Johnny Dan calmly knocks down two free throws to secure the game at 55-45 and the buzzer sounds to call it a game! The Wolfpack won their first-ever Red Sarachek Tournamnent in school program history!
“These past few games capture the essence of Vally Torah High School. With commitment, focus, and execution, students are capable of achieving the greatest of heights.” Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger, Rosh Yeshivah and Dean of Valley Torah High School, said in a phone interview with the Scroll. “The Wolfpack put in the effort, and they have ignited the strongest student-body pride we’ve seen in years.”
Wolfpack shooting guard Johnny Dan finished off an epic performance with a game-high 19 points in the final match. Dan took home Sarachek Tier 1 MVP honors. Noam Mayouhas (All-Tournament First Team Honors), David Paz, and Ethan List each contributed greatly with each of them hitting two 3-pointers of their own. Amidst the celebration that winning a championship brings, the Wolfpack could be seen embracing each other on the sidelines.
Valley Torah caped off a historic season, making it to the fourth round of CIF State Playoffs and ultimately winning a Sarachek championship. Congrats to the entire team, including the coaching staff, on their amazing contributions and achievements all season long. Go Wolfpack!