Yeshiva league sports did not ease into winter break. December saw blowouts, battles, and movement in the standings, and when school resumes in February, so will the fierce jockeying for basketball and hockey playoff positioning. Most schools end their intersessions on Monday, Jan. 30, and play will resume shortly thereafter.
The story of the first half of the hockey season was the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway. The Flames, a perennial powerhouse, compiled a 9-0 record, and are the only team in the league with nine wins. Just how good are the Flames? Their 6-3 victory over Ramaz last month marked the first time HAFTR had surrendered more than two goals in a game.
Two points behind HAFTR in the eastern conference is DRS HALB Yeshiva High School for Boys, and those two teams should — if the first half of the season is any indication — continue to dominate the conference’s two top spots.
Teaneck’s Torah Academy of Bergen County is perched in the western conference’s top spot with an 8-0-‘ record; their most convincing victory coming via a 1’-0 trouncing of the Moshe Aaron Yeshiva High School (South River). The Hillel Yeshiva High School is in second place at 8-‘-0. Meanwhile, the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy is three points ahead of Riverdale’s SAR High School.
While the hockey league saw its powerhouses go undefeated, the yeshiva high school basketball league saw its top dog go down. Brooklyn’s Magen David Yeshiva High School, considered by many the championship favorite, dropped to 8-1 after losing a 5′-44 decision to Yeshivat Shaare Torah. Magen David, outscored 16-5 in the fourth quarter of its loss, is just one-half game ahead of 7-1 Ramaz in the central division standings.
The Frisch Academy of Paramus, which also came into the season with championship expectations, leads the western division with a 9-0 record, narrowly keeping ahead of 8-1 Hillel. There is a tie for first place in the eastern conference between Long Island’s North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and DRS.
The most intriguing postseason possibility is a Frisch-Magen David rematch championship. Frisch is looking to avenge last year’s loss. With both teams heading their respective conferences, it would not be surprising to see that grudge match come to fruition.