By Ernest Stone
DALY CITY — Before Jewish Community High School of the Bay and and Kehillah took the floor on Sunday afternoon, it looked as if both teams possessed no clear physical advantages over each another.
Yet, what Jewish Community lacked in stature, it more than compensated with toughness and commitment, outworking the Rams and dominating the paint en route to a 46-24 rout in Private School Athletic League play at the Westlake Recreation Center.
“We had to change our style once our superstar Ariel Gottlieb went down,” said Wolves head coach Tim Kjar, of their senior guard who has been sidelined for most of the season with a torn ACL. “We’ve always tried to be aggressive, but now we’ve really committed to scoring inside more so than before.”
The Wolves (12-3, 6-1) not only exploited their opponents’ lack of intensity, but their depth as well. Jewish Community was more than willing to go to its bench throughout the game, while the Rams had all five starters on the floor for all but nine minutes.
Unfortunately for Kehillah (7-7, 3-4), its starters, most notably its leading scorer Max Kaplan, struggled throughout the game. Kaplan finished with just three points on a 0-of-17 shooting performance from the field.
“Our defense was at its best today,” said Wolves forward Benny Sosnick, who led all scorers with 17 points. “We still need to rework our offense a little bit, but our defense has been reliable all year.”
The Wolves defense had such an impact, that despite scoring just 18 points in the first half, the team entered the third quarter with a seven-point lead. With the same effective defense in the third, combined with an 11-point surge from Sosnick, the Wolves had a comfortable 18 point lead heading into the final period, one which they would push to 22 by the end of the game.
After the loss, Kehillah must win at least four of its remaining games to advance to the PSAL playoffs.
“This is probably one of the best teams we will face this year,” said Kehillah head coach Marty Ruiz. “They played us extremely well on defense today, but even still, we are going to have to get to the basket on drives a lot more if we want to beat them next time we play.”
Jewish Community currently trails league-undefeated Mid-Peninsula in its division, and Kjar knows that his team will have to keep its guard up if they want to get their second division win against the Rams.
“I know we didn’t get their best effort today,” Kjar said. “We’ll see what they throw at us in two weeks, but I really like what we’ve done as a team, and with everybody stepping up the way they have, we are in good shape.”
Girls Basketball: Kehillah 29, Jewish Community 28
After entering halftime with a 17-12 lead, Jewish Community, was outscored 9-2 in the third quarter by Kehillah en route to a 29-28 loss on Sunday afternoon at the Westlake Recreation Center.
Down 29-27 in the final minute, the Wolves earned a trip to the free throw line with a chance to tie the game. They connected on just one free throw, however, failing to send the game to overtime. Leading the Rams with 14 points was center Arielle Bendahan, while Sophie Navarro led Jewish Community with 13 points.