By Jeremy Balan
DALY CITY – Jewish Community High School of the Bay’s boys basketball team largely locked down Kehillah’s most visible advantage, 6-foot-6 forward Zack Jenkins, on Sunday.
But with the game tied at 38-38 with 25 seconds remaining, Jenkins delivered the knockout punch.
The sophomore used his significant height advantage to bring in an offensive rebound, was fouled on a put-back attempt and knocked down two game-winning free throws to secure the Rams’ 40-38 win in Private School Athletic League play on at Westlake Community Center.
The close victory gives Kehillah (6-9, 3-3) its first win over the Wolves (7-6, 2-4) in the Jewish-school rivalry game.
“They’ve beaten us like 11 times in a row, and the first time we played them this season, we didn’t have the big guy,” said Kehillah head coach Marty Ruiz. “We’ve played them a couple of times really close in the past, but we’ve always come up a little short. We’ve won 66 games in six years at Kehillah and this is probably our biggest one.”
The Wolves still had a chance to tie the game or take a lead on its final possession and got an offensive rebound after a missed first shot.
Jewish Community head coach Tim Kjar immediately called a timeout when junior forward Anthony Gumberg brought down the rebound with 3 seconds left, but the Wolves were not able to get a shot off on the final play.
“We tried to make the right play, but they deserved to win,” Kjar said. “They were just better today. To win these close games, we just have to make another basketball play.”
Gumberg, at 6-foot-1, is the only Jewish Community player over 6-feet tall and was tasked with guarding Jenkins throughout. Gumberg scored a team-high 15 points and had 10 rebounds, while holding Jenkins to 10 points.
“He did a good job, but that’s what he does, because we’re not very big,” Kjar said. “He has to guard the opposing team’s biggest guy and he’s good at it for the most part, but we have to get more help from our help-side defenders.”
The Wolves trailed for most of the game, but tied the score on a driving layup from Gumberg with 58 seconds remaining.
The Kehillah defense held strong in the final seconds, though, and also forced six Jewish Community turnovers in the final quarter.
“You just have have to give credit to Kehilah,” Kjar said. “They just wanted to win a little bit more.”
Braden Katzman – 15
Nadav David – 13
Zack Jenkins – 10
Miguel Frid – 2
Anthony Gumberg – 15
Michael Kostukovsky – 11
Grant Fineman – 8
Boris Shkurko – 3
Arthur Guz – 1