Boys Varsity Basketball summary

Yesh Nikam and Max Chasin

With the regular season coming to a close, the Boy’s Varsity Basketball team has their eyes set on the playoffs and the 69th annual Buzzell game this Friday.
The team currently sits at nine wins and four losses after two hard-fought wins this week: a 63-51 win against Dalton on Monday and a twenty point victory over Poly Prep Country Day School on Wednesday, the number one team in the Ivy league.
Elijah Shaham (11) said that Monday’s win was critical after they suffered a twenty-one point defeat to Collegiate on Friday. “We did not play our best [against Collegiate], so we were eager to get back on track and play better basketball. It felt like a revenge game,” he said.
The Lions had not beaten Dalton in over four years, so for seniors like Robert Mantz (12), the win meant a lot, Mantz said.
Jaden Kirshner (11) described the win over Poly Prep as the team’s best moment of the year. “Beating Poly was exactly what we needed. It was a great team win and couldn’t have come at a better time,” he said.
Wednesday’s victory was the team’s sixth win in their last seven games, and Shaham said that they are peaking during an extremely important time, he said. “We are in the middle of a really tight playoff race, so all these wins are super important,” he said.
Avi Kapadia (11) said that the team really improved their play after their two point loss to Poly last month. “It was a heartbreaking loss, but it showed us that we could compete with the very best in the league,” Kapadia said. “Since then, our confidence has really grown, and we believe we can beat anyone.”
While the team lost two key players last year, Kelvin Smith and Kyle Gaillard, Ben Chasin (11) said they have overcome that challenge and improved. “The way that our team rebounds, defends, and shoots on offense has made up for those losses,” he said.
“I believe that every single player has improved from last year. [Robert] Mantz has really stepped into a leadership role as captain and Chris [Robinson (11)] has been great for us off the bench on defense,” Shaham said.
Robert said that the play of his younger brother, Edward Mantz (11), has been crucial to the team’s success this year. “He’s the rock of our team and controls our whole tempo. When he’s at his best – dishing, defending, and getting to the hoop – we are unstoppable,” he said.
Robert also praised Chasin for his steady play throughout the year. “He’s improved every year he has been on the team, but this year he’s broken out. He’s a great rebounder, shooter, and defender,” he said.
A win on Buzzell would clinch a playoff berth for the Lions, Kirshner said.
Buzzell will be the teams second game against Riverdale this year, and the Lions are looking to avenge their twenty-nine point loss to them earlier in the year. “We played terribly that game, but we’ve been playing much better recently. We’re looking to maintain the intensity we’ve had during these last couple games,” Robinson said.
“I think we are all pumped and really focused,” Kapadia said. “It’s obviously one of the biggest games of our season, so it’s really easy to get caught up in all the excitement, but we just want to go out there and get a victory,”
“We are staying ready and hopefully just go out there and enjoy the moment,” Robert Mantz said.