December 27, 2016

Shooting For Success: GOA Boys Varsity Basketball Is Ready For a New Season

Aaron Lavitsky ‘19

On any given day of the year, the Sandy Pyonin court would be empty during the first half of the lunch period, waiting for the second half when the balls come out and the sneakers hit the court.
However, these days the courts are already flooded with players at the start of the period. A different kind of drive is in the minds of the players on the court during this time of year – the drive to impress their coach.
As the winter approaches, so does the basketball season. Golda Och Academy’s basketball is always highly anticipated and this year is no different.
With a large group of experienced juniors and sophomores, along with the veteran presence of senior Ari Esrig, this season has the potential to be a special season for the Road Runners.
Coming off a year where the majority of the roster consisted of seniors, the team has come back with a strong core group of prospects eager to fill the shoes left behind.
The 2016-17 boys varsity basketball team is built on skilled guard play. The junior guards lead the squad with Elijah Taitel, Alex Moskowitz, Aaron Pearlstein and Yonatan Arieh all bringing solid play and leadership to the team.
Complementing this strong group of guards is a consistent assortment of forwards. Junior Matt Friedman along with sophomores Jamie Gutterman and Aaron Lavitsky provide this reliable play at the forward position and add solid defense as reserves.
Additionally, some promising players have joined the ranks from the freshman class, looking to bolster an already developing young team.
This group of great players is looking to build off last year’s average team, which finished with a record of 9-10.
Because last year’s team was led by senior play, the current junior class did not get much of a chance to make an impact. Now, with only one senior on the team, the juniors are looking to take over and make a statement.
Dominated by contributions from the guard positions, the juniors thrive on speed and playmaking, while also being able to stretch the floor and play from the perimeter.
“The basketball team this year is very different from last years,” Taitel said. “Last year we played with our size, but this year we have to play to our speed and quickness.”
Building off Taitel’s point, Coach Sandy Pyonin said, “this year will be exciting because we have a great group of young, fast guys who love to compete.”
To add to existing pressure, the team has moved up a division and faces a plethora of new opponents. This means the team will have to fight extra hard not only to win games, but to earn respect as well. Pyonin, along with others on the team, is excited for this change.
“With the new season comes new opportunities,” he said. “Having moved up a division, the competition is going to be much tougher and more exciting.”
There will be plenty of other changes for the team as well, such as new uniforms that the players will be able to show off at the Whiteout Game which will be played against Kushner Academy on December 17. The Road Runners will also be participating in the Tri-Schecter Tournament this year in Westchester, New York.  
These new and exciting developments should make this year a great one for Road Runner basketball.
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