January 30, 2019

GOA Girls and Boys Basketball Building on Strong Start

Matt Saperstein ‘21

Image result for basketball court

After many weeks of preparation, the Golda Och Academy varsity basketball teams have returned back to the court for another season. Surprisingly, the girls and boys teams finished their seasons in very similar ways.
Led by junior Ally Landau, the girls basketball team had an overall record of 8-8. They finished in fourth place in the SEC Independence division, with a record of 7-6 within their division. Some of their bigger achievements this season include wins over Newark Central and Montclair Kimberley.
As many expected, Landau continued her impressive high school basketball career this season. Going into winter break, she was top 30 in the state in points and rebounds per game. She finished the season averaging a double-double, with about 22 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Other notable players include senior Michelle Bilmes, who was second on the team with  28 total 3-pointers and Jessica Moskowitz, who was tied for third on the team in total points scored with 88 points.
Many of the girls on the team felt like their team’s biggest strength is their defense.
“We play good defense and get most of our points off of fast breaks,” Moskowitz said.
Meanwhile, the boys varsity basketball team finished their season in a similar way after improving during the second half of the season. They finished with an overall record of 8-9. However, many of their tough losses this season were decided by few points. Notably, about half way through the season, they lost at home to Arts High School by a score of 55-54. The following day, they traveled to Bellville, where they lost another close game in overtime by 11 points.
“We have to work on communication and discipline,” junior Josh Berger said after the Belville game. “We could have won a few more games if [when we had the lead,] we held on to the ball, passed it around, tired out the defense and waited for an easy layup.”
Junior Assaf Arieh lead the team in points, averaging about 15 per game. Senior Jamie Gutterman lead the team in 3-pointers with 25 and senior Ian Rosen led the team in rebounds with about seven per game.
The players on the boys team are proud about the games they were able to win, especially in their games against West Essex and Science Park. They also understand what their strengths were as a team this season.
“We do a pretty good job on defense by contesting shots,” Bargad said towards the end of the season. “We’re also pretty good at hitting jump shots.”
A possible reason for the team’s close losses in January is junior Ethan Landau’s leg injury in mid-January. Although his injury was relatively minor, it caused him to miss a few practices and sit out for more time during a few games when he played through injury.
Both varsity basketball teams were confident throughout the season, allowing them both to improve during the second half of the season.
“We should be able to finish over .500,” Moskowitz said midway through the season. “And finish towards the top of our division.”

“Our record doesn’t reflect how good of a team we are,” Berger said. “[Next year,] we are going to work even harder on preserving leads and we are good enough as a team to be able to do it.”

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