In this year’s IHSA 1A playoffs, Fasman Yeshiva (8) beat Christian Liberty Academy (10) 54-34 behind 18 points from junior Dani Stein and 10 rebounds from senior captain Frimy Karp, advancing to play Rochelle Zell Jewish High School (1) the top-ranked school in the bracket. Zell took an early six-point lead but Karp fought back dropping six of his own to tie up the score. Zell’s Jake Silvers scored nine points in the second quarter powering Zell to an 18-14 halftime lead. Zell’s defense was stifling and Ari Rosen scored six more for RZ in the third quarter pushing the game even more out of reach for Fasman down seven points going into the fourth quarter; and then The Aibishter’s Team got hot. Senior captain Ari Schuman drained back-to-back threes, and senior Gavi Ashkanazy hit a game-tying three to send the game to overtime tied 30-30. In overtime, Rosen and Karp traded buckets to keep the game tied until the last minute. As the clock winded down, Stein found Schuman in the corner for a game-winning three that splashed down with 1.5 seconds left to send Fasman to the Regional Finals.
In the regional finals, Fasman (8) squared off against their rival Ida Crown Academy (4). Neither school had ever won an IHSA regional final, and both schools were well represented. Over 200 fans for both schools made the 45-minute drive to Arlington Heights to cheer on the schools. Ida Crown started off hot with seven first-half points from senior Benny Albom, but Yeshiva senior Ari Gutman scored seven in the half and Ari Schuman scored nine to give the Yeshiva a six-point lead at halftime. Ida Crown held tough in the third, with junior Josh Goltz scoring six while holding the Yeshiva to just four points in the third to cut Fasman’s lead to two. But the Yeshiva pulled away with seven points each from Dani Stein and Frimy Karp, and several huge blocked shots from senior captain Gavi Domsky. Ida Crown’s Micah Cohen also scored seven in the fourth to make the game close, but the Yeshiva prevailed to win their first regional championship 46-42.
Though the Yeshiva’s season would end in a loss to Chicago Hope in the next round 53-50 in a very tough game, the impact of this season has not been lost on these talented young players. Coach Greg Kalutsky, a contender to win Jewish Hoops America Coach of the Year, reminded his players that no matter what happens, they will be the first team in school history to win a regional.
Kalutsky, who starred for the Yeshiva from 1993-1996, reflected on the year by saying “This year’s varsity team worked hard, trusted the coaches, loved one another as family, put the work in at practice, grinded through tough times, dealt with adversity which led them to achieve greatness on a historic level which will enshrine them in Fasman Yeshiva history.”