Bryn Mawr – With a roster containing seven healthy players as they prepared to face Mercy Vocational Feb. 2, the Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy boys’ basketball team had to embrace the Next Man Up mentality to achieve success.
Trailing by two after three quarters, the Cougars remembered what coach Jeremy Treatman told them at halftime before going out and outscoring the visitors 14-6 in the final stanza to post a dramatic 45-39 victory behind senior Zach Lipstein (22 points, nine rebounds and eight steals) and juniors Jared Shotel (nine points and five rebounds) and Gabe Bryant (13 rebounds).
“This win was huge,” said Bryant. “With the odds stacked against us (only having seven players) and still come out on top is big.”
“We have a lot of injuries so to see everyone come together and step up is key,” added Lipstein. “We had two freshmen come off the bench and play big minutes. Everyone played his heart out, so to gut out a win is big.”
With the win, Barrack secured a home game in the Tri-County playoffs against Mercy Vocational.
Entering the Feb. 2 game on a five-game skid including a heartbreaking 55-54 loss on January 31; having only seven players available and facing a physical squad, the Cougars knew they would need contributions from everyone.
“I am happy every game because these guys play so hard, embrace the underdog role and play together,” Treatman said. We have lost some games because the other team’s talent is superior and we can live with that because of the effort I get from these guys. The chemistry we have this year is terrific. We have freshmen that see a lot of playing time. It’s nice as a coach to give guys opportunity who work hard and understand our philosophy of good man defense, pressure the other team and be athletic aggressive and attack the seams and kick to guards for three-pointers.”
The performance against Mercy Vocational characterized how Barrack has played all season despite not always coming out on the right end of the score.
“Zach Lipstein is a warrior and often the quickest guy on the court,” said Treatman. “Sometimes I wonder how he would fit in a traditional school because I think any coach in the area would like a player who hustles like he does on their team. Simon Gordon has probably been the most improved kid on the team. I did not have a spot on the varsity roster for him last season. This year he has owned the small forward spot from day one and has done a fine job.”
Bryant said, “Our seniors have been great role models. We only have two seniors (Lipstein and Simon Gordon) but they are some of our best players and they always come though on and off the court when the team needs their leadership.”
“We need our underclassmen to come through,” said Lipstein. “There are only two of us seniors so we spend a lot of time recruiting students to play. We have three freshmen and two sophomores on the roster. We have a lot of confidence in them and they have done a great job this season.”