There was no Cinderella story this season in the B’nai B’rith basketball league.
Pisgah-Zeiger won its third straight league championship, beating Brotherhood No. 3 53-49 on March 25 in a hotly contested playoff title game at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
“It was like the Kansas-Duke game in the NCAA tournament … a heavyweight title fight,” said Pisgah-Zeiger player-coach Rick Sherline. “The lead changed hands four or five times in the second half. Both teams made clutch shot after clutch shot.”
Close games were the rule and not the exception this season for these two teams. They played three times, and the largest margin of victory was 8 points.
Brotherhood No. 3 won 63-57 on Jan. 14 and Pisgah-Zeiger won 51-43 on Feb. 18 in regular-season games.
The teams each went 8-2 in the regular season and tied for first place in the six-team league.
The 2-point difference in their head-to-head games gave Pisgah-Zeiger the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Brotherhood No. 3 was the No. 2 seed. Third-place Brotherhood No. 2 and fourth-place Brotherhood No. 1 also made the playoffs as No. 3 and No. 4 seeds.
Familiarity and similar physical attributes played roles in the closeness of the Pisgah-Zeiger vs. Brotherhood 3 games.
Brotherhood No. 3 player-coach Dan Butler played in the league for two seasons before forming his own team in 2017.
Former Pisgah-Zeiger player Ryan Markowitz joined him last year. Markowitz was on the team in 2016 when it won the first of its three straight league championships.
“They’re a tall, physical team and we’re also tall, but not as physical,” Sherline said.
“I think they (Pisgah-Zeiger) had a little better chemistry than we did because they’ve had a lot of the same guys on their team for several years. We had four new guys this season and four guys from last year,” Butler said.
“It was a good season for us. We jelled, the new guys helped us, and we did better than last year when we lost in the playoff semifinals.”
Sherline’s teammates this season were Mike Feld, Adam Greenberg, Scott Kapeller, Janard Long, Bryant Gaston, Jay James, Chris Canada, Dan Serlin and Jared Stoddard.
Butler’s roster included newcomers Mike Rapin, Josh Fox, Brandon Nunn and Ron Peterson, along with returnees Markowitz, Blake Johnson and Chris Walker.
The playoff semifinals and finals were both played March 25.
Pisgah-Zeiger beat Brotherhood No. 1 75-53 in the semifinals led by three players who scored in double figures: Long (23 points), Canada (12) and Kapeller (12). Brotherhood No. 3 beat Brotherhood No. 2 in the other semifinal game.
Greenberg scored 18 points and Gaston had 17 in the final game.
Pisgah-Zeiger’s other regular-season loss was a Jan. 28 defeat to Brotherhood No. 2 when Pisgah-Zeiger had only five players available.
“We normally played about seven guys in a game,” said Sherline, who has played in the league since it was founded in 1976.
First Collegiate HR
Jordan Anstandig earned nine varsity letters — three each in football, snowboarding and baseball — at Walled Lake Northern High School before he graduated in 2015.
Now he has another impressive credential for his athletic resume. He has a collegiate home run.
Anstandig blasted a solo homer about 375 feet over the fence in right-centerfield Friday to send the host Alma College baseball team on its way to a 5-2 win over Albion College in the first game of a doubleheader.
This is Anstandig’s first year at Alma after transferring from Saginaw Valley State University.
Anstandig is a 5-foot-7, 160-pound junior outfielder. Through 16 games this season, he was hitting .245 with seven RBIs, 12 runs scored and three stolen bases.
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