Mavs battle hard again against the Kings


Readers might remember the last time the Mavericks faced the taller players on the Kings.  Thursday was a little different; not only was Grandma Shirl’s absence felt in the stands, but Aidan Ostermaier was matched against Clyde Huibregtse, giving them both a break from the inevitable fouls called when an opponent is a foot shorter.  Both teams had quite a few turnovers, keeping the score low (10-4, Kings) at the end of the first quarter in the Manhattan Youth Basketball League game in the fourth and fifth grade division.

In the second, Morris Katz played an effective defense for the Kings, widening the scoring gap even more.  Tenacious teammate Ian O’Connor continued his battering of the basket, but was robbed many times when the ball careened in and out.  Elliot Cooke got into the spirit for the Kings as well, with a great move past the defenders for a basket.  The Mavericks’ Alex Nimura answered with a rebound and pass to teammate Will Goldstein, who scored his first of three baskets.  But the March Madness move of the evening went to Zak Wegweiser, who zipped past any defensive player assigned to him to score from midair (in traffic) at the whistle, bringing the Kings ahead 22-14.

With much encouragement from the Maverick fans, Ostermaier set a pick for Tyler Adams, a play that worked twice in a row to push Adams toward his 18-point tally. Teammate Tyler Rohan (four baskets) led both teams in rebounds and steals (breaking his season record), and Trevor Goldstein’s field goal brought the Mavs closer with a 5-point deficit at the end of the third. 

In the last quarter, Wegweiser’s searing chest pass to O’Connor (3 baskets) gave him an assist, as O’Connor’s baseline jumpers from the side hit pay dirt.  The Mavs’ Jim Huynh stole the ball twice to keep the Mavs in the game, but Wegweiser’s behind-the-back dribbles, fakes, and pure talent made it a no-win situation for the Mavs.  The Kings’ James Borelli gave it his all, as usual.  Teammate Sam Liberman contributed three baskets to the cause, and Huibregtse’s defensive skills (and four baskets) made it a team effort.  But Wegweiser’s team leadership (and 15 points) was a clear factor in the Kings’ 39-30 win.

What can one say about the Mavericks?  Four of the players have never missed a game, and gave 100% each time.  But to date, they’ve scored 265 points to their opponents’ 318.  They’ve won one game and lost seven.  So what makes them such a fun team to watch?  Is it the “never say die” attitude?  Is it the high-scoring finesse of three of the league’s shortest players?  Is it the red-cheeked flush on their faces as they realize that yes, once again, the clock has run out and their Thursday night has ended in another loss of six points; four points; one point?

If this league gave a prize for perseverance and pure heart, the Mavericks would certainly win it.