The juvenile ‘D4-1A’ Kuper Academy Kodiaks capped off a remarkable undefeated season last Wednesday by taking down the ‘D4-1B’ Herzliah High School Lions 53-37 in a crossover game.

The Kodiaks were unrivaled this season, finishing with a league-high 591 points scored and 13 wins. They dominated teams on the court, both offensively and defensively, and they didn’t let up against the Lions.

Kuper got off to a slow start in the first quarter, uncharacteristically turning the ball over to the Lions. But once the Kodiaks got their legs going on offense, there was no stopping them, according to Herzliah head coach Michel Zarmati.

“Their transition game is very strong and I think they outran us once they got the rebound – we just couldn’t stop their offense,” said Zarmati.

The Lions quickly fell behind in the game and faced a monumental challenge by the end of the first half. The Kodiaks entered the third quarter with a 19-8 lead. But, all things considered, Zarmati was pleased with his teams’ performance, especially against Kuper.

“I think it just sets a tone for us,” he said. “I think that the fact we can stay within seven baskets with a team like this. I think it gives us a good chance, a lot of motivation to push hard and play them again in the finals, if we make it there.”

Kuper began to pull away in the third quarter, thanks to the unparalleled performance of Kristina Syragakis. The Kodiaks utilized their deadly transition game, which more often than not led to a Syragakis basket.

“We sort of live by it, die by it, sometimes we get too many turnovers that way, but today it worked really well, most of the time it was the right pass,” said Kuper head coach Cullen Thiessen.

The Kuper all-star finished with a game-high 25 points, notching 13 points in the third quarter alone. Kodiaks’ Victoria Pacholuk finished with 16 points, the second highest total in the game.

The Lions managed to put up 29 points in the second half, impressive against a juggernaut like Kuper. But Thiessen expected gritty, physical performance from Herzliah. He told his team before tip-off to stay sharp and expect a hungry Lions squad.

“We talked about starting strong, not letting up, limiting turnovers, and to keep shooting your shots because eventually things are going to go in,” Thiessen said.

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