The varsity boys basketball team heads to the District Tournament next week seeded #1, giving them a major advantage and a strong possibility of making it to Regionals.
“I think the chemistry and the talent that we have this year puts us in a position to win the Districts,” Warriors Coach Scott Berman said. “We’re good at offense, we’re good at defense, and we play really hard.”
Because the Warriors are seeded first out of the other eight teams in the district, they automatically make it to the Tuesday night semi-finals, skipping over Monday’s initial game. The school is taking students on a coach bus and providing free pizza for Tuesday’s game at Coral Springs Christian Academy. If they win Tuesday, the team heads to Regionals and if that brings a victory, to States. The Warriors have not won Districts for ten years, so next week’s game is a big one. Berman attributes their 15-1 record this season to teamwork.
“It’s a good mix of kids. It’s the kind of group that I think was undervalued, and I think they’ve used that as fuel, and they’ve really worked together,” Berman said.
This past week, the Warriors played their last regular season game at home in a packed gym, beating the Hillel Lions 64-54. Before the game, seniors were honored in a ceremony to commemorate their time on the team and their final game in the Hebrew Academy gym.
Coach Berman gave a brief yet meaningful speech about each senior who came up to receive a bouquet of flowers and a signed, personal basketball. Seniors honored included Noah Schiff, Jack Esformes, Caleb Katz, Ezra Sultan, and Ben Tal.
“It still hasn’t really hit me yet but, I think it’s going to be pretty emotional because I have played here so long, and I’ve been here my whole life,” said Katz. “Just playing in the gym so much, like everyday for practice and for games, it still hasn’t really hit me, but I think as the season comes to an end, I’ll start feeling it, and it’s sad.”
As the speeches ended, the enthusiasm in the air became heavy, and everyone was ready for the last home game of the season. Although the game was close, the Warriors pulled through with their unity and strategy, crushing the Hillel Lions along the way. As the final farewell for the Seniors came, they waved their home court goodbye.
“It was just a strange feeling going out there for the last time,” Sultan said. “It was like, we have practiced so many times in that gym. Just knowing that it was the last time we were going to be there in front of all of our fans and family, it was just a strange and very real feeling. When the game ended and we won, I remember going up to the locker room and being like ‘wow this is going to be the last time I’m taking off my shoes and taking off my jersey, and now it’s going to be somewhere else, I’m not gonna be doing it here anymore.’ So that was just a very weird, sad feeling, and I’m really gonna miss this.”
Although they’ve been to regionals ten years ago, a Hebrew Academy varsity basketball team has never made it to states. Berman said it’s all within the realm of possibility.
“The chemistry is great, the teamwork is great. The seniors have been amazing- Caleb, Noah, Jack, and Ezrah have been amazing, and our bench has been good. Everyone is bonding, I mean we’ve had no drama,” Berman said. “If we were to win Regionals we would go to States in Orlando, which we have a legitimate shot at.”
By: Mary Berkowitz (9th Grade)
Senior Warriors honored for Senior Night
Left to Right: Ben Tal, Jack Esformes, Ezrah Sultan, Noah Schiff, Caleb Katz and Coach Berman