By: Jeremy Dobin (10th Grade)
Thursday was a road trip day for the Hebrew Academy.
School was let out early as students boarded busses to take the long ride up to Jupiter to watch the Warriors take on the Jupiter Christian Eagles in the regional semi-final game. The Warriors played in their first regional game in 13 years but fell short of the victory.
“It felt pretty special,” Roye Ovaknin (12th Grade) said. “Our school hasn’t been in regionals since 2006. We fought and that’s what made us special.”
The Jupiter Christian gym was packed with Warriors fans. The student body, parents, and teachers drowned out the Jupiter Christian fans and continued the home court atmosphere from last week’s district round.
“This is one of my favorite seasons because of the way we played together and the way we brought everything together,” Jacob Stein (11th) said. “I’ve never played with a team that everyone cared for as much. I’ve never played on a team that other people in the community, other Jews, cared for as much as they did this year.”
Playing in the regional game was a milestone in itself for the Warriors after a season that, at one point, looked like it would end in disappointment.
“[The season] started off as bad as it could start off,” said David Lurie (12th). “We stuck with the plan that coach had for us. We believed in his plan, and slowly we started to get better and better. And once Jacob came back, we got closer as friends and as teammates. And from there we improved. We had some tough losses, but that helped us get better.”
Last week, the team completed two upsets to reach the district championship, securing a spot in the regional round. Each of the games were hard fought and came down to the wire as fans packed the gym with energy and excitement. With last night’s defeat, the 2018-2019 season came to a close after four months. This is the furthest the team has advanced in the six years under Coach Scott Berman.
“[I’m] tremendously proud of them, you know, I think we did something that again that we haven’t done in a long time,” Berman said. “The run that they had last week, and the school, the community, watching everybody come together is a week we’ll never forget and certainly I’ll never forget.”
After the Warriors’ run ended Thursday night, the team said goodbye to eight seniors. The team’s returning players have already started preparing for next year.
“I learned a lot this year,” said Bryan Saka (11th). “I basically learned that when things aren’t going so good for you, when things aren’t going so good for your school, basketball is a resource. It’s a huge reason why we had this run. Next year I’m just gonna take what the seniors taught me. If we build off of that, we’ll have a successful year next year.”