On Wednesday afternoon prior to the opening games of the tournament, the girls received support from their peers in a pep rally organized by student council.
The pep rally, held in the high school cafeteria, began with a sentiment from Dr. Lieber. “Sometimes it feels like the spotlight is always on the boys’ teams, but now is the time to give major recognition to the female athletes for all of their hard work and dedication,” Lieber said.
Coach Scott Berman, filling in for Coach Mallory, delivered clever anecdotes about each team member, drawing cheers, laughs, and applause.
“At first, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but as Coach Berman was reading all of those lovely things that Coach Mallory wrote about us, it was very heartwarming,” said Florencia Chami (12th grade).
The Lady Warriors took on the Beren Academy Stars to start off the tournament Wednesday night and held a strong lead throughout the entire game. Kayla Sedighim (10th) played her best game of the season with a whopping 19 points and 5 rebounds. Senior teammate, Florencia Chami, magnified Sedighim’s powerful plays with 9 points. Samantha Ebner (9th) and Kayla Wolfson (9th) helped lead the team to victory by combining for 11 points and 13 boards. The Lady Warriors finished strong against Beren Academy with a 55-38 win.
With a good night’s rest came the girls next opponent: the Columbus Torah Academy Lady Lions. The entire high school student body filled the gym, and the kindergarten class cheered loudly for their older peers from the stands. Florencia Chami and Kayla Sedighim put up a strong front and helped carry the team to a serious success against the Lions. Florencia Chami was the lead scorer of the game with 13 points and had 6 steals, while Kayla Sedighim boasted 11 points and 5 rebounds. Rina Reich (11th) and Zoe Sugar (10th) had large impacts on the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds combined. Ariella Wolfson (11th) and Samantha Ebner controlled the board and finished with six rebounds each. The Lady Warriors earned a 2-0 record with a final score of 49-36.
The final game of the second day of the tournament came after a long and restful afternoon following their eventful morning session. This mathchup was not only important because they faced a tough team in the Ida Crown Aces, but also due to the fact that it was Senior Night. During Senior Night, it is a tradition for the graduating members of the team to receive autographed Hebrew Academy basketballs (signed by all of their teammates), and a bouquet of flowers. Coaches Bishop and Mallory quieted the crowd and proceeded to impart some wisdom to the graduates of the team, and also explain their worth, dedication, and all that they brought to the team.
Sophie Gordon (12th), a member of the team for all four consecutive years of high school, was not the first Gordon to play basketball at Hebrew Academy. Despite four alumni as her siblings that were all significant members of their respective Hebrew Academy basketball teams, she did not let it phase her. Coach Bishop and Coach Mallory explained how Sophie, though all of her siblings played basketball at our school, just did her own thing. He noted that “she goes to shoot, and it just goes in.” He spoke about her leadership qualities and how she has affected the team in many ways.
“I thought it was a great way to bring the season to a close. I’m happy that we brought attention not only to the senior boys, but to the girls too. They made a huge impact on the team and they will truly be missed next year,” said teammate Zoe Sugar (10th).
Florencia Chami, another senior member of the team and a player for five years, was also awarded with a signed basketball and flowers. Coach Bishop and Coach Mallory discussed that though she may be good at basketball, that it is not even her best sport. She plays football as well and was recognized as an All-Dade Girls’ Flag Football player in 9th grade. They also touched on her evolution as a player and her leadership skills.
“What Coach Mallory and Coach Chad said about me was really nice and I wasn’t expecting it. They really made me feel like I have grown a lot throughout these five years and I couldn’t have asked for better seasons. I want to thank them for everything and thank them for making me a better player,” said Chami.
Following this send-off for the senior players, it was time to play the Lady Aces of Ida Crown Jewish Academy from Chicago, Illinois. With their own section of fans, this team brought a lot of energy into our home gym. The Warriors huddled up and shouted their famous “Who’s house is this?” chant as loud as they possibly could. The Warriors were able to keep a tight race throughout the game, closing out the half with a score of 21-23, leaving them down by only 2. Kayla Sedighim (10th) maintained her stamina and led the Lady Warriors with 18 points; 4 three pointers and 3 jump shots. Zoe Sugar (10th) was on a roll with 9 points via three 3 pointers, and Rina Reich added 6 points via 2 three pointers. Samantha Ebner had 8 rebounds and helped the Warriors keep up the close game.
The Lady Aces were no match for the Warriors when they managed to tie the game at the end of the third quarter. With only two minutes left of the final quarter, the two teams were fired up as the score was a 40-40 tie. Unfortunately, the Lady Warriors were unable to keep up with the Lady Aces, and they were defeated with a final score of 45-42. The Lady Warriors clutched on to the 4th seed spot in the single elimination tournament.
The Lady Warriors continued to play in the tournament at The Miami Beach Jewish Community Center against Hillel High School from Deal, New Jersey this morning. They were defeated by the squad with a score of 60-18, placing them in the 5th seed.
By: Lexi Sugar (12th grade)