The Hebrew Academy varsity boys basketball team walked into the Coral Springs Christian gym with nervous stomachs and an intense drive to beat Champagnat in the District semi-finals this past Tuesday. They fell short with a loss of 42-49, knocking them out of the Districts and putting an end to their regular season.
“It’s painful. There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” said Warriors Coach Scott Berman. “We just didn’t play well. It doesn’t take away from a great season, but certainly it’s a tough one to get over. And I feel for our seniors.”
After a season with a 15-1 record, they had high hopes for winning Districts and possibly making it to States, but the team cracked under immense pressure and couldn’t maintain the strong defense and aggression they’re usually known for. The game remained close, staying within one basket nearly the whole time.
More than 50 Hebrew Academy students rode a school-provided fan bus to Coral Springs and were on the edge of their seats cheering on the team.
“The game was extremely intense,” says Shirel Baranes (9th). “The Warriors were so close to winning the game.”
Possession after possession, the score remained tight, and the boys gave it their all. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, and they lost by seven points.
“The loss was really hard, obviously, but I think the team as a whole just really matured since the L.A. tournament, and I’m really proud of the overall season,” said Caleb Katz (12th). “I’m not going to say I was proud of the performance in this particular game, but we know we are better than that, and we can only go up from there.”
Although the regular season is over, the Warriors now look to the Sarachek Basketball Tournament in New York this March 15th-19th, where they will battle other Jewish high school teams from across the country, hoping to finally bring home the championship title.
“We have Saracheck. We’ll play hard, hopefully we’ll win,” said Team Captain Noah Schiff (12th). “But, you know, you learn valuable lessons from losing. It really teaches you that it’s hard to win, and you should never take it for granted, and nobody’s going to give you anything in life, and you learn that straight from the basketball game. You grow with each other, you motivate each other, and you take it like a man, and you grow up. It hurts, obviously, but it is what it is. It was meant to be. We had a good run. I’m very thankful and very proud and very honored.”
By: Mary Berkowitz (9th Grade), with additional reporting by Tehila Moore (12th) and Mery Kamhazi (11th)