Berman continues basketball dominance as girls middle school team falls short


Ruby Kotok

The team huddles around Head Coach Kirsch for a pregame pep talk.

Ella Longman and Ruby Kotok

Brielle Bassin, captain of the girls middle school basketball team, calmly dribbled the ball up the court and scored the first point of the Lions’ face-off against their arch rival, the Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars, on Sunday, Dec. 18. Though the Lions got off to a quick start thanks to Bassin, they were unable to hold onto the lead for long. After the first bucket they never regained the lead, ultimately losing 38-9, resulting in a 3-1 record. 

The starting lineup, made up of eighth-grader captains Bassin, Cat Salz and Leora Blumenthal, seventh-grader Selma Teichman and sixth-grader Selina Bricker, started off strong but quickly lost their momentum due to the Cougar’s aggressive press and offense.

The Cougars, now 4-1, began their scoring drive by pressuring Bassin as she dribbled up the court. The pressure led to some quick turnovers and easy transition layups by the Cougars, which put the Lions down 6-3 in the first four minutes. After the rocky start, the Lions found it difficult to regain their footing, resulting in an 11-3 lead for the Cougars going into the second quarter. 

In the second quarter, Salz scored two points, but the Lions were unable to gain momentum offensively. 

Bricker noted that many of the shots scored by the Cougars were the result of fast breaks. “We could have found where the specific player went,” Bricker said. “Or which player would pass to who and try to get in front of them and stop the ball.”

The Lions were never able to fully settle in as three players on the team went down with injuries. Most notably their starting point guard had to take an extended rest starting the second quarter due to exhaustion, leaving Bricker to bring up the ball against the aggressive press the Cougars were playing. Girls middle school basketball coach Alex Kirsch said that the absence of three players for some of the game was part of a disconnect in the team’s playing. 

“Just trying to find a cohesive unit that was able to both be positive on offense and defense was just a really tough task today,” Kirsch said.  

Both Kirsch and Bassin agreed that the team did not have the focus needed and that is something that they need to improve on. 

“It was sort of a lesson for everybody and not a good thing that we lost, but an experience that we lost, because we’ve been winning every single game,” Bassin said. “For us to lose, it was a slap in the face to [help us] realize what we were doing that we can improve on, and [what] we can focus on that more during practice.”

In the post-game huddle, assistant coach Guy Koren gave some words of motivation for their upcoming game on Jan. 17 against Sandy Spring Friends School.

“Notice how you’re feeling right now. Embrace it. This is your fuel for future games,” Koren said. “We believe in you, and you need to believe in you too.”