Girls basketball team brings home a banner


Kaylah Goldrich

Senior Talia Sporkin goes up for a block in the first half of the PVAC championship.

Kaylah Goldrich and Sasha Karasik

The crowd fell silent in anticipation as freshman Talia Loeffler stepped up to the free throw line. With the CESJDS Lions up by two points and only five seconds to go, sinking these two free throws would all but decide the championship game. Loeffler made the first shot, giving her team some breathing room. The second went in with a swish, sealing the win for the Lions. 

On Saturday night, the girls varsity basketball team completed a large comeback to defeat the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars 41-37 in the PVAC Championship. 

The Cougars started the game off with a lead for most of the first half, finishing the second quarter up 20-10, an echo of the teams’ two previous matches in the regular season in which the Lions fell to Berman. 

“I think [the game] went very well. We had ups and downs with it, we didn’t score in the second quarter, but it really came down to a defensive battle,” Director of Athletics and head coach Becky Silberman said. “We went into this game knowing what our skills were and our skills definitely [include] playing with our physicality.” 

Although the team got off to a slow start, junior and captain Shani Schwartz said that the message at halftime was overall positive.

“I think we all knew that we had the game in the bag, the score didn’t reflect that,” Schwartz said. “If we just went out there and did our thing, we had it and that’s what we did.”

This sentiment was clear in the Lions’ play in the second half. Offensively, their  play picked up in the third quarter, and they cut the deficit to single digits going into the fourth. Coupled with important defensive stops and strong offensive possessions, the Lions took the lead late in the fourth quarter and were able to hold on to it to secure the win. 

“We …built up a lead,” senior and captain Devorah Freeman said. “That comes with energy, focus, commitment, and a mindset like no other.” 

Along with the strong playing, the CESJDS student section brought a lot of enthusiasm which energized the athletes, helping them to complete this comeback. 

“I was really happy with how many people showed up. I know sometimes people say the girls team doesn’t get as much love as the boys, but I actually don’t think that’s true. I think we had a lot of the boys varsity team players here which was really nice,” Silberman said.” [The] fans were amazing. We won because of our fans. Our atmosphere was amazing.” 

The Lions acknowledge that they came into this game as underdogs against the top-seeded Cougars. However, this did not affect the Lions’ play or mindset going into the game.

“I went into this game knowing I really want to win, I knew we were gonna win [and I] knew nobody else thought we were going to win, but I knew the whole time we were gonna win even when we were down,” Schwartz said.