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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Freshman Yarden Wilkenfeld passes the ball during the game against the Western Port Steelers.
Jordan Levy
Freshman Yarden Wilkenfeld passes the ball during the game against the Western Port Steelers.

The girls varsity basketball team faced Australia’s Western Port Steelers on Jan. 4. The mood in the gym was energetic, with many JDS students and faculty in attendance, as well as a strong showing of people traveling from Australia with the Steelers. This was the Steelers’ seventh game in the U.S. The team is currently traveling as part of their two-week Ballin’ in the U.S.A. tour.

Junior and center Shalvah Lazarus stood at the center of the court, preparing for the tip-off. The teams traded possession before the Steelers scored a 2-point shot from within the paint to open off the game, a trajectory of the game to come.

The Lions went into the game with a 4-4 out-of-conference record but left with a 4-5 after losing the game 49-14.

“It was a great effort by both teams,” Steelers head coach Janine Davies said. “I think my girls finally found our feet.”

The Lion’s roster was short two starters, with seniors and captains Shani Schwartz and Hannah Shank absent from the game. The roster had further alterations, as a team-building gingerbread house decorating competition determined the starters of the game. With only two regular starters starting, sophomore Tali Loeffler and junior Gigi Gordon, the Lions were out of their comfort zone.

“All these non-league games, they’re a lot of fun we get a chance to see different teams that we don’t get to see and we want to win all of them, and at the same time we come in with the mentality of wanting to play hard,” Assistant Coach Matt Cohen said. “We want to try some different things and we also want to have a lot of fun doing that as well.”

The team’s comradery was consistently displayed throughout the game, with the fourteen points scored by the Lions being distributed among seven different players on the Lions.

The Lions’ highest scorer was Loeffler, who scored a total of three points throughout the game: one two-point shot from inside the paint and a successful free throw. She played a total of 20 minutes throughout the game, receiving the most time of any player on the Lions. The Lions were led in rebounds by freshman Yarden Wilkenfeld, who recorded six rebounds.

“It was a tough game. We all hustled and we gave it our all,” freshman Jordana Dauber said. “I wish we would have made more shots,me included, but I think we fought hard. We just did not come out on top.”

Dauber scored the Lion’s first bucket of the game, stopping a 13-0 run from the Steelers to start the game. However, this effort did not build momentum for the Lions as the quarter ended with Steelers leading 16-2. The Lions continued to struggle and found themselves down 24-10 at the half.

The Lions were unable to catch up to the Steelers in the second half, being outscored by the Steelers 25-4. Although this game was never close, senior Darya Dayanim thought that the Lions showed a lot of good signs as well as a lot to work on throughout the game.

“I think we could do a better job communicating, getting down on defense, and not staying up to kind of play around, just get down because they had a lot of fast breaks and communicating in general,” Dayanim said. “Also keeping the energy up and hyping each other up on the court and off before.”

After the game, both teams took a picture together, which Dayanim said was her favorite part of the game.

“[It’s] fun to play teams that we don’t get to see all that often, but also teams that are international that we never get to see,” Cohen said. “It’s what makes the Canada tournament so much fun also: getting a chance to play against international teams, seeing how they get to do things, seeing how they run stuff. It’s always fun just getting a chance to talk ball with different kinds of people in the world.”

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Jonah Mellen
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