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

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

The Lion's Tale

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Girls varsity basketball beats Berman Cougars on home court

Jordan Levy
Shani Schwartz races towards the basket with the Berman Cougars close on her tail.

Five minutes into the first quarter, the Lion’s are tied with the Melvin J Berman Hebrew Academy Cougars 3-3. Freshman Jordana Dauber drives to the basket, gets fouled and steps onto the free throw line with the chance to put the Lions in the lead. The Lions’ fan section cheers as Dauber’s shot swishes into the basket putting the Lions at a 4-3 lead. After Dauber set the lead for the Lions, the Cougars never managed to get ahead again, resulting in a 37-19 Lions win.

Following the Lions’ 49-51 loss to the Cougars on Dec. 18 at Berman, the Lions were ready for a rematch in their home gym. While they were disappointed by the outcome of their last game, they had been working hard for a different outcome this time.

“We were hungry, we lost to them a few weeks ago when we knew we should have won,” Director of Athletics and Head Girls’ Varsity Basketball Coach coach Becky Silberman said. “We are the better team and I think since then we’ve thought, how do we turn around and work on the things we need to work on.”

The game began slowly, with no one scoring until halfway through the first quarter. While the Lions won the tip off, the Cougars got the first shot of the game, and gained a point from a free throw. However, the Lions quickly caught up with a three-point shot from senior and captain Shani Schwartz. 

With 21 deflections and 16 steals the Lion’s strong defense proved helpful in maintaining their lead, despite missing many shots throughout the game. They played aggressively and did not allow the Cougars to make easy layups. Fortunately for the Lions, the Cougars missed a majority of their free throws. 

Though the Lion’s defense was strong, they paired it with a strong offense, which helped them take the win. They made up for many of their missed shots from farther spots by rebounding offensively and attacking the basket from closer up. Schwartz, who was the Lions’ lead scorer, made most of her points from layups and free throws. 

“We did a good job getting rebounds and being physical,” Silberman said. “Oftentimes we are very aggressive on defense and not as aggressive on offense, but our posts have been working on attacking the basket and they did a good job of that.”

Silberman attributes the development of the Lions’ offense to their focus in practices leading up to the game. Preparation for this game started when the Lions returned to practice after winter break on Jan. 3., just after their loss in December. Silberman identified that in the original Dec. 18 game the Cougars played on the Lions’ weaknesses, so she focused practice for the game on strengthening those weaknesses.  

“I’m proud of the fact that they actually took what we said in practice and used it in a game,” Silberman said. “Sometimes you work on something and it kind of drops off, but they actually communicated and kept their heads on and played really tough.”

While this game had the intensity of the traditional Berman-CESJDS rivalry, there was also a new, more friendly aspect to the rivalry. From Dec. 27 – Jan. 5, Schwartz and Berman captain Meira Falk played for the Maccabi USA team in Argentina together. Because of this, Schwartz and Falk got to know each other better and became more familiar with each others’ playing styles.

“It was really fun to become friends with someone who I always knew on the court but never as a person,” Schwartz said. “I think it made it more fun to play against each other and made it more competitive now that we know each others’ games as teammates and not just competitors.”

After their loss on Dec. 18 the Lion’s were determined to learn from their mistakes and win this rematch. Dauber and the rest of the team believe that their determined attitude and hard work were what lead the team to victory this time. 

“Everyone played so hard, everyone showed up, everyone used what they learned in practice, and everyone just worked as a team,” Dauber said.

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About the Contributor
Maiya Blumenthal, Opinion Editor
Maiya is so excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She can’t wait to help people share their ideas with the community in this role. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Maiya plays basketball, tennis and piano, and participates in Friendship Circle and the CESJDS Debate Team. Maiya can’t wait to work with the rest of the Lion’s Tale staff to produce interesting and unique content this year.  

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