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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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Sophie Schwartz
Members of the JV girls team celebrate their win against the Basis Hawks.

After being dismantled since the late 2000’s, the junior varsity girls basketball team returned to the court this past winter season. Girls Varsity Basketball Coach and Director of Athletics Becky Silberman decided to bring back the team this year due to the rising number of players who weren’t ready to play on varsity, but still wanted to participate in the game. 

“Since then, we just haven’t had enough [players] and then it was two years ago that some girls started saying ‘Well, I would play if we had a JV but I don’t want to be on varsity,’” Silberman said.

Prior to this year, the Girls Varsity Basketball team had been the only girls team besides a practice team that would join them to improve upon their skills. However, this practice team did not have any opportunities for game experience.

Though the journey of restarting this team hasn’t been too difficult due to the commitment of coaches, there have been some challenges, the biggest being the lack of players. 

“The biggest issue is we’re so few people. There’s times when we only have seven [or] six [players],” sophomore and captain Nolyn Ziman said. “…Only having one or two subs is a little rough.” 

However, having only a few players has helped the team in some ways. According to Ziman, by having just enough players necessary, it creates a sense of family between the players as they get to really know each other, helping the team work together easily. 

“It’s been really fun because there’s so few of us, we’ve really bonded,” Ziman said. 

In addition to the lack of players, Ziman feels that a challenge of the team is lack of motivation because they are not able to join a league. While there is a league “ISAAC,” it continues into the spring sport season, which would not allow for the players to participate in it. Though games are scheduled, the players feel that there is not the same level of importance on the games as there are for games counted in the PVAC league.

Despite these struggles, the team has still been able to play together two to three times a week in practice, and compete in a few games. Their current record is 3-5 with two more games to come. During practice, head girls JV basketball coach and JDS alumnus Danielle Bernstein, works with the players to improve their basketball skills along with coach and alumnus Devira Friedman. 

“It’s really about taking [and] understanding where they need to improve and working that into my plans for drills,” Bernstein said. 

During practice, Bernstein focuses on strengthening aspects of the team’s playing and integrates it in her methods of coaching in order to improve as a whole. She incorporates drills with passing, shooting and she frequently runs plays. 

While the girls JV team was on a hiatus for a decade, the boys JV team never stopped. The attendance of girls JV players declined rapidly in the late 2000’s, causing the league to end, but the boys team never encountered that same struggle.

In future years, Silberman expects the team to stay, as she thinks the number of players will not dwindle like in the past due to the abundance of upcoming players. 

The team has made a strong comeback, and they have dedicated coaches and mentors that are here to help them succeed. 

Bernstein knows the challenges of participating in school sports from her time on the varsity basketball team in her high school days, and utilized her experience to adapt her coaching style. 

“When I was an athlete, I would always look up to my coaches, they were my role models,” Bernstein said. “So I wanted to make sure that I provided the same for my girls and that first meant just being more of their mentor.”

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About the Contributor
Sophie Schwartz
Sophie Schwartz, Opinion Editor
Sophie is excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She is looking forward to helping the new staff and designing creative spreads. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Sophie plays on the JDS Girls Tennis team, is a team leader for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and participates in the STARS program and the AJC teen initiative. In addition, she loves playing with her dog, cooking, going to the beach, and hanging out with her family and friends. She can’t wait to work with her co-editor to produce an amazing opinion section.  

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