Lions thwart Red Devils in opening win


photo by Sophia Miller

Eighth-grader Zoe Fischman shoots a jump shot in the third quarter to advance to Lions’ lead. Fischman was the Lions’ leading scorer, finishing with 14 points.

Sophia Miller and Sally Rogal

The girls middle school basketball team dominated the Washington International School Red Devils 22-8 Tuesday. The Lions won their first game of the season even though this year’s team features many new players and only has two returning players.

“There is obviously the adjustment to being on a big court and playing in front of people and just knowing where you need to be,” Lions’ coach and learning specialist Brett Kugler said.

The Lions started strong and were the first to score in the first quarter of with a jump shot by eighth-grader Zoe Fischman.

Throughout the rest of the game, the Lions maintained a comfortable lead. Eighth-grader Avital Friedman had 2 points and 4 assists and sixth-grader Shani Schwartz scored 4 points and had 7 steals. Friedman and Fischman showed teamwork with Friedman having 4 assists and Fischman having 14 points.

In the fourth quarter, the Red Devils began to pick up the pace, but the Lions never lost their lead. The Red Devils scored 5 points in the fourth quarter, but the Lions still came out on top.

Despite their victory, the Lions struggled with their team dynamics and communication because it was their first time playing together. The Lions lost 10 players who moved on to high school; they have 11 new players this season.

“It is definitely different and is a different team dynamic but it is good to have a fresh team,” Fischman said.

The Lions applied pressure while on defense for most of the game and were able to get steals that were then converted into baskets. They were more focused on the defensive aspect because it would lead to a good offense.

Overall, Kugler was proud of his team’s performance, but he also believes that they have a lot to work on in the coming weeks.

“We are using the players that are familiar to teach the others and that helped us with what we are trying to do and that will help to set the tone for the rest of the season,” Kugler said.