Lions varsity basketball teams face off against alumni


photo by Daphne Kaplan

Sally Rogal and alumna Sophie Handloff (‘18) battle to rebound the ball, despite being teammates for the 2017-2018 season.

Daphne Kaplan and Oren Minsk

Both the CESJDS boys and girls varsity basketball teams defeated alumni, 71-60 and 41-33 respectively, on Wednesday night. Although alumni vs. alumni games have been organized sporadically in the past, Interim Athletic Director Becky Silberman hopes to make alumni vs. varsity games an annual tradition moving forward.

When planning the event, Silberman partnered with the JDS Alumni Association to bring in alumni who expressed an interest in playing. Her vision for the night was that it would be a chance to integrate alumni into the athletic program, to have current athletes meet alumni and to allow alumni to see their impact on the athletic program firsthand.

The female alumni team played a tight and aggressive defense throughout the entire game and forced the varsity team to miss shots and turn the ball over multiple times. Eventually, the varsity team, coached by Silberman, got into a rhythm with solid passing and rebounding, allowing them to pull ahead.

Although the boys varsity basketball team, coached by Dave McCloud and Bob Marshall, started out with a strong lead, the male alumni team was able to work together to decrease their deficit by the end of the fourth quarter. Ultimately, they still came up short, unable to compete with the quick passing, dribbling and shots of the varsity players.

Not only was there a large alumni showing on the court, but off the court on the sidelines and bleachers, other alumni and families filed into the gym to show support for their classmates and peers.

Sophomore Jake Rulnick, who plays for the boys varsity basketball team, appreciated all of the support and cheering from the alumni when playing and thought it overall made the game “more fun since there was a lot of energy.”

The alumni who returned to the courts reunited with their teammates years after graduating and playing with each other in high school. There was a wide age range on the teams, though. Namely, some athletes graduated in 1986, while many graduated and played JDS basketball more recently, such as alumni Daphne Lerner (‘16) and Brooke Cohen (‘18). Even for alumni who did not play with past teammates, it was still a positive experience.

“None of my teammates from the class of ‘97 were here tonight, but there were people here who were a couple years older than me, such as Mark Arking (‘88)],” Alumnus Ben Greenblum (‘97) said. “I don’t get to play as much as I use to, but I like the comradery, the team aspect [of basketball.]”

This sense of comradery is one thing Silberman attempted to achieve when orchestrating the alumni basketball game for the JDS athletic community. Silberman seeks to incorporate alumni events into JDS in ways such as these games, which have not happened in many years.

“It’s a nice little reunion event, and [a time] for current students to see where former students are at,” Silberman said. “I know it’s cool for seniors to catch up with kids who might go to a school that they want to go to. It’s just that some people don’t get to see each other otherwise; it’s a cool opportunity.”

Silberman also hoped that when alumni returned, they could see the advancements that have been made to the athletic program since they were student-athletes themselves.

“I think this is a cool way to highlight our program and I think that the alumni don’t really know what’s going on here, whether they haven’t seen our new jerseys, or seeing the cool things we’ve done,” Silberman said. “[They get to see] how our [athletic] program has elevated itself, so it’s cool to show it off.”