By Sara Serfaty ‘18
In Heschel boys varsity basketball’s best season yet, hopes were high. Their second time in the Yeshiva league championships, the team was on their way to making Heschel history. The school itself was bubbling with excitement; in other tournaments, student turnout was low, but the administration dedicated half a town hall to discussing logistics of the fateful Sunday. The school sponsored a bus from Heschel to Yeshiva University, where the tournament was hosted, and provided free t-shirts and entrance tickets into the game.
Frisch, on the other hand, would be going for their eighth Yeshiva league championship win, and was used to a relatively large turnout. Moreover, the tournament would be their second high-stakes competition this season, after placing first place in the Sarachek Tournament, also hosted at Yeshiva University.
Nonetheless, team Heschel was optimistic. A strong turnout of students from the all school divisions, the administration, and alumni filled an entire bleacher section with blue.
Promptly after instrumental versions of both “Hatikvah” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” the game began. Within seconds, the Frisch team scored two points in a lightning-fast layup; Heschel countered with a quick three pointer. But Frisch’s team didn’t stop, scoring nine points in the first three minutes. At the end of the first quarter, Frisch was at 15 and Heschel at only eight. According to Limudei Quodesh teacher Jonathan Klatt, “this is too emotional.”
Sixteen minutes into the game – half time – Heschel hopes were still high. Although down by eight points (28-20 Frisch) many felt that the best was yet to come. As David Steinberg, Associate Director of College Counseling, frequent chaperone of varsity basketball trips, and vocal sports spectator, said “Heschel’s in this – 8 points is nothing – a couple of ‘three’s’ and we’re right back in it.”
The next two quarters were a whirlwind, with Heschel closely trailing Frisch, but never overcoming them. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, Frisch had scored 39 points and Heschel had scored 36. With only two minutes and eleven seconds left in the game, Frisch was at 45 and Heschel at 43. Those two minutes turned into ten, with myriad fouls, free throws, and points scored. The final score left Heschel with a loss of 53 to 48.
“A great season, a disappointing end, but I’m proud of the guys,” Steinberg concluded.
An earlier version of this article said that this was Heschel’s first time at the tournament, not the second.