(Courtesy of Yashar LaChayal) The 2018 Hoops for Heroes Yashar LaChayal yeshiva day school eighth grade boys basketball tournament grand finale took place on Sunday, December 16.
The goal of the tournament was to raise awareness about Yashar LaChayal and raise funds to support their programs for members of the IDF. Yashar LaChayal brings soldiers what they need when they need it. Each of the participating schools was given a presentation about the work of Yashar LaChayal and the individual players on the basketball teams were given the opportunity to raise funds through their own personal funding page. Every player received a Hoops for Heroes green Klipped Kippah which featured the tournament logo. Every coach received a copy of the book by Douglas Stark, “When Basketball was Jewish.”
The format for the tournament grand finale was all the participating schools competing in a day long, single elimination two tier basketball tournament. The special aspect of the grand finale was that each of the teams played against opponents that they do not play during the course of their regular season league games.
The Yeshiva Har Torah gym was decorated with flags of individual IDF units for whom each of the teams were assigned. The teams played before huge crowds throughout the day. In addition, former member of the IDF, Daniel Scopp, visited and interacted with the fans.
Participating yeshivas were host school Yeshiva Har Torah, Manhattan Day School, The Ramaz School, Yeshivat Shaare Torah, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC), Magen David Yeshiva (MDY), JEC, Hillel Yeshiva and Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB). After a day of competitive contests and a display of great sportsmanship by all the teams, MDY and HALB met in the Tier 1 championship game, with Shaare Torah and HANC facing off in the Tier 2 championship game.
The Tier 1 final game was a rematch of an earlier game in the tournament where HALB had defeated MDY. In the championship game, HALB raced to an early lead. MDY tried multiple comebacks with different strategies. Each time HALB was able to respond and soared to a 68-51 victory, claiming the Tier 1 title.
The first half of the Tier 2 final game was very tight, with both teams looking to take an advantage. Each basket was answered with a bucket by the other team. In the second half, Shaare Torah started to pull away, only to see HANC come back and close the gap. Ultimately, Shaare Torah held off HANC 51-43 to claim the Tier 2 championship.
According to Judah and Carol Rhine, tournament coordinators, “There was a great display of achdus throughout the day, amongst all the players and fans, both on and off the court. Special hakarat hatov and many thanks to all the schools, players, coaches, athletic directors, principals, parents, administrators, families and friends who helped make this event a huge success in supporting Yashar LaChayal. Plans are already in the works for next year’s tournament!”