Friday, July 10, 2020

Over the past month, more than 250 kids across 27 schools and four states (New York, New Jersey, Florida and South Carolina), joined together in the launch of the Hustle Heart/Bergen Broncos Free Throw Shooting League. With seven divisions ranging from boys and girls for grades three through 12, it was a huge success! Participating players came from the following schools: AddleStone Hebrew Academy (South Carolina), BMA (Hollywood, Florida), BPY, Darchei Torah, DRS, Flatbush, Frisch, HAFTR, HALB, HANC, Har Torah, He’Atid, JEC, Moriah, Noam, North Shore, RASG (Miami), RPRY, RYNJ, SAR, Shulamith, SKA, TABC, Yavneh, YCQ, Yeshiva Ketana LI and Yeshiva of South Shore.

All games are “reffed” by a Hustle Heart or Bergen Broncos ref with teammates, friends and family joining the zoom to watch and cheer on the players. Even though the league was done remotely, the staff was able to provide an exciting, fun, competitive and vibrant atmosphere in a safe environment.

After the regular season, each division competed in playoffs with all teams qualifying and having a chance to take home the title. The competition started with the high school boys division, where Alec Kinzelberg from Frisch took home the title over Jared Kornblum from JEC. In the high school girls division, Simone Amkraut from Flatbush brought home the title by defeating Hannah Schachter from Frisch in the finals and shooting lights out all tournament, having had to defeat her opponents in overtime in almost every round.

Next up was the fifth and sixth grade girls tournament playoffs. All 14 teams competed and brought their “A game.” One quarterfinals game went into overtime with an extra eight rounds until the Yavneh team—with players Sarah Silver, Gavriella Adler, Avigail Alter and Gabi Davis—was able to pull out the win over North Shore. That momentum helped Yavneh defeat SAR in the semifinals but they came up short against Moriah in the finals. The Moriah team—with players Zoey Levy, Isabelle Nadritch, Evelyn Fried and Talia Fried—went undefeated the entire season, going 6-0 in the regular season and then defeating the Young Israel of Woodmere, Shulamith and HALB teams in the playoffs before finishing off Yavneh in the rain in the finals.

The third and fourth grade boys playoffs was a thriller! With 16 teams competing, every team had a chance at the title. Round one started with a nail biter during which #16 Moriah almost pulled off an upset over #1 BMA. All Moriah players—Dylan Nadritch, Judah Black, Benny Izak and Raphi Allan—shot the lights out this game but it wasn’t enough to pull off the win. During the quarterfinals, all four games were close with #9 BPY 2 almost pulling off another upset over BMA, this time in overtime, led by Aiden Mizrahi from BPY. But again, BMA pulled out the win. The semifinals were competitive and close. The first semifinal game was #5 HAFTR against BMA that also went into overtime, but BMA again was able to pull off the win. The #2 BPY team seemed poised to face BMA in the finals, but they fell short in the semifinals against #6 HALB. The BPY team had a very balanced team with players Noah Fulop, Mikey Malka, Morris Harary and Hank Epstein equally contributing all tournament long, so one player each game was able to carry their team to victory. But in the end it wasn’t to be, as HALB went on a run and was able to defeat #11 RYNJ, #3 Yavneh 2, #2 BPY and then #1 BMA in overtime to take the title.

Hustle Heart/Bergen Broncos has received very positive feedback from players and parents saying how much they appreciate and look forward to their games every week as it gave kids an outlet and has brought competitive basketball into their lives again.

The 5-3-1 League begins June 1 with daily schedules and standings posted on the Hustle Heart website and on both the Hustle Heart (@hustleheartsports) and Bergen Broncos (@bergenbroncos) Instagram pages.