It wasn’t the way they necessarily imagined, but the TABC Storm varsity basketball team brought home a trophy last week. After missing out on yeshiva league regular season play due to the pandemic, TABC wanted to give the senior members of its highly-ranked varsity basketball team an opportunity to compete one last time on the grand stage.
“In my 26 years in Jewish education, there has never been a senior class that has had to adapt like the Class of 2021 has,” said Rabbi Shlomo Adelman, TABC’s head of school. “Throughout the year, we have been finding ways to offer them some semblance of normalcy inside and outside the classroom.”
When Rav Yitz Rabovsky, TABC’s director of Student Activities and Athletics, approached Rabbi Adelman about the possibility of the annual Steve Glouberman Basketball Tournament taking place and TABC participating, Rabbi Adelman’s response was immediate: “Whatever it takes,” he said.
“There was a lot of back and forth as we coordinated between the various schools,” Rav Yitz said. “Logistics for these things are never easy. Add in a cross-country flight and a worldwide pandemic and the task becomes monumental.”
Despite the obstacles, on Sunday, May 23, 10 vaccinated student-athletes and their chaperones (Coaches Oswald “Oz” Cross and Robert Hoenig, and Rav Yitz) boarded a plane for Los Angeles, with Rabbi Adelman joining them later.
Despite a long flight and jet lag, the Storm boys made a splash right away, defeating Team Chicago 80-55 (players from both Ida Crown and Skokie Yeshiva). Continuing on in the tournament, the Storm made easy work of YULA on their home court and fellow MYHSAL team Yeshivah of Flatbush in the semifinals. In between games, the students enjoyed outings to Manhattan Beach, 3rd Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier at night. They ate hard to play hard, and enjoyed a sampling of Los Angeles eateries, including the team-favorite, Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage. When they finally met Team Chicago again for an exciting finale, they once again came out on top, securing the hardware to bring home to the East Coast.
Leading the way throughout was star player and talk-of-the-tournament Zevi Samet, who was named tournament MVP and caps off an amazing high school run. Star point guard Noam Kinderlehrer was named to First Team All-Tournament and forward Uri Ostrin earned the Glouberman Award, given to a player who displays derech eretz and strength of character on and off the court.
Congratulations to all of the graduating players: Ezra Baron, Avraham Glatter, Daniel Gopin, Eitan Guzman, Noam Kindelehrer, Tzvi Motechin, Uri Ostrin, Zevi Samet, Ari Smith and Avery Stepner on an incredible conclusion to four years of Storm basketball! TABC has some big sneakers to fill.