The Boiling Point

Hallway mania: Students watch live streaming of Houston basketball tournament

BP Photo by Emilie Benyowitz

Leila Miller, Editor-in-Chief

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Shouts, whoops, groans and clapping filled the halls today as for the first time ever students in school could watch online live streaming of a Firehawk basketball game.

As the hallways echoed with “How are we doing?” students, teachers and administrators crowded around the flat-screen TV monitor across from the reception desk on Nov. 17 and again the next day to watch the girls and boys varsity basketball teams compete in the Yaffee Basketball Tournament in Houston.

“It was really cool – you felt like a little celebrity,” said sophomore and varsity player Robin Ashkenazi. “We didn’t know until the second night, and then we freaked out. But we didn’t play any differently.”

By Sunday, the boys’ team had won the tournament, and the girls’ team came in fourth.

Ten girls and seven boys from the varsity basketball teams made the trip, accompanied by Coach Ronnie “Flava” Winbush, Judaic Studies faculty Noam and Raizie Weissman and Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal.  The all-Jewish tournament is hosted by Beren Academy and Emery/Weiner School in Houston, who managed the livestream video.

Opposing teams were from Beren, Emery/Weiner, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy of Kansas City, and Yavneh Academy of Dallas. The Firehawks were handicapped by some of their top players being on the Princeton Model Congress trip in Washington D.C. this weekend.

Shalhevet Director of Technology Yossie Frankel linked feed of the game to the monitor in the lobby and also to the projector in his classroom. It was his idea to show the games at school, via the Beren Academy website.

Shouts and cheers filled the hallway as approximately 25 people at each location watched the game. Students watched the first game during lunch on Thursday, many eating macaroni and cheese in front of the monitor.  Some teachers allowed their classes to watch the boys play their first game during the period after lunch and students watched the boys’ second game after school.

“That’s my girl!” yelled junior Yael Weiner when she saw varsity player Shirlee Meisel appear on the court.

Both the girls and the boys lost against Beren Academy and won against Hyman Brand on Thursday. The girls lost their first game 35-34 and won the second game 34-28. The boys lost their first game 64-48 and won the second game 98-46. On Friday both Firehawk teams lost their first game to Yavneh. The girls also lost their second game to Emery but the boys won their second game 98-46 against Emery.

In Mr. Frankel’s room, boys screamed “nice three!” and burst into cheers when sophomore Robin Ashkenazi raised the girls’ score in the first game. Although the game was in Houston, everyone felt the pressure.

“Lo hitpalalnu (we didn’t pray) enough — I’m leaving,” said Hebrew teacher Shlomit Abrams, throwing up her hands, while watching the game in Mr. Frankel’s room.

Back in the lobby, students shouted encouragement.

“We’re still in the game — still in the game,” freshman Zev Markus reassured those in the lobby when Robin scored again.

Although the girls’ team started off slowly, by mid-game they had pulled even with Beren’s team, the Stars, and as the minutes ticked down, Shalhevet viewers grew nervous.

“Who is Rabbi Segal rooting for?” a freshman asked.

“I’m sure he’s rooting for Shalhevet,” History teacher Tove Sunshine told him.

The game ended just before the class after lunch started, with students and faculty groaning when the girls lost by one point.

“In the first game we lost communication and didn’t run the right plays, but we learned from it,” sophomore and basketball player Sharona Sedighim told The Boiling Point via Facebook Thursday night. “In the second game, we ran more plays, got more rebounds, and talked more.”

Sophomore Benny Belazs said he could tell that the girls on the team had been getting nervous when they started taking more shots.

“Guys, don’t be disappointed,” said senior Shelley Avraham. “We just lost by one point.”

Rabbi Segal and Judaic Studies teacher Noam Weissman provided on screen commentary for some of the Shalhevet games. At one point, Noam held up a photo on his cell phone of the team davening in the morning and referred to junior player Ariela Feitelberg by her basketball nickname, “Speedy.” He also interviewed senior and forward Adam Sharabi, who later on performed what Rabbi Segal dubbed “the Jewish lay-up.”

On Saturday night, the girls won their game against Hyman Brand, placing them 4th in the tournament. The boys won their semi-final game 60-42 against Yavneh and will play in the finals against Beren Academy tomorrow. Live streaming of these games can be watched on www.yaffeetournament.com.

“It was amazing and I loved it,” said Building Coordinator Mr. Eli Schiff, who watched snippets of the game from the reception desk. “Shalhevet spirit!”

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Meet the Writer
Leila Miller, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Currently a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, Leila has already had a distinguished career in journalism, writing ground-breaking reports for the Miami Herald, Moment Magazine and the Jewish Journal, particularly on the Jewish community in Argentina and its history through that country's "dirty war" and beyond.  She also has interned for KCRW News in Santa Monica.

A graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York,  she is Argentinian by birth and fluent in Spanish. She enjoyed her first dulce de leche ice cream at five months, became a Harry Potter fanatic at age eight, and got her second ear piercing at 14.  Leila joined The Boiling Point team as a freshman, and her story assignments led her to her first-ever rock concert at the Troubadour (Say Anything!), watch intense behind-the-scenes Drama rehearsals, and wake up early before school to interview Jewish community leaders in Chile after the earthquake...

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Hallway mania: Students watch live streaming of Houston basketball tournament