Elitzur team didn’t need wins to warm up Glouberman

Israeli coach says different style of play made tournament a challenge


Honor Fuchs

JUMP: Elitzur faced off against TABC on Nov. 10, and lost 48-31. They went 0-4 in the tournament.

By Clara Sandler, Sports Editor, and Benjamin Zaghi, Opinion Editor

They may not have won any games, but Elitzur Petah-Tikva, an Israeli club team, made history coming to Shalhevet’s second annual Steve Glouberman basketball tournament, making it an international contest instead of a national one.

Petah Tikvah, a city about six miles east of Tel Aviv, and its Elitzur club sent two teams: a girls team whose players’ ages ranged from 14 to 18, and a boys team of 17- and 18-year-olds.

According to Manager Shai Glickstein, this was the first time an Israeli club team had gone abroad to play in a tournament.

Mr. Glickstein said the Israeli players expected it to be very competitive, even knowing they would have to adapt to unfamiliar American high school level rules.

Still, they were surprised by the American style of play.

“Our girls, their level is not so high, so we knew from the beginning that it would be very difficult for us,”  said Mr. Glickstein in a telephone interview from Israel.

“But … the boys, we play in the second league in Israel for youth, and we thought we’d be better….. The basketball [they found at the tournament] is very different and aggressive, and it took us time to get adjusted.”

The boys’ club team won its league championship last year, and took third place in its regional youth league, according to Mr. Glickstein.

The girls’ club team, playing in a very competitive league, is 0-2 in league games this year in Israel so far, he said.

Unlike in the United States, in Israel most sports and physical activities are played outside of school, causing the creation of many club teams and lack of school teams.

Most Israeli basketball players play in the clubs near where they live. Above-average players — usually because of their height, Mr. Glickstein said — join club teams further away from home in order to get better.

Elitzur competes in a league that consists of other basketball club teams that represent cities.

Different basketball rules in Israel include a shorter three-point line and a 24-second shot clock instead of 35, and they play four 10-minute quarters rather than four eight-minute quarters.

“Our goal coming in the tournament is to take it one step at a time and try our best to win,” said Mr. Glickstein. “We have an important goal to create a dialogue between our players on the team.”

After the tournament, he felt that they accomplished that.  

“We built a connection with other kids,” said Mr. Glickstein. “Of course we usually know just the Israeli; our kids haven’t played in the past against other kids from abroad. We very, very [much] enjoyed it.”

Both the boys and girls teams went 0-4 in the Steve Glouberman tournament, but their energy at Shalhevet was felt in other ways.

Perhaps the most emotional moment [in the tournament] for me so far was when the Israeli teams and Shalhevet stood in a circle, arm and arm and sang Hatikvah together before the game,” Principal Reb Noam Weissman said in a community-wide email.

Sophomore Netanel Sadeghi is happy that the team came from Israel.

“I think it was good to have them at Shalhevet,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they were good or bad–it brought diversity from another country.”

Mr. Glickstein hopes that Elitzur-Petah Tikvah is invited back next year.

“If they invite us, we would love to come,” he said.