Firehawks see two wins as both varsity teams defeat YULA

JV boys stumbles 50-46


BP Photo by Sam Elyaszadeh

AGGRESSIVE: Junior Nathan Sellam drove to the hoop in front of the YULA crowd as the Shalhevet Firehawks defeated the YULA Panthers 51-43 last Thursday night. Nathan had eight points, the second-most on the team.

By Noah Elad, Sports Editor

This week featured three classic Shalhevet – YULA basketball rivalry matchups. The Firehawks came away with two wins, the girls winning last Monday night, and the boys varsity team on Thursday night. 

The Firehawk girls won 46-39, while the Firehawk boys varsity won 51-43. The Firehawk JV team didn’t see the same outcome as they fell to YULA 50-46 last Monday night. 

The varsity boys game was close throughout, as the lead fluctuated back and forth. The first quarter only saw 13 total points from both teams, with the score being 8-5, YULA leading. 

In the second quarter, both teams began scoring more points, the Firehawks 12 and YULA 14. The half ended with YULA keeping the lead, 22-17. 

Junior Avi Halpert, who plays point guard, had scored 14 of 17 first-half points for the Firehawks, four in the first quarter and 11 in the second. 

The Firehawks began to pick up the pace in the second half, and junior Nathan Sellam said the team came together and felt more comfortable in the game. 

“We really started to work as a team which led to more opportunities on both offense and defense,” said Nathan, who plays guard. 

It started with Avi Halpert scoring back-to-back three-pointers, putting the momentum in the hands of the Firehawks and giving them an early 23-22 lead over the Panthers. 

The third quarter featured the lead going back and forth and ended with the two teams tied at 34. 

The fourth began with YULA hitting a three-pointer, but the Firehawks quickly responded and began to develop a comfortable lead. With four minutes left in the game, YULA head coach Vince Oliver called a timeout with the Firehawks leading 45-39. 

The Firehawks eventually extended their lead to 10 with two minutes remaining, and the final buzzer rang out with the game ending 51-43, Firehawks win. 

Lead overall scorers for the Firehawks were Avi Halpert with 34 points, Nathan Sellam with eight, and senior Jonah Ackerman with six. For the Panthers, lead scorers were Yishai Rosenblatt with 15, Michael Nagel with seven and Aaron Javidzad with six. 

Avi, who just a few weeks ago set a record for most points scored in a single game at 47, accounted for 66 percent of the team’s total points against YULA. His 34 points was the second-most he has scored in a game this season. 

Jonah Ackerman, who plays guard, said the team was a lot more successful on defense in the last quarter even though he didn’t think it was the team’s overall best performance.

POINTS: Junior Avi Halpert went up for a layup against the YULA Panthers. He led the team with 34 points, his second most in a game this season. (BP Photo by Sam Elyaszadeh)

“We locked up on defense a little more, besides a couple of bonehead plays and stuff like that,” said Jonah. “But I think our defense in that last quarter was able to secure the win.”

In the fourth quarter, the Firehawks put up 17 points while the Panthers only scored nine. 

YULA head coach Vince Oliver said after the game that he always enjoys playing against the Firehawks and loves the gym atmosphere. 

“I don’t fault our effort, I thought we competed,” said Coach Oliver. “It’s a fun rivalry game. It’s always fun playing Shalhevet. Our focus wasn’t quite where it needed to be to win, but credit to you guys for scoring when you needed to and making plays when you needed to.” 

The YULA gym was packed on Thursday night with YULA having approximately 270 fans in . Shalhevet had about 70 in attendance.

But Nathan said that just having people there to support the team always feels good. 

“I think we were able to overpower YULA in the last quarter because of the crowd we had,” said Nathan. “They really helped us push during the last couple minutes, which was really big for us.” 

Meanwhile, the girls game was supposed to be streamed through a website on last Monday night, but the stream was down and wasn’t available for viewership. 

Lead scorers for the Firehawk girls were sophomore Yalee Schwartz with 17 points, sophomore Arielle Grossman with 10, and senior Talia Tizabi with 10. 

In the Steve Glouberman tournament in November, the Firehawk girls faced off against the YULA girls and dominated them 51-23 on Nov. 5.  This time, exactly two months later, the game was much closer, with only a seven-point differential. 

Arielle Grossman, who plays shooting guard, said that coming into the game the team thought they were going to see a similar outcome as Glouberman and didn’t think it was going to be very close. She was surprised.

“YULA was playing as if they wanted it more,” said Arielle. “They came out strong and we were not prepared for that.”

She also said that she felt like the Firehawks weren’t playing with as much effort as they usually do. But despite that, she still had a great time. 

“Playing against other girls in our community, it was even more of an emotional connection and we knew we had to win,” said Arielle. 

The boys JV team played the same night as the girls, right before them at 5:30, and came short of the win. 

Their lead scorers were Adam Westerman with 19 points, Jacob Kilberg with 13 and Ami Kent with six.