Silverstein girls basketball team takes home first championship title

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Members of Silverstein Hebrew Academy's Girls Basketball Lady Sharks team hold their championship trophies on the court, celebrating an undefeated season and championship victory. (Photo courtesy of Silverstein Hebrew Academy)
Members of Silverstein Hebrew Academy's Girls Basketball Lady Sharks team hold their championship trophies on the court, celebrating an undefeated season and championship victory. (Photo courtesy of Silverstein Hebrew Academy)

Silverstein Hebrew Academy’s girls basketball team took home a championship title for the first time this year, following a perfect season against other Jewish schools – or Yeshivot – in their league.

The Lady Sharks first advanced to the Division Championship after beating the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway in the playoffs 44-33. They then went on to defeat Yeshiva of Flatbush 45 to 39, following an 11-0 undefeated season.

Silverstein Hebrew Academy Head of School Shireen Butman stands with daughter Aryn Butman to celebrate the SHA Lady Sharks basketball championship victory. The team ended the season undefeated. (Photo courtesy of Silverstein Hebrew Academy)
Silverstein Hebrew Academy Head of School Shireen Butman stands with daughter Aryn Butman to celebrate the SHA Lady Sharks basketball championship victory. The team ended the season undefeated. (Photo courtesy of Silverstein Hebrew Academy)

“We are extremely proud of our Lady Sharks for this incredible win,” said Head of School Shireen Butman, whose daughter Aryn also plays on the team. “This championship victory is a testament to our students’ teamwork, tenacity, passion, pride and commitment to athletic excellence.”

Lili Leventhal, the eighth-grade captain of the Lady Sharks, also said this year’s victory was a culmination of a lot of hard work, practice and teamwork.

“We all put in our best effort and we had great teamwork and we worked very hard,” Leventhal said on Monday. “We had practice twice a week and we all pushed ourselves to be the best we could.”

But there were a few close calls in this undefeated season, Leventhal said. One came in the regular season when playing the Yeshiva of Flatbush, who they later battled in the championship, where she was hit in the nose and Flatbush had a one-basket lead.

But she eventually got back on the court and their coach helped guide the team through, she said.

Silverstein Hebrew Academy Girls Basketball Lady Sharks supporters hold colorful signs celebrating the team during their recent championship game. The Lady Sharks won the championship 45 to 39, defeating all other teams in their Yeshivot division. (Photo courtesy of Silverstein Hebrew Academy)
Silverstein Hebrew Academy Girls Basketball Lady Sharks supporters hold colorful signs celebrating the team during their recent championship game. The Lady Sharks won the championship 45 to 39, defeating all other teams in their Yeshivot division. (Photo courtesy of Silverstein Hebrew Academy)

“It was very nervewracking,” Leventhal, an eighth grader at the school, said. “But my whole team and I, we kept it together and did the best we could.”

Cheri Kordvani, the girls basketball coach, said the girls’ athletic education helped students develop leadership and teamwork skills, as well as positive lifestyle habits, so the win was “icing on the cake.”

“Our athletic program supports students’ academic success, improves their physical health, facilitates their social growth and teaches them valuable life lessons,” Kordvani said. “Our girls’ undefeated season and championship victory is the perfect icing on the cake.”

Members of the girls basketball Lady Sharks team include Lili Leventhal, Natalie Baturov, Abigail Badalov, Aleeza Neman, Juliette Badalov, Ornella Amsellem, Elianna Matayev, Chana Aronovich, Aryn Butman, Alexa Hajibay, Rebecca Golyan, Michelle Noy, Illana Yagudayev, Rivkah Ezagui and Sarah Kule.

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