The Pittsburgh Jewish community took a break from watching the Middle Eastern conflict to watching a friendly international exhibition game Sunday between the Jewish Community Center varsity basketball team and a team from Pittsburgh’s Patnership2Gether communities of Karmiel-Misgav.
Friendly or not, when the final buzzer sounded this past Sunday night, the JCC was not the slightest bit satisfied with the numbers on the scoreboard, falling to the Israelis 54-37.
From the opening whistle, Karmiel-Misgav took control of the game. Winning the tip off, the squad caught fire like a menora on the eighth night, going on a 9-0 run before the JCC finally got on the board with five minutes to go in the first quarter.
The period ended with a buzzer- beating three-pointer by JCC junior Adam Hoffman, only to make it 21-7.
Karmiel-Misgav proceeded to hit shots from all over the court, while the JCC did its best to keep up. A few missed opportunities on fast break layups and simple shots in the paint killed any chance for a home team comeback.
Sam Greenberg, a freshman, led the JCC scoring with 12 points followed by senior Andre Rosser with 11.
“They didn’t have many answers for [Sam] once we started getting him good looks,” said JCC coach Hal Shapera. “The Israelis are a talented team and [their] style of play is very different, but by the end of the year I think we would beat them.”
Regardless of the result, the “Chooplah for Chanuka” was a game for the ages, and a great way to strengthen the bond between Pittsburgh and its sister communities.
The series concluded on Wednesday night as the JCC looked to redeem themselves. Stay tuned for coverage in next week’s issue.
(Jesse Irwin can be reached at Jirwin18@gmail.com.)