Maimonides School held its annual invitational basketball tournament this year on December 12-15. The tournament was held in honor of Leland Gelman, who on the Maimo basketball court was a well-respected and liked forward and dominant “big man.” On the football field, he was the quarterback and in the hockey rink he was a playmaking defender. Later in life he became a gifted golfer.
This year, there were a total of four teams participating: Kohelet Yeshiva High School, Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, Rambam Mesivta High School and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. Players were housed by families in the Boston community.
Each one of the games in the tournament was fun and well fought. Sometimes on the court there was intense play; after all, basketball is a competitive sport. However, after the games had concluded, there were programs for opposing teams to talk outside of basketball. Players from all teams were able to bond during the activities that Maimonides held and during Shabbat, because there was so much free time. Shabbat was a relaxing day for all teams, since there were no games scheduled. There was an inspiring davening that helped connect everyone spiritually, followed by a sumptuous kiddush and lunch.
After Shabbat, it was right back to game time! The Maimonides School’s boys basketball team had already made it to the championship. The Saturday night game, Kushner vs. Rambam, was the semi-finals, and the winner would go on to face Maimo in the championship. It was a close game, but Kushner rallied their way to beating Rambam 43-40.
In the boys championship game, Maimo began the game with a fast start, having a great first quarter. After the first quarter ended, Kushner stepped up their game. It was a well fought matchup, but in the end, Maimo outplayed Kushner with a final score of 64-41.
On the girls side, Maimo also made the championship. The semi-finals saw Kushner take on Berman, with Berman beating Kushner 38-15 to advance to the championship.
The championship game started with Maimo taking a small lead. After the first half, it was only a 10 point game. But when the second half began, Maimo took control of the game and beat Berman 62-38.
In summary, it was a terrific experience to be part of the Maimo Basketball Tournament. Competitive play, interspersed with spirituality and meeting new people, made it a successful and gratifying event. I would recommend for other schools to take part in this tournament in future years.
By Benjamin Huppert