All-Around “Positive Experience” in Miami Beach

All-Around “Positive Experience” for Girls Basketball in Miami Beach
Posted on 03/02/2019
All-Around “Positive Experience” for Girls Basketball in Miami Beach

The Flatbush Girls Varsity Basketball Team had a meaningful Saturday (3/2) morning and afternoon in Shabbat activities with their fellow RASG Shabbaton participants, then completed tournament play on the court where a late 4th Quarter rally fell short as the Falcons season came to a close in a loss to the Goldie Margolin School for Girls Maccabees (Memphis, TN), 44-34, at the Miami Beach JCC finishing the RASG Hebrew Academy Tournament in 8th Place overall, but departing Miami Beach having forged strong bonds with teammates and fellow tournament participants that will surely last a lifetime!

 Girls Varsity Basketball Team Picture

The Shabbat experience is the focal point of any Shabbaton, and the hosts at RASG Hebrew Academy made sure that was the case for all 12 attending teams, including the Flatbush Varsity Falcons. After Kabbalat Shabbat and Se’udat Shabbat at the Hebrew Academy HS, the girls gathered in the auditorium for a special session with Shana Steinmetz, Owner of Hustle & Heart Sports, an elite athletic and fitness company established to encourage athletes of all sports and ages to reach their athletic goals. The organization’s focus is on promoting equal opportunities in competitive athletics for girls, particularly modern orthodox Jewish girls. Steinmetz comes by her interest in promoting these opportunities from her own personal background. As a High School student-athlete, she attended SKA High School for Girls, part of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, where she was undefeated for her career as a Varsity Basketball player. He focus was in promoting self esteem among all the athletes at the event, with her company’s tag line, #PlayLikeAGirl, serving to promote a strong sense of pride in being both female and a high level athlete!

 Hustle & Heart

Shabbat morning saw the RASG Shabbaton participants gather at Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach. It was a nice, welcoming atmosphere, and after tefilot, the girls joined together for Kiddush followed by a welcome presentation from Mr. Galbut, son of Captain Hyman P. Galbut, a strong founding member of the RASG school community and the person for whom the Tournament is named. He spoke to the aspect of the week’s parasha, Vayakel, which speaks of everyone in the community being called upon to donate a half-shekel regardless of their economic level. But, it also speaks of the need to give to one’s level of contentment (in relation to the building of the Mishkan). In this way he connected the calling his family has taken on to support both the RASG Hebrew Academy in general and the Galbut Shabbaton & Tournament in specific. The participants then gathered for lunch, which was followed by extensive free time – Shabbat menucha Miami Beach style!

After a nice rest, the players al returned to the RASG HS building for se’udah shlishit, and a final round of divrei torah, including the presentation from Flatbush, a joint effort of Seniors Betty Greenberg and Esther Habert. This was followed by arvit and havdalah, sung heartily by all the tournament participants.

 Team Prep

It was then time for one final ball game for the Falcons, a match up against the Goldie Margolin School for Girls (Memphis, TN) at The Miami Beach JCC with 7th Place on the line.

 Tip Off

Again, Flatbush came to play defense. They got stops on the first two possessions including big rebounds from Betty Greenberg and Kayla Motovich. But the offense fanned on a few inside shots, and a turnover led to the first Goldie Margolin points of the game. It took over three and a half minutes, but Esther Habert finally got Flatbush on the board with a successful drive to the hoop. The Macs then hit a three to retake the lead. Flatbush closed the gap as the quarter drew to a close when Renee Kubie stole the ball and fed Joy Cattan who banked in a runner. At the end of one quarter, the score stood 5-4, Memphis.

Habert gets the Falcons on the board

GMSG scored two quick baskets in transition when Flatbush missed inside and did not get back quick enough on defense. After another lost defensive board, and two more Macs hoops, Flatbush found themselves trailing 13-4 with 5:40 left in the opening half. Habert found Motovich alone under the basket to stop the Maccabee scoring run. Lorraine Levy got Flatbush to within five with a jumper, but GMSG answered right back. Two backcourt turnovers gave the Macs another pair of easy baskets. Flatbush’s Raquel Oved kept attacking, though, and finally got one to drop before the end of the period. At the half, the Memphis girls led the Brooklynites, 19-10.

Motovich for the lay in 

Sarah Gammal shot with confidence from the corner, and Motovich followed with a steal and a drive to cut the deficit to 6. But three defensive lapses let The Macs score three straight baskets to push the lead out to 26-14 three minutes into the second half. Flatbush struggled to get shots, while GMSG continued to hit from outside and in. Flatbush went over five minutes without a basket before Oved got Flatbush back on the board. By that time, the Macs were comfortably ahead, 34-16. Flatbush got a bright spot from Kubie who drained a three off the glass as the third quarter came to a close, making it a 38-19 ball game.

 Sarah Gammal looks to score

Flatbush was not going quietly, though. Kubie struck again from three to start the fourth. Then followed that up with a pair from the free throw line. The deficit was down to 14 points with 6:11 to play. Flatbush had multiple chances to get closer, but missed on the number of shots. Motovich hit on a drive, freed up by a Greenberg pass, cutting the lead to 12 with under four minutes to play. Unfortunately, each time the Falcons looked to make a run, they would lose their rhythm with turnovers were missed shots. Time began to run out on the Falcons. Flatbush got three points late from Motovich, and Kubie swished a three at the buzzer. It was Flatbush’s highest scoring total of the tournament, but it was not enough. The win went to the Macs, 44-34.

 Kubie for three at the buzzer

However, this did not mark the end of Flatbush’s involvement in the tournament competition. There was one more event in which the Falcons had a stake – the Hot Shot Competition. Flatbush’s Kayla Motovich entered the final round having earned the top qualifying spot by virtue of her 25 points in the semi-finals. Could she put on a repeat performance?

 Motovich gets ready Motovich sets

The Skills finals were staged back at the RASG Hebrew Academy Gym, prior to the playing of the tournament championship game. The 3-point contest was first. Once that was decided, it was time for the six Hot Shot Finalists to take center stage. Motovich went first, with an opportunity to set the bar and put the pressure on her competitors. With the start of the clock, Motovich was off. Her start was inauspicious as she missed her opening two free throws. But from that point on she was flawless. Draining every ensuing shot, including as final free throw as time expired, Motovich repeated her semi-final performance of 25 points, and the pressure was on. Two more pairs of contestants now had to go, and each shooter buckled under the pressure. It was soon clear to everyone – Flatbush’s Kayla Motovich was the 2019 RASG Tournament Hot Shot Champion!

 Motovich is a Hot Shot 25 points!
Team celebration

Everyone stayed on hand to watch the championship game between the top seed Ida Crown Aces and the second seed Shalhevet Firehawks, a match up to which the Falcons had a unique interest in that they were the only team to face both teams earlier in the tournament (albeit losses to both).  It was an intense defensive battle, with the Ida Crown Aces holding off a late comeback from the Shalhevet Firehawks.  Afterwards, the All-Tournament team was announced; with Flatbush represented by their Senior sharpshooter Renee Kubie (congrats, Renee!).

 RASG All Tournament team 2019

The night was capped off with a sweet touch, post-midnight Ben & Jerry’s in downtown Miami Beach!

Ben & Jerry's
Raquel Oved with Ben & Jerry's 

It was then time to prepare to bid farewell to South Beach, and the warm climate of Florida. The Falcons would be moving at 5:00 am Sunday morning, for a short jump to the Miami Airport and a return flight to JFK Airport and the cold air and snowy surface of New York City. But, the warm feelings and strong connections the Varsity girls build over the 5-day Tournament and Shabbaton are sure to last well into the future!

Thumbs Up!

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2021 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.Staff Website Login