The National Hillel Basketball Tournament resumed playing after Shabbat with four games in the Reckord Armory at 8:30 p.m. Saturday Night, with other games playing at the Xfinity Center and the Ritchie Coliseum.
Students gathered from all over the country to attend the NHBT, including students who were not taking part in the games. The tournament is not only basketball games, but also a time for Jewish youth around the country to congregate.
After the Havdalah was done and the U.S. and Israeli national anthems were sung, all four games started in the gym, side by side. Avi Kozlowski, one of the NHBT chairmen, said the games went well.
“I think that the tournament’s going very well,” said Kozlowski, a senior finance and accounting major from this university. “A little bit behind schedule, as always, but that’s just the way it goes. Everybody’s really happy. So many smiles. So much appreciation. And I really couldn’t be happier with how it’s going.”
Fans were slow to fill the gym in the Armory, with only about 30 people attending the first game. However, the gym filled up for the second game, with around 100 fans. The most attended game was the Baruch game against Yeshiva University, with around 70 people attending the event.
Ari Clements, a pre-med sophomore economics major from the University of Pennsylvania, who watched the women’s Binghamton game against North Carolina, enjoyed the competition between players.
“I think it was a very fun game,” said Clements. “Both sides were competing hard. It was just a really great game. Great atmosphere. It was amazing.”
One of the players, senior Michelle Goldsborough from Temple University, said her team played their game well despite some challenges.
“I think it went really well,” said Goldsborough, a strategic communication major. “Most of the girls on the team have never played before and we’re the only team that’s basically all individuals with no previous background experience. This is our first game out of three where we won. I think it’s because we finally got the zones down and we’re communicating better.”
Ben Milshtein, a graduate student studying philosophy at Yeshiva University didn’t feel that his team did very well in the first game, partially due to the timing of the game.
“We’ve got to make some adjustments,” said Milshtein. “We just came back from Shabbat services. We had to rush into the game. We didn’t really compare well. But we’ll make some adjustments and come back strong.”
Leah Simons, a freshman at North Carolina, also felt that her team could have done better.
“I think it went decently,” said Simons. “I think we could have played better had we practiced more before this tournament. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I think that we’ve kind of improved. Our defense has improved. We’re excited for our last game.”
Arianne Mazel, an NHBT board member, also feels the tournament has been going well so far.
“This year has been going amazing,” said Mazel, a freshman psychology major at this university. “We’ve had a great turnout of fans and players.
In Ritchie, Jewish students from Yale University and Queen’s College competed. The crowd was small, but the teams were full of energy
After a late start Yale struggled to keep up with Queen’s College, but put in a good effort to keep up with the New York team.
NHBT board member and sophomore at this university Avi Schneider said, “I’m not rooting for anyone, because I shouldn’t be biased, but obviously I just want to have good games going on. It was a solid game. Not one of the best but for me it’s good to see the teams actually playing. Especially because Queens was one of the teams I worked with to get here.”
Students practiced for weeks with their teams prior to entering the tournament. A member of the Yale team did not feel he practiced enough or as hard as the Queen’s team.
“It was a tough game for us because they look like a team that has played together a lot before and we couldn’t schedule a lot of practices before this tournament,” said Yale team captain and sophomore at Yale University, Gabriel Zanuttini-Frank. “They knew their offensive assignments well.”
Students from Penn State University were sitting in the stands of Ritchie Coliseum watching the game, mentally preparing themselves for their turn to play later in the night.
Jon Gross, a sophomore fan from Penn State University said, “We had a lot of fun last year even though we never really do well, but we still have a good time, it’s just a really cool experience. It’s really professionally run. They do a really good job.”
This was an important game for Queen’s College to win because it gives them good seating in the tournament. The students from Queen’s College are trying to avenge the early loss they had last year. The New York team was very excited about this victory and their chance to win the tournament.
Queens College junior Eli Goldberg said, “We had a lot of fun even though we started late. We had a couple of issues but we were able to persevere.”
Students in the audience expressed excitement to play in such a large stadium where this university’s basketball team plays as well.
A couple students from Yale University were very upset about the loss and refused to comment after losing the game.
The majority of the game Queen’s College was in the lead. After a hard fought game, Queens College won 28-14.
After the first set of games were over, the teams who won went on to compete in brackets. T the players and volunteers then had a pizza dinner before leaving for the night.