A Trailblazing Game: Valley Torah Wolfpack vs. Sierra Canyon
Written by JJ Stark and edited by Jacob Manela
On Thursday, December 22, 2022, the Valley Torah Wolfpack faced off against the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers in a highly anticipated match-up. The Trailblazers, a nationally ranked team known for their roster of NBA prospects including Bronny James and Justin Pippin, were the heavy favorites.
Scottie Pippin, the six-time NBA Champion and Hall of Famer, was in attendance at the game along with his son, Scottie Pippin Jr, a current NBA player, to watch the elder Pippin’s son Justin. It was a special moment for the Pippin family as they came together to support Justin and his team, and the presence of Scottie Pippin added an extra level of excitement to the game and fans were thrilled to see him.
Bronny James, who scored 13 points in the game, is a highly talented, popular, and promising young basketball player, having already gained significant attention and accolades in the sports world. He is the oldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, and follows his father’s excellence on the basketball court.
Bronny James guarding Valley Torah’s Johny Dan
Despite the long odds against the star-studded Sierra Canyon, the Wolfpack displayed a valiant effort. Noam Mayouhas, the starting point guard, had a strong performance with 14 points, 2 steals, and 8 rebounds. Johny Dan paced the team in scoring with 28 points and 8 rebounds. Guard Ethan List also contributed with 5 points and 1 assist.
Unfortunately, the Wolfpack were defeated with a final score of 90-53. While the outcome may not have been what the Wolfpack had hoped for, they can hold their heads high knowing they gave it their all against a formidable opponent.
Wolfpack Coach Lior Schwartzberg was proud of his team’s effort despite the loss.
“The Wolfpack showed a lot of heart in the game… We may not have come away with the win, but I’m proud of the way the guys fought and never gave up.”Valley Torah Coach Lior Schwartzberg
Coach Schwartzberg also emphasized the value of these types of games, saying, “We played evenly when we played in the half court . This gives us some learning opportunities to test ourselves against good competition and see where we need to improve. I have no doubt that the experience and lessons learned from tonight’s game will help us grow as a team.”
Thursday night’s game was not only a showdown between two talented basketball teams, but it was also a showcase of community support as members of the Jewish community came together, even from other schools came out to cheer on the Valley Torah Wolfpack, showing their solidarity and pride as one Jewish people.
While there was support form other schools, the stands were filled with students, parents, and alumni of Valley Torah, all sporting Wolfpack colors and cheering on their team, showing how no matter the score, Valley Torah had the support of their school and community.
“I am so proud of the way our Valley Torah team represented our school and community on the court tonight… While the outcome may not have been what we hoped for, I believe the real victory was in the effort and determination that our players displayed. They gave it their all and left everything on the court. That is a lesson that extends far beyond the basketball court and one that I hope they will carry with them throughout their lives.”Rabbi Stulberger, Rosh Yeshiva and Dean of Valley Torah
The game between the Wolfpack and the Trailblazers took place on the fifth night of Chanukah, adding an extra level of significance to the matchup. During halftime, there was a candle lighting ceremony held on the court to celebrate the holiday, creating an amazing atmosphere and sense of community and comradery to this amazing experience.
The ceremony was not only attended by players and coaches from Valley Torah, but also from Sierra Canyon and members of the community, creating a unique moment that brought together people of all backgrounds to celebrate the holiday and its traditions. Taking into account the rise in anti-Semitism in America, the unity brought together with the attendance of Jews from different communities, Sierra Canyon players and coaches, and the community, provide a sense of hope and determination against anti-Semitism, some of the messages of Chanukkah.
In addition to being held at the Sierra Canyon home gym, the game was also broadcast online for fans who were unable to attend in person, ensuring everyone could partake in this amazing experience The online stream featured commentary by Valley Torah Alumnus Jack Turrell, who provided insight and analysis throughout the game for hundreds of fans all over the world to truly enhance the experience and excitement. The combination of the live action on the court and Turrell’s engaging commentary made for an enjoyable and immersive viewing experience.
In the end, while the Wolfpack may have come up short on the court, they can take pride in the support and encouragement of their community. Rabbi Stulberger, The Valley Torah Rosh Yeshiva and Dean perfectly summarizes the takeaway for the Valley Torah Team from the game:
“I am so proud of the way our Valley Torah team represented our school and community on the court tonight,” said Rabbi Stulberger, the Valley Torah Rosh Yeshiva and Dean. “While the outcome may not have been what we hoped for, I believe the real victory was in the effort and determination that our players displayed. They gave it their all and left everything on the court. That is a lesson that extends far beyond the basketball court and one that I hope they will carry with them throughout their lives.”