For the 22nd year, the Flatbush community opened its doors and its homes to the guest teams joining the Falcons Boys Basketball players for the annual Thomas Hausdorff Memorial JV Basketball Tournament & Shabbaton. After weeks of preparation by the Tournament Committee, everything was in place and the Yeshivah buzzing. When the entourage from Cooper High School of the Feinstone Yeshivah of the South in Memphis, Tennessee arrived, the greatly anticipated event was underway! The Macs were soon joined by the boys from Kohelet Yeshiva HS in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and lastly by the team from Farber Hebrew Day School in Southfield, Michigan – just a short drive from Detroit. With all the participants present, Hausdorff had fully descended on the Flatbush community.
The Hausdorff Tournament has been a staple of the Flatbush scholastic calendar. It all started in the fall of when two members of the Flatbush faculty were searching for a way to honor the memory and spirit of a dear friend and colleague who had passed away so suddenly earlier that year. Thomas Hausdorff had joined the staff of the Yeshivah in 1989, serving as the Principal for General Studies, but he was so much more than that. He was – at the same time – principal, teacher, supervisor, teacher, mentor, fan and friend. When he died suddenly in 1995, his colleagues Mike Gelber and Rabbi Naftali Besser, along with the rest of the Flatbush community, were devastated. They needed to find a modicum of solace, and a way to keep Mr. Hausdorff an active part of the school. The tournament and Shabbaton seemed the perfect way to keep the essence of the man present and more than alive. It has been doing just that ever since.
As this is so much more that a basketball tournament, the opening program has always been about bringing people together as a community engaged in chesed. Under the leadership of Rabbi Besser, the students of the High School along with the players, coaches and Rabbis of the three visiting schools gathered first in the Khezrie Auditorium and then in the Main Gym with guests from Yachad and OHEL. Together, they all learned, shared experiences, danced, snag and had dinner. For many, it is the cornerstone event of the Hausdorff weekend, and a fantastic way to create and foster a real sense of being part of a larger Jewish community.
The games then took center stage. With the gym quickly converted from dance hall to basketball court, the visiting squads from Memphis and Philadelphia warmed up and tipped off the competition of the 2017 Hausdorff Tournament.
It was a battle of old and new, with Cooper being a regular participant at Hausdorff for over the past 10 years and Kohelet making their debut in Brooklyn. The Cooper Macs grabbed the early lead 2-0 with a quick lay up right off the bat. But, it was all Kings from that point on. The Kohelet boys ran off the next 20+ points. It was as if someone slammed a lid down tight on the Cooper basket, as they just could not get anything to fall down. Before the end of the half, Cooper finally turned the numbers on the board, but by then, the Kings had already run away and hid. The Macs certainly made the most of halftime, as they found a groove in the second half, challenging the Kings and finding some success on the offensive end. But the Kings’ cushion was just to great, and Kohelet’s size inside proved to much for the boys from Memphis. Kohelet took the opening game of round-robin play, 56-30.
The nightcap featured the host Flatbush Falcons facing off against the Farber Fire.
Flatbush took control early, playing cohesive basketball, working patiently on offense and employing close pressure on defense. Farber took a while to find their game legs, but soon found success and began keeping pace lat in the second period. By halftime, though, Flatbush held a comfortable lead. In the second half, Flatbush began to stretch out their lead, and early in the fourth quarter, they had built a 15-point cushion. But, the game was far from over. Credit the boys from Detroit and their Coach, Brock Goff. They began to exert a presence under the basket at both ends, and slowly began to chip away at the Falcon lead. By the 4-minute mark, the deficit was back to single digits, and the Fire were closing. In the end, though, Flatbush did what they needed to do to close out the game. Farber continued to close, but the falcons held them off for the 6-point victory, 60-54. Farber’s Jeremiah Wolfe led all scorers with 29 points. Flatbush was paced by 14 points from Kal Abed.
It was an exciting end to a fantastic first day at the 2017 Hausdorff Tournament, whetting the appetite for what is to come over the weekend!
NEST NOTES: Each year, Coach Gelber and his crew look for something new to add to the staples of what everyone has come to expect at Hausdorff. This year, the Athletic Department unveiled a new live streaming program at Hausdorff, partnering with MyPlay to provide viewers across the country with a high quality, high definition feed to watch all the Tournament action, and to provide the coaches from all of the teams with post-game video to review with their players afterwards to learn from each game going forward. Links to all the live action can be found here – https://flatbushfalcons.com/2017/12/01/myplay-links-for-2017-hausdorff-tournament/
(Photos courtesy of Jonathan Baum)