In their first season joining the league, the Ateres Yaakov Eagles took home the intermediate division (ninth and tenth grades) championship in the National Council of Young Israel’s Basketball League. The championship culminated an intense 10 game season, in which the Eagles finished with a division leading 8–2 record.
“We promote healthy outlets for our talmidim whenever and wherever we can,” commented Rabbi Yossi Bennett, assistant menahel and athletic director at MAY. “When we got wind of this league and the kosher, efficient, and professional way in which it was run, we decided to join on the intermediate level.”
Expertly coached by local alumni Zack Hatten and Natan Cohen, the team proved to be a “force to be reckoned with” throughout the entire season. After a playoff win in a hometown rivalry against the Young Israel of Woodmere, the Eagles were slated to take on the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates in the championship game.
What began as a slow-starting game quickly developed into an intense matchup between the top two teams in the league. At the close of the first quarter, however, the Eagles had taken a dominating lead, 21–11, which they would not lose the entire game. At the close, the final score was 71–47. Eagles’ captain, tenth grader Yaakov Puderbeutel, led the team in scoring and led the Eagles in their amazing first season.
Rabbi Bennett remarked, “We are so proud of our talmidim, both for the incredible commitment and dedication they demonstrated to their team, but more so for the menchlich and classy manner in which they conducted themselves. We hope to join the league’s senior division next year as well.” v