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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Falcon's Nest Notes: A “Spring”-Board for the Fall Season

With the weather finally showing signs of warming up, the Spring sports are now in full swing. Nevertheless, a pair of Flatbush Fall athletic programs has taken advantage of the opportunity to get a head start on the Fall 2014 athletic season.
Members of the YoF HS Girls Basketball team surround Head Coach Rozan Mizrahi (center, in Nets hat)
Careful not to interfere with the in-season programs’ practice or game schedules, this past week both Boys and Girls Basketball have gotten together with their respective coaches to start building cohesion amongst the players and coaches in advance of the 2014-15 school year and Fall athletic season.

Boys basketball took to the Elementary School gym for an initial practice session followed later in the week by games against non-league challenger Sinai Academy. With the understanding that participation in these Spring events are no guarantee for anyone of a roster spot for the 2014-15 basketball season, the coaches welcomed non-roster players from the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior classes to join with the present Freshman players at the JV level and the present Sophomores and Juniors at the Varsity level to get a leg up on the competition. The student-athletes spent an afternoon/evening with Head Coach Avi Borenstein as the coach put the returners and the “newbies” through a practice session during which the prospective new players were introduced to the basic Flatbush offensive and defensive sets and the returners refreshed themselves with the same systems.
The 2013-14 Flatbush Falcon JV Boys Basketball team
With just the one practice under their belts, the teams welcomed non-League opponent Sinai Academy to Flatbush for a Spring exhibition JV/Varsity doubleheader challenge at the YoF Elementary School gym. The Freshmen picked up right where they left off at the end of the season. Showing that they have developed trust in each other as a unit and incorporating all that they learned as a team this past season, the future JV leaders hit the ground running and never looked back. Behind 14 points from Kevin Haddad and 11 from Jackie Mishaan, the team lead from start to finish, defeating Sinai 61-29. All nine players saw time on the court - as one would expect - including first-timers Joseph Oved and Yair Aish.
Junior Allan Maleh blocks out at the Cooper Invitational in Memphis, TN earlier this year
Junior Bobby Soffer takes the ball to the hoop as fellow Juniors Allan Maleh and Raymond Braha trail the play (in Memphis, TN)
Equally impressive were the returning and rising Varsity boys. With so many players from this year’s iteration moving on, only five Juniors from the present roster suited up, supported by the addition of the Sophs who played JV and six classmates taking advantage of this early audition for next year’s Varsity roster. Like the Freshmen in the opener, the Varsity group hit the ground running and never looked back. When the final buzzer sounded, the Flatbush boys were on the right side of a 74-34 score. All 15 who suited up logged minutes for the Falcons, including newcomers Marc Cohen, Victor Cohen, Saul Esses, Eddie Farhi, Eli Kattan and Isaac Mizrahi. The boys were paced by Allan Maleh, who showed the form that made him so dangerous as a Sophomore starter on JV two seasons ago in leading all scorers with 17 points. Junior Center Mayer Kamkhatchi dropped in 15 and Junior Point Guard Bobby Soffer keyed the offense and contributed 11 points of his own.
Center court of the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets
For their part, Girls Basketball set out to firmly build the bonds of camaraderie that the coaches hope will serve to create a strong foundation of trust and teamwork as the team heads in to next year. To that end, Head Coach Rozan Mizrahi organized a team outing to Barclays Center, home of the hometown NBA franchise Brooklyn Nets. Decked out in Nets jerseys, hats and t-shirts, the girls joined in cheering on Brooklyn’s own alongside a near sell-out crowd as they took on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Falcon Sophomore Basketball players enjoying the atmosphere of professional basketball in Brooklyn(from l to r): Victoria Gindi, Rose Mishaan and Jennifer Maleh
With seats that afforded a bird’s-eye view of the court, the Flatbush girls had a great view of a team that is playing in support of each other, showing patience with and reliance in each other, qualities they will look to emulate in the approaching season. And, they got to celebrate three of their own as Fatima Sharaby, Sylvia Franco and Sarah Horowitz appeared on the JumboTron over center court, celebrating the game of basketball at the highest level, right here in Brooklyn! Just to top the night off, the Nets brought home the win – what better aspects to try to emulate than teamwork and passion in preparing to challenge for a League championship? In addition to the three who made a splash for the entire arena above center court, the other Falcon basketballers who came out to root on Brooklyn were Merle Cohen, Victoria Gindi, Rose Mishaan, Lauren Berkovitz, Jackie Baum, Judy Blanka, Jennifer Maleh, Samantha Chabot and Margo Kamin. When asked about the opportunity to do something like this as a team, Freshman Sarah Horowitz noted, “I love my teammates. They are some of my best friends!” It is this sentiment that clearly shows the immeasurable value to team dynamics of an evening like this one in Downtown Brooklyn.
Members of the Flatbush girls basketball team celebrate the Nets victory – and team unity!
Look out MYHSAL – the Falcons are getting ready to fly!

Nest Notes:
Special thanks to Adam Metzendorf, Account Manager for the Brooklyn Nets Group Sales Department, for his assistance in planning and securing discounted tickets for this event. His expertise, guidance and hospitality helped insure a most successful outing at Barclays Center