Retired Rams Return to the Court to Reminisce and Rebound
Photo by Amanda Birger

Retired Rams Return to the Court to Reminisce and Rebound

In a packed gym on Saturday night, Nov. 25, an HBHA basketball match up like no other took place on the court. For the first time in many years, the HBHA Rams basketball players faced off against the past Rams athletes in an Alumni vs. Varsity basketball game. This gave the past and present Rams the opportunity to reminisce on old basketball memories and look to the future of HBHA sports. 

 

While there had been middle school teams, and there is some debate over basketball life in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the inaugural season of Rams high school basketball as we know it was in 1991-1992. Girls’ varsity and junior varsity teams were added in for the 1995-1996 season. 

 

One of the many alums who came to the game was Joe Porter, class of 2018. When asked about a memorable moment of his HBHA career, Porter describes a heart-stopping showdown on Senior Night of his sophomore year with a thrilling turnaround against Midland Adventist.

 

The game didn’t start in the Rams’ favor, trailing behind Midland by a staggering 20 points well into the third quarter. With time ticking down and the odds stacked against them, the final home game of the season was looking like a sure defeat. 

 

Led by team captains Sam Matsil and Zach Kreisler, a new energy entered the court; the team finally “found our flow,” as Porter described. Communication became their new superpower. Complemented by a tightened defense and basket-making success, the Rams turned the game completely around. 

 

Porter (bottom row, first right) at his own senior night in 2018 (Courtesy of the HBHA archives)

 

Basket by basket, point by point, the Rams charged their way to victory. Ending the season with an electric spurge of teamwork and a whirlwind finale, Porter said that this shining moment was “more about the comradery and the team work, than it was about winning.” He said that playing basketball was, “more about the people I was playing with than the scores of the games.” 

 

Lori Noorollah, class of 1999, shared a similar sentiment saying that she is, “still friends with all of those women [from HBHA basketball] now.” She expressed that the unique experience of being on the Rams gave her an “opportunity to bond with other women over a sport.” 

 

Being a female athlete is oftentimes seen as defying the status quo. It took an extra four years for HBHA to instate a girls’ varsity team, but for Noorollah, defying people’s expectations was part of the excitement in playing basketball. She said it was a “unique feeling to go out there and do something that maybe people think you wouldn’t be able to do as a Jewish woman, especially a Modern Orthodox Jewish woman.” 

 

Noorollah said that playing with the Rams also gave her a distinctive sense of Jewish pride. She said the noteworthy sportsmanship and constructive competition “represented our people well.” She said that inherently “part of playing at HBHA is a pride in being Jewish,” and she was able to bring that sense of pride to college in recreational basketball teams.

 

Championship trophy from girls’ Rams varsity team wins the Weiner tournament (Baltimore, Maryland) in 1997, only one year after the team’s inception (Photo by Ellie Glickman)

 

Porter also expressed that he took lessons from basketball with him to college. He said, “teamwork [learned through HBHA basketball] has played a big part in the rest of my career since graduating from HBHA.” With the leadership principles he gained on the court he has “been able to apply through the rest of my life.”

 

Riley Ellis, current senior and team captain of the boys’ varsity basketball team, said HBHA basketball gives players “the opportunity to show who they are.” In contrast to a strictly competitive team like at public school or Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), players are not simply chosen to have playing time as means to a victorious end. Ellis says, “everybody here gets to show off their talent and what they can do.”

 

Next year, Ellis may return to the home court to face off against his current teammates. Ellis says leaving the Rams will be “upsetting at first,” because he has played on the team for so long. However, he says is excited to see “HBHA’s basketball future continues to grow and expand.”

 

Porter shared that seeing the Rams’ development was one of the main reasons he returned for the Alumni vs. Varsity game. He said he was looking forward to “seeing how they hold up against us old men.”

 

Mother and daughter Rachel Pase Sosland, class of 1994, and Gabrielle Sosland, class of 2026, pose together after going toe-to-toe on the court. (Photo by Livia Noorollah)

 

The Alumni vs. Varsity game provided a lovely way to enjoy Ram spirit during Thanksgiving weekend. It is always fun to gather as an HBHA community for a happy occasion, and what is happier to a Ram than some basketball? 

 

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About the Contributors
Ellie Glickman, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Ellie Glickman is a senior and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the RampageWired. This is her second year, and she is looking forward to sharing more stories and news from her community and the greater Jewish world. Ellie is passionate about Jewish life, and she looks forward to using RampageWired as a platform to both spread awareness of Jewish topics and general Jewish positivity. Ellie also enjoys art, books, and music. 
Livia Noorollah, Writer
Livia is a Junior at HBHA, and this is her first year writing for the RampageWired. Her hobbies include dance, art, and movies. She hopes to contribute to publications with articles on various topics and exploring Jewish perspectives.