🏀 An Eagles Update from Coach Sheahan
Kyle Sheahan, Director of Athletics and Physical Education
The Bernard Zell basketball season (6th-8th grades) officially concluded yesterday evening with a 7th grade boys 40-39 victory over Latin. As the only school in the conference to have four programs make the championship round, these 96 student-athletes, who have competed in 94 games since November 17th, certainly made our program and our School proud (season recaps below). 
And while those student-athletes are done for the year, we have 33 fifth graders who joined the program this week. Our second year offering 5th grade basketball began Monday and will go through the end of March. 
Lastly, the 24th Annual EAGLE CLASSIC (Student vs Faculty basketball game) will take place this Friday, February 17, at 1:30 p.m. and will officially bring our 8th graders’ careers on the basketball court to an end (at Bernard Zell).

Season Recaps:

6th Grade Girls

The 6th grade girls had a fantastic season. After falling in their first game of the year to Latin’s 7th graders (lost by one point), these 6th graders went on to win their next eight games. In that stretch, they defeated Lab, CJDS, City Day, Baker’s 7th grade team, Parker, and that same Latin team they had previously lost to (this time was a 13 point victory). The girls ended their season with an 8-2 record and will be ready to make a huge run next year in the CAMS League as 7th graders. They showed up everyday, asked great questions, played for each other, and learned how to be successful as a unit. 

6th Grade Boys

The 6th grade boys also ended their season on a high, winning their final six games of the season and finishing with a record of 9-5. After losing to Catherine Cook and Latin in their first matchup, the 6th graders defeated both teams the second time around. In addition, they were 2-0 versus Francis Parker this season. This team came together throughout the year, learned to play as a team, and is poised to enter the CAMS League as a strong 7th grade unit.


7th Grade Girls

There are two teams that get to end their season by winning their final game… the champion and the 3rd place winner. The 7th grade girls, after a tough loss in the semi-finals, were determined to bring home a trophy by beating the British School Thursday afternoon. The girls ran their best offense of the year and defeated the British School by six points. Coach Melton said they showed up to the game “with a job to do.” Everyone got to play and experience the highs of winning your final playoff game. About midway through the month of January these girls turned a corner… They started communicating more effectively, lifting each other up, showing up focused and ready, addressing conflicts and struggles, and keeping their heads in the right place. That manifested during this playoff run and will be needed next year as they look to repeat a successful season. Congratulations to the 7th grade girls on taking home 3rd place.

7th Grade Boys

The 7th grade boys had a season to remember. They fought to the finish, working collectively toward a goal of winning a championship. An undefeated regular season (10-0), a regular season conference championship, and a 2nd place tournament finish are all things to be incredibly proud of. Each player got significant minutes during their playoff run, and whether on the court or not, learned the importance of each and every role on the team. Following the game, Coach Mintz and the boys gathered in the back for nearly 30 minutes. The boys reacted appropriately - disappointed and upset, yes, but also proud and humble on their accomplishments. Congratulations to our 2nd place winners on a fantastic season. They certainly have one thing on their mind for next season.

8th Grade Girls

In an epic fashion, our 8th grade girls defeated top seeded GEMS World Academy on a buzzer beater in the first round of the CAMS League playoffs last Tuesday night. That didn’t stop them from giving everything they had Wednesday and Thursday and fighting tooth and nail to make it back to the championship (as they did in 7th grade). After a three point defeat in the semi-finals, the 8th graders fell to Catherine Cook in the 3rd place game, 24-20 in another come-from-behind effort that fell just short. If you ask any one of these girls, though, I’d bet that considering how this week went, they are happy with 4th place. To go from the 8 seed, to winning the play-in game, to upsetting #1, to losing the semi-finals by three with a chance to tie it (all in the matter of 75 hours), these girls proved that when focused and dedicated to a common mission, they can do anything. The bond that these girls made with Coach Pat, who worked with them for two years, is everlasting. Tears were shed because “it’s over.” One of them even said this morning they can’t believe there is no basketball Monday… it’s just an empty void. I’m so proud of the growth this team has shown since the beginning of the year.

8th Grade Boys

The boys in the Class of 2023 have had two phenomenal years. After going 13-3 in 7th grade and taking home the second place trophy, these boys were determined to get back to the championship in 8th grade. They did just that. This team is 2-0 against Parker, 2-0 against Latin, and undefeated against every school in the CAMS league. There is nothing wrong with being second to a team that is just simply better than you. Catherine Cook won the game, Bernard Zell did not lose it (if that makes sense). There are no excuses, they left everything on the floor, and played so very hard. They deserve to keep their heads up and can rest assured they did everything they could to try and capture that elusive 1st place trophy. They represented Bernard Zell and Bernard Zell Athletics with class and dignity. These boys fought through adversity this year… they learned to play with discipline and poise. They became better teammates to each other, more coachable, and more determined and together than ever before. They are definitely ready for the student-teacher basketball game. I think when they look back they’ll be very proud of their collective accomplishments, including a 29-6 record and two second place conference finishes
For our 7th and 8th graders, There are nine schools in the CAMS League (Ancona, Bernard Zell, British School, Catherine Cook, City Day, Gems, Lycee Francais, Near North Montessori and Waldorf). Of those nine schools, only ONE school had EACH of their four JV/VAR programs advance to the final day. Bernard Zell, who brought home two second place finishes, a third, and a fourth, is that only school. 
Three trophies were brought home to Bernard Zell last week. But more important than that, four teams came together for a common purpose. They supported each other from the bench, cheered for one another to play hard, and learned the importance of putting a team above oneself.

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