Four local teens were part of a true Cinderella basketball story at the JCC Maccabi Games

By Mike Cohen

Côte Saint-Luc youngsters Adam Miller and brothers Josh and Noah Liebman and Hampsteader Ariel Nathan,  recently returned from the JCC Maccabi Games in Atlanta where  they became part of a true Cinderella story. Adam attends Bialik High School and the latter three Herzliah.

Adam, Noah & Josh with coach Andy Robinson.

More than  1,600 participants, aged 12 to 16, competed in  13  different sports. The event   included an Olympic-style opening, closing ceremonies and a community service day.

The local JCC (Jewish Community Center) did not have enough players  to form their own team in Atlanta, so organizers assembled the J Team. It was composed of Adam, Ariel,  Josh, Noah and 10 other kids from American cities who also did not have a delegation. Well, one would have thought this patched together squad had no chance of winning any games. Lo and behold they went all the way to the finals and despite being 24 points behind to Baltimore, they made an extraordinary comeback and won the game 53-49. “It was something right out of the movies,” said Mish Granik, grandfather of Adam and great athlete in his day.

Robbie Granik, Adam’s mom, said her 13 year old son has been playing basketball with the YM-YWHA Wolves since he was eight.  That is where his love for the game started, under the outstanding leadership of  coach Martisha Richards. He also plays for Bialik. His dream is to play in the Israel Macabiah Games in two years.

Noah, 12, has been playing Wolves basketball for three years now. He also played for his school team last year. Josh, 14,  played for his elementary school team, as well   Herzliah for the past two years. “They  both love basketball,” said mom Heather Leckner. “We found out about the Maccabi Games through an email that the Jewish schools received. When I saw that there was the opportunity to play basketball, I knew that it would be a great experience for the boys, as well as the advantage that they were able to play on the same team.”

Ariel Nathan in action.

Ariel, 13, has been playing basketball since the age of nine. He  started with the Wolves and then the Solomon Schechter team.

Didier Serero and his wife Stacy Herman chaperoned the kids. as well as coached the girls U14 soccer team.

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