(photo credit: )
Last week, 180 of the 220 players in the Shiraliga Girls Basketball League competed in the second annual Hannuka Tournament at Malha Arena, with some of the participants playing in their first ever organized hoops.
Despite the pouring rain, players from thirteen teams arrived along with a large group of spectators for the one-day event. The crowd grew larger and louder as the day went on, with mothers, grandmothers, classmates and friends cheered on the players.
The large arena was divided into four separate courts, each with its own clock and referees, so that at any given moment, eight teams were in action. Sixteen games were played in all, with each side competing at least twice, and some even three times.
The participating teams were comprised of religious girls' high schools in the Jerusalem area, and each team's distinct uniform helped generate much school pride.
Players in each school practice weekly preparing for these tournaments which are held 4-5 times each year. The following teams/schools participated: Pelech (2 teams), Ohr Torah Ramot, Ulpanat Oriya- Gush Etion, Ulpana Tzviya Jerusalem, Ulpana Tzviya Yetziratit, Midreshiyatt Hartman (2 teams), Ulpanat Ofra (2 teams) and Ulpanat Chorev (3 teams).
The teams that accumulated the most wins and were declared the winners were: The Chorev 7th-8th grade team, the 9th grade Ofra team and Tzviya Yetziratit high school team.
After the games there was an individual shooting contest, in which Shira Bilig from Tzviya Yetziratit truimphed. At the end of the tournament, each player left with a chocolate golden medallion and a huge smile plastered on her face.
Shiraliga was founded by Shira Amsel, who is the director of Physical Education at Pelech High School and plays for the Women's Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team. The league is open to every young woman who wants to play basketball for self improvement and to have fun, and its goal is to introduce young girls to the world of organized sports. Every aspect of the league is run by women for women, including coaches and referees. For more information, please visit www.shiraliga.com