(photo credit: )
Last Monday, more than 100 observant female basketball players from nine different teams competed against each other in the Shiraliga playoffs to determine the 2009 champion of the all-girls basketball league.
The participating young women from the Jerusalem area, from grades 7-12, were practicing all year and playing competitive games just to reach the playoffs.
The teams competing for the title last week were: Tehilla, Neve Chana, Tzviya Yetziratit, Hartman (two teams), Ohr Torah (two teams), Ulpana Pisgat Zeev and Pelech.
The playoffs took place in the new gymnasium of Pisgat Zeev, with both the semifinals and finals being played on the same day. Between games, there was a shooting competition between some of the players, which was immensely enjoyed by all those in attendance.
Each of the schools involved allowed some of its students to take time off from their studies to come cheer and support their classmates. In addition, mothers, grandmothers, friends, teachers and basketball fans were also part the large ladies-only crowd.
Many fans made posters for their teams and cheered with pompoms and costumes. The crowd of 200 was so intense in their support that it felt like a crowd of 2000.
In the Junior High division, Ohr Torah and Hartman made it through the semifinal games to the finals, and fought for the title. Hartman won the championship, by a final score of 22-15.
In the High School division, Pelech and Tzviya Yetziratit were victorious in their semifinal games. In the end, Pelech vanquished Tzviya Yetziratit and emerged as the league champion with a three-point 32-29 victory in the final.
Before the medal ceremony, a short film was shown that contained clips from this past year's play, depicting the players in action during their games over the course of the year. The players cheered as they saw themselves and their teammates, and realized how much work they had invested, both personally and as a team.
The hope is for many more teams to join the league next year, with sponsorship initiatives already under way to enable players without the financial ability to participate. All the players from this season's squads truly deserve a "Kol Hakavod" for their hard work during the entire year. Already, everyone is looking forward to the return of next year's improved-and-expanded Shiraliga.