Exton – A memorable season for the Barrack Hebrew Academy boys’ basketball team became a bit more noteworthy in the Tri-County League finals against the Phelps School Feb. 15 at Collegium Charter.
When the Cougars stepped onto the floor to the start the game it marked their first trip to the championship game in five years. Right before the final buzzer in Phelps’ eventual 54-34 win, the biggest cheers from the Barrack bench and crowd came when senior Daniel Maman knocked down a three-pointer from the wing for his first and only points of his high school career.
Maman, a four-year member of the baseball team who has pitched and played outfield decided to explore new sports his senior year. After taking up soccer in the fall, Maman decided to give basketball a try this winter.
Since Nov. 16, Maman has attended every practice and supported his teammates despite his limited time on the floor. When he did get on the floor, Maman made the most of every opportunity. Despite not seeing any shots fall, he pushed on and was eventually rewarded when he scored the final basket in the Tri-County championship game eliciting one of the loudest cheers of the evening from the Barrack bench as well as cheering section.
“It’s the little things that mean the most at Barrack,” said Barrack Hebrew boys basketball head coach Jeremy Treatman. “He is a playing basketball for the first time. He spent all year supporting the team while learning the game and the rules. We tried to get him shots before, but this was the first one he made. The kids were so happy for him. It took a little bit of the sting out of the loss.”
“It was a good note to end a memorable season,” said senior Gabe Bryant, who finished with 17 points and three rebounds. “He watched every game even if he did not have an opportunity to play and always supported us.”
Barrack’s appearance in the title tilt was made possible thanks to their thrilling come-from-behind 40-39 victory over host Collegium Charter in the semi-final contest played one-day earlier.
Playing without starting point guard Jacob Felger, who missed the game due to the flu, Barrack knew most people did not give them much of a chance. However, just as the Philadelphia Eagles did during their historic playoff run, the Cougars embraced the underdog moniker.
Trailing throughout, Barrack made a furious run at the end to sneak out the win. Leading the way for the short-handed Cougars was Bryant and fellow senior Jared Shotel.
“Gabe Bryant played like a warrior [against Collegium],” said Treatman. “He has played like that all year and Collegium was no different. We also got a big boost from Jared Shotel,who has played a pivotal role all year.”
“I was freaking out in my kitchen,” said Felger, referring to the semi-final game against Collegium. Everyone stepped up in that game and I was so proud of my team.”
The semi-final win was the exclamation point on a season that featured a different Barrack team that started play Nov. 16.
“It meant so much to see how far we got this season,” said Felger. “We had a great season and I couldn’t ask for anything more, except maybe winning the Tri-County title.”
“Our team had that Next Man Up mentality this year,” said Bryant. “I believe that played a key role in our success. We had confidence in everyone who stepped on the court and this season was very special.”
Treatman added, “This season meant everything. All I ever wanted at the end of the game was for people to say that Barrack team played hard. I believe we did that every game and I am so proud of this team.”