Knights fall in regional soccer final

Posted on 07 March 2019 by LeslieM


By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy coach Davidson Loriston Sr. looked back at his 2018-19 boys soccer campaign with pride.

After not making the postseason last year, the Knights not only made the postseason, they won the district title and advanced all the way to the Class 1A regional final before losing 2-1 to host Lakeland Christian. It was their first trip to the regional finals in 19 years.

Along the way, Highlands Christian (11-8-2) needed penalty kicks to defeat St. John Paul II Academy for the district championship and,two games later, needed double overtime to defeat the Eagles again.

Highlands Christian lost in the regional quarterfinals in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, and in 2017 to Trinity Christian, 1-0, when they had last made the postseason. The Knights also lost in the regional semifinals in 2004, 2005, 2014 and 2016.

“It was amazing,” said Loriston Sr., who moved up to head varsity coach after coaching the middle school program at the school. “I told the kids that we had to work and do our part and God would take care of us. They all bought into it. 

The team received strong play from goalkeeper Daryl Carney, who logged 1,180 minutes played and posted four shutouts along with forward Jonathan Pereria, a junior, finished as the team’s leading scorer with 24 goals, and 3 assists. Pereria scored the lone goal against Lakeland Christian in the regional final. Carney left the regional final with a concussion just 15 minutes in, which also hurt the Knights’ chances.

Loriston Sr. said he didn’t even talk about winning the district championship.

“Honestly, when I met with the team, I told them my goal was not to win district,” he said. “I told them my goal was to make it to the final four. From there, the kids believed it.

“My team overcame a lot of things during the season,” Loriston Sr. said. “There were times when we just sat down and talked. I told them to worry about the things they could control and nothing else. I told them not to worry about it. This is your stress relief. Just go out and have fun.”

He said the team had two rallying points. The first when Thiago Nery was lost for the season to an injury and the second when they dropped a 3-0 decision to St. John Paul II Academy at home.

“After that game,” Loriston Sr. said, “we went around in a circle and each kid talked about what they could do better. The next two times we played St. John Paul II, we beat them. They deserved everything that they worked for this year.”

The team also benefitted from a trio of midfielders in sophomore Payton Caja (6 goals, 4 assists), and seniors Thiago Nery (8 goals, 10 assists in 14 games), and Lor Louis (4 goals, 7 assists). Unfortunately for the Knights, they lost Nery to a broken collarbone in a loss to Pine Crest last in the season.

Senior defenders Kyle Coulson (4 goals, 5 assists) and Ronison Exavier (2 assists) also played well in the back. Loriston also cited the efforts of freshman midfielder Moses Edson (goal, 7 assists) and junior defender Raphael Nery (goal, assist).

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Famed designer/author Hutton Wilkinson visits Boca Raton

Posted on 04 March 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Famed interior designer, jewelry designer and author Hutton Wilkinson left California to pay a visit to South Florida. First, on Jan. 31, he went to the newly opened Jay Feder Jewelers (at 6859 SW 18 St. in Boca Raton) (www.jayfeder.com/bocaraton), where a party was held as he launched his Tony Duquette Jewelry Collection in style. The following day, he went to the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum to present his newest book, “Tony Duquette Dawnridge.”

Guests were delighted to hear stories about how his once-partner designer Tony Duquette got his start and about his famous home. The home was built in 1949 by Tony and his wife Elizabeth. It was a simple structure — 30 x 30. But the home he created would become the go-to place for many of the Hollywood set, including Fred Astaire, Marion Davies, Loretta Young, Arthur Freed and Mary Pickford, among others. Tony had some luxurious parties in his home, complete with everything from Indian dancers to Chinese acrobats, bringing an exotic flair. When not living in the home, they rented it out to famous tenants like Marlon Brando and Eva Gabor. They soon bought the home next to Dawnridge, which they also rented out, but it burnt down in 1974. When the home was torn down, they used the land to create beautiful garden terraces. The expansion of Dawnridge would continue. The home — its interior and exterior — looked like a faraway land, like Japan, Austria or South Asia rather than Beverly Hills and it was used for many fashion shoots as well. The couple also bought other properties.

Hutton worked with Tony and, after Tony and his wife’s passing, he and his wife Ruth decided to purchase the home and to remodel it. Today, Hutton maintains the home and continues to run the jewelry company that he had with Tony.

People can now purchase his “Dawnridge” book, with its 256 pages and 300 color illustrations, and see the transformation of the home through the years and read more about its history.

For more information on the book, visit https://tonyduquette.com/tony-duquettes-dawnridge.

For more information on the Boca Raton Historical Society, visit www.bocahistory.org.

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Deerfield Beach Little League celebrates opening day

Posted on 28 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The annual tradition of face painting, hot dogs and various contests, including a home run derby helped kickoff opening day for the Deerfield Beach Little League on Saturday. 

“We’ve been in this fine city for 62 years,” gushed Deerfield Beach Little League President Jason Siracusa. “This is our second season with a new board of directors and we are looking forward to an even better year this season.”

Siracusa said the difference between last year and this year is that they are coming off a championship season. He would know firsthand as last season, Siracusa coached the Junior Division team to the state finals where they finished runner-up.

“Our league has grown since last year and our registrations are up,” said Siracusa, who said there are now 20 teams in the program. “Our sponsorships are up and we have a lot of new families, especially in the younger divisions which is really the future of our league. 

There are approximately 250 players in the league, from ages 4 to 16, Siracusa said opening day was a success. There was a tug of war between coaches and players, a cornhole competition, home run derby, fast pitch and a “triathlon” which consisted of hitting, throwing and running for the younger age groups.

“It was a great day,” Siracusa said. “We had a couple of more events. “The mayor and a couple of city commissioners were here and this was really about bringing everybody together for one time without any baseball, without any games going on. It just gave everybody a chance to get to know each other.

“We had our competitions, a BBQ and then off we go, the season starts,” Siracusa added. “This year was a lot easier than last year. We’ve embraced technology. We built a good foundation last season and we are more streamlined this season, financially and structurally. Building on that, we did a lot of online registrations. We have apps for the managers to help keep track of their teams to communicate with their teams and it makes it a better experience for everybody.”

 Siracusa said the top goals for the program this season is more championships, competitive baseball through both the city’s games and interleague play with neighboring communities in both the junior and 50/70 divisions. The league will consist of T-Ball, Coach-Pitch, Majors, 50/70, Junior and the Seniors, which will begin play in May after the high school season. Siracusa said running the program takes a lot of work and he credited the effort of the volunteers for keeping them on track.

“We didn’t get in all of our uniforms until yesterday,” Siracusa said. “We changed our uniforms this year too. The uniforms are brighter and they seem to be a bit more fun. We have the kid’s names on the back and we have Deerfield Beach in large letters on the front so everywhere we go, we are representing our city. We wanted to make sure we put out a good vibe from our city. 

Angel Davober, 9, of Pompano Beach, a Cresthaven School third grader, said he has played the sport since he was 4.  

“It’s fun and cool because you get to play a lot of different positions,” said Davober, who plays third base, second base and outfield. “I like playing third base the most. Today was awesome because you got to do a lot of different things.”

Deerfield Beach’s Neile Thomas, 14, of Deerfield Beach, has played in the league since he was 6. 

“There is a lot of good stuff to like about the league,” said Thomas, a Pompano Beach High School freshman, “It is very family oriented. The coaches put their players’ safety before winning, but we win too.”

Thomas was a member of the state runner-up Junior Division team a season ago.

“It’s pretty cool to get your name on a banner because you can come back in a couple of years and people you know you can say, ‘I was on that team,’” Thomas said. “On a scale from 1 to 10, that was like an 11. Going to a state tournament was like one of the coolest things I have ever done. Hopefully, this year we will go to states again and win it this year.”

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And Fish Kitchen + Bar opens

Posted on 23 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

On Feb. 7, a new restaurant opened on Pompano Beach called And Fish Kitchen + Bar. It can be found within the Ft. Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa (at 1200 N. Ocean Blvd) just steps from their large outdoor pool (where they have another more casual dining restaurant). The interior design of this new locale was created by Bigtime Design Studios of Miami and it gives a nod to the nautical. Guests can try their modern cuisine with an emphasis on seafood or grab one of their specialty crafted cocktails from the open bar. They have a happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m.

For the grand opening party that night, they removed most of the 115 seats to make room for guests, who mingled and enjoyed some free cocktails, as well as passed hors d’ oeuvres. Other guests did a little dancing at the end of the evening, after posing for photos with an ice sculpture, which had seafood like octopus embedded within it. It was a real community event filled with media personalities, business people and food lovers. They also did a ribbon cutting and gave $3000 to the Shipwreck Park Foundation.

And Fish Kitchen + Bar accepts reservations. Call 954-944-9515 or visit www.opentable.com.

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Bucks top Coral Springs in girls regional hoops semifinal

Posted on 21 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach regrouped from a sluggish start to top visiting Coral Springs, 44-35, in the Class 9A regional girls basketball semifinal on Tuesday night.

After scoring just one point in the first quarter, the Bucks outscored Coral Springs, 18-8, in the second quarter to open up a 6-point halftime lead. The Bucks cut the lead in half heading into the final quarter before Deerfield held on for the win and avoided the upset bid. It was the team’s fourth straight win over Coral Springs this season and 25th straight against no defeats dating back all the way to 2006 and this is the first-ever postseason meeting between the two schools.

 Deerfield Beach defeated Coral Springs, 70-27, and 55-39 during the season and 47-35 for the district title.

“Our next game we are going to have to come out and do a better job in practice on Wednesday and Thursday getting ready for (Boca Raton),” said Deerfield Beach coach Tami Vaughn, whose team will host the Bobcats on Friday at 7 p.m. 

“We just have to watch film and go back to the drawing board and see what we need to do, if we have to change up the lineup,” Vaughn added. “We have to go back to the drawing board to see what we need to do to finish out.”

Deerfield Beach senior DenAsia Mitchell scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Bucks (18-9).

The Bucks won the District 11-9A title for the fourth time in five years and second year in a row. The lone year they didn’t win it was in 2017 when star guard Mitchell tore her ACL and was lost for the postseason. The Bucks are on a four-game winning streak since a 68-64 overtime loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the quarterfinals of the Big 8 tournament.

 Deerfield Beach won state titles in 2003 and 2004 and was runner-up in 2002 and 2005. They lost to Miami, 48-31, in last year’s Class 9A state semifinals. 

Ely falls to St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas (21-6) outscored visiting Blanche Ely, 37-21, in the second half en route to a 72-52 victory in the Class 8A girls basketball regional semifinal in Ft. Lauderdale.

Blanche Ely, which finished the year at 21-9, lost to the Raiders, 66-61, 70-64, and 58-46 in the district championship before Tuesday night’s loss.

Raiders’ junior guard Bella LaChance, a Vanderbilt commit, led four Raiders in double figures with 20 points, while Tigers sophomore guard Ja’Leah Williams kept her team in the contest as she scored 27 points and hauled down 11 rebounds.

“We had a real rough third quarter,” Ely coach James Polk said. St. Thomas outscored the Tigers, 17-10, in the period.

Pompano

golf results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association held a Low Net (with a twist) tournament on Jan. 29.

 The results are as follows: A Flight: 1. Kathy Stewart, 67; 2. Abby Ages, 72; B Flight: 1. Janet Stuart, 69; 2. Kathy Dunn, 78; C Flight: 1. Lynn Goodman, 74; 2. Sue Bardhi, 75; D Flight: 1. Polly Rutnik, 77; 2. Roseanna Nixon 78. 

In the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association tournament on Jan. 22, Mimi Denoma shot an 84 to take the A Flight. Marianne Weber was second with a 91, while Sandra Gore was third with a 93. 

 Other results included B Flight: 1. Janet Stuart, 88; 2. Abby Ages, 97 (won tiebreaker); C Flight: 1. Patt Sessa, 98; 2. Ann Symonds, 101; 3. Lynn Goodman, 104 (won tiebreaker); D Flight: 1. Roseanna Nixon, 107 (won tiebreaker); 2. Verna Smith, 107.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a Two Best Ball of Foursome tournament on Jan. 30. The net score results are 1. James Greeley, Dave Hall, Jeffrey Raymond, Bert Welage, 112; 2. Oscar Aleman, Robert Blau, Roe Messner, Don Worrell, 115; 3. Tom Harrington, George Lyons, Paul Murphy, Carlo Spirito, 116; 4. Paul Berning, Andy Burt, Brian Nixon, Neil Wilson, 118 (won match of cards); 5. Jim King, Jim Muschany, Robert Raser, Roy Wilhoite, 118 (won match of cards).

 The closest to the pin winner at hole No. 15 was Terry Denoma.

 The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association also held a One Best Ball of Foursome tournament on Feb. 6. Net Score: 1. Tom Breur, Dave Dowling, Tom Pawelczyk, Robert Raser, 52; 2. Jim DiCamillo, Mike Grimaldi, Roe Messner, Jim Muschany, 53 (won tiebreaker); 3. Terry Denoma, Jim Dunn, Scott Feinman, Bart Valerio, 53 (won tiebreaker); 4. Lee Hammer, Tom Joyce, Dick Steffen, Bob VanZandt, 55 (won tiebreaker); 5. Andy Burt, Dave Danielian, Dave Hall, Gene Stoller, 55 (won tiebreaker); 6. Chuck Brown, John Feeley, Bob Mascatello, Tim O’Brien, 56.

 The closest to the pin winner at hole No. 17 was Frank Cutrone.

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Pioneer Days Info

Posted on 15 February 2019 by LeslieM

Click here to view this year’s Pioneer Days special section.

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Bucks win District title; face Cypress Bay Thursday

Posted on 14 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Even though the Deerfield Beach High School girls basketball team lost three of four games during the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas during the holiday break, Bucks coach Tamala Vaughn called the trip a victory.

Deerfield opened the Las Vegas trip with a 55-22 win over Modesta Christian (CA) before dropping four straight games to Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV), 46-36; Lynwood (Lynwood, CA), 67-50; and Desert Oasis (Las Vegas, NV), 56-26.

The Bucks won the District 11-9A title for the fourth time in five years and second year in a row. The lone year they didn’t win was in 2017 when star guard DenAsia Mitchell tore her ACL and was lost for the post season.

“This year’s team is a different team,” Vaughn said. “They are young and really inconsistent. The positive thought is that they are growing and the future is bright. They have great attitudes and I love coaching this group of girls. I don’t know what team is going to show up, the team that I think can win state or the team that gives me butterflies when they step on the court.”

Deerfield Beach (16-9) will host Cypress Bay (7-10) on Thursday night in a regional quarterfinal game. Of the Bucks’ 16 wins this season, 13 have been by 30 or more points. Of the nine losses, two have been by four points or less, one has been by eight points and the others have been in double digits.

“I know they all want to go to state,” she added. “We all have that goal in common.

They have grown since the beginning of the season and the light bulb is finally going on with some of the younger players. I don’t think they have been pushed as much. It was hard in the beginning for them to understand the system and the work ethic of the program.”

“We had kids that wanted to quit and kids that said, ‘coach, I can’t do this,’” Vaughn continued, “but now, since I pushed them beyond their limits, they are coming into their own.”

Vaughn said the trip to Las Vegas was vital to the team’s success. She said the players and coaches bonded both on and off the court.

“I have no regrets about the trip,” Vaughn said. “They were mentally weak before the trip and now they are becoming mentally tougher. I saw that in the St. Thomas Aquinas game (a 68-64 overtime loss). I was proud of the way they played and I think we are where we should be at this time of the season. They have gotten over that hump.

“The players became closer (in Las Vegas),” she added. “The players want to be the best teammates for each other. We bonded as a team. It was like a family atmosphere.”

In addition to DenAsia Mitchell, the Bucks have been getting strong play this season from freshman center Fatima Diakhate, who Vaughn says will be an All-American. Also playing well is senior forward Chakoi Mitchell (Indian River College commit); sophomore wing Aaliyah Reid; junior shooting guard Jasmin Worsley and junior combo guard Natalie Hessing, a transfer from Archbishop McCarthy.

“The girls have become more serious and they are working hard in practice to get better,” Vaughn said. “They just have to bear down, play hard and be consistent.”

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BUSINESS BEAT

Posted on 12 February 2019 by JLusk


A Conversation with Deerfield Beach Mayor Bill Ganz

By Karen Lustgarten

Mayor Bill Ganz has been an enthusiastic Deerfield Beach resident in the same neighborhood for 20 years. For nearly half that time, he’s served as city commissioner and now mayor for the past two years. “I know where we’ve been and how hard it was to get to where we are,” he says about the city. He elaborated during our conversation this month.   

 

Repave, repair, remodel 

End of life structures, crumbling roads, antiquated utility technology, a shuttered water supply plant, old storm drains — Deerfield Beach has aging infrastructure going back to the 1960s. The capital improvements bond that passed a few years ago allows for upgrading and modernizing facilities and utilities as they reach maturity to meet the needs of the city’s growing population. Repaving Deerfield Beach is one of the aging priorities.      

Working with FDOT, along with repaving comes aesthetics such as beautifying gateways into the city, entrance ways into neighborhoods, improving curb appeal. MLK Boulevard from 10 Street to Hillsboro Boulevard is slated for improvements next year. The stretch from Federal Highway to Dixie Highway is part of the Complete Street project. These are streets designed for mixed use — pedestrian crossings, walking paths, bike lanes, vehicles — rather than traditional streets designed for vehicles. 

“Residents want to be able to cross the street safely. They want to see improvements to roadways, safety on foot, by bike or in a vehicle,” said Mayor Ganz.  

For example, pedestrian crossings and LED lights were added along the S-curve at the beach and decorative fencing will be added around the FEC railroad track for safe crossing.

Mayor Ganz and city officials recently completed a walking audit along Dixie Highway with a planning organization, taking note of sidewalks, trees, landscaping, old crosswalk boxes, bus benches. The audit walk was to find opportunities and ideas to make some simple functional and aesthetic improvements along the route. There’s no overall beautification plan along that corridor he says. They are taking these walking audits in other areas of the city as well to feel them up close and get ideas on how aging infrastructure, antiquated technology and decades-old designs can be improved.

“As those are improved, neighborhoods start to pick up,” he said. 

Other capital improvement bond projects are The Center for Active Aging, remodeling the Johnnie Tigner Community Center and City Hall renovations.   

The Center for Active Aging provides supportive services and activities to seniors to help improve their quality of life, promote independence and encourage involvement with the community.

“Looking to the future, you have an active aging population and, if we build a more state-of-the-art facility, people will want to use it,” said Mayor Ganz. 

“The Tigner Community Center is in desperate need of remodeling, not just as a community center but for all types of programming that can be hosted there. We do not have enough community facilities to meet the needs of our growing population,” said the Mayor. “It will be a huge boost to the city and our residents to have a nice facility.” 

The capital improvements bond will make that possible. It will also give Deerfield Beach City Hall a remodeling boost with structural improvements, such as repairing the leaky roof (e.g. buckets come out when it rains to prevent indoor puddles). 

Pioneer Grove: developing downtown

Future redevelopment is in the Pioneer Grove area where City Hall resides. 

“We are trying to get more focus back to the central area of our city,” said the Mayor.  The goal with Pioneer Grove and for the improvements in the central area is to bring back downtown Deerfield Beach.”

“We want to inject energy into the central area of the city that includes the Dixie Highway corridor and create a more vibrant downtown. It’s been a long time since that’s been a focus in the city.  It’s perfect timing now to improve facilities in need with the ability to make those changes for the long term, decades ahead,” he said.

New development in the downtown zone is encouraged and nurtured but within certain guidelines that add value to the city overall. 

“There’s a great deal of undeveloped land in the central area of the city so there’s a great opportunity to have an overall vision rather than a hodge-podge of fitting in different projects that don’t come under an overall master plan or vision for what we want to see here,” said the Mayor.

The city’s award-winning Sullivan Park is an example of creative redevelopment without overdoing it.  

“We have a lot of people very interested in the downtown area and new projects coming forward,” he said. “When you work with developers with projects that don’t dissolve a neighborhood but enhance and improve it, and it becomes an anchor in the area, then you get a few anchors in the area and you build on that energy. Then people are going to start coming.”

Slow and steady growth

A recent study found that 20 percent of the privately-owned undeveloped land in Broward County is located in Deerfield.  

“That gives us some opportunity to grow but we don’t want to overbuild… we want to grow responsibly,” said Mayor Ganz.

It’s been a slow and steady growth that has picked up over the past several years.  

“We’re no longer in the position that we’re desperate for development,” he said.  “We can be selective about what we want to do in the city — what works for us and the residents as opposed to more exploitive projects offered.”

 “We have a wonderful village-type atmosphere that we love about Deerfield. With that comes its challenges that are a lot different than other cities,” he says.  “It’s difficult to maintain that atmosphere and not overdevelop and kill the surfside community with a village feeling. That’s why we’re unique in the approach we’ve taken.  No skyscrapers. We’ve been able to hold back overdevelopment and irresponsible development in the beach areas.”

Deerfield’s S-curved beach is ranked No. 13 by Fodor (travel and tourism guides) as “coolest beach in Florida with a hip vibe.”

 “Our residents deserve to have the city invest and reinvest in itself, in these improvement projects each with a dire need, as a way of showing our residents that their tax dollars are going to something they use. And when other businesses and developers see that we’re willing to invest in ourselves, then they’re willing to come and invest in us as well,” he said.

With a growing tax base, Deerfield Beach is experiencing a resurgence focused on enhancements.

“We’re looked at as a city on the rise,” says the Mayor. “New projects are improving our tax base as people are deciding there’s a great opportunity in Deerfield Beach. Other cities and investors are approaching me asking how we do this, we want to create the feel that you have. It’s been slowly building up.  I can’t tell you what is the one single thing that created the spark but we can certainly feel it.”

Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author.  www.multi-mediaworks.com

 

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Tigers roar into postseason

Posted on 07 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely girls basketball coach James Polk always believed in his team and that belief is paying dividends as the march into the postseason.

With a 58-26 district semifinal win over Ft. Lauderdale, Blanche Ely (20-7) moved into the District 14-8A championship game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against St. Thomas Aquinas. The Tigers dropped both meetings against St. Thomas this season falling 66-61 and 70-64.

“We are young,” Polk said. “I’ve got freshmen on the floor, sophomores on the floor and juniors on the floor. We try to learn and grow from our close games and our losses.”

“We expected to be fighting for the district championship,” Polk added. “Our goal this year was to represent Class 8A in Lakeland this year. We talked about being a team and goal as a team means ‘Together Everyone Achieves More.’ We are no longer a family because a family looks for favors and we are talking about being a team this year.”

Blanche Ely has gotten stellar play from Ja’Leah Williams, 5-ft., 9-in. sophomore shooting guard. Williams is averaging a team-high 21.5 points per game along with 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3 steals per game.

Williams, 16, of Pompano Beach, said the team lost some size from last year’s squad, but that wasn’t going to stop them. She compared her team to the boys teams that have won multiple state championships.

“I asked the team, ‘don’t you want to be like the boys?’” Williams asked. “I try and motivate them. We want to go to Lakeland just like them. We have to work hard just to get there too. I want to be there with them. Having fun with family and friends.”

Williams, who averaged 18.5 points last season, said basketball is important to her even though she only started playing at age 12.

“It means a lot to me,” Williams said. “Even though some girls started playing at a young age, I ran track and I never knew I was going to be this good at basketball. I think I realized I was going to be good when I tried out for my middle school team and made it. Not only did I make it, but I started as a 6th grader. We won the championship in my 8th grade year at Pompano Beach Middle School. I am going to make a championship happen again this year. I think there is a big difference in this year’s team. We are very small, but we are running more.”

Polk said during the season that there was still room to grow and they were maturing. The team has outscored the opposition, 1,677-1,220.

“I felt that we had opportunities to do some better things,” Polk said. “We had to learn how to play more of a possession game. We also had to learn how to secure the ball and take care of the ball. That was the major thing. I think we are also very aggressive defensively.”

In addition to Williams, Polk said others who have contributed heavily include junior JaNiyah Moore, sophomore Mikhia Lumsdon and freshman Breanna Gustave.

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FLICKS: Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel

Posted on 07 February 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

In the old days when South Florida was the spring break capital of the world, spring training for major league baseball was a big part of our neighborhood. It was quite common to see major league ball players at local restaurants, supermarkets or bars. The Texas Rangers home stadium was Pompano Municipal Stadium. When New York Yankee legend Thurman Munson died in a plane crash in early August 1979, vandals paid tribute to the catcher by rewriting letters to read, “Thurman Munson Stadium.”

Now that spring training has relocated north of Broward County, South Florida lost a sense of generational identity that united families and friends of all ages. Unlike the fast pace of basketball, hockey and football (with the exception of last Sunday’s dull Superbowl), baseball is a slow-paced sport with much downtime. However, it is this “downtime” that invites conversation between bites of peanuts and Cracker Jacks.  

Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel is a reminder how important it is for a sport to unite a community. Famous Jewish Sports Legends was a fictional leaflet that was considered “light reading” for traveler Barbara Billingsley in the 1980 classic comedy Airplane. Acknowledging this stereotype, filmmakers Jeremy Newberger, Daniel A. Miller and Seth Kramer are proud to tell the tale about Team Israel entering their first ever World Baseball Classic, which, much like the World Cup of Soccer, meets every four years and is an international event.

The most prolific player is Cody Decker, who currently plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Many of the players are not All Stars and some have retired from the professional game, but the honor to serve Israel is too good to pass up, especially given this historical opportunity. 

This documentary follows Team Israel’s adventures in the major cities in Israel, South Korea and Japan.

With David and Goliath overtones, Team Israel is considered an underdog … until they start winning.  Sometimes winning becomes humorous.  When sore loser Team Cuba loses to upstart Team Israel, a Cuban reporter accuses the Israelis of being Americans in disguise.  

With the use of the “Mensch on a Bench Mascot,” there is much humor in the film. The cinematography presents beautiful landscapes of Tel Aviv, the Wishing Bridge and the Dead Sea.  Sadly, there are constant reminders that the beauty of the land is under siege from terrorist attacks.

This film opens this weekend at neighborhood theaters. Some theaters are planning special promotions for this film. Tomorrow morning, Feb. 8, Cody Decker and the Team Israel filmmakers will visit the David Posnack Jewish Day School, as well as the David Posnack Jewish Community Center and the Broward Baseball Academy/Hal’s Power Alley, at 5850 S. Pine Island Rd., in Davie. Have some fun and PLAY BALL! 

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