The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

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The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

Synagogue Showdown: Ahavat Shalom Grizzlies vs. Mashadi Magic

On Sunday, May 19th, the Ahavat Shalom Grizzlies defeated the Mashadi Magic at Yeshiva Har Torah following a historic battle for the win, incredibly subverting the Great Neck community’s expectations. Read more to learn about the underdog feat.

The impact of Great Neck’s Jewish community cannot be understated, whether it be from the pull it has on North High students to Lunch & Learn during their school lunch periods, or from the presence of the Jewish Student Union. However, Great Neck’s Jewish community has felt no stronger unity than from an unlikely activity: basketball.

Synagogues across Great Neck have participated in a basketball tournament throughout 2024, playing games at synagogues and youth centers around town. The tournament culminated in a championship game between the Grizzlies and the Magic at Yeshiva Har Torah’s gym in May, and has stirred controversy over which team would come out on top.

Flyers were distributed to promote the championship game between the Grizzlies and the Magic (Credit: Behshid Ahdout).

“At first, we joined this league after many teams had been involved for many years,” said Grizzlies star and senior Coby Kalimian. “We lost our first game, but as our team bonded more and we got closer together to become a brotherhood, we began to win games on the court…we spent much more time together and really began understanding one another. That was a big contribution to our success.”

“The atmosphere [of the championship game] was like none we had ever played…it was community against community and a cross-town rivalry with both teams having the gym packed from the start,” said Kalimian. “We initially fell to the pressure with only 13 points by half-time, and we were trailing by four. By the third quarter, I went down with an arm injury; I broke my scaphoid bone in my hand and I had to have surgery a few days after…Daniel Ostad and Brian Asnadi took over the game, and Brian got fouled out of the game… but we all kept our composure and we were able to pull out the win. It was so amazing to not only win for ourselves, but for our synagogue, our people, and for our team and coach’s hard work to pay off.”

Ahavat Shalom youth director and Grizzlies coach Ariel Shayesteh holds the championship trophy with pride for his team (Credit: Coby Kalimian).

“[Others] just thought that we were just joining [the league] for fun, and they thought we didn’t have what it takes to win or the proper work ethic,” said Kalimian. “We put in the practice, we had the meetings, we put in the hours, and ultimately all the haters and doubters were just motivating us to make us want to win more, allowing us to attain that goal.”

North High and Ahavat Shalom communities come together to celebrate the Grizzlies’ rise to the top (Credit: Coby Kalimian).

“In a game where others thought they were in control, we knew that only one person had control of that game, and it was G-d,” said Ahavat Shalom youth director and Grizzlies coach Ariel Shayesteh.

Power forward and senior Daniel Ostad led all players in scoring, recording 18 points, with an impressive 15 of those points coming in the second half. Freshman starting guard Arieh Sanandaji played a crucial role in sealing the victory, sinking key free throws in the fourth quarter to keep the game out of reach for the Mashadis. 

The Grizzlies gather for a group photo following their historic win (Credit: Ben Salamatbad).

“The game started off slow and we had a huge crowd supporting the Grizzlies,” said Grizzlies player and junior Matthew Melamed. “We went into halftime being down, and our coach Ariel told our team that we needed to be playing harder to take the game back…the entire game was a movie.”

The Grizzlies showcased exceptional teamwork and resilience, playing as a united family and proudly representing the Ahavat Shalom community. The final score was 53-39, marking a historic win for the Grizzlies. 

“The Ahavat Shalom Grizzlies vs Mashadi Magic game was an electrifying game,” said Grizzlies player and junior Ben Salamatbad. “The energy in the gym was amazing, with both teams displaying incredible skill and determination. The game exceeded my expectations, with both teams pushing each other to new heights. The hype surrounding the match was immense, and the crowd’s enthusiasm only added to the players’ motivation. In the end, Ahavat Shalom’s victory was well-deserved.”

Grizzlies stars (from left to right) senior Brian Asnadi, senior Coby Kalimian, and senior Daniel Ostad celebrate their win (Credit: Coby Kalimian).

“We really brought joy to the whole synagogue,” said Kalimian. “We put Ahavat Shalom back on the map, and we brought pride to our community in a way we could never imagine.”

Ahavat Shalom Youth prides itself on embedding family values within their team which showed paramount in this win. This victory will be remembered as a proud moment for the Ahavat Shalom community and a testament to the team’s dedication and spirit.

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About the Contributor
Johnathan Ahdout
Johnathan Ahdout, Managing Editor
Johnathan is one of Guide Post’s managing editors. He is the co-president of TV North and part of North High’s Science Olympiad team. He enjoys filmmaking, and spends his time SAT tutoring, or researching something he went on a tangent about during his schoolwork. He is passionate about working on any form of media, especially Guide Post.

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