Expectations are high at The Frisch School in Paramus for the school’s varsity basketball team, which opened its season on Nov. 9 with a 47-‘0 victory over Teaneck’s Torah Academy of Bergen County.
Frisch was prepared for its first regular season game because its two exhibition season opponents were more formidable than any team it will face during the season.
On Monday, Oct. 31, Frisch played at home against a contingent from Teaneck High School’s varsity team, and lost by just nine points. Two days later, Frisch suffered a 95-8′ defeat at the hands of an "all-star" team of players who are college age and older, including first-year Frisch assistant coach Eric James.
"In years past, I would never even consider playing a team like Teaneck High School, because their talent level is so far above most yeshiva teams," said Frisch coach Robert Hoenig. "But this year, people around the league believe Frisch has one of the better teams. I didn’t know whether [Teaneck High] would humiliate us. It was a bit of a risk, but we felt we could compete with them."
But Hoenig said that it was the "all stars" that presented more of a challenge than did Teaneck High. And, if he hadn’t used all of his 17 players against Teaneck which he did only because it was an exhibition game Hoenig said, "We might have even beaten them."
The Frisch varsity lost to Ramaz by five points in last year’s yeshiva league championship game, and, according to Hoenig, the team is picked by league insiders to return to the championship this year. The team will face a crucial test on Feb. 7, when it plays Magen David Yeshiva High School of Brooklyn, Frisch’s co-favorite to advance to the league finals.
On the whole, though, Hoenig said every game is a key contest.
"Every opponent has the ability to drag us down or up to their respective level," the sixth-year coach said. "The mark of an exceptional team, versus a very good team, is that an exceptional team can rise above that influence and control its own destiny."
Hoenig added that he hopes to scrimmage again with Teaneck High School, noting, "It is an opportunity not just to play against superior athletes, but to show that we can interact with our community.
"It’s a real Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name in public), especially when it’s with people from your own community."