Basketball team at Orthodox Jewish Beren Academy has to forfeit in state tournament because game conflicts with Sabbath
Prior to this week, the Beren Academy boys basketball team was on its way to a Texas state championship. The Stars are 23-5 on the season and were scheduled to take on Dallas Covenant this Friday in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 2A state tournament. Instead, they will have to forfeit. Beren is a Jewish Orthodox school and the game was slated for Friday night at 9 p.m. Beren students must observe the Jewish Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. According to the Houston Chronicle, Beren officials appealed to TAPPS to try to have the game moved to an earlier time, but their appeal has been denied.
“It’s disappointing. I’ve been here 10 years and I’ve always known where our priorities lie,” Beren coach and athletic director Chris Cole said. “We were hopeful and optimistic going in that we could be able to do both — adhere to the religious beliefs here and play basketball.”
Dallas Covenant will instead face Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills, which is the team Beren beat by a score of 69-42 last week. To this point, Beren was successful in rescheduling two of its Friday and Saturday playoff games earlier in the month so they could play earlier in the day. Teams are not allowed to play on Sundays because of traditional Christian warship, which limits opportunities to reschedule games.
“It’s not frustrating,” Beren point guard Isaac Mirwis said. “It’s a little disappointing. We worked hard this entire season and our goal was to get to the state championship and win the state championship. So, it’s disappointing that we don’t get that opportunity, but definitely not frustrated with anybody because honestly we can’t really take that out on any one person.”
The association simply reiterated the fact that Beren knew tournament games were scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays when they pursued membership in TAPPS but proceeded anyway. Cole said that the team respects and understands the decision.
Talk about an unfortunate situation. On one hand, the school knew the complications that could arise when they joined the conference. There are only so many games that can be rescheduled throughout a tournament, so this was bound to happen at some point. On the other hand, you have a group of kids who have worked their tails off all season long in hopes of capturing a state title. To be told you’ve been bounced from the tournament strictly because of a scheduling conflict must be devastating. It’s a shame they couldn’t work something out.