CJA Hawks Soar to Victory

In a thrilling display of skill and determination, the Calgary Jewish Academy Sr. Boys Basketball team, affectionately known as the CJA Hawks, soared to victory in the Calgary C.I.S.A.A. championship. The team, made up of students in grades 8 and 9, delivered an exceptional season with a remarkable record of 12-1, culminating in a nail-biting finals showdown which ended with a narrow 49-48 overtime victory.

Guided by the expertise and passion of CJA alumni and brothers, Dan and Jordan Balaban, the Hawks’ coaching staff played a pivotal role in the team’s success. Having donned the Hawks jersey themselves in their school days, the Balaban brothers brought a deep connection to the team and a shared understanding of the school’s basketball legacy.

According to Coach Jordan Balaban, the championship game was nothing short of legendary. “The championship game was a tremendous test of will and drive and the Hawks never took their foot off the gas, winning 49-48 in overtime” said Jordan. The closely contested match captivated the crowd in the home gym, with fans from both sides creating an electric atmosphere. Reflecting on the team’s journey, Coach Balaban expressed “I am incredibly proud of our boys. They continually improved individually and as a team, supported each other tirelessly and competed hard. They grew as basketball players and as people and it was an absolute privilege to be part of it.”

Coach Dan Balaban echoed his brother’s sentiments, describing coaching this year’s CJA Hawks senior boys basketball as one of the best experiences of his life. The young men showcased tremendous dedication and improvement throughout the season. The championship victory underscored the team’s hard work, mental toughness, and the invaluable life lessons learned along the way.

The team’s growth extended beyond the court, as noted by CJA Staff Jessica Rynn, who assisted with the team throughout the season. According to Ms. Rynn, the boys demonstrated unparalleled commitment, practicing or competing almost every school day. The camaraderie among the team members flourished, and during crucial playoff moments, even those not in the game became fervent cheerleaders. The coaches, characterized by their passion and dedication, emerged as role models for the boys, earning admiration and respect for their remarkable leadership.

In earning the Calgary C.I.S.A.A. championship, the CJA Hawks not only secured a prestigious title but also forged bonds, displayed character, and embodied the essence of teamwork that will resonate with the players for a lifetime. The victory was not just about points on the scoreboard; it was a triumph of perseverance, growth, and the ruach of the CJA Hawks.