The USA Maccabi 18 and Under basketball team took the gold medal in last week’s Pan-American Maccabi Games in Mexico City. Team member Harris Gartenhaus is a 2019 graduate of Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School (BT).
Gartenhaus has played basketball since sixth grade, starting out on a travel team.
“I love the competition,” Gartenhaus said. “Basketball is a game where the momentum can shift at any moment in the game, so it requires nonstop focus, which feeds my competitive drive.”
He began playing for the BT Warriors varsity basketball team in 10th grade. He was a star point guard for the team, becoming the first BT Warrior to score 1,000 or more points (1,008 points total) since Dani Katz ‘15, and one of very few BT students to manage this accomplishment at all. He also racked up 272 assists, 242 rebounds and 107 steals over his three-year time on the team.
“If Harris isn’t hanging out with his brother or my kids, you can find him on the basketball court practicing his shooting and working on his basketball game,” said Stacy Fuld, athletics director at BT. “He is a player that every coach wants on their team: talented, accountable, hard-working, unselfish and team-oriented. He is extremely quick, never gives up, and constantly pushes his teammates to perform at their best.”
As a Warrior, Gartenhaus played in three MIAA Sports All-Conference Selection games and, along with the team, made it to the semifinals three years in a row at the MIAA C Conference. Gartenhaus was also awarded the Weiner Tournament All-Tournament Selection three times.
This summer was Gartenhaus’ first time participating in the Maccabi Games.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “There were 12 kids on my team from nine different cities. We quickly bonded and became very close. I will hopefully keep in touch with my teammates for a very long time. It was really cool to see Jews from all over the U.S. come together and work towards the gold medal!”
Gartenhaus said winning the Maccabi Games “felt amazing.”
“Being able to represent the U.S. on the court and compete against Jews from all over the world is a blessing and a dream come true,” Gartenhaus said.
Gartenhaus will be attending Yeshivat Reishit in Beit Shemesh, Israel in the fall.