By Steve Stein, Contributing Writer
A winter tradition returns Sunday, Jan. 20, to the JCC in West Bloomfield. The 43rd season of B’nai B’rith basketball will tip off that day. Six teams are in the league, the same as last year. A Great Lakes Region team bowed out, but a new Brotherhood team is taking its place.
Joining three-time defending champion Pisgah-Zeiger in the league this year are three Brotherhood teams along with Great Lakes Region and Pisgah.
Regular-season games will be played at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. Sundays for 10 weeks, followed by the playoffs, which will be held on the final Sunday of the season. The top four teams in the regular-season standings will make it to the post-season.
Gary Klinger, who has been running the league but not playing in it for the past 10 years or so, will actually be running in the league this season.
“I’m going to be playing again with the new Brotherhood team,” said Klinger, who played for about 25 years before stopping because of family commitments.
At a time when many recreation sports leagues are struggling to survive, the B’nai B’rith league has been holding strong at six teams for a few years.
“I see a couple reasons for that,” Klinger said. “One is the camaraderie. We all know each other. Also, this is a competitive league.”
That competition certainly was evident in last year’s playoff championship game. Pisgah-Zeiger beat Brotherhood III 53-49 in a game that Pisgah-Zeiger coach Rick Sherline described as a “heavyweight title fight.”
“The lead changed hands four or five times in the second half. Both teams made clutch shot after clutch shot,” said Sherline, who has been playing in the league since it was formed in 1976.
Pisgah-Zeiger and Brotherhood III played three times last season, splitting their two regular-season games, and the largest margin of victory was eight points. Each team went 8-2 in the regular season and tied for first place.
Sherline is back as Pisgah-Zeiger’s coach. The other league coaches this year are Rich Luger (Brotherhood I), Jereme Goodman (Brotherhood II), Justin Peters (Brotherhood III), Dan Butler (Great Lakes Region) and Gregg Schultz (Pisgah).
Back To Normal
Bowlers in the Brotherhood-Eddie Jacobson B’nai B’rith league are rolling good scores again.
“We struggled the first couple months of the season, but the scores have been great the past five weeks or so,” said league director Gary Klinger.
The major reason for the struggle was the venue. The league is bowling this season at 300 Bowl in Waterford Township after calling Country Lanes in Farmington Hills home since 1986.
“300 Bowl is a new or almost new place for most of us in the league,” Klinger said. “It was like losing a home field advantage when we left Country Lanes. We have no complaints about 300 Bowl, though. They’ve treated us great.”
Klinger said league bowlers will vote in a few weeks to see if the league will remain at 300 Bowl or return to Country Lanes. He expects the vote to be close.
The league left Country Lanes late last season and went to 300 Bowl after Country Lanes closed for about a month following the death of its owner.
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