Ransom Everglades boys’ varsity basketball team has opened its season with a 12-0 record under new coach Scott Berman, its best start in at least 14 years. With more than half the season remaining, the Raiders already have surpassed their victory total (11) from the previous two seasons combined. Guard Neil Schiff ’21, the state’s most prolific three-point scorer in Florida among all 98 teams in Class 3A, has led the turnaround.
Schiff, who is averaging 17 points per game, has accrued 43 three-point field goals. Lucas Ortiz ’21 has contributed with 13.5 points per game; Nick Namias ’20, six rebounds per game; and Ben Thorpe’20, three assists and countless clutch shots late in games. Schiff kept the Raiders’ win streak alive with a two-point floater off an assist by Ortiz with two seconds remaining against Key West on Jan. 3, giving RE a 50-48 victory. Captains Jack Fitzpatrick ’20 and Isaac Szomstein ’20 have provided critical leadership.
The Raiders defeated Terra Environmental Research Institute 54-47 during a December contest at American Airlines Arena, where the girls’ varsity team also played and won.
“It’s a great group of players who have committed 100 percent to all that they have been asked to do this season,” Berman said. “We prepare them with scouting, film, etc., and they have responded. At end of the day, it’s the players who have to come through, and they are doing a great job.”
Berman, who is also the assistant athletic director, arrived to RE this summer after rebuilding the basketball program as head coach at Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach. Berman previously worked as head boy’s varsity coach at Maccabi USA, leading teams in the Pan American and European Games and on an exhibition tour of Europe, and also served as director of basketball operations and assistant coach at Hawaii Pacific University.
The Raiders aspire to match the success of the 2012-13 Raiders, who compiled a 24-3 record and advanced to the Class 4A state championship semifinals. That team was led by Sam Singer ’13 (who played for the University of California at Berkeley and professionally in Israel) and Trey Mourning ’14 (the son of the NBA’s Alonzo Mourning who went on to play at Georgetown).
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The mission of Ransom Everglades School is to provide an educational environment in which the pursuit of honor, academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by concern for the physical, cultural and character development of each student. The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.