‘Bittersweet’ win as King David Lions become B.C.’s first Jewish senior boys basketball champions

King David High School Lions
The King David High School Lions senior boys basketball team poses with their championship banner and trophies after winning the B.C. School Sports 1A Boys Basketball Provincial Tournament on March 11, 2023, in Langley, B.C. (Submitted photo)

In the world of British Columbia high school athletics, it was a huge deal on March 11, when the senior boys basketball squad from King David High School—the province’s only Jewish high school—came from behind during the last seven minutes of the BC School Sports 1A Boys Basketball Provincial Tournament finals, beating the defending provincial champions from Unity Christian School.

After the Lions were eliminated in the early rounds of last year’s provincial playoffs, coming back to capture their league trophy this time capped off a successful five-year run for their star players: point guard Jesse Millman, shooting guard Ezra Heayie and centre Joseph Gabay.

But after all the celebrating on the court that night following the Lions 72–68 win, and after the welcome-home assembly last week in their school gym, the group realized that the pivotal game likely marked the last time these 17-year-olds would lace up together to play varsity basketball. And they’re uncertain whether they’ll even continue to play their sport competitively after graduating this summer.

The teens join The CJN Daily, along with their coach, David Amran, to take us behind the scenes of the historic victory, including their secret weapon: rabbis in the stands chanting prayers of support.

What we talked about

  • Learn more about the winningest Montreal YMHA men’s basketball team of the 1930s and ’40s in The CJN
  • How a basketball game taught neo-Nazi Jim Keegstra’s students a lesson in tolerance, and to the Jewish players, too, on The CJN Daily
  • Meet the King David High School Class of 2021 who graduated during COVID, on The CJN Daily


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.