Rose Clayman and Leah Menashe go way back.
They began their friendship in preschool, and now they’re in the midst of their senior year at Northwest Yeshiva High School (NYHS) on Mercer Island while captaining the girls basketball team for the second consecutive season.
With a tight bond on and off the court, the duo is joined in the captain’s realm by junior super-scorer Paulina Gamel. At press time, the Lions sported a 5-5 overall record and Gamel, a center, was averaging 21.4 points a game.
With just nine players on the team — they only fielded a six-member squad last season with no seniors — the Lions are scrappy hustlers who shine on the defensive end of the court and deliver solid passes that translate into points.
NYHS’s core five players have teamed up throughout their high school years and are leading the way for the three-senior squad that has been gelling well this season.
“I think since we’ve been playing together for so long, we kind of understand each other’s capabilities and we lean on each other’s strengths and support each other where we need to be, just because we know each other so well,” said Clayman, a point guard who notched a career-high 16-point game this season.
Menashe, a shooting guard, noted that she and Clayman have become closer over the years, dribble by dribble since they began playing hoops together in fourth or fifth grade. Menashe has registered a plethora of assists this season and amassed a 16-point game a year ago.
As a captain, Menashe said it’s critical to have everyone “come out as one, a team, and always to remember basketball as a positive experience.” Having fun, learning and displaying sportsmanship are other crucial aspects to playing ball. Last season, the Lions garnered the 1B/2B Sea-Tac League sportsmanship accolade.
Perseverance enters the picture as well, as Clayman noted that the Lions roughed it with their minuscule roster last season and have climbed the ladder to reach a higher echelon this time out.
The Reporter asked Clayman and Menashe a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Clayman: People chewing with their mouths open. (Same goes for Menashe.)
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Clayman: My grandmother passed away, so probably her.
Menashe: Julio Rodriguez.
What’s a binge-worthy TV show that you’d recommend?
Menashe: My favorite show is “New Girl.”
Clayman: I am a “Gilmore Girls” fanatic. I love it.
What superpower would you like to have?
Menashe: To be able to be at multiple places at once.
Clayman: To be a mermaid and swim underwater without having to come up for air.
What would you say is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
Menashe: Kind of like nothing matters. And that sounds bad. People don’t really care what you’re doing. Live your life. Just do your own thing and you’ll find your people or whatever.
Clayman: Never be afraid to fail. I think that’s very important as a life philosophy. Failure is a part of growth and that’s where we learn. Our biggest turning points in life are when we fail and when we grow from them.