|Directed by||Stuart Gillard|
|Produced by||Jacqueline George|
|Written by||Joel Silverman|
|Starring||Alex D. Linz|
|Music by||Christopher Brady|
|Release date(s)||November 23, 2003|
|Running time||90 minutes|
Alex Schlotsky is a freshman at Philadelphia Hebrew Academy, where he and his friends are on the school's struggling basketball team, the Lions. Without a good coach and with a dream of winning the Liberty Tournament and defeating their school's rivals, the Warriors, Alex and his friends are determined to find their own Judah Macabee to coach their team. During one day of practice at a local park, Alex finds what he believes is their coach—Lamont Carr, a college basketball star whose knee injury prevented him from getting to the NBA. After interrupting his practice, Alex and Lamont don't get off to a good start. The next day, however, Alex offers to pay Lamont to coach their team for a while: Lamont reluctantly agrees.
During the boys' first days of practice under Lamont's coaching, they become exhausted and frustrated with his coaching style, but an intervention by Alex inspires Lamont to help the team love the game of basketball. During the days leading up to the tournament, there are many hurdles Alex and Lamont must overcome—throughout the movie, Lamont is homeless after leaving his wife and son in Virginia with the hopes of being signed by the Philadelphia 76ers: Alex must balance his mother's desire for him to become a doctor as opposed to a basketball star. Also, among the challenges they must face is the school's principal, Mrs. Klein, who tries to see if Lamont is safe to be with the players. This leads to her one-day trying to inconspicuously follow Lamont to where he goes in his van after practicing. With Alex knowing this and also knowing that Lamont is homeless, he tells him to go to a modern apartment complex where his dad is trying to get a tenant for a room he owns. While Alex opens the door for Lamont, Mrs. Klein is outside the complex. Lamont and Alex's dad compromise to an agreement where Lamont can live there for free until Alex's dad can find a tenant. Later, before the big Liberty Tournament the players are looking forward to, Lamont tells the team that he received an offer for a 10-day contract from the Philadelphia 76ers and he was going to accept it.This means the Lions must try to win the tournament without their coach. The day of the final game, Alex finally confronts his mother and breaks through to her about his love for the game and she ends up convincing Alex's best friend Julie to forgive him. However, the Lions have been successful, winning every game in the tournament.
While the game is going on, Alex's mother drives Julie to the game, then goes to the stadium where Lamont is playing a game to try to convince Lamont to go to the who's [clarification needed] van has broken down before he can leave for the airport. Once she arrives, she speaks to one of Lamont's opponents about Alex's dreams and understands him even more afterwards. After she finds Lamont, his car works again and she finally seems to start to understand.
The final game in the Liberty Tournament takes place on a stormy night, which eventually knocks out the power in the school's gymnasium. Resorting to the use of an emergency generator for the remainder of the game, the Lions and the Warriors play the duration of the game on the agreement that whenever the fuel in the generator runs out, the game will end and the team with the most points will win. The Warriors devise a plan to make sure it is them—when they are ahead in the game and it becomes clear that the fuel in the generator is moments away from running out, the Warriors call a timeout that lasts for the remaining time. The Lions are outraged and discouraged, until Lamont appears in the gym and encourages them to not lose faith. The power then once again goes out in the gym, and the Warriors celebrate what they believe is their victory—until the power comes back on soon after with the generator restarting even though it is out of gas. The final moments of the game consists of the Lions catching up to the Warriors, and with the final seconds on the clock ticking down, Alex passes the ball (as opposed to his usual selfish ways), allowing them to score the winning basket.
The entire school celebrates, and Lamont's wife and son enter the gym and plan to stay with Lamont, who reveals to the Lions that he plans to become their full-time coach. Alex's mother is finally convinced by him to let him play basketball and in fact only showed up at the end of the game so she could go get Lamont's family for him while he went to help the team. The final scene of the movie consists of Alex's and Lamont's families (with Alex's mother proving to be a good player) along with Julie playing a game of basketball, while Rabbi Lewis' story of Hanukkah and its relation to the basketball game plays over the scene.
Alex D. Linz - Alex Schlotsky
Richard T. Jones - Lamont Carr
R.H. Thomson - Rabbi Lewis
Sean Marquette - Big Ben Swartz
Erik Knudsen - TJ Murphy
David Sazant - Joker Levy
Sheila McCarthy - Mrs. Klein
Linda Kash - Cynthia Schlotsky
Jason Blicker - Marshall Schlotsky
Cassie Steele - Julie
Jack Manchester - Tyler
Ron Gabriel - Coach Simowitz
Stan Coles - Larry
Sean Loucks - Referee Bob
Gina Kash - Sarah Lewis
Dan Willmott - Tow Truck Driver
Elle Downes - Charmaine
Malik Jardine - Kemper Todd