2011-03-11 / Sports

Scholars’ Academy Gets One Step Closer To PSAL Championship

By Elio Velez

Scholars’ Academy freshman Jessica Glaz looks to get past the Eleanor Roosevelt players. Photo by William Thomas. Scholars’ Academy freshman Jessica Glaz looks to get past the Eleanor Roosevelt players. Photo by William Thomas. It’s not a fluke that Scholars Academy was named the top seed in the PSAL B girls’ playoffs this year.

Last Tuesday showed why. With the Seawolves struggling to find any points in the first quarter, coach Janet Kleiner placed freshman Jessica Glaz on the floor to put a spark.

Glaz scored 10 of her 16 points in the second quarter, and her teammates got hot in the second half as Scholars’ advanced to their first PSAL semifinals with a comfortable 61-36 victory over visiting No. 24 Eleanor Roosevelt.

“This team is incredible. Our starters and seniors didn’t start off well and Jessie came off the bench and scored three baskets and helped us relax a bit,” Keliner said.

Glaz has been a big boost to Scholars’ this season off the bench in scoring 12 points per game. The freshman forward hit the first field goal for the Seawolves with 2:19 left in the first quarter. Her contributions relaxed Scholars’ as they slowly began to take control throughout the game.

“My mindset is to get them going and come in off the bench,” Glaz said. ”Those few baskets got me going. The first ones are always hard. Once I got those it got me going.”

Scholars’ enlarged their 22-12 halftime lead in the third quarter. Senior forward Rebecca Moers shook off a slow first half. Moers scored 21 of her 30 points in the second half and knocked down five of her threepointers as Scholars upended any chance the Huskies would pull off a comeback.

The latest playoff win creates a new chapter in school history for Scholars’. In only their second year on the varsity level, the Seawolves will have chance to make the championship if they can defeat No. 5 Manhattan Village Academy at 5 p.m. in the semifinals on Tuesday at St. Francis College in downtown Brooklyn.

Senior point guard Kristin Dchiutiis wants to win so badly that she pointed to the gymnasium wall where the 2010 girls volleyball championship hangs for inspiration. “We want this so bad. There’s one banner for volleyball. We want a banner for all of us. We are the first graduating class and the seniors need this,” Dchiutiis said.

Droesch Enjoying Her Time With Scholars’

Scholars’ assistant coach Clare Droesch experienced playoff success as a high school All-American at Christ the King. Now she’s enjoying that same experience, this time from the sidelines.

The first year volunteer assistant is glad to be joining the ride with a team just two wins away from winning a PSAL title.

“There’s no money involved. I love teaching the game. Money doesn’t bring me happiness in basketball,” Droesch said. “I’m glad to be able to be in Rockaway, give back to my community and be with a school in Rockaway that’s doing so well.

Droesch was a Rockaway playground legend before enrolling at Christ the King. She scored 1,830 points, won three CHSAA city championships and state Federation titles while twice honored as the New York State Player of the Year.

She played four seasons at Boston College before turning to coaching after she graduated in 2005. Droesch made three college stops, the last at St. John’s as an assistant two years ago.

After returning from Hawaii last summer, Droesch was deciding what to do next. She accepted the offer to coach a team that included Seawolves players Taylor Gallagher Christina Rocks, Rebecca Moers, Kristin Dchiutiis and her cousin Kristin Hentschel to the St. Francis Summer Classic High School title.

She acquired an enthusiasm while coaching those players. Droesch wanted to contribute to a program featuring many local players which led to taking the job as an assistant under Scholars’ coach Janet Kleiner.

“They have the utmost respect for her,” Kleiner said. “They know about who she was a player and she brings an enthusiasm and intensity and a confidence that the girls have bought into.”

Droesch wants to instill an aggressive and confident attitude in her players. Dchiutiis, the team’s starting point guard, believes that has helped the team in many areas on the court.

Jessica Glaz knew plenty about Droesch’s exploits as a high school player. But she was just one of the many players excited to have Droesch help them improve their overall game.

“She sounds like a celebrity. Its crazy she came here to help us,” Glaz said. “She has helped me improve my game so much a little level to up and up. She’s been big.”

While Droesch is happy about being close to home, she has thought about returning to the college level to coach at some point. But this experience is starting to convince her that the high school level may be a serious alternative to consider.

“I love that they love the game so much,. “Droesch said. “Kids that are in the high school level I can have such a better affect in their life, to where I can help them get to college or better yet as people or individuals. It makes me excited. I love it.”

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