Joyous Seawolves Win PSAL Championship
As the final buzzer sounded at St. Francis College last Sunday, every player from Scholars’ Academy rushed on to the court and celebrated their first PSAL ‘B’ girls championship with a 60- 42 victory over Bedford Academy.
The happy scene was a fitting conclusion to what has been a fantastic season for a program which has existed for only two years.
Senior shooting guard Rebecca Moers, who lead the team with 17 points, knew she made the right choice in attending a school close to home. She was a part of the girls volleyball team who won the school’s first title last November and will now see another banner lifted to their gymnasium’s walls.
“It’s like a dream. As we said at the beginning of the year, imagine if we go to the states and now the fact that we are going to states it doesn’t feel real,” Moers said.
The dream is indeed real. The Seawolves, who improved to 27-1 overall this year, will try to win another trophy today in Albany.
Scholars’ will face a tough opponent in the State Federation Tournament Class ‘B’ semifinals at the Times Union Center against New York state public school champion Irvington.
Moers added, “Did you see in the stands how many people form Rockaway was rooting us on? Rockaway is like a giant family. To go to Albany and say I’m from a Rockaway team is great.”
Scholars’ were strong defensively in the second quarter and took a 27-12 lead as they allowed Bedford to score one free throw. Moers scored 9 straight points in the third quarter as the Seawolves were up by a commanding 36-14 lead.
Freshman guard Jessica Glaz had 15 points for the Seawolves and Fallon Mullen, along with Taylor Gallagher each had 9 points. Bedford Academy was led by 6-1 center Brianna Perlmutter with 17 points.
Scholars’ coach Janet Kleiner was emotional about winning her first championship as a coach. In her 32 years coaching at Springfield Gardens, Kleiner did not get a chance to hoist the winning trophy.
For the past two years, she has relished the opportunity to coach at Scholars’. It gave her the chance to continue coaching, which she could not do at her alma mater at Springfield when she had to leave the school in 2009 for professional reasons.
“I feel for every kid that ever played for me that part of this is owed to them,” Kleiner said. “I can be tough and unbearable at times, but my heart is always in the right place. …In three short years, I more than found my way back.”
No matter what happens to the team upstate this weekend, Kleiner, who is a physical education teacher at Forest Hills, wants to continue building the program into one of the best in the city. She was encouraged by two middle school students from Scholars’ who decided to enroll at the high school and not attend private institutions after they watched the team’s victory from the stands at St. Francis.
“We will try to go for a repeat next year. These kids committed themselves during the summer, they continued to improve. They’re bright, they work hard and every one of them has a passion,” Kleiner said. Notes
Glaz was honored by the PSAL at halftime with an award for leading the league in free throw percentage at 81.8 percent.