2012-03-02 / Sports

Scholars’ Slips Past Bulldogs In PSAL Playoffs

By Elio Velez

Scholars’ Academy guard Taylor Galalgher (left) dribbles past Jamiaca’s Nikita Ragoonanan. Photo by William Thomas. Scholars’ Academy guard Taylor Galalgher (left) dribbles past Jamiaca’s Nikita Ragoonanan. Photo by William Thomas. When the playoffs seedings were determined for the Class B city girls playoffs in early February, there was a possible chance Scholars’ Academy could face two teams within their division somewhere along the way.

The Seawolves easily took care of their first division opponent Campus Magnet in the second round of the playoffs on February 16 prior to the week long break.

This past Wednesday, Jamaica, second place finishers behind Scholars’ in the Queens B East Division, proved even a tougher foe. The second seed Seawolves overcame their own struggles, and an explosive performance by Jamaica’s Laquasia Berry, to advance to the quarterfinals with a narrow 49-48 victory at home.

Scholars made enough stops defensively, and outrebounded their opponents 56- 28 to defeat No. 18 Jamaica for the third time this season. Kayla Nolan scored 11 of her 13 points at halftime and Jessica Glaz added 11 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.

It was never going to be easy to defeat a division rival again, especially in a one and done playoff situation according to Seawolves coach Janet Kleiner.

“We knew it was going to be this type of game. What you do against a team in the regular doesn’t matter, it’s a whole new season. To have to play division rivals, you knew it was going to be close,” Kleiner said.

The defending PSAL city champions almost watched a 45-35 lead with 5:25 remaining in the game almost disappear. Berry, who had a game high 28 points, used her explosiveness and quickness to ignite a late 8-0 run to cut the Seawolves lead to one point with 1:30 remaining.

Glaz shook off a bruised right hand, which has hurt her for a few weeks, by knocking down a running layup with 1:11 remaining to increase her team’s lead to 49-46.

The injury to her right shooting has affected Glaz’s offensive contributions as of late. But she made up for it on the defensive end.Glaz forced the athletic Berry into two key missed with less than 20 seconds remaining, and grabbed a defensive rebound with 11.8 seconds left.

The sophomore forward missed a free throw with 8.5 seconds left and Berry scored a two-point basket to cut the Scholars’ lead to one point. Taylor Gallagher completed the inbounds pass and the ball reached Emma Michaels as time ran out.

“I knew we had to step up on defense. We were getting sloppy on offense and we need to work together to bring the ball up and be careful,” Glaz said. “If I know I’m not in a rhythm, I got to get back defensively. I’ve been in a slump lately so I’m trying to get out of it. I’ll try to help my team defensively.”

Scholars’ Academy hosts tenth seed Academy of American Studies on Wendesday, March 7 at 5 p.m.

“The playoffs are a whole new chance. Our players scored way below they usually do,” Kleiner said. “But we find a way. We found a way.”

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