2012-03-09 / Sports

Clutch Free Throws Sends Seawolves To Semifinals

By Elio Velez

Scholars’ Academy forward Jessica Glaz (right) attempts her drive to the basket past Eagles forward Adriana Stosic. Photo by William Thomas. Scholars’ Academy forward Jessica Glaz (right) attempts her drive to the basket past Eagles forward Adriana Stosic. Photo by William Thomas. Scholars’ Academy guard Kristin Henschel was brimming with confidence as she stepped to the free throw line in the waning seconds on Wednesday.

The junior guard calmly hit two game clinching free throws with three seconds left in overtime to help Scholars’ Academy seal a thrilling 54- 49 overtime victory over Academy of American Studies in the PSAL Class B girls quarterfinals.

Seawolves junior forward Jessica Glaz led all scorers with 32 points. The defending PSAL champions advances to the semifinals on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. The Seawolves will take on third seed Gompers at Hunter College in Manhattan.

A tense crowd at Scholars’ Academy could finally relax when Henschel made two free throws with 3 seconds left in overtime to clinch the win.

After the game, she received a great hug at midcourt from her cousin Clare Droesch, who is currently battling stage 4 breast cancer. “I felt I was just trying to relax, take my time and hit them to get the game over,” Henschel said. “I made it seem like that was the points to get us ahead.”

The junior felt motivated after she blamed herself for missing a defensive assignment in a crucial sequence late in the fourth quarter.

Glaz had missed a three-point attempt with less than a minute remaining. Henschel says she got too far back on defense and allowed Eagles guard Eni Lici to much room to hit a three-pointer and tie the game at 43-all with 30 seconds left.

Henschel gave her a team a lift in overtime against a tough Eagles squad by scoring 7 of her 12 points in the overtime session. She made a layup with 1:20 left to put Scholars up 48-43 and also connected on five of six free throws.

Seawloves coach Janet Kleiner said Henschel should not have blamed herself as Lici sent the game into overtime. Kleiner was encouraged by her junior in taking responsibility to help out with Glaz battling a broken knuckle above her right finger on her shooting hand, and Taylor Gallagher struggling with cramps to her right calf.

Kristin steps up. She’s the MVP of the game. She wants the ball,” Kleiner said. “No extra thinking. By her approach to the line I saw her and I knew she was making those free throws.”

Glaz not only struggled with a painful hand injury, but she played most of the game despite gaining her fourth foul in the middle of the second quarter.

“I didn’t realize I picked up my second one, and then I picked up the third one quickly and then the fourth one quickly. I couldn’t grasp it in my mind and I was like oh god what I have done,” Glaz said.

Glaz got off the bench in the middle of the third quarter and remained aggressive, while smart enough to avoid picking up her fifth foul. Despite the pain, she is glad her young squad had enough fortitude to advance to the next round.

“We worked so hard in the regular season to get to this point,” Glaz said. “It’s crazy. We just had to come together and get this win.”

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