2012-03-23 / Sports

Seawolves Capture Second PSAL Title

By Elio Velez

Scholars’ Academy forward Jessica Glaz (left) shoots over Bedford Academy center Brianna Perlmutter. Photo by William Thomas. Scholars’ Academy forward Jessica Glaz (left) shoots over Bedford Academy center Brianna Perlmutter. Photo by William Thomas. The players seated on the Scholars’ Academy bench watched with anticipation as the seconds ticked down on Sunday afternoon. Their loud fan support was getting more deafening as they cheered from the City College stands.

But as the final buzzer sounded, the No. 2 seed Scholars’ Academy girls team finally got off the bench and celebrated their second PSAL B girls basketball championship with a 51-43 win over Bedford Academy.

The Seawolves led from start to finish over the first seed Lady Panthers in a rematch of last year’s city championship. Jessica Glaz led the Seawolves with 21 points and 13 rebounds and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Junior point guard Taylor Gallagher added 14 points, while freshman Emma Michaels added 9 points and 9 rebounds. The Rockaway Park school celebrated their second title in only three years as a varsity squad.

Despite playing with a broken knuckle in her right shooting hand, Glaz gladly ignored the pain to help her team win another city title.

“It’s amazing, it feels good. Second year in a row with new girls,” Glaz. “It’s so sweet. It’s amazing.”

Scholars Academy will head upstate to the New York State Federation in Albany, starting today at 10 a.m. in the Class B semifinals against Long Island Lutheran.

When the majority of the 2011 championship graduated, Scholars coach Janet Kleiner had lowered expectations just a bit.

Gallagher was the only returning starter from last year’s championship team.

Kleiner had discussed with Athletic Director Joe Lunati that she would be pleased if the young, yet talented, team could just finish 7-7.

But those original expectations went out the window early in the campaign.

Kleiner was quite pleased on how quickly the team matured on and off the court. Gallagher provided leadership and important point production. Glaz was called by her coach as one of the most competitive play Junior guard Kristin Henschel returned by mid-season and made some important baskets in the playoffs.

The team showed resolve in the playoffs, narrowly defeating Jamaica and Academy of American Studies in overtime. Scholars beat Gompers in the semifinals.

“I am enormously proud of these girls. They work so hard. Things have motivated them this season,” Kleiner said. “They find a way.”

Michaels provided a lift inside the post, especially in limiting 5-11 Bedford Academy center Brianna Perlmuttter to 11 points.

The Seawolves will not have Michaels against Long Island Lutheran on Friday.

After suffering a minor head injury in the third quarter, Michaels was lifted and sat out the rest of the game. She was diagnosed with minor concussion and will not be able to play.

Scholars found a way to explode past Bedford Academy in the first half. The Seawolves controlled the tempo, and was up 32-11 at halftime.

Bedford Academy only had a four-minute spell of the fourth quarter in which they made a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 42-31 with 4:10 remaining.

Scholars held their composure and responded as Kayla Nolan and Gallagher each converted on drives to the basket to push the lead back to 15 points. Glaz hit both of her free throws with 24.9 seconds left to clinch the victory.

The Seawolves will be cheered on at the Times Union Center by an energetic contingent of family and friends. One of them will include Clare Droesch, their former assistant coach, who will make the trip as she battles stage four breast cancer.

“We know our role, we knew what to do. We kept talking and came together as a group and played our best,” Glaz said.

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