Amazing Season For Seawolves Ends Upstate
Scholars’ Academy coach Janet Kleiner had a few days to reflect after her team lost 72-44 to Long Island Lutheran in the New York State Federation Class ‘B’ semifinals last Friday morning at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Kleiner continues to be amazed that a young Scholars’ team won the PSAL Class ‘B’ girls city championship for the second time in three years over Bedford Academy on March 18.
“The goal was to win a title again. It doesn’t matter what happened upstate, we won the division, and the PSAL title back to back years,” Kleiner said. “Its hard even winning the lottery so I never expected that.”
The matchup against the Crusaders was going to be a tough one no matter what. Long Island Lutheran played a tough non-league schedule and beat a few teams who played in higher classifications. The Crusaders, who won the 2011 Federation title, were denied their petition by New York State to reclassify as a Class ‘A’ team.
The Seawolves, who lost the services of freshman forward/center Emma Michaels to a minor concussion, fell behind 28-8 after one quarter. The Crusaders went up 45-16 at halftime but Scholars’ never gave up playing, according to Kleiner.
Jessica Glaz was battered and bruised, but still scored a team high 21 points on 7-12 of shooting from the field and hit 5 three-pointers. Taylor Gallagher added 7 points.
Kleiner started five underclassmen who quickly meshed into a unit that finished 26-4 overall and won a PSAL Queens B East title.
They received clutch performances from a number of players in the postseason. Glaz, Gallagher and Kristin Henschel provided leadership and scoring production. Kayla Nolan and Michaels were among the newcomers to establish themselves as important players.
With everyone coming back next season, Scholars’ is going to ask the PSAL to move the team to the Class A league. Kleiner agrees with athletic director Joe Lunati that the team is ready to face higher competition, and could take a few lumps at first while they adjust.
“We accomplished a lot. Everyone comes back next year. We will take our lumps, may not win as much. The goal is to move up and after what we accomplished, it’s only appropriate that we move up,” Kleiner said.
“It would mean more traveling. They want to play a more competitive schedule. We may or may not make the playoffs. For the girls who come back, they want to face better competition.”
Kleiner says her team will fondly remember an amazing campaign, the emotional support of former assistant coach Clare Droesch, who is battling stage four cancer, and the energetic showing from their family and friends.
“The girls had a great time. The girls who were there [in Albany] for the first time had a ball,” Kleiner said. “They will realize how special this season was, for a variety of reasons. No one thought we would win back to back championships. Even me.”