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Scholars regroups after storm

TimesLedger Newspapers

The world around the Scholars Academy girls’ basketball team is as regular as it can be after Hurricane Sandy turned things upside down just a few months ago.

All the displaced players are back in their Rockaway homes and they are also back going to school at Scholars after a stint at William Maxwell. Oh, and the two-time defending Public School Athletic League Class B city champions are undefeated and the favorites to win again.

“Everyone is getting back to normal,” senior guard Taylor Gallagher said. “It was a little crazy at first because everyone was all over the place.”

Scholars is 22-0 and clinched its third-straight Queens B East title with a hard-fought 55-39 win over High School for Law Enforcement & Public Safety Monday. The Seawolves have won most games easily, but Sandy added an extra level of difficulty to the schedule.

The Seawolves’ first six league games were postponed after the storm, leaving them to play three contests in the span of a week multiple times. They ended the season playing seven league games in 11 days. Gallagher called the stretch “exhausting” and worth it.

“It’s been hard, but we love playing,” she said. “We do whatever we can to make it to practice and give it our all.”

The only thing that’s changed is where the Seawolves are winning games. Sandy destroyed the Scholars Academy gym. Repairs are nearly complete and the court could be ready for the playoffs, according to Scholars Coach Janet Kleiner. They have been playing home games at Beach Channel, a school also hit hard by Sandy.

No matter where they play, the chemistry among the players, most of whom have been together for years, is apparent. It has helped them get though a lot this year and also win on the court with unselfish play and great chemistry.

Kleiner had hoped for her team to play in the Class A division after two straight crowns. The league kept them in Class B despite the Seawolves’ desire to move up.

“We thought it was just common sense to put us up,” Kleiner said. “Everyone came back, I didn’t lose one person. How do you not move a team up to A?”

The Seawolves have shifted their focus now, knowing full well how to deal with the hand they are dealt. The Scholars just want to win another city title both for themselves and their hurting community.

“It would mean a lot because it’s my last year,” senior Kristen Henschel said. “I would like to just dedicate it to Rockaway, showing that no matter what happens, we can get through it.”

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