Seaford’s girls basketball team can’t spell success without Jaclyn Grzelaczyk, even if her own teammates struggle to spell the center’s name.
“I call her ‘Griz,’ but no one really knows,” guard Kaitlyn Meyer said.
“Oh, I don’t know how to spell it, either, and I’ve been playing sports with her forever,” guard Ally Palermo said.
Her name, pronounced Griz-uh-LAH-sik, is as difficult to spell as her game is to contain. The junior had 17 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks Monday, leading host Seaford (7-0) to a 52-48 win over East Rockaway (3-4) in Nassau ABC.
Grzelaczyk also did an excellent job defensively against East Rockaway’s 6-1 center, Alessia Drevnyak. Drevnyak, who had 13 rebounds and six blocks, had 11 points and was in foul trouble for most of the second half.
“It’s easy when you have a team that knows how to help you defend her,” Grzelaczyk said. “When I’m defending her, I rely a lot on my teammates to help me. I’ll try my best to stop her, but if the ball’s thrown over my head, I know they’ll be there to stop whatever’s behind me.”
Seaford’s staunch pressure defense fueled a comeback from a 32-26 halftime deficit. Palermo (eight points, seven steals, six assists) and twins Julia and Jenna Siler were leaders of both the full-court and half-court pressures.
The adjustment came at halftime from coach Bob Vachris, and it worked from the onset of the third quarter. The Rocks managed only four points in the third, compared to 14 for the Vikings.
“We have so many fast girls, so we’re best when we pressure,” Palermo said. “That’s the key to our game.”
Speedy ball movement aided the Seaford comeback, as quick passes along the perimeter found open shooters. Meyer was a main beneficiary. Even though she said she had been struggling to find her stroke, Meyer made three three-pointers, all in crucial spots.
“Today it finally fell,” she said.
Playing in one of Nassau’s most competitive conferences, Seaford is getting contributions from up and down the roster. Grzelaczyk is a main contributor, and her success in the paint could spell a playoff run for the Vikings.