Raquel Gutierrez, Academy of American Studies

Sport: Basketball
Year: Junior

The junior forward scored 14 points to earn MVP honors and lead Academy of American Studies to their first city championship, 45-33, over Richard Green in the PSAL Class B final last Saturday.

That was just her latest outstanding performance. In the quarterfinals Gutierrez had nine points and five rebounds in the 57-33 quarterfinal win over No. 5 Springfield Gardens.

But her finest effort — and most telling one, too — came in the second round after turning her left ankle in pre-game warm-ups. With the top-seeded Lady Eagles struggling, the 6-foot Gutierrez, who averaged 8.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during the regular season, shrugged off the searing pain to pump in 13 points and grab six rebounds in the second half to lead American Studies to a 48-40 victory over Queens High School of Teaching, their closest against a PSAL opponent.

Gutierrez’s impressive season isn’t done quite yet. American Studies will meet the winner of the Fieldston-Briarcliff game in the state Federation Class B final Saturday morning at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Tip-off is set for 10:30 a.m.

“We definitely want to win that, too,” she said.

Gutierrez attended St. Francis Prep as a freshman, but left when she briefly moved to Florida with her father. When she returned, Gutierrez enrolled at American Studies primarily for its academics. She is happy with that choice, for her studious endeavors and athletic ones as well.

“It feels amazing,” the Jackson Heights native said. “I feel like we deserve this. We work so hard. We have heart. We want it to so bad nobody is going to take it away from us.”

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