Former Quigley Catholic guard Hailey Drutarosky fitting right in at Sewickley Academy

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Sunday, February 21, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Not many high school athletes change schools before their senior season, but when Quigley Catholic closed at the end of last school year, Hailey Drutarosky set off on a path she never expected to take.

“Nobody ever thinks about transferring schools their senior year of high school,” said Drutarosky, who was a 1,000-point scorer at Quigley Catholic. “They always think that they are going to get a diploma from the school that they started with their ninth-grade year.”

The closure of the school left Drutarosky without a school, but after visiting a few different options, she found a new home at Sewickley Academy. After playing the Panthers the past few years in section play, she said she knew what she was coming into when she enrolled.

“To be honest, I was a little nervous because I knew that everyone was so good after going against them,” Drutarosky said. “Hearing all the stories about how good Bre (Warner) was or how Kam (Lightcap) was a shooter and J.J. (Jardini) was a great point guard. So, knowing that I was a point guard, I wasn’t sure where the role was going to be for me.”

It didn’t take long for the Panthers to figure it out, though, and Drutarosky has carved out a role for herself pretty seamlessly.

With Sewickley Academy’s entire roster returning from last season, including four seniors and several role players who played a big part of the team’s success, a talent like Drutarosky only added to what the Panthers could do.

“It was really a pleasant surprise for her to arrive with us,” Sewickley Academy coach Mark Gaither said. “Obviously we had a good team coming back with a lot of senior leadership, and she is kinda that one piece that will help us take that next step in the postseason.

“As a basketball player she really fits in nicely with our team. She’s a great player, a great guard, and she has a high basketball IQ. It’s easy to fit good players in, especially players with a work ethic like hers.”

So far this year, the Panthers are 9-5 with a 6-2 Section 1-2A record. Their only section losses came against No. 3 Neshannock and No. 5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

With five seniors in the starting lineup, a different player can step up on any given night, and at times this season, Drutarosky has been that player. Her key night came against Aliquippa on Jan. 28 when the senior guard scored a season-high 23 points.

She also scored 16 in a win over South Side on Feb. 4. But, even when she puts together a strong game, it goes back to the Panthers putting together a solid team effort.

“She’s a really good ball handler, and she sees the court so well, so a lot of times, even in those games when she’s scoring well, she’s creating for others,” Gaither said. “She’s a willing and able passer, which is nice for the team. I’d like her to shoot even more, but we’ve got a lot of options, so some nights she has it going and the girls recognize that and keep it going. Then, other nights, Kam might have it going or Bre may have it going, and she’s the first to recognize that.”

Alongside her fellow seniors, Drutarosky has led the Panthers to new heights this season, and they are on the verge of their fifth straight playoff appearance. After making a run to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals last year, the Panthers are starting to realize what they can do, and Drutarosky has been at the center of it.

“Going into Sewickley I was like, ‘OK, we have a pretty senior heavy lineup,’ because I knew they didn’t lose anybody last year and I thought that it was going to be a great year,” Drutarosky said. “Coming in, we all had pretty high expectations. I think going in, I don’t think we saw how good we could be, and now that we are continuing to play well, we all just want to be better than we were yesterday.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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