ALBANY, NY- Without having played a game in over a month, you wouldn't have blamed Long Island Lutheran for coming out a bit flat, but it was just the opposite that happened.
The Crusaders started their Federation Class "A" Girls semifinal against Nazareth on a 9-2 run. They came out quicker and more aggressive. They led for most of the game but in the 4th quarter the Lady Kingsmen came out hot and grabbed a 6 point lead, but from that point on, it was Boogie time.
Lauren "Boogie" Brozoski time that is. Down 36-30 with just over 6 minutes to go the 5'5" sophomore guard put the Crusaders on her back and scored back to back threes to help LuHi finish the game on a 14-0 run and take down Nazareth, 44-36.
It's in the clutch that Brozoski comes up biggest. In a timeout when down 6 Brozoski spoke up in the huddle according to Lutheran coach Rich Slater and made it clear what was going to happen.
"She is amazing. She stepped up and told her teammates that she wants the ball, to get her the ball and that she was going to win the game for us." Slater said
That's just what she did with the two threes, and she capped it with a beautiful pass in transition to Kaela Hilaire to give the Crusaders the lead for good with 2:44 left. Slater was quick to point out that it was the team's only transition points, but in the end it's only the final result that matters.
"I'll take these ugly ones so long as we have a chance tomorrow." Slater said.
They have the chance tomorrow because of the uneven play from start to finish by Nazareth. While Coach Ron Kelley was sad for his team he understood the difficulties they were going in with.
"I feel real bad for the kids but it's tough when you are playing without your best player and leading scorer who gets 20 or 25 a game." Kelley said.
He was speaking of star guard Bianca Cuevas who hasn't been with the team due to suspension for fighting. That plus the lack of toughness is what Kelley thought ultimately did in his group.
"I had us read Jay Bilas' article on toughness because I knew LuHi was going to really be tough and we came out so mentally and physically not tough. We got better in the 2nd and 3rd, but really fell apart again in the 4th." the coach said.
It wasn't just Brozoski either. Taylor Byrne was huge inside and on the glass, and with Hilaire helping Brozoski admirably in the backcourt.
Brozoski led all scorers with 19 points, while Byrne added 9 and 8 rebounds in the win.
Nazareth got a great game from junior Jennifer Fay who was solid in the paint and showed a nice touch in the midrange game in finishing with 11 points in the loss for the Lady Kingsmen.
LuHi will move on to play in the Class "A" title game on Saturday, and Brozoski said unlike where they have struggled in the past, they want to be like the boys team this year.
"We share the bus coming here and the boys team wins all the time and we are always the ones crying going back home. We don't want that feeling this year."
Troy 65- Graphic Communication 33
A tight game at the half with Troy up just 28-24, but behind the 17 points of Kiana Patterson, the Flying Horses were able to pull away in the 2nd half.
Courtney Avery provided great defense in turning over the Lady Devils 19 times to go along with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Graphic Communication got a great effort in defeat from Adrienne Graves who had a game high 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Troy will move on to face Long Island Lutheran on Saturday at 3:15pm for the Federation Girls Class "A" Championship.