Long Island Lutheran point guard Boogie Brozoski is a 15-year old sophomore who plays like a seasoned veteran.
Brozoski was faced with a pressure situation Monday night with Long Island Lutheran and host Bishop Ford tied at 48 with 33 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Bishop Ford coach Mike Toro called two timeouts just before Brozoski stepped to the free-throw line to possibly give her team the lead.
It didn’t affect her one bit. With ice water running in her veins, Brozoski calmly knocked down five out of six free throws to lift the Crusaders to a 53-48 come-from-behind win in the nightcap at the Rose Classic in Brooklyn.
“I know Toro, so it’s not that big of a deal,” Brozoski said with a smile. "I’m a good free throw shooter. They usually look to me to hit the free throws at the end and I just wanted to make my team proud.”
Brozoski finished with a game-high 20 points as the Crusaders earned revenge after losing 58-42 to Bishop Ford at last year’s Rose Classic. Long Island Lutheran was leading 36-18 at halftime before Lady Falcons went on a 40-6 run in the second half to wrest the victory from the visitors a year ago.
“The energy, I felt it was our energy that helped us. When we’re down, we’re usually not good in coming back,” Brozoski said. “We kept our heads. We cheered each other and got the energy to bring us back.”
The Crusaders (10-3) were able to climb back from a 40-35 deficit to start the fourth quarter. Bishop Ford was held scoreless for four minutes as Long Island Lutheran capitalized with an inspired effort that first started on the defensive end.
It surprised Crusaders coach Rich Slater to find out his team wasn’t pleased at the end of a close first half against the Lady Falcons (11-5), ranked No. 1 in New York City by MSG Varsity. Bretney Prescott hit a layup as time ran out to give Bishop Ford a 28-26 halftime advantage.
“We went into halftime and we’re in the locker room and everybody was kind of down," Slater said. "I kinda put the whip in them a little bit and I said we should be happy."
LuHI was able to slowly slice into the deficit in the fourth quarter with Staci Barett (10 points) tying the game at 42 with 5:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Brozoski gave her team the lead on the next possession, but it was short lived.
The Lady Falcons answered with 44 seconds remaining when Aaliyah Lewis hit a runner in the lane to tie the game at 48. Jill Conroy (13 points) fouled Brozoski with 33 seconds remaining, and it was the ideal situation for Slater to have as his point guard would eventually seal the game.
“We came up with some energy, we rebounded the ball pretty well and we got the ball into the right people’s hands and in the end there we want the ball in Boogie’s hands,” Slater said.
Toro knew the Crusaders would have lasting memories of the defeat they suffered to his team. The Bishop Ford coach felt his team got away from the gameplan that was successful in the first half.
The Lady Falcons, who played three games as in many days, get a few days of rest before hosting an important CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Division I matchup against Molloy Thursday.
“At the end of the day, we got to realize it’s the little things that hurt us. In the second half when things got a little rough, we relied on jumpshots instead of what helped us in the first half in attacking the basket,” Toro said. “We've got to learn to keep doing what is working.”