While the three other teams in the semifinals have played multiple games during the last month, Long Island Lutheran hasn't played since Feb. 23. It might seem like a disadvantage, but the Crusaders are used to it.
Long Island Lutheran (17-5) will play in its fourth consecutive state Federation Class B girls basketball semifinal Friday when it takes on Scholars Academy (16-3) at 10 a.m. at the Times Union Center in Albany. It's the second consecutive season that LuHi has had that much time off before the semifinals.
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"It's tiring to have practice after practice,'' freshman point guard Boogie Brozoski said. "It's definitely tough, but we did it last season. We're excited to finally play a game."
The time off has allowed senior guard Paige Kriftcher more time to recover from a torn left MCL suffered Jan. 9. As a tribute, she started on Senior Night on Feb. 23 before being removed 31 seconds into the game.
Kriftcher played a key role in the Crusaders' Federation championship last season. She scored 11 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter of the final as they rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat Irvington, 59-57. She is 19 points away from 1,000 for her career and will start Friday.
Kriftcher's return will bolster a strong team. Brozoski is one of the most exciting players on Long Island, senior Yuni Sher is a force inside and senior Christina Raiti is an excellent three-point shooter. Staci Barrett, Sade Gibbons, Katie Lavelle, Nani Redford and Chensu Atali also play key minutes.
Scholars Academy is led by Jessica Glaz, who scored 21 points in a 51-43 win over Bedford Academy in the PSAL B final. Scholars Academy is making its second consecutive trip to the semifinals, where it lost to Irvington last season.
"Scholars is an aggressive team,'' LuHi coach Rich Slater said. "They're scrappy. They will pressure us a lot.''
Irvington (25-1) plays Cardinal O'Hara (22-4) in the other semifinal at 11:45 a.m. The winners meet in the final at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.