With Long Island Lutheran down by six and a slot in the championship game on the line, there was no doubt where the ball was going to go.
Boogie Brozoski demanded it, her coach recalled, and she delivered.
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Lutheran girls basketball coach Rich Slater remembers the team huddle late in the fourth quarter of the Crusaders' state Federation Class A semifinal game against Nazareth. Brozoski -- his star sophomore point guard, who was wearing a mask to protect a broken nose suffered weeks earlier -- hit two three-pointers after that timeout to tie the score and assisted on the go-ahead basket, propelling Lutheran on a 14-0 run that closed out a 44-36 win and gave the Crusaders a berth in the final.
Lutheran ultimately won the Federation championship behind the toughness, leadership and exceptional skill that Brozoski displayed all season, earning her the honor of being named Newsday's Long Island player of the year.
"That's the difference between kids who want the ball and kids who don't," Slater said. "When the lights go on and things aren't going your way, it's how you get out of that foxhole, and Boogs is one of those kids you want in there with you because she'll figure out a way to get out of it."
Brozoski is the first sophomore to be named Long Island player of the year.
"Once you're all-Long Island, you've got to keep it up," Brozoski said. "It's really exciting. I didn't expect it because it usually goes to a senior, but I definitely felt I worked hard this year and put a lot of work in over the summer, and it definitely means a lot to represent my school and Long Island."
Brozoski averaged just under 20 points along with six assists and two steals per game, and left her mark on the most crucial moments of Lutheran's season.
She followed up her performance in the Federation semifinal with a team-high 14 points and five steals in the Crusaders' championship-clinching 62-45 win over Troy.
On Feb. 10 against Shabazz, then the top-ranked team in the tri-state area, Brozoski scored 13 of her 27 points in the fourth quarter as Lutheran earned a 61-50 victory. On Jan. 21 against Bishop Ford, the eventual Federation Class AA champion, Brozoski scored 20 points and knocked down five free throws in the final 33 seconds to bring the Crusaders from behind in the fourth quarter for a 53-48 win.
"You just have to keep your head in those situations when you're down," Brozoski said. "You just have to keep focused, and that's pretty much what I did. I don't force anything and stay within my game."
As for Slater, he's just thankful Brozoski is only a sophomore.
"As long as we have her," he said, "most of the time I know we're going to have the best guard on the floor and I can sleep a little easier."