Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Long Island Lutheran girls basketball team was looking for something -- anything, actually -- to stop the slide.
Lutheran coach Rich Slater apparently had the answer, surprising his team with brand- new pink uniforms after pregame warm-ups.
The switch had the desired effect as Lutheran overcame a 10-point deficit for a 49-44 win over visiting St. Mary's.
Lutheran sophomore guard Boogie Brozoski, who scored 12 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, was especially surprised by the uniforms.
"He brought them out today to hype up our energy, because we needed it," Brozoski said. "I think that helped us, because we weren't expecting it."
Crusaders sophomore forward Taylor Byrne (five points, five rebounds) agreed. "Before the game, when we put on those uniforms, we were like, we're not losing," Byrne said. "Our pink uniforms, those show that we're different and we're still going to beat you."
Slater said he couldn't have been more pleased. "I had to do something emotional to get them going," he said.
Aside from wanting to play well in front of the home crowd in such stylish attire, Lutheran (7-3) was intent on proving it still should be considered one of the top teams in the region. And the Crusaders relished doing it against a quality opponent such as St. Mary's (8-3).
"If we would've played a weaker team and beat them, it wouldn't have meant as much," Brozoski said. "They beat St. Anthony's and we lost to St. Anthony's, so we had to prove that we're better than them and St. Anthony's . . . We wanted this one."
The turnaround began for Lutheran after St. Mary's, led by Jasmine Bryant (17 points) and Mei-Lyn Bautista (13 points), took a 25-15 lead with 7:02 remaining in the third period.
Lutheran outscored St. Mary's 27-16 in the next 13 minutes, taking a 42-41 lead on a three-pointer by Nani Redford (eight points). It was Lutheran's first lead since a 2-0 advantage after the opening tip.
Brozoski attributed the comeback to her team's energy.
"Usually when we're down 10, we're mad at each other, we're yelling at each other . . . I just feel like we had the energy," she said. "We just counted on each other. We supported each other the whole game."