ALBANY – For the first time in 21 contests, Ossining found itself on the losing end of the scoreboard.
Much like Ossining did to opponents in the section, region and state all season, the Pride were kicked in the teeth by Long Island Lutheran through the first three quarters of Friday’s Federation Tournament of Champions semifinal before mounting a comeback.
The taste of its own medicine was sour for the Pride, who were outran and outplayed by the defending tournament champions 67-55 at the SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany. Ossining (23-3), which lost to the Crusaders in last year’s final, trailed by 21 entering the fourth quarter.
“We came out flat and I give (Lutheran) all the credit,” Ossining coach Dan Ricci said. “Jalay (Knowles) picking up two quick fouls hurt us bad; that was our go-to kid the last couple of weeks and we couldn’t score without her on the court.”
Ossining, which recorded its lowest point total in two seasons, opened the final quarter on an 11-0 run before the Crusaders held the Pride off for the win.
“I give the kids a lot of credit, though; they didn’t quit,” Ricci said. “A lot of teams would’ve gave up; they didn’t give up, they came back and they made a game out of it, so I’m happy for that.”
Michigan-committed senior Lauren “Boogie” Brozoski, who was named this year’s Miss New York Basketball on Mar. 19, didn’t score for most of the first quarter but facilitated the team’s offense before lighting up the stat sheet.
Brozoski, who was presented with her Miss New York Basketball award after the game, finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds in leading the Crusaders back to the championship game, which will be played Saturday against Christ The King at 7 p.m.
“That’s the best I’ve ever seen her play,” Ricci said of Brozoski.
Ossining will graduate six seniors, including Knowles and Madison Strippoli, who were each a part of the Pride’s last four section-championship squads.
The Hartford-bound Knowles, who also won a gold ball during her eighth-grade season, was named to the all-tournament team Friday. Strippoli, who will attend NYIT next season, will try to come back next season to watch her sister Jaida, an eighth-grader, play.
“(The seniors) can’t believe that we don’t have another practice tomorrow. We don’t have another film session tomorrow. We’re not going to shoot around,” Strippoli said. “This is it.”