By Joseph Staszewski

ALBANY — Lauren “Boogie” Brozoski, a Cambria Heights native, already knew what it felt like to win a state Federation title, but this victory was different.

Long Island Lutheran’s 63-57 win over Ossining in the Class AA girls’ basketball final at the Times Union Center Saturday was the culmination of a five-year journey for her and the program. The Crusaders won the Class B crown in 2011 and the championship in the ‘A’ bracket in 2013.

But this title was even more historic. LuHi became the first Long Island team and private school to win at the highest classification and is just the third team not in New York City to score an ‘AA’ state championship in the last 12 years.

“It’s definitely the best because no one believed in us throughout the season,” said Brozoski, who has committed to Michigan. “We were always under Christ the King. We were always No. 2. So this proves a lot of people wrong.”

She scored a game-high 18 points and added four assists despite getting into early foul trouble. Brozoski also made all four of her free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the victory. With so much on the line, she knew she couldn’t miss.

“We have to win. That’s what was going through my mind,” Brozoski said with a smile. “Actually, my mind was clear. You can’t think about those free throws.”

It’s that calmness and her ability in clutch plays that has made her such a standout player since she first put on a Crusaders uniform as an eighth-grader. With her at the helm, LuHi has made a rapid ascent in the girls’ basketball landscape.

Long Island Lutheran Coach Rich Slater, who has coached her since the fourth-grade, gave credit to Brozoski’s work ethic and described her as a player who couldn’t have been able to accomplish what she has solely with her raw talent.

Brozoski’s combination of grit and skill is a rare commodity in his mind.

“I’m blessed,” Slater said. “We have something that other teams don’t. You are always going to be in games against teams like that because we have a kid like that. She’s special.”

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