Mount de Sales defeated Maryvale, 63-32, on Wednesday night in a game that meant much more to those involved than the final score.
It was the 6th annual Pink Out game, in honor of Carol Sauter, who passed away at age 47, on April 6, 2012, of breast cancer.
The first Pink Out, held in 2013, was spearheaded by Sauter’s daughter, Katie, a senior on the basketball team at the time, and her teammate, junior Eve Lukowski.
Lukowski is now a senior who plays lacrosse at Bucknell University, but her mom, Nancy Lukowski, continued to keep the annual fund-raising game alive, thanks to her daughter’s passion for it.
“Eve never said a word when I would drive her to school, so one day, her senior year, she said, ‘Mom, what’s going to happen to the Pink Out game when I leave,’ and I promised her, I would never let this die,” said Lukowski, who coaches the Mount de Sales JV basketball team. “Eve inspired me to keep this going.”
All money raised benefits St. Agnes Breast Cancer Center and representatives from the center attend the event every year to offer advice and information on cancer awareness.
Student-athletes graduate every year, but others step in and take over to help make posters, organize the raffles, and enjoy the bake sale, provided by parents.
Mount de Sales seniors Allie Berlin, Lizzy Gower and Justine Birrane and JV players Grace Gower and Elodie Scala were instrumental in helping Lukowski organize the event. For Berlin, who attended the first Pink Out, before she got to Mount de Sales as a student, it was extremely special.
“Actually, the woman we started it for [Carol Sauter] was like a second mom to me and I’ve known her all my life, so it’s important, especially when I’ve been here, to keep that tradition going, since she has been a big part of my life too.”
Carol Sauter enjoyed hosting Christmas parties and inviting guests to bring items to donate to charity.
She also loved going to the beach at Ocean City with her friends and family, which included her husband Mike, daughters Katie and Megan and sons Eric and Danny.
Mike Sauter and his daughter Katie were at the Pink Out on Wednesday night.
“Carol was just a wonderful person,” Mount de Sales coach Trish Armstrong said. “I think Mike gets teary-eyed about this too. He appreciates this.”
Players on the team appreciate it as well.
The day before the big game, they continued to design posters right up until practice began.
On game day, they worked overtime again.
“The girls had a half day today and they were here all afternoon decorating the place and making sure everything got done,” assistant coach Dave Skomba said.
Among the decorations was a Wall of Hearts, which are hearts purchased for a dollar that include the name of a loved one touched by cancer.
One of the items raffled at halftime was a collection of gift cards valued at over $500.
Fans and coaches wore pink long-sleeved T-shirts and Mount de Sales players had pink-embroidered numbers on their jerseys.
“There are women out there that need the help and this goes right to people,” Lukowski said. “The money raised here goes to real people.”
The hard work pays off and they have raised over $2,000 every year. The amount raised for this year’s event has yet to be determined.
“We put so many hours into this, just organizing, decorating posters and calling the breast cancer center,” Berlin said. “Everyone on the team helped, including the parents, just getting out baskets for the raffles, it’s a big event.”
The big event was followed by a monumental effort on the court from the Sailors, in a game that began with them taking a 27-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.
It started with an 11-0 run that included baskets from five different players.
Berlin, Lizzy Gower, Syd Skalstad, Rachel Krug and Sophia Stewart combined to score the first 11 points. Berlin added four steals and three assists in the quarter.
“We wanted to work on the movement because we knew they played a lot of man and we wanted to make sure we could get it in the middle to Syd and then make sure we could kick it out for outside shooters,” Berlin said.
Maryvale had an 8-0 run to start the second quarter, but when the starters returned, the Sailors stemmed the tide with three-pointers by Berlin and Maura Devine and they led 33-11 at halftime and never looked back.
“It was definitely a good win,” Berlin said. “It’s good to win when you have such a big crowd and it’s for such a great cause.”
A cause that is expected to carry on every year.
“We would never not do this game,” Armstrong said.
Mount de Sales 63
Maura Devine 14, Kristen Zaranski 11, Rachel Krug 10, Allie Berlin 8, Syd Skalstad 7, Abby Kuhn 5, Lizzie Gower 2, Sloane Skalstad 2, Sophia Stewart 2, Justine Birrane 2.
Maryvale Prep 32
Alexandra Maki 12, Molly McAleer 9, Elaina Stevens 4, Taryn Giles 3, Sophia Antonopoulos 2, Amanda Commodari 2.
Halftime: Mount de Sales, 33-11.