CLARK, NJ—Despite suffering a 59-49 loss to Westfield last Tuesday, Johnson girls’ basketball has plenty to be happy about. “We play for the people who we wish to help. It motivates us all to play as hard as possible,” senior captain Lauren Beck explained.

The people Beck referred to are those affected by breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in women (only behind lung cancer).

The girls’ basketball team has hosted a "Pink Out" game for a number of seasons to raise money for the Kay Yow Foundation. The foundation was founded by Kay Yow in 2007. Yow was a North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. She passed away in 2009 after battling breast cancer for the third time.

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“Holding a pink out game is rewarding because the money is being donated to a tremendous cause,” Coach Michelle Sharp said somberly. “It’s really great that the community comes out to support us and this woman who lost her life to breast cancer.”

T-shirts were made, sold and worn at the game held on the Johnson court. The shirts colored the majority of the bleachers a deep pink. The home team wore pink socks, and those not playing also donned “United We Fight” shirts. The Johnson cheerleading squad performed a number of routines throughout the course of the game.

“Playing in the pink out game, I truly believe makes each player show a lot of heart on the court,” Beck proclaimed.

Johnson and Westfield struggled for control of the board throughout the first half, but eventually the latter took the lead and held onto it for the rest of the game.

“Our weakness was finishing,” Beck admitted. “If we could put in more of our layups and jump shots, that would give us a boost that needed in many games so far.”

However, much like breast cancer patients, the Crusaders fought hard in their battle. “The girls persevered. They didn’t give up at all,” Sharp added.  

Johnson’s next game is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10, home against Roselle Catholic.