Inside the NYCHoops.net #1 ranked Boys & Girls Kangaroos gym, hangs a sign that reads 'Protect This House.' On Thursday, the Roos must have hung that sign a bit too high.
For the first time since the inception of PSAL Class AA basketball, the #3 ranked Abraham Lincoln Railsplitters (6-0) beat the Kangaroos (6-1) in their own house, 62-60.
"The jinx is over," a fan yelled out after the game as another chapter in the age old rivalry between the two Brooklyn, NY schools continues. While Lincoln has gone on to win more PSAL chips than Boys & Girls, the one thing they could never seem to win over the years is a game in Roos' house.
"[It's a] tough loss, they wanted it more," said Kangaroos assistant coach Elmer Anderson. "We never got loose balls. Crappy loss, especially at home."
Leroy Fludd's (4 points) emphatic dunk and a trey shot by Mike Taylor (8 points) got the ball rolling for the Kangaroos who pushed ahead 5-zip with 6:38 left in the first quarter up Isaiah Whitehead (12 points, 4 assists)) broke up a potential Boys & Girls run with a midrange jumper. Lincoln fought hard on defense to mute the Roos momentum but with 4:22 remaining in the quarter, the Railsplitters were still down, 13-6, as Fludd looked to serve notice, unleashing another mega-dunk.
Ironically, the dunk seemed to energize the opposing team. Shaquille Stokes (20 points, 6 assists), who played the entire game, responded from the air tying the game at 13 with 1:36. With Kamari Murphy (10 points, 12 rebounds) and 6'6" senior forward, Mike White (11 points, 11 rebounds) dominating in the paint, the Railsplitters would end the quarter in front as 6'4" senior guard, Reuben King (7 points) would polish off a 12-0 run with a 3-ball.
Jeff Neverson (12 points) would close the gap, pulling the Kangaroos within a point but turnovers and a basket by Whitehead would extend Lincoln's lead to 5 points. Malik Nichols(10 points) would keep the Roos within striking range with some nice sleight of hand. A lay-up by 5'10" junior PG, Dykwell Bryan (8 points) would finally tie the game at 23. Bryan played major minutes for Boys & Girls due to the absence of starting senior point guard Antoine Slaughter, who was out due to academic issues. The young PG held his own, scoring with 15 seconds remaining to give Boys & Girls a 29-27 lead at the half.
As the third quarter began, Nichols and Neverson would put the Roos up by 6 points but Fludd would pick up his third foul. Stokes would orchestrate another Railsplitters surge. An Offensive rebound and put-back by Young plus blocks by Murphy and Jordan Dickerson, leading to another Stokes lay-up would contribute to a 7-0 run, giving Lincoln a 36-35 lead with 3:51 left in the quarter. Compounding Boys & Girls woes, Bryan would have to come out with a knee cap injury but fortunately a 3-ball by 6'1" sophomore, Teyvon Meyers (6 points) would regain the lead for Boys & Girls. Whitehead would tie the game with a tough and-1 at the rim but the Kangaroos would fight back and keep a slim 45-44 lead to start the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, Bryan would reenter the game but Lincoln had already taken back the lead, scoring in transition. The advantage flip flopped as both teams headed furiously towards the finish line. Murphy and White would begin to come out ahead on the boards and free-throws by Stokes would give the Railsplitters a 56-52 lead with 2:40 left in regulation.
At the two minute mark, Lincoln still retained a 3 point advantage. Sensing critical mass, during a time out, Boys & Girls head coach Ruth Lovelace, urged her team, shouting in the huddle, "You've gotta fight like you want it here!" but a turnover by Taylor and a missed three-ball by Myers highligted the team's disconnect and would leave the Roos in a 60-57 hole with 17.2 seconds on the clock.
White would draw a foul downlow, increasing Lincoln's lead to four points by shooting 1 for 2 at the charity stripe.
Neverson gave Boys & Girls hope with 1.2 seconds left, nailing a desperation trey from what felt like 800 feet away.
On Lincoln's inbound, the Roos quickly fouled Murphy with a fourth of a second left to play. Murphy would shoot 1 for 2 putting Lincoln up by two-points but the Kangaroos, in a deja vu moment from the recent NY Knick vs. Boston game, were unable to get a shot off in time.
Lincoln head coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, applauded his point guard's efforts. "[Stokes] played the entire game. He was tired but he did everything he needed to do to win."