Lincoln avenges 2016 loss; Takes PSAL Chip from Jefferson
NEW YORK, NY - Losing by 29 points to Thomas Jefferson in the PSAL “AA” City Championship last season at Madison Square Gardenhas stuck in the craw of the Railsplitters for an entire year. It was an especially bitter pill to swallow for Klejuan Ferguson-Brown ‘17 who after winning the semifinals against Curtis made the bold prediction that Lincoln would beat up the Orange Wave by “41 points.”
While that prediction didn’t quite come to fruition in its magnitude, it wasn’t for a lack of trying as Lincoln smashed Jefferson, 82 – 64 en route to winning yet another PSAL Championship. Ferguson earned MVP honors, scoring a double-double.
After Saturday’s win over the defending champions, Ferguson amended his braggadocio after his coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton taught him that how you win is as important as winning when the victory was well in hand. “It’s alright that we won but like coach did, he pulled us early,” said Ferguson. “Last year, they didn’t pull their seniors at all. They continued to pound us but he showed we had class when he pulled us out the game.”
Both squads came out fired up with Jefferson getting the upper hand early as Jordan Armstrong '17, Khalil Rhodes '17 and Malaichi Faison ‘17 initiated an 8 – 2 Orange Wave run. With 3:30 left, Lincoln finally responded as Mike Reid '17 and Curtis Gordon '18 sparked a 9 -0 Railsplitters run that put Lincoln ahead 11 – 10 at the end of the first quarter.
Perimeter shots from Jasiah Lewis ‘18 along with lock down defense from the Railsplitters spelled G-A-M-E O-V-E-R for Thomas Jefferson who ended up on the butt end of a 21 – 1 run. Suddenly down by 21 points with 3:30 left in the first half, the defending champions ended up trailing Lincoln, 36 -17 to start the second half.
“Coach [Morton] has his defensive ways and all he preaches is defense all year,” said Donald Flores ‘17. “We were already a good defensive team and him preaching defense, it made us even better.”
Flores and Reid, who are usually the offensive stalwarts of the team, only scored two-points and 13 points respectively but Coach Morton said that actually showed how much of team player the seniors are. “We practiced the other day, Donald and Mike being trapped or triangle and two and [Jefferson] kinda did that and that’s why I love my team because Curtis and [Ferguson came in and did the scoring].” They sacrificed their individual play for the sake of getting the “W.”
The Orange Wave tried in vain to close the gap in the third quarter as Kyle Harding '17 and Mark Burnett ‘20 put up points but Gordon was a monster in the paint. Trailing by 19 to start the final quarter, Jefferson deficit grew to 26 points with 5:03 left to play.
At the three-minute mark, Morton began subbing out his starters while frustration set in on Orange Wave head coach Lawrence “Bud” Pollard who ended up getting ejected from the game with 1:32 left on the clock.
“Compared to any other team, this team was probably the easiest/hardest to coach,” said Morton. “The talent wasn't there like [we're] used to but the attention was there.”
Reid confessed that although Lincoln took the high road, revenge was still something they originally wanted to serve cold. “This is our fourth time playing Jeff [this season]. We wanted to drown ‘em. We wanted to kill them by fifty but we got the win though. “
Ferguson was the high scorer with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Gordon added 21 points and 9 rebounds. Flores led Lincoln in assists with 5. Harding was the high man for Jefferson with 17 points with Burnett adding 12 points.