BROOKLYN, NY - Sometimes a game is more than just a game. When Lincoln and Boys & Girls meet, it's a war. It was a tough, hardnosed game again on Saturday afternoon as the teams met in Bed-Stuy. It was a physical game from the get-go that had its share of hard fouls and rough play.
Sometimes the physicality went too far leading to 3 ejections during the game, and with the crowd so close to the court, it was a tense atmosphere from start to finish. Unfortunately the finish came with 1:15 left in the game after a fight broke out in the crowd and officials decided to end it there with Lincoln going on the road and grabbing the 80-60 victory.
The game started out like any other. A packed house to see one of the best rivalries in NYC. Lincoln jumped out quickly scoring for the first 10 points of the game Shaquille Davis and Trevonn Morton combining to score all 10.Marvin Prochet showed toughness on the inside finished in the paint with 2 men on him to break the run, but Isaiah Whitehead then broke out and scored 5 straight including a thunderous breakaway dunk that brought the Railsplitters fans to their feet.Wesley Myers seemed to be heating up for the Kangaroos getting into the lane and finishing inside, but that's when the first incident took place.
With 2:22 left in the opening quarter pushing and shoving ensued between a few players on the court. The skirmish which ended up seeing fans run onto the court as well lasted only a minute, but it took the referees over 10 minutes to sort out the punishments. The ruling ended up seeing the ejections of Courtney Darnley from Boys and Girls, and Thomas Holley from Lincoln.
The game eventually resumed and Boys and Girls seemed sparked by Romario Allen who nailed back to back threes, and the Kangaroos were right back in the game down 19-15 after 1.
After the incident in the 1st quarter the game seemed to slow down too halt with all the foul calls being made, something Boys and Girls coach Ruth Lovelace felt was the wrong way to handle the situation.
"The refs tried to control the game by calling fouls. Once the game was under control you don't have to keep calling fouls to try and show you have control of the situation."
The foul calls seemed to put both teams on the line often in the 2nd quarter. Whitehead, when he did get a chance to drive inside showed excellent strength and a good ability to finish on the block with contact. Another big dunk as well helped Lincoln go on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 43-30 at the half.
The start of the 2nd half was delayed by a meeting at the scorer's table between the refs, Lovelace, and Lincoln coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton. The discussion was about the fight that happened in the 1st quarter, as Lovelace was furious over who was thrown out and who wasn't.
"I know for a fact it was #20 (Desi Rodriguez) who threw the punch, not #20 (Holley). I did see that. I did see him throw the punch, and if you noticed he sat the rest of the half after that happened, and then to start the 3rd quarter they put him back in. I was shocked. I didn't know they put #22 in the book and not #22, so I played the game under protest."
Morton, had a different perception of what happened, and said tried to explain to Lovelace the situation.
"The refs had made a decision and we both agreed about it then she got mad. I tried explaining to Ruth but she kept saying nah nah that Rodriguez should've been ejected. It wasn't him so I don't get it."
Lovelace decided to protest the game at that point, so with the game under protest it resumed and Myers seemed to want to singlehandedly bring his team back in it. After Rodriguez scored the first bucket of the half, Boys went on a 15-2 run to close the gap to 47-45 behind 9 points during the run by Myers, who was scoring in a variety of ways. He was willing his team back in it, but Whitehead made sure that he put his stamp on the game soon after.
Whitehead would calm the pro-Boys crowd with back to back threes to end the run and bring the momentum back to the Railsplitters.Elijah Davis chimed in with a long straightaway three as well late in the period to extend the lead back to 11 late. Prochet finished on a nice spinning drive in the lane to end the quarter, but Lincoln looked back in control up 58-49 after 3.
Lincoln continued to extend the lead with S. Davis creating havoc on defense and igniting the fast break offense for easy points as the gap opened to 17 in favor of the Railsplitters early in the 4th. Lovelace picked up a technical early in the period for talking to the refs, and she picked up a 2nd T with 2:57 to go to end her game. She was ejected and would not get to see the closing minutes.
Coach Lovelace missed Lincoln continuing to open it up with Whitehead and S. Davis able to get to the rim at will late, and with 1:15 to go Rodriguez looked to throw down a punctuation slam dunk, but he was corralled down hard around the neck going up by Myers who was automatically ejected. That seemed to spark up another fight in the stands and school officials decided at that point to call the game and Lincoln took the 80-60 win.
Whitehead led Lincoln in the win with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists in a fantastic all around game. Both Davis' came up big as well with Elijah pouring in 18 while grabbing 10 rebounds and Shaquille in just his 2nd game back adding 15. Boys and Girls in the loss got a big effort from Myers who had a game high 29 points.
"It was a rough way to end the game," and Morton was disappointed afterward.
"I'm kinda upset with what's going on right now because it never happened before, it didn't use to be like this."
Even with the disappointment, he did express happiness in not just the way his kids played, but also with how composed they stayed.
"As a coach, I preach all the time that you don't let your emotions take over and when everyone started to get emotional I appreciated how our guys kept their composure."
The composure was key, and Whitehead, showing smart leadership skills, made a point to talk to the team before the game knowing the environment they were going into.
"I knew they were gonna come out physical and we would take some hits so I told the team to stay calm and keep your composure. You can't prepare to play at Boys, you just need to be focused and play basketball and that's what we did and we came out with the W."
Lovelace though felt the referees changed the game and not for the better, hampering how the game was being played and ultimately affecting the outcome.
"They never had control. I got 2 techs just for telling them that. Courtney retaliated and they got the wrong guy for Lincoln and Wes was just frustrated and that goes back to how they never had control of this game. It's disappointing."
It may have been a game that had its ups and downs on and off the court, but in the end, Lincoln continues its unbeaten ways in the Brooklyn AA, and the younger Morton, Trevonn said after the game, that's the most important thing.
"Yeah it was physical and tough, but we got the win. It keeps us undefeated it the league, the best league in the city, the Brooklyn AA, and that means a lot and is what matters most."
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