Lincoln Tops Jefferson in Battle for Brooklyn
BROOKLYN, NY - Classic Brooklyn AA basketball.
That’s what the game between Jefferson and Lincoln was. As usual, the game was filled with high emotions and kids who play hard from the opening tip. Plus, there was an added incentive besides being the winner becoming the top team in Brooklyn AA.
Jefferson came into the game as NYCHoops.net #1 team in the city. Lincoln, who was on the road, came into the game as the #2 team in the city. The winner would have obvious bragging rights in staking their claim as the top team in the city. In this game, sophomore guard John Wilson made a clutch floater in the waning seconds to help Lincoln gain the upper hand over the Orange Wave. Lincoln pulled away in the final minute and the final score was 82-76.
The shot was a big one and it was the score that sealed the deal for Lincoln. It was a pretty shot, and one that head coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton acknowledged as a key score. “[He] made a great shot at the end” Morton said on the court after the game. “He did some good things at the end, but you know, he’s still a sophomore. I still coach him hard and I’m looking for a leader, and in games like this he can be the leader”
Wilson (11 points) made several plays during the game, as did all of his teammates. It was a good all-around effort and they ended up with another notch in the win column.
It was a tough game with a lot of whistles, but both teams still made sure they put the ball in the basket. The first quarter was high scoring, with both teams doing their scoring differently. Jefferson did their damage inside the paint, with big man Stephen Moncrieffe scoring 10 of his game high 19 points in the first quarter.
Despite that impressive body blow by the senior center, Lincoln never staggered and counterpunched from behind the arch. The Railsplitters made 3 of their 4 triples in the first, all from different players, and led 25-23 when the quarter ended. They continued their mini-run and about midway through the second led 33-26 before Jefferson began to work their way back. Senior guard Dashan Crittendon (13 points) made back to back threes late in the half to lead the Orange Wave to a 44-42 lead.
Lincoln regained the lead in the third quarter and opened the scoring in the fourth quarter after a crossover and a dunk by senior forward KC Ndefo. That seemed to be his only highlight dunk of the game for Ndefo, who can easily have 5 or 6 trampoline dunks in one game. More importantly, it put Lincoln ahead 66-60. Still, Jefferson wasn’t done, and they came roaring back behind the early efforts of junior Kareem Welch. Welch scored 6 of the Orange Wave’s next 9 points and the score was 69-68 in favor of Jefferson. Welch finished with 15 points.
Down 74-71, Ndefo changed the momentum with a tip in that forced Jefferson to call a timeout with 2:07 left. After the timeout, Lincoln senior Terrance Roberts scored on a lay-up. Roberts had been sick for most of the week and Morton was surprised he was well enough to be able to play. Morton thought that they might have lost he game if Roberts wasn’t there. That’s how much he meant to the team during this game.
Lincoln was ahead 77-76 with less than a minute left when Wilson drove into the left side of the lane, but then quickly pulled up and made a pretty right-handed floater to give his team a 3-point cushion. Even though it was only a one possession game, it was a big shot that basically sealed the game. The score seemed to suck the life out of the home crowd, and energize the Lincoln contingent of supporters that made the trip to the East New York gym.
Even though the win unofficially makes Lincoln the top team in the city, Morton doesn’t think it’s that important right now.
“Every game is a new battle for us, this don’t really mean too much. We’ll probably see them two, three more times”
Yep, this was only the first game. They will definitely play each other again, this time at Lincoln. But potentially both teams could also meet in the Borough Championship, and again in the playoffs. Those are much higher stakes than first place in Brooklyn AA in January. And if things don’t change too drastically the rest of the season, meaning neither loses a whole bunch of games from now on, they will definitely meet in the postseason.
You know, Classic Brooklyn AA.
Jasiah Lewis knocked down 2 treys and had a couple of pretty finishes led Lincoln with 17 points. Omar Rowe and Ndefo both finished with 15 points. Jefferson freshman guard Jaquan Carlos scored 17 points in the contest.