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GLENS FALLS Japhet McNeil said what almost everyone in the Glens Falls Civic Center was thinking.
The senior on the Christ the King boys basketball team had just fouled out Lincoln superstar Sebastian Telfair, drawing a charge with 5:12 left in the fourth quarter of the state Federation Class A championship game. As McNeil leapt to his feet, he had two words for the Railsplitters junior leader.
At first, it appeared he was right as the Royals lead immediately doubled to eight, 65-57 with 4:23 left. But led by 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Tone Pena, who sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws with five seconds left and scored eight of his teams 10 points in the extra session, the two-time defending PSAL champions proved McNeil wrong.
Lincoln rallied to defeat Christ the King, 75-73, to win its first Class A Federation title since Telfairs cousin, Stephon Marbury, led the Railsplitters over Lamar Odom, Erick Barkley, Speedy Claxton and Christ the King in 1995.
When Sebastian fouled out, I heard McNeil said something to Sebastian, he thought it was over, said Lincoln coach Dwayne Tiny Morton. Weve got a good team. Sebastians the star, but we have a good team.
After aggravating a sprained left ankle he suffered six weeks ago against All Hallows, McNeil had a chance to force a second overtime with seven seconds left in the first OT.
But after racing up the sideline, past Jamal Dart and around both Deshawn Summers and Pena at midcourt, McNeil, who had a game-high 23 points and 8 assists, never got a shot off as time expired.
It hurts, its like a dagger in my heart, said McNeil, fighting back tears. I lost my time management. I had to get through three or four of them, by the time I did that, the time ran out.
Telfair, who also scored 18 points, was named game MVP but following a loud chorus of boos from the crowd handed the plaque over to Pena.
That means a lot, Pena said. But I wasnt surprised at all.
Added Telfair: He deserved it. He came out and won it today. He was that person today, he definitely put his name on the map today.
Pena scored the Railsplitters first seven points of overtime, including a three-point play on a pull-up jumper in the lane while getting fouled that gave Lincoln (31-4) a 72-69 lead with 1:24 left.
It is even more special because we felt we won it on our own, said Pena, who shot 6-for-10 from the field, 6-for-8 from the foul line and grabbed 7 rebounds. Everyone already knows how good he is. Now they know how good we are too.
Brian Williams had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Mitchell Beauford had 15 points and Chris Martin added 10 points and 6 boards. But Christ the King (26-8) didnt score in the final 4:23 of regulation, going 0-for-6 from the foul line.
Thats the game, said Christ the King coach Bob Oliva. We got to the line, thats 12 points. Six possessions we came up empty.
Added McNeil: Down the stretch we didnt make our free throws. We kept them in the game and they pulled out the victory.
Christ the King 74, Long Island Lutheran 58. McNeil led the Royals with 16 points, 8 assists and 5 steals but it was Martin who stole the show, burying three straight three-pointers to awake Christ the King out of an early funk in the state Federation Class A semifinals Friday night.
They were concentrating on Japhet and Mitchell and they left me open, said Martin, who had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. The first one I got a lucky bounce, but the second one I just shot it.
Those were some big shots. I call him super-soph, added McNeil. In about two years hes going to be a superstar. He played big for us today.
Justin Marshall added 14 points and 9 rebounds and Beauford had 11 points for the Royals, while 6-foot-10 Andrea Crosariol from Italy led Long Island Lutheran (13-9) with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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