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Railsplitters claim borough crown in thrilling showdown - Lincoln pulls it out at the buzzer

The Brooklyn Borough Championship game did not feature Lincoln’s sophomore sensation Lance Stephenson, senior guard Devon Peterson, Boys & Girls’ guard Frederick Nixon and their big guy up the gut, Wayne Allison, but it was a showcase of the best minds of New York City High School basketball. Lincoln’s coach, Dwayne Morton, has a career coaching record of 144-9, including regular and post-season games. Since he has taken over, Morton has won four PSAL titles spanning 2000-2006 and a state championship in 2003. While Boys & Girls’ coach Ruth Lovelace has a 96-37 record since 2001 and had their most successful season last year when they went to the quarterfinals. Not only was this the “Prime Time” game of the entire championship but it lived up to its billing and a borough champ was crowned at the end of the night. We’ll recap the entire Brooklyn Borough Championship bracket games from last week. In the game of the night and the season, the Lincoln Railsplitters derailed the Boys & Girls Kangaroos, by a buzzer beating three pointer from beyond the arc, last Saturday Night at the Borough Championship. After being down by 11, at one point, the Railsplitters clawed and fought their back to a second consecutive Brooklyn Borough Championship. In the first quarter, Lincoln got a quick 2-0 lead, at the 6:50 mark, via a Lance Stephenson bucket from the field. But this was the only lead in the entire first half that Lincoln would have. Boys & Girls answered back at 6:05 with an equalizer from guard Kendall Cutler to tie the game at 2 a piece. That bucket spring boarded the Kangaroos to a 18-15 lead at the end of eight minutes of play. As the fouls, turnovers, and missed scoring chances mounted against the Railsplitters, Boys & Girls saw the door of opportunity and gladly took it, as they opened 2 nine point leads in the second quarter. With leads of 31-22 and 29-20 in the middle of the quarter. But Lincoln climbed back in the latter part of the quarter, when Lincoln’s guard Darwin Ellis nailed a three pointer to cut the deficit down to just one, 33-32 with 40 seconds left in the half. But Kangaroos’ guard Kevin Mills’ nailed a buzzer beating three from beyond the arc to up their lead to 38-35, heading into the locker room. In the third quarter, Boys & Girls began pressing the Railsplitters, stopping them from scoring and turning loose balls into points. Those defensive stops and “ground balls” translated to a 11 point lead early in the quarter. But Lincoln came all the way back, tying the game at 40 at the 6:05 mark of the period. Despite their furious comeback, Boys & Girls would open up another 11 point lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the most exciting eight minutes of play, the Railsplitters began to slowly climb back. At 3:23, Lincoln had scaled the deficit down to six, 66-60 but at 2:52, a crucial Wayne Allison foul placed Lincoln’s guard Devon Peterson on the foul line for two shots. Both shots that Peterson swished cut the lead to four, 68-64. It was a “toss-and-turn” battle until the 1:53 mark when Lincoln’s sophomore sensation Lance Stephenson was placed on the line and netted two free throws to tie the game at 70. Boys & Girls guard Frederick Nixon was fouled and he was placed on the line and swished both shots to take the quick 72-70 lead with 1:30 left in the game. Stephenson, going back to the line for the second time in two minutes, he nailed both shots to tie the game at 72 with 50.7 seconds to go. The Kangaroos would yet take the lead again with 20 seconds on the clock, 74-72. After the timeout, the ball was in Lincoln’s hands and the final play would go down like this, with 05.4 seconds to go, “Lance went to the basket, he kicked it out to me, I shot the big three,” said Lincoln guard Darwin Ellis, who nailed the game winning, buzzer beating shot from beyond the arc to end the game and win another title. After nailing the game winning shot, Ellis welcomed the aspect of facing this Boys & Girls squad in the playoffs again, “We’re going to meet them again, no doubt, we’re going meet them again.” A 31-point second quarter, a 28-point third quarter powered the “hop” in the Kangaroos as they accelerated past the Queens at home. Leading the Kangaroos was guard Ricco Oliver, who has only averaged 5.09 points per game, but posted 23 on the afternoon with two rebounds to his stat total. Another impressive Boys & Girls performance was guard Clayton Sterling, who netted 21 points, snagging down six rebounds, and dished out three assists. As the Kangaroos claim victory, they next face fourth seeded Jefferson at home. Playing their strong basketball in about a month, the Wave quickly disposed the Express by nine at home. The strong contribution of Jefferson guard Keith Spellman, who netted 19 points, snagging down nine rebounds, and dealt out six rebounds led the way en route to victory. After a 3-11 record, last year, the Express made its first appearance in the playoffs and was led with the strong play of Al Alexander, who check in with a 20 point, one rebound, and three assist day. The Wave advances to the quarterfinals and will face first seeded Boys & Girls. The Yellow Jackets were absolutely no match for the Chiefs, as they were blown out of the water at Canarsie. The Chiefs held Jackets’ star center/forward Nikita Davis to only two points, a season low, and seven rebounds. For the Chiefs, guard Nathaniel Lester, had a great performance by posting 28 points and snagging down 15 rebounds. With the victory, the third seeded Chiefs will face second seeded Lincoln. Lincoln’s 20 point lead heading into halftime went untouched as they destroyed the Sharks at home. The Lincoln defense had six players scoreless, four players to less than 10 points, and two players to more than 10 points. For the Sharks they were led by Tyrell Faulcon, the Sheepshead guard scored 13 points, snagged down three rebounds, and dealt out an assist. Lincoln’s guard Devon Peterson, led all scorers with 22 points, posted six rebounds, and six assists on the afternoon. The second seeded Railsplitters will have a face-off against the third seeded Canarsie Chiefs at home. February 15th Games (Quarterfinals) The defending Brooklyn and City champs had no problem getting by the Chiefs at home, rolling past them by 15. Leading the Railsplitters was guard Lance Stephenson, who had 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. The top-ranked team in the borough also had no problem of blowing past the fourth seeded Orange Wave at Lincoln. Leading the Kangaroos was a pair of guards, Kevin Mills and Frederick Nixon. Mills clocked in with a 25 point and seven rebound day. While Nixon netted 21 points, pulled down five rebounds, and dealt out ten assists on the afternoon. With, both the Railsplitters and the Kangaroos winning, it sets up round three of an epic basketball battle, with two previous meetings going to each team on their respective home courts.

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