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Railsplitters are champs - Win 3rd title in 4 years

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Lincoln and Boys & Girls are no strangers to one another. In two previous meetings, over the course of the regular season, each boys basketball team traded a win and a loss. The two victories came on the victor’s home court but that was round one and two, now it was round three. But round three had so much more on the line – a PSAL City Championship was hanging in the wind. The first game was determined in double overtime, the second contest was determined by a last second basket not falling, but round three was a complete blowout. For the third time in four seasons, the Lincoln Railsplitters are the 2007-2008 PSAL “AA” Division Champions, by derailing the Kangaroos, 88-57. In a game where the tempo was already set in the first five minutes of the opening quarter, the Lincoln Railsplitters never looked back as they won their third consecutive city title in a 88-57 thumping of Boys & Girls. The contest opened with Lincoln netting three consecutive baskets, two field goals and one from downtown, to start with a 7-0 lead. But the Kangaroos fought back with their own 5-0 run with back-to-back buckets from Clayton Sterling and Brandon Romain, to slice the lead down to two, 9-7. Even though it was early, this was as close as the Kangaroos would ever get in this battle. After giving up the 5-0 run, the Railsplitters’ defense did a spectacular job of holding Boys & Girls to only two points for the remaining 4:13 of the opening period and opened a 23-9 lead. After the first quarter, guard Lance Stephenson had already netted nine points while the entire Boys & Girls starting lineup only managed to net nine points. In the second quarter, it was more of the same, as Lincoln opened up leads of 20 and 21, to absolutely dominate and place this game in the bag. The Railsplitters opened the second quarter on another 4-0 run, with back-to-back field goals from Devon McMillan and Jeremiah Brown, in which they widened the lead to 27-9 at the 6:38 mark. But it took the Kangaroos until the 6:02 mark of the period for them to score their first points of the quarter as a Devon McMillan foul placed Rutgers-bound Patrick Jackson on line for a pair free throws but he only made one but lead was at 17, 27-10 in favor the ‘Splitters. There was no doubt that Lincoln had complete control as they cruised to a 42-21 lead and shooting 50 percent from the field was a huge part to their success. But another component of their success was holding every Kangaroos’ starter to under five points and 23 percent shooting. If the two previous quarters had any implications of what would happen in the third quarter, then you guessed it – Lincoln had the lead and a huge one to top it off. All season long, the Railsplitters derailed their opponents with long offensive runs and this game would be no different. In the middle of quarter, the ‘Splitters opened a 36-point lead with a 9-0 run. The run was marked by Vincent Council netting three points while a huge three-pointer from Christopher Epps capped the series. With a blink of an eye, the score was 69-40 and Lincoln already had a 29 point lead heading into the final quarter of the game and the season. For Boys & Girls, the final quarter of their season was one that they would love to forget as the ‘Splitters simply poured it on, as leads of 30 to 32 were commonplace throughout the final period. As the final buzzer was heard throughout the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton and his ‘Splitters had already successfully clinched another title. Not only did Morton see his Lincoln squad destroy Boys & Girls but he saw his superstar player, Lance Stephenson, elevate this game to another level. “He just has so much heart, it is hard to teach that to a player – the desire, stepping up in big games, and the hunger. He looked like a pro out there today,” praised “Tiny.” Stephenson would finish his 2007-2008 campaign with a championship title MVP award to his credit and posted up a team- and game-high 27 points, and, only a junior, another chance at the title next year. But for two of the staring five – guard Vincent Council and forward Justin Greene – this was their last game of their high school careers. Council finished the campaign with six points, five assists, and seven rebounds. As for Greene, he was the money in the bank, as the forward swished-in 12 points while grabbing five boards and dishing out one assist. Although this game was the end of the PSAL slate for Lincoln, their season is not yet over as they will compete next weekend in Glens Falls, NY, in the State Federation Tournament. But this setting is also nothing new to them, either. “In these two to three years, this team has learned to relax when we go up there,” said Morton. With a third consecutive federation tournament championship in the wind, there is absolutely no doubt that the ‘Splitters are locked and loaded to officially close out their 2007-2008 season.

Updated 6:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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