BROOKLYN, NY - Abraham Lincoln has been rolling over the competition, a word we use cautiously. On Thursday, the Railsplitters went into the Lion's den to face-off against Brooklyn Collegiate, one of the PSAL Class AA's newest members.
Although Lincoln would again win decisively, 82-64, the sophomore-heavy Lions were the first team to at least win the first quarter against them.
A lethargic Railsplitters came out in the first quarter and settled for inexplicable NBA range long-ball attempts while lazily reaching on defense. In response, Brooklyn Collegiate took it to the Railsplitters utilizing their speed. Recent Holy Cross transfer, Cheyenne Nettleton (18 points) and Davere Creighton (8 points) led the Lions on a scoring tirade. When the smoke cleared, Brooklyn Collegiate was ahead 19-9 to start the second quarter an the improbably seemed possible.
Clearly perturbed, head coach Dwayne Tiny Morton conducted mass substitutions in order to evoke some passion out of his Railsplitters. The tactic worked. Lincoln stepped it their defense which created offense. Isaiah Whitehead (24 points), Elijah Davis (20 points) and Desi Rodriguez (10 points) embarked on an a 11-1 tear that tied the game at 20 with 5:12 remaining in the quarter.
Davis and Rodriguez continued Lincoln's surge and soon the Railsplitters led by 6 points. That lead was just about to go into orbit but baskets by Nettleton and Adrian Williams (13 points) closed the gap to a bucket with 1:50. Lincoln would still manage to push their lead back to 6 points at the half.
Whitehead stepped up his offensive intensity even more in the third quarter. Instead of solely trying to score from the perimeter as he did in the first quarter, the Rivals.com 5-star also drove to the hole and lived on the free-throw line. The Lions are the youngest team in their division but to their credit there was no quit in them.
Unfortunately for the inexperienced squad, there was also no quit in the Railsplitters. Swarming defense flustered the Lions who frequently had trouble getting the ball past half court. With a minute left in the quarter, baskets by Trevonn Morton (6 points) would put Lincoln ahead by an almost insurmountable 20 points.
Trailing 62-44 to start the final quarter, the Lions would soon fall behind by a game high 24 points with 3:35 left to play. A last ditched effort for respectability by Glenn Murray (8 points) and Jahlil Tripp (9 points) sliced the lead down to 16 points with a 1:40 but the Lions would ultimately lose by 18 points.