February 2, 2008

Lincoln Dumps Kennedy

The NYC Hoops #3 Abraham Lincoln Railsplitters, after a suspension of Lance Stephenson and injuries to Vincent Council and Christopher Epps, are once again a complete team.

On Friday night, the Coney Island school proved that such a team would be plenty tough to beat in the PSAL postseason, as the Railsplitters easily handled NYC Hoops #9 Kennedy, 81-61, in the SNY Invitational's second semifinal.

In the feature match-up of the inaugural four-team tournament, the Knights challenged Lincoln throughout the first quarter, but the Railsplitters imposed their will on Kennedy for the next three periods to improve to 18-2 on the season.

In front of a packed house at NYU's Coles Sports Center, Kennedy and Lincoln battled through a tight opening stanza, with the Knights countering a size disadvantage by hustling for loose balls and scoring in transition. The Railsplitters led, 19-15, after one.

A three-pointer by guard James Biggs pulled Kennedy within one to open the second, but that was easily the closest the Knights would be the rest of the night. Lincoln promptly reeled off a 14-2 run, capped off by a three-point play by Stephenson, who scored 12 in the quarter.

The Railsplitters pushed the lead to 18 at 40-22 on a three by guard Darwin "Buddha" Ellis, and then an Ellis lay-up with three seconds until halftime put Lincoln ahead, 45-24. All told, Lincoln outscored Kennedy in the second quarter by a count of 26-9.

Refusing to take the foot off the pedal, Lincoln opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run -- finished by an emphatic breakaway dunk from Stephenson - to put the game out of reach.

After the game, Lincoln head coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton seemed unsurprised by his team's margin of victory. "We're a good team, and we're rolling right now," said Morton. "I expect us to play like this."

Stephenson led all scorers with 27 points. The Railsplitters face NYC Hoops #10 Cardozo in the SNY Invitational championship game on Saturday at 8 p.m. Kennedy looks to get back on track against Frederick Douglass Academy in the consolation game at 6 p.m.

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