Lincoln, Robeson biggest threats to Brooklyn champ Jefferson

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One potential public Brooklyn high-school basketball finale match-up stands out among the rest — Lincoln versus Jefferson.

Jefferson — and its St. John’s-bound guard Shamorie Ponds — are favorites to repeat as champions. The squad lost just one game in the regular season, with Ponds and Rasheem Dunn sitting out against Abraham Lincoln to rest for the playoffs. It is one of the many reasons an Orange Wave-Lincoln final would pack the championship game at York College.

The game would be a rematch of last year’s final — and a rematch for the Wave’s upset over the Railsplitters in the city semifinals two years ago.

Jefferson coach Lawrence “Bud” Pollard announced after that contest that he was the “big dog” in Brooklyn now. It’s a distinction he upheld since then.

A victory would also be super sweet for Orange Wave assistant coach Kenny Pretlow, who lost to Jefferson as Lincoln’s head coach in last year’s final. A second-straight Orange Wave victory should secure the club the top seed in the citywide playoffs.

For the Railsplitters, it is a chance to reclaim a place atop Kings County and validate its improved play in recent weeks.

Lincoln ended the league season with consecutive wins and knocked off New Jersey power Roselle Catholic 85–74 last weekend behind 31 points from star Caheim Brown and 22 from Tyler Bourne. Morton’s patience has paid off, and the Railsplitters are playing some of their best basketball — just in time for the post season.

Jefferson versus Lincoln is certainly the sexier match-up, but the Railsplitters taking Paul Robeson for a third time would certainly be a juicy game.

The Eagles pose a tough match-up for the smaller Lincoln team. Few squads in the Public School Athletic League have better bigs than the Eagles do. Size cost the Railsplitters two games already this season.

Robeson taking on Lincoln would also present plenty of intrigue. Consider it Duke versus Maryland instead of Duke against North Carolina.

The Eagles have spoken all season about returning the program to its early 2000s greatness with guard Gary Ervin at the point. A trip to the borough final would do that, and a win would shake up the city playoff seeding.

Beating Jefferson to get to the final is certainly realistic for Robeson. The team only fell to the Orange Wave by two points back on Jan. 31 in East New York. It held Ponds to just 22 points.

The road to a city title will be paved this weekend. The most intriguing path is still unfolding — rivals Jefferson and Lincoln clashing again for what could be the third of a possible three meetings this season. But Robeson has a chance to spoil that and write a new chapter in the program’s storied history.

In a topsy-turvy year in the Brooklyn AA division any match-up is possible, but only two teams will make for the most memorable of nights.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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