There wasn’t ever any doubt.
Lincoln’s boys basketball team cruised to a 74–46 victory over South Shore on Feb. 18, clinching the Brooklyn borough title at Queens College as the squad controlled tempo from the opening tip.
“I’ve got some seasoned guys,” said Railsplitters coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton. “So they know this is big and it’s a self-motivated team. We’ve seen South Shore play before so we knew what was coming.”
Lincoln — the top seed in the borough tournament — jumped out to a 23–14 lead after the first quarter and the Railsplitters defense kept No. 2 South Shore on its collective toes throughout the title tilt.
The Vikings squad (20–6) struggled to settle into its offensive game plan early on, unable to push the ball inside as the team was forced to settle for one-and-done possessions.
“Coach, in practice, he just preaches defense every day,” said senior guard Michael Reid. “Today we just played like every possession was our last. Defense was what fueled our offense. So every second of the game, we play like it’s our last.”
It wasn’t always easy for Lincoln (25–2) to maintain its momentum — battling foul trouble early. The two teams combined to shoot 36 free throws in the opening 16 minutes, but Railsplitters players did their best to remain focused, taking an 18-point lead into the break.
“We just came out focused and stayed focused,” said Reid, who finished with 20 points. “We played our game and that was it.”
South Shore made it a nine-point game with 1:23 left in the third — on Mikael Burnett Wala’s three-point play — but that was as close as the Vikings would get.
Reid answered on the next play, draining a three-pointer for Lincoln, and the Railsplitters never felt pressured down the stretch.
Lincoln’s defense locked in during the fourth quarter, giving up just one jump shot in the final seven minutes of play. The Railsplitters wrapped up the championship on a 14–2 run.
“We are definitely big on defense,” Morton said. “I think we’re just gelling. The guys are getting to know each other and they know who to help and who not to help.”
It was the third time Lincoln defeated South Shore this season, but the Railsplitters squad refused to rest on their laurels. Instead, the squad continued to attack the basket, pushing tempo and getting to the free-throw line.
“South Shore was in the bonus late, so we just had to keep attacking,” said Reid, who went 8-for-9 from the stripe. “We had a big lead and we just wanted to get them in foul trouble and get to the line.”
It’s the second-straight Brooklyn title for Lincoln, but the Railsplitters team is far from satisfied — the group is focused on a city title, and this game was a stepping stone towards that goal.
“I feel like we’re the No. 1 team in New York, in the city, and I don’t think anybody is messing with us,” Reid said. “We’re not getting cocky though. We’re humble and we’re ready to keep going.”