Amidst all the Big East tournament action going on in Madison Square Garden, the PSAL Championship had its own madness on Saturday afternoon, as Brooklyn rivals Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln squared off for New York City bragging rights.
In a game that featured big runs for both teams, Lincoln's dominance on the offensive glass and second-chance points were the story behind their 65-52 victory.
Full highlights and interviews can be seen here, as gathered and produced by one of the best in the business—Dexter Henry from Backpack Broadcasting.
In spite of the two school's familiarity with each other and Saturday being their fourth meeting of the season—with Lincoln holding the 2-1 edge—Jefferson had come out like a team possessed.
The Orange Wave won the turnover battle early because of their full-court press and traps, and their balanced offensive attack put Lincoln on its heels.
One of Lincoln's nine turnovers in the first quarter actually found past NBA champion and Canarsie High School alumni John Salley, who was sitting four rows off the court.
Nearby was Pearl Washington, the former great Boys & Girls High School and Syracuse baller, taking in Saturday's championship game.
Lincoln star Isaiah Whitehead's eight first-quarter points really helped weather Jefferson's attack, but this day would belong to first-year junior and MVP Desi Rodriguez.
Rodriguez outshined everybody with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the first half—he finished with 16 points and 17 rebounds for the game.
He reflected on how coming to Lincoln this year was the right decision.
When I first came here, I had a little up and down, and I wanted to go back to my old school. My coach talked to me, everbody else talked to me and sat down and talked to me and they are all like family. I was very comfortable here and I just love it.
Jefferson senior Rachard Moody single-handedly kept the Orange Wave in the ball game with his 17 points and six rebounds, but their star player Jaquan Lynch never showed up—registering only two points.
Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard talked about how Lynch's inefficiency was the difference in the game.
If Jaquan gets 15 points, I think we win that game. We just couldn't get nothing out of him today. I don't know if his energy wasn't there today or if he wasn't active.
The Orange Wave did open up the third quarter on an 11-0 run, but Lincoln managed to scrape together six points to maintain a 45-42 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, the Railsplitters seemed to flip a switch and go into a Mike D'Antoni-type offense—putting up an electrifying 20 points when it mattered most. Rodriguez and Elijah Davis, specifically, re-established their dominance in the paint.
On winning the championship with his father and coach, Trevonn Morton said, "it's special because I'm the first person in history to do that."
Coach "Tiny" Morton compared the victory on Saturday to the win they had over Jefferson for the Brooklyn Boro championship a month ago.
I think this is the same victory we had in CCNY, the Boro's. Isaiah knew he was going to get trapped, and everybody knows what Jefferson tries to take away, but Isaiah did what he did and led us to the promise land.
Tiny took Saturday's platform to remind people about Lincoln basketball's storied tradition, and he gave a strong message to any players in the city who are considering transferring to their program.
If you live in New York City, and you don't know our tradition and you don't hear about the guys who have been through the program, then you're not really a big-time basketball player or you're not doing what you're supposed to do on the court.
If a guy wants to come to Lincoln, they have to understand what's ahead. The spotlight is on us and I always tell the kids, don't let the basketball use you, use the basketball. I assume that most of the guys who come here, know what they want to come here for.
The 26-5 Railsplitters are kings of the city once again, and with Whitehead, Rodriguez and instant-offense guard Anthony Williams all returning as seniors next year, they seem to have a good shot at defending their title in the Garden in 2014.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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