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Abraham Lincoln’s Isaiah Whitehead was eager for redemption as he was fouled with 19.9 seconds remaining and headed back to the line, with first place up for grabs, and his team up by just one point.
He had missed the front end of a 1-and-1 just seconds earlier and wasn’t about to let that happen again after securing the rebound of a missed free throw by South Shore’s Tavid McIntosh.
Whitehead, a junior, calmly made both free throws this time, and after South Shore’s Doudmy St. Hilaire’s contested 3-pointer went long, Lincoln held on for a 61–58 win on the road Thursday afternoon.
“The first one slipped out of my hand, so I was a little mad at myself,” said Whitehead who scored 19 points overall. “I had to get the rebound and win the game for my teammates.”
The victory earned the Railsplitters (15–1) the Brooklyn Class AA division title and the No. 1 seed in next week’s borough playoffs. Lincoln won the first meeting between the two teams, 73–61, and bounced back from 65–57 a loss to Thomas Jefferson on Tuesday. Railsplitters coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton said winning in front of a raucous crowd at South Shore would tell him a lot about his team.
“I told the coaches that if we can’t beat them here then we can’t win a championship,” he said.
His son Trevonn Morton buried a 3-pointer to give Lincoln a 59–56 lead with 40 seconds left in the game. The senior’s guts didn’t surprise his teammates.
“He’s been doing it all year for us, knocking down threes,” Whitehead said.
Lincoln made all the important plays down the stretch, but it was a struggle getting in position to do so. South Shore (12–3), which needed a win to tie for the division lead, used a 10–0 run to go up 14 points in the first quarter. It did so without Towson-bound forward Shamiek Sheppard because of an ankle injury.
Behind the inside play for Elijah Davis (18 points), Michael Vigilance and Desi Rodriguez, Lincoln got within 30–25 at the half. It used a 10–0 run to grab its first lead, 46–44 on a steal and two-handed slam in transition by Rodriguez midway through the third quarter.
Whitehead made it happen by attacking the South Shore press and taking the ball strong to the hoop, unlike the way he played in the loss to Jefferson.
“He came up clutch for us,” Davis said.
South Shore did not. Vikings coach Mike Beckles said his team didn’t seize the opportunity and it might cost them the No. 2 spot in the borough playoffs seeding process because of Jefferson’s win over Lincoln. He doesn’t expect Sheppard back until the city playoffs at the earliest. Even without him his team missed a chance a big win.
“We got to finish,” Beckles said. “We got to make plays. That was the difference in the game.”Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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