--- History was made again at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, and if
Lance Stephenson has his wish, he’ll be penning many more future memories in
Stephenson led all scorers with 24
points and was named MVP after the
Lincoln Railsplitters won their unprecedented fourth straight city
championship with a 78-56 win over John F. Kennedy at the Garden on Saturday.
Stephenson added 10 rebounds and five steals in leading his Coney Island school
to the PSAL’s AA crown.
“It’s so much hard work to do this,”
Stephenson told The New York Times. “For the next kids, it’s going to be real
tough. I don’t think nobody will ever do that again.”
It’s hard to pinpoint the biggest
storyline of the game. Stephenson, the all-time leading scorer in New York
State history, accomplished something neither of his Lincoln predecessors,
Sebastian Telfair and Stephon Marbury, managed in their time with the school:
four straight city crowns. Lincoln also becomes the first team ever to win four
PSAL crowns in a row.
Is Lincoln the best team in the city’s
history? Is Stephenson the top boys basketball player in state history?
"I can't say I'm the best
basketball player in Coney Island ever, but I think I accomplished my
goals," Stephenson told the New York Daily News.
Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton
"He's No.1, he's definitely No.1
right now," Morton said to the Daily News. "He's got the scoring
championships; he's got the four city titles... I don't know what else they can
Darwin "Buddha" Ellis had 15 points and
Anthony Allen added 10 points and eight rebounds for Lincoln.
Naquan Pierce paced Kennedy (26-3) with 17 points,
Jeffrey Arzu added 12 and six assists and Shea Spence 11 points and nine
rebounds. Kennedy had won 17 straight and had not lost since Dec. 16, 2008 to
It was the first meeting between the schools since
Lincoln beat Kennedy, 70-53, on March 8, 2008.
out photos from Lincoln's semifinal win over Boys & Girls
Kennedy beat Lincoln in the PSAL finals
in 2005 to leave Telfair with three city championships, a record that
Stephenson aimed to break since joining the program.
The fourth straight title wasn’t overly
shocking -- Stephenson had been telling reporters for months that he planned to
announce his college pick after winning the championship. It wasn’t a Joe
Namath/Mark Messier New York guarantee, but few were betting against Lance and
Lincoln this weekend.
That other much-anticipated storyline
has been drawn out further: Lance said Saturday that he will announce his
college choice on March 31/April 1 at the McDonald’s All-America game in Miami,
Fla. Stephenson said he’s already made the decision, which will be either
Maryland, Kansas or local favorite St. John’s.
Stephenson, not at all letting the four
titles get to his head, already speculated to the New York Times that he may
someday soon find himself back celebrating on at Garden court – for the New
“Maybe I’ll get drafted to the Knicks,
who knows?” he told the Times. Some believe Stephenson may try to enter the NBA
after one college season. “If I keep playing hard and pick the right college
and show my talent, I think I’ll be here again.”
Again, no one is betting against that
either. College first, though. Maryland-bound forward James Padgett, who may very well team with
Stephenson again in college, added 17 points and 14 rebounds
"He always talked about out-doing
Sebastian, out-doing Stephon," Morton said of Stephenson to the Daily
News. Morton has now won seven PSAL championships, including a run of three
straight with Telfair, the previous state scoring leader. "He had the
drive and the goal. He's the best I've ever had at Lincoln."
Stephenson left the game with just under
four minutes remaining in the first half after picking up his third foul.
“We should’ve capitalized when Lance
went out,” Kennedy Coach Johnny Mathis told the Times. “I think it would’ve
been better if he stayed in the game.”
Lincoln, Rice to battle upstate
The Railsplitters (22-10) will now face Rice, a
catholic school from Manhattan, in the semifinals of the state Federation
tournament on March 28 in Glens Falls. Lincoln is the two-time defending
Rice won the CHSAA championship on March
15 with a 67-58 win over Christ the King (Queens) at Fordham. The Raiders beat
All Hallows, 67-58, back on March 11 to advance to the title game.
Related, Rice alum Kemba Walker has been at the
center of Connecticut's current run toward the NCAA championship this month,
including a memorable performance in the Huskies’ six-overtime marathon at the
Garden with Syracuse earlier this month.
New York State’s All-Time Scoring Leaders
Lance Stephenson, Lincoln - 2,928
Ryan Creighton, Greenport - 2,799
Sebastian Telfair, Lincoln - 2,785
Kenny Anderson, Molloy - 2,621
Kenny Wood, East Hampton - 2,613
Kyle McAlarney - Moore Catholic - 2,566
Lincoln who? Bergtraum wins
Murry Bergtraum’s girls dynasty also continued at the
Garden as the Blazers won their 11th straight city title with a 51-36 win
over South Shore of Brooklyn in the AA finals.
Shukurah Washington scored 14 points and 19 rebounds to earn the MVP honors on
her 17th birthday to lead Murry Bergtraum (24-1).
sure to check out the 2009 Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday, April 18 at
Madison Square Garden.
Wild is a writer and photographer for MaxPreps and can be reached at email@example.com.