It began with the Lady Vikings of Canarsie’s South Shore campus, where the girls donning purple and gold aimed to complete the rare three-peat.
Their recent run of success consisting of back-to-back PSAL ‘AA’ City Championships has come in dominating fashion, and March 11 was a continuation of that stable superiority.
The top-seeded Lady Vikings beat down the third-seeded Lady Blazers of Murry Bergtraum High in Lower Manhattan, 68-34.
Twelve of 13 Lady Vikings scored, led by senior Tsahai Corbie, who earned MVP honors, finishing with a game-best 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting and the lone player to sink multiple threes.
Following the Lady Vikings were the Railsplitters of the legendary Lincoln High School from Coney Island, who took on the Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave of East New York off of Livonia Avenue on the L train line.
It was a continuation of NYC’s fiercest rivalry in the PSAL, as the Brooklyn ‘AA’ Division counterparts faced off in the Garden-held championship for the third time since 2013.
A Lincoln squad led by future Seton Hall standouts Isaiah Whitehead and Desi Rodriguez defeated Jefferson then.
Whitehead, now a Brooklyn Net, was in attendance to watch this generation of Railsplitters, who were looking to overcome a 90-61 slugging delivered by the Orange Wave one year ago, led by All-Big East Freshman Teamer Shamorie Ponds of St. John’s and All-NEC Rookie Squad Honoree Rasheem Dunn of St. Francis Brooklyn.
As for this year, let’s just say things are back to normal.
Lincoln clubbed Jefferson, and it was never close. After trailing the Orange Wave 8-2, the storied program led by longtime head coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton put together a 30-3 run, which served as the utmost gamechanger under the bright lights.
Lincoln outscored Jefferson 25-7 in the second quarter, forcing a 36-17 halftime lead, and subsequently coasting to an 82-64 victory.
Morton, who has led Lincoln to several PSAL titles and multiple Federation titles, said this team wasn’t his most talented, but likely his most coachable.
“These guys, I’ve stressed them out for the last two or three years, and I think it’s well worth it,” a seemingly relived Morton said after the game. “I think the guys see what I was trying to do, and I hope they understand. The talent wasn’t there like you’re used to, but the attention was there.”
Spearheading the Railsplitter victory was senior Kclejuan Brown, who finished a landmark day with 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four blocks, three steals and several tears of joy streaming down his cheek, with a well-deserved MVP Award to boot.
“Last year, they didn’t pull their seniors out, they continued to pound us, but he [Coach Morton] showed that he had class and pulled us out the game,” Brown humbly offered post-game. “I’ve been listening for two years to everything he has taught me. It’s been correct, even though sometimes I question it, it’s always correct.”
“He questions it,” Morton visibly said behind a strong sigh, prompting a vibrant laugh shared throughout the press conference. “That’s great though, you kind of want kids to do that.”
Also in victory, junior Curtis Gordon netted 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and recorded three steals. Senior Michael Reid added 13 points, four rebounds and four assists, while junior Jasiah Lewis matched Reid’s 13, while simultaneously dishing out three assists.
One of the key contributors on the team all season long has been Donald Cannon-Flores, and while the senior guard only had two points, his impact on the game was felt in other areas with five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
While he went 0-for-7, Cannon-Flores is to credit with getting the squad going defensively, which he discussed post-game.
“Coach has his defensive ways and he has preached defense all year,” he said. “We’re a very good defensive team, and him preaching defense it just made us even better. Going out on top as senior is always good.
“Last year, we didn’t finish the way we were supposed to finish,” he added. “This year, we just wanted to come out strong and win. We had to get this win.”
Next up for the Brooklyn-based champions South Shore and Lincoln are the Federation State Championships, which will take place in Glenn Falls, New York, beginning on March 24.