For a long time, it was the Lincoln boys basketball team that ruled Brooklyn and New York City. From 2002-09, it won seven city championships.
Lately, though, it has been Boys and Girls that has ruled the city.
After beating Lincoln for the third time this season on Saturday in the Public Schools Athletic Class semifinals, the Kangaroos are headed back to Madison Square Garden as they attempt to three-peat as city champions and firmly establish themselves as the team that runs New York.
“I don't think it really sunk in yet, but it's definitely a great feeling,” Boys and Girls head coach Ruth Lovelace said of her chance to three-peat. “There are only two teams to go and to be blessed to be one of them is really amazing. I'm just so humble as a coach, I don't really speak out to things like that.”
Boys and Girls had won the two previous games against Lincoln, but Lincoln didn’t have its star player, Isaiah Whitehead, for a full game in either of the first two matchups. Whitehead played Saturday but it didn’t matter as Boys High beat Lincoln, 72-63, at St. John’s University in Queens to advance to the PSAL finals.
EARLY FOUL TROUBLE: Boys and Girls knows that Whitehead is one of the most talented players in the city so the game plan was to try to get him into foul trouble. It didn’t take long for that to happen on Saturday as Whitehead committed a pair of fouls in the first two minutes of the game and quickly found himself on the bench.
“Isaiah got in foul trouble early and that was really big,” Leroy “Truck” Fludd said. “That changed the game a lot because that's their best player and for him to get out of the game early that really messed them up and they weren't focused.”
Whitehead sat on the bench for most of the game and fouled out in the final minutes. He finished with 13 points and was never the dominant force Lincoln needed him to be.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: With Whitehead in foul trouble early and Tafari Whittingham still out due to a suspension, Lincoln had trouble finding consistent scoring early. It managed to hang in there in the first quarter, but in the second, Boys High built up a seven-point lead.
In the third quarter, things completely unraveled for Lincoln. Wesley Myers and Rashad Andrews pushed the lead to 13 points and frustration took over for Lincoln. Boys and Girls went 11-for-17 from the line in the final four minutes of that quarter and led by 19 after three.
TOO LITTLE TOO LATE: Lincoln started clawing back in the fourth quarter when Rakim Lasane and Whitehead led a 14-2 run, putting the Railsplitters down just eight points. However, there was just 1:33 left at the end of the run, not enough time to finish the comeback.
With the seconds ticking off the clock, Lincoln had no other choice but to start fouling Boys and Girls. The Kangaroos made nine of 14 shots from the line in that final 1:33.
STATS: Wesley Myers finished the game with 21 points and five assists, Fludd had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Andrews had 10. Rakim Lasane had 14 for Lincoln, Whitehead had 13 and Ethan Telfair had 10.
UP NEXT: It’s all on the line as Boys and Girls heads to the Garden next week as it takes on Jefferson in the two team’s fourth matchup this season. Jefferson has a 2-1 advantage.