BROOKLYN, NY - This was an intriguing matchup between two of the three undefeated teams in Brooklyn AA. Brooklyn Collegiate, fresh off their win over South Shore earlier this week, traveled to Lincoln.
The game was competitive in the first half, with both teams battling to a tie. However, the second half was a totally different story as Lincoln turned on the jets and coasted to an easy 96-73 victory.
The game was tied at 37 after the first 16 minutes. It was a good display from both teams. Lincoln was paced by Seton Hall commit Isaiah Whitehead in the second quarter. The senior guard was his teams' main source of scoring in that period, constantly pushing the ball after a BC miss and finishing on the other end. Whitehead was aggressive and scored 12 points in a row and it was necessary because Brooklyn Collegiate was making their shots.
"We had to show the city what we was about" said Whitehead. "We picked it up at halftime and we just built a lead"
The third quarter is when the tide changed. Lincoln came out with a totally suffocating effort which was too much for BC. Lincoln senior point guard Anthony "A.J." Williams was the catalyst in the period. He was the player to step up after Whitehead went to the bench in foul trouble.
After a relatively quiet first half, he erupted in the third quarter. Williams continually penetrated and drove to the basket. He was highly effective, even scoring on some off balance, unorthodox, shot attempts. Williams scored 11 of his 20 points in the quarter. Lincoln turned a tie game into 62-50 lead, outscoring Brooklyn Collegiate 25-13 in the third.
The pressure got even worse in the final quarter as Lincoln never took their foot off the gas. IN fact, they did the opposite and basically floored it. The last of the Lincoln three headed monster in this contest was senior Desi Rodriguez. Rodriquez was pretty quiet for most of the game, but he did have his moments and wasn't totally invisible. Still, he was hard to miss when his teammates finally started finding him in the open court.
Whitehead had been released from the bench and was now free to run with Rodriguez. BC was having a problem with Lincoln's pressure and started to really lose control in the last period. Whenever Lincoln forced a turnover that led to a fast break, they finished the possession with flair. That's just a different way of saying dunk. Lincoln ended the game with 7 straight dunks. The dunks had to be devastating to BC. It seemed like they were deflated after each one.
It started with Whitehead seeing Rodriguez running down the left side of the court after a BC turnover midway through the fourth. The result was a high flying alley-oop. That was the start. It seemed like Rodriguez was jumping off a trampoline. One time Rodriguez seemed to hover in the air for a split second after catching the ball with two hands, and then he powered it through the rim. Another time he appeared to swing on the rim after flying in for another powerful dunk but the referee called a technical.
It was Showtime at Lincoln. Rodriquez was asked how it felt connecting with Whitehead for the alley-oops.
"He knows how to look for me" Rodriquez said. "He got good IQ and he knows when I put my finger up, he knows to throw the ball up. In practice we do the same thing, so it's good we got that connection.
"It feels good it felt real good, you know, when I'm high in the air, it felt real good"
It was the three-headed monster from Coney Island. Rodriguez was the game high scorer with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Whitehead was just below that with 26 points and 6 assists. Williams finished with 10 assists to go with his 20 points. Brooklyn Collegiate Cheyenne Nettleton scored a team high 16, while Willy Barnes and Rashaad John scored 13 and 12 points respectively.
The result was a reminder of just who the top team in Brooklyn AA is.
"They was undefeated just like us and they thought that they had us," Rodriquez said.
"Everybody talking about they're a team to watch this year, so we had to show them we were defending champions."