By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Lincoln High School rolled through the playoffs, beat Jefferson High School at Madison Square Garden and won the Public School Athletic League city title for the first time since 2009 last season. Now, Isaiah Whitehead has his sights set even higher — on a state championship.
“I just feel that after we won the city title that some of the guys on our team were content with that and they didn’t play as hard when we went out to states,” Whitehead said. “This year, we’ve got our core group of guys back and we’re not going to settle. We want a state championship.”
The Railsplitters took a bit step in that direction on Saturday when they went out and beat Brooklyn Collegiate 96-73 in Coney Island as three different players scored at least 20 points, Desi Rodriguez led with 27 points, Whitehead had 26 and A.J. Williams had 20, in a dominant victory.
“It was definitely a statement,” Williams said. “We’ve been focused on them all week so we came hard.”
That game was a perfect demonstration as to how dangerous the Railsplitters can be. With the game tied at 37 at the half, Whitehead, a Seton Hall commit, went to the bench with foul trouble and Lincoln got hot. That’s when Rodriguez and Williams started playing well and Lincoln finished the third quarter with a 65-53 lead.
“We have a good team and everybody on our team can participate in our wins. That’s how we feel so we just pass the ball around and find open shots,” Williams said. “It’s not only one person that can do it. When Whitehead penetrates and they cover him it leaves everyone else open. That’s how we get everyone involved.”
Then in the fourth, when Whitehead returned to the game, they really turned things up with great ball movement and played excellent defense to really run away with it. Whitehead finished the game with three alley-oops to Rodriguez in the final minutes of the game as a way to tell Brooklyn Collegiate that even though they are a top team in the league, it’s going to take a lot to stop the Railsplitters.
“It was definitely a statement because they were undefeated just like us and everyone has picked them as a team to watch this year so we felt that we had to step up,” Rodriguez said.
“Isaiah knows how to look for me,” Rodriguez added. “He’s got a good IQ and when he sees me put my finger up that he knows to give me the ball.”