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February 17, 2008It has been a week of upsets and why shouldn't Sunday's game between Lincoln and St. Ray's be any different. The NYCHoops #1 ranked Lincoln Railsplitters were fresh off a breeze by victory over Thomas Jefferson, a team who had just upset #3 ranked Boys & Girls the round before. The win earned Lincoln the Brooklyn Borough Championship. A win, the following day, at the Hoop Group Showcase was simply supposed to be icing on the cake against the #4 ranked St. Ray's Raven, who themselves were fresh off an upset loss to the #7 ranked Bishop Loughlin.
The stage was set however for a classic showdown between the two powerhouse teams that would get heated and ultimately end in an upset victory in overtime by St. Ray's 75 - 73.
In the first half, the Raven managed to stay close to the Railsplitters and the score was virtually tied at the half. Darryl Bryant was leading the charge and St. Ray's was playing and very aggressive and physical style of ball, which seemed to fluster Lincoln.
Coming out into the third quarter, Lincoln fought back seemingly realizing that St. Ray's was seriously on the L.I.U. Brooklyn Campus to get a "W."
Lincoln push the lead up to 10 points as junior phenom Lance Stephenson impose his Coney Island swagger on the Raven which would result in Kevin Parrom picking up his third foul.
Rays would counter and a jumper by Darryl "Truck" Bryant would end the third quarter with Lincoln up 50 - 44.
The Railsplitters would push the action and the emotions to a boil to where at one point Stephenson grabbed a rebound, which included Parrom's head, and they both wrestled to the floor. On the following play, Stephenson would again rip down the rebound and throw a full court bullet touchdown pass to point guard Vincent Council for a lay-up pushing the Lincoln lead back up to 10 points.
Lincoln's big man, Justin Greene's fouled Delroy Daley for 2 free throws followed by a block on Railsplitter shooting guard Darwin "Buddha" Ellis by Kevin Parrom. Parrom then outlets to Bryant who is fouled and Rays would finally take the lead by one with 2:38 left in regulation.
The Ravens would go up by three but Lincoln's Khalif Staten would tie the game at the line sending the competition into overtime knotted at 64 apiece.
Ray's would strike first in OT, going up two but Lance Stephenson would do what he does best and knot it up yet again. The game would stay close until Stephenson would miss a bucket up close. 6'4" senior Rob Young would secure the rebound and call time for Ray's.
After an Ellis foul on Bryant and subsequent foul shots, Lincoln would be down by 3 points with 25.4 seconds left and the ball.
The inbound pass was to Stephenson but 6'4" junior Omari Lawrence would strip the ball from Stephenson (his 6th turnover), who would then commit a frustration foul on Lawrence ultimately putting the Raven's up 5 points.
Ellis would push the ball up the floor and nail a quick three pointer but it was too little to late, giving St. Ray's the win.
When asked about the keys to victory, Coach Oliver Antiqua would say, "Forget about the keys to victory. This was game about big time players stepping up. Omari defensively on Lance. Darryl hitting big points when we needed it. Kevin on the rebounds and scoring in the post. It was a great great game and I wish it was March twenty-something and not February 17th"
The MVP for Ray's was Bryant with 19 points while Lance Stephenson had 20 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort.
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