Call it a four-peat for Lance Stephenson and Lincoln.
Stephenson had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five steals to lead the Railsplitters to a 78-56 victory over Kennedy in the PSAL AA championship game at Madison Square Garden. Maryland-bound power forward James Padgett added 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Lincoln became the first team ever to win four PSAL crowns in a row.
“It’s so much hard work to do this,” Stephenson told The New York Times. “For the next kids, it’s going to be real tough. I don’t think nobody will ever do that again.”
Lincoln will now shoot for its third straight New York State Federation title. It was the seventh PSAL crown for Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton, who won three in a row with Sebastian Telfair as his star from 2002-04.
Recruiting expert Tom Konchalski of Queens says Stephenson’s accomplishments put him at the top of the list of all-time New York schoolboy players that includes Telfair and Stephon Marbury.
“With four city championships, the all-time New York State scoring championship and going for his third Federation championship, you can’t say the other guys were better,” Konchalski told the Daily News. “I’ve never seen a better player from Coney Island than him.”
Lincoln will meet Miami-bound guard Durand Scott and Rice in the Federation semifinals March 28 in Glens Falls, N.Y.
The 6-foot-5 Stephenson did not announce his college choice after the game, but will do so March 31 in Miami before the McDonald’s All-American Game.
He says he’s already decided and it will be either Kansas, Maryland or St. John’s.
After a potential one-and-done season, Stephenson hopes to be in the NBA, maybe even back in the Garden.
“Maybe I’ll get drafted to the Knicks, who knows?” he told the Times. “If I keep playing hard and pick the right college and show my talent, I think I’ll be here again.”
NEW YORK STATE ALL-TIME SCORERS
Lance Stephenson, Lincoln – 2,928
Sebastian Telfair, Lincoln – 2,785
Kenny Anderson, Molloy – 2,621
Kenny Wood, East Hampton – 2,613
Kyle McAlarney – Moore Catholic – 2,566
(Photo courtesy Daily News)
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.