In just four minutes, Lincoln vanquished Thomas Jefferson, turning a two-point deficit into a 13-point lead.
It was a stunning 17-2 run bridging the end of the second quarter and start of the third that included dunks, jump shots, blocked shots, layups and transition baskets.
Most noteworthy of all, leading scorer Shaquille Stokes didn’t register a single point but five Railsplitters — senior forwards Kamari Murphy, Michael White Jr. and Jordan Dickerson, sophomore guard Shaquille Davis and freshman guard Isaiah Whitehead — all did.
“It’s not like last year, we got a group of guys that can come in and play, score play defense,” said Stokes, one of the city’s top unsigned seniors. “And we showed everybody.”
Jefferson learned the hard way as it was never able to respond from the third-quarter flurry in a humbling 76-55 loss to Lincoln in Coney Island.
Stokes still provided plenty of offensive fireworks, leading the Railsplitters with 22 points, 13 coming after halftime. He hit five 3-pointers, including a pair of big ones in the fourth quarter.
He had plenty of help. Whitehead, considered the five borough’s top freshman, added 17 points and Murphy had 16 points and 12 rebounds. White had eight and Dickerson, the developing 7-footer, added five points, five rebounds and five blocks.
“If we hit our shots, we can play with anybody,” Lincoln coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton said. “It gives us a lot of confidence.”
The matchup seemed even at halftime, with Lincoln (4-0) leading 28-26. The Coney Island dynamo came out for the third quarter like it was shot out of a cannon, turning up the pressure on the defensive end, sharing the ball on offense and dominating the paint. Morton played down his role, saying he just reminded his players to relax, run the offense and execute.
“I got into a couple of kid individually and everybody else responded,” he said.
Jefferson (3-2), coach Lawrence (Bud) Pollard said, did the opposite. The Orange Wave forced shots, took the first opportunity that presented itself and failed to play with enough intensity defensivelly. Manhattan-bound recruit Davontay Grace led Jefferson with 14 points, but 12 came in one three-minute span in the thrid quarter and Tyquan Goodlet added 12, but managed just a single field goal.
“We didn’t defend and we had poor offense and poor offense leads to easy baskets,” the coach said. “We became undisciplined on offense, lost our assignments, left guys wide open.”
“Ain’t no big three,” Pollard added, referring to Boys & Girls, Lincoln and Jefferson. “It’s a big two.”