Kamari Murphy had a chip on his shoulder when he arrived at Kean University in Union, N.J. on Sunday for the PrimeTime Shootout.
The senior missed Lincoln’s Brooklyn borough championship game last Saturday, serving the first of a two-game suspension for throwing a punch late in a win against South Shore two days earlier.
“I definitely had a lot of anger behind me,” the 6-foot-8 forward said. “The incident that happened wasn’t even that serious for me to get suspended for two games. I just feel guys try and take advantage at times and I just came out to prove a point in this game that I am one of the better big men in the city.”
Murphy did just that emphatically, helping lead Lincoln to a 63-52 win against St. Raymond in a battle of city bragging rights in New Jersey.
“He played great,” Lincoln coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton said of Murphy. “I know he was upset about yesterday’s game, but those guys [at St. Ray’s] are all his friends. They play AAU together, so I knew he’d be a little bit emotional and he was.”
Murphy, who is being recruited by Iowa State, Pittsburgh and a host of Big East programs, had a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. He helped the Railsplitters dominate on the glass, outrebounding St. Ray’s, 53-35.
“He had an outstanding game,” St. Ray’s junior Kerwin Okoro said. “He just came back and I congratulate him. That was a real good game. He killed us on the boards.”
Freshman Isaiah Whitehead showed why he’s considered Coney Island’s next big thing with 18 points and six rebounds, while Shaquille Stokes added eight points and 10 rebounds out of the point guard position for Lincoln.
“He’s an incredible freshman,” Murphy said of Whitehead. “To come from eighth grade to play on the varsity level especially in the PSAL is terrific. We just give him a lot of props, stay behind him, don’t let him get down and he’s going to be a great player.”
Okoro led No. 3 St. Ray’s with 15 points and Larry Graves added 13. Standout junior Daniel Dingle struggled with seven points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Compounding the Ravens rebounding deficiency, which included 26 offensive boards for Lincoln, was shooting 60 percent (21-of-35) from the foul line.
“It gets their attention that we have to get back to doing some of the little things,” St. Ray’s coach Oliver Antigua said of the loss. “If this was a playoff game and you’re missing 14 free throws and giving up  offensive rebounds, you don’t deserve to win.”
Meanwhile Lincoln, which was playing its third game in four days, brings back some bragging rights with them to Coney Island.
“[This win] means we can compete on the Catholic school level and the public school level,” Whitehead said. “Obviously, we showed today that PSAL is better.”