By Stephen Witt
About six blocks just off Shore Parkway separates two of the most storied high school basketball programs in New York City.It’s the distance between Grady and Lincoln High Schools, whose hoops rivalry can be compared to baseball’s Red Sox-Yankee hardball wars, with both teams perennially in the hunt for the city championship.And last Thursday’s game at the packed Grady gym produced another epic hardwood battle, in which Lincoln avenged their only League loss with a 79-76 win over the Falcons.“The history and proximately of the two schools and the fact they are in the same division and have played each other at least twice a year for the last 20 years helps fuel the rivalry,” said Grady Coach Mark Seltzberg.“Also most of the kids are from Coney Island so they know each other,” he added.Both schools also have produced their share of great players.For example, while the Railsplitters recently produced Sebastian Telfair, who jumped from the Coney Island blacktops to the NBA, the Falcons produced the less publicized Quincy Douby, who currently is the Big East scoring leader as a college junior.Douby, in fact was at the game to cheer on his old alma matte, who he led to the city championship in 2001.“”There are games like this all the time in the Big East,” Douby told reporters.“But there's a difference here. I've been reminiscing the whole game about games I had here. I scored 64 against Lafayette and hit seven 3s against Lincoln once,” he added.In last week’s battle Lincoln (20-3, 15-1) came out strong from the opening horn behind freshman sensation Lance Stephenson’s 26 points.Also contributing for the Railsplitters’ with double digit efforts were Nic Leon with 17 points and Devon Peterson with 12 points.Angelo Laroche led Grady’s balanced attack with 15 points, while Randy Burns contributed 12 points and Wayne Turner added 10.While the Falcons were forced to play catch up for the entire game, they clawed their way back into the contest, erasing a 13-point third-quarter deficit to pull within one at 75-74, with 43 seconds left in the fourth.However, Grady couldn’t wrest the lead from Lincoln, missing several key chances and were forced to keep fouling after that.The win put Lincoln in good shape going into this week’s PSAL Borough Championships as they grabbed the No. 2 seed behind Canarsie, who finished undefeated in the Brooklyn II-A division.The Railsplitters also have plenty of playoff experience, having gone to the PSAL finals for the last four years and winning in three of the four.However, Seltzberg likes his squad’s chances going into the post season. They are seeded third in the Borough Championship and are expected to be a high seed in the PSAL championships as well.“I think we have a great chance with 10 seniors on the team and great guards,” said Seltzberg.“I felt from early on we had the best backcourt in the City,” he added.