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Railsplitters enter ‘08 hot

By Simon Chen

The Brooklyn “AA” Division is best known for producing the city’s best high school basketball players and has produced the city champion in six of the past seven years. This season, would be no different. The Lincoln Railsplitters are on their way to undefeated season, as they lead the division with a 6-0 record while Boys & Girls are in a close second place with a count of 5-1. With the Christmas and New Year’s break over, action on the “AA” hardwood is chomping at the bit to start the 2008 segment of their schedule and will, in doubt, provide the city’s best High School basketball action. Lincoln Railsplitters (6-0)- There isn’t just one adjective to describe this team. But “Hot” has to be one of them. Riding a current winning streak that spans over 20 games, with their last lost on December 14, 2006, a 61-60 defeat at the hands of Boys & Girls. The ‘Splitters, are again, on their way to dominance for yet another season. Like last season, leading this team into battle is their superstar, guard Lance Stephenson. The junior has averaged 22 points a contest, totaling 132 points for the six games played, thus far, which is best for first in the division. He has added 46 rebounds and 24 assists to the mix, as well. Despite Stephenson being the main draw for opposing defenses, another of Stephenson’s back court teammates, is also posting great numbers. Guard Darwin Ellis is averaging a little more than 14 points per game, while maxing out at 85 points for the six games played at this juncture of the season. But his quickness and prowess on the court, makes him equally as dangerous as Stephenson. But there is absolutely no doubt that the ’Splitters’ chances of winning another crown is looking really well, as the “Blue-and-Silver” will grace the Garden floor, once again. Jefferson Orange Wave (3-2)- Although he is not getting the same fame, as his Lincoln counterpart, guard Keith Spellman is looked at, as being the face of this squad. Despite having last season derailed by an on-court fight with Robeson, Jefferson is starting to prove their prowess on the court with Spellman leading the charge. The junior has 111 total points, good enough for second; behind Stephenson for the division lead, and has also contributed 26 boards and 10 assists. In each of the junior’s last three seasons on varsity, his points per game average, has gone up by almost three points. Thus far in ‘07-’08, his average is already at 22 points a contest, while last season, it was a little more than 21 points. Canarsie Chiefs (3-3)- The Chiefs are simply lacking the consistency that is stopping this team from being a great team to just being a mediocre. But who isn’t mediocre is guard Yves Jules. The senior is having the best season of his High School career, averaging a little more than 20 points a game, compared to 13 of a season ago. His point total is on pace to be greater than his ‘06-’07 campaign total, currently it’s at 104 with eight more to go, while last season he maxed out at 109. It seems like Jules is the key to Canarsie’s recipe for success but they will need one more ingredient, but can this come from Vincent Mattos? The junior is not too far behind Jules, in the average points per game department, with 16 and has the team’s second most point total with 83. South Shore Vikings (1-4)- The South Shore Vikings won eight games in the 2004-2005 season and made the playoffs but it has been three years since then, and they have combined for 10 wins in two seasons. The struggles for the Vikes continue this season, as they’ve only had one “W” so far. That win was against 0-6 Banneker on . Despite having the services of Salif Kante (55points and 56 rebounds) and Sharif Muhammad (52 points, 45 rebounds, and five assists), South Shore still haven’t found the chemistry to allow this team to compete with Boys & Girls and Lincoln. Grady Falcons (1-4)- After starting out their season on the right track, the Falcons have lately had their wings clipped by being blown out in three of their four losses. Their lone win was the first game of the regular season, on December 4, a 61-54 victory over Banneker. But since then, they have dropped four straight games, at an average “rate” of 18.75 per contest. But leading the team, thus far, has been Eduardo Rodriguez. The second year varsity player has totaled 51 points, which leads the team, and has contributed 10 rebounds and eight assists. Despite the senior’s contributions, the Falcons will need much more for them to return to the old glory days of two seasons ago, when they were 15-1 and had a shot at the City Championship, against whom? Lincoln.

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