By Robert Elkin
Going into the high school basketball season last November, Bishop Loughlin Varsity Coach Khalid Green set some goals for his team. One of them was for his Lions to capture the Diocese of Brooklyn championship in the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association. And his Lions certainly did last week. The backcourt combination of Doron Lamb and James Johnson was too much for the Holy Cross team to handle and led Fort Greene’s Loughlin to a 76-66 victory and the CHSAA Brooklyn-Queens Diocesan tournament championship on a neutral St. Francis Prep court in Queens on February 23. Lamb stepped up big especially in the third quarter when the Lions outscored the Knights 23-9, including 15-4 during the last four minutes. Sophomore Lamb, who has the capabilities of being a high school All-American, went to town with his offensive work, defense and assisting. When he didn’t score he would pass to the forwards, who would put those points in and drive in for baskets. The offense and Lamb on defense put in quite a show for the crowd. “Lamb put in one of his better quarters,” Green said. “Prior to the game, he told me, ‘We’re going to finish them off tonight.’ And I believed him. He knew that he had to step up his game and he did just that.” Overall, Lamb tallied 26 points while Johnson added 18 points. Teammate Jayvaughn Pinkston (6-6) scored 14 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and blocked four shots, and Kevin Phillip (6-7) took down seven caroms, blocked three shots and scored six points. However, the Lions’ defense couldn’t contain seniors Sylven Landesberg, who scored 33 points and Blaise Ffrench, who netted 22 markers. Otherwise, the Lions played tremendous defense. “Defense was the key to our win,” Johnson said. “And we played scrappy. In the third quarter we stepped it up. Doron made some good shots. He’s been doing that all season. I never had any doubt that he wouldn’t score.” “I’ve seen my best overall team in my seven years here,” Loughlin’s trainer James Ross said. “The players show chemistry, like each other, and work hard on and off the court. They are very dedicated to the game.” Lamb really thrilled the fans with his moves throughout the entire game and certainly raised his level of play. “The third quarter was the turning point when Doron took over,” Pinkston said. “He came out and proved himself.” “He’s a special type of player,” Green added after the Holy Cross game, which sent the winner into the first seeded position in the Intersectional Tournament. “He was under the weather the other day when he scored 10 points. He told me [prior to the game], ‘I got to do it tonight.’ Winning the Diocesan championship is beautiful, but we’re not satisfied.” Both teams, however, enter the Class ‘AA’ Intersectional Tournament with quarter final games with the finals on Sunday afternoon March 9 at Fordham University in the Bronx. “There’s a lot more to do,” said Green, in his fifth year at the helm of Bishop Loughlin. “We hope to accomplish a lot more. Last year Loughlin finished with a 10-13 overall record, certainly turned it around, and entered the Intersectional tournament with a 21-5 slate. “This year we knew that we had to compete at a higher level than we did last year,” Green said. “I feel that if we can compete at a high level we can play with anybody.” “This is the biggest win of the season because we took the Brooklyn-Queens championship,” Johnson added. “It was a good experience to win this title,” Pinkston added. “We’ll try to come back next year and try again to take it.” Lamb will head a very talented group of underclassmen next season with juniors Anthony Hamer, Trevon Hamlet, Antoine Brown, and Steve Campbell, and sophomores Jayvaughn Pinkston, and Mark York in an attempt to repeat this year’s performance. And all eyes will be on Lamb and Pinkston.