Called for traveling: Laurelton pair leads Loughlin to Brooklyn/Queens title

By Marc Raimondi

After about two hours travel time, they arrive at Bishop Loughlin HS. And with their help, the Lions' boys' basketball team has arrived, too. Give an assist to the MTA.Lamb, a sophomore who moved to Queens two months ago from the Lower East Side, had 17 of his 28 points in the third quarter and Johnson, a senior, added 16 points to lead Loughlin to a 76-66 win against Holy Cross Friday night in the CHSAA Class AA Brooklyn/Queens championship game at St. Francis Prep.It was the Lions' first Diocesan title since 2000. They will play All Hallows in the quarterfinals of the CHSAA intersectional playoffs Thursday at St. Francis Prep.”We're not satisfied,” Loughlin coach Khalid Greene said. “We hope to accomplish a lot more.”Without Lamb and Johnson, even getting this far might not have been possible. Last year, the Lions struggled and finished in the division's cellar. But now Lamb has matured into one of the premier scorers in the city. He was the only non-senior to make the All-CHSAA first team and can find the basket in a variety of different ways. Take the third quarter against Cross for example: he made three-pointers from the wing and the corner, had a slashing layup and a putback in the paint, as well.Lamb is a smooth, 6-foot-4 guard who figures to be recruited at the highest level.”He's a sophomore in name; in the game, he's above his years,” Green said. “He has that silent assassin in his blood.”Lamb's mother, Brigitte, is a Briarwood native who attended Mater Christi (now St. John's Prep) and St. John's University. His father, Calvin, played Division I college basketball at Long Island University. The family left Manhattan for Queens to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busiest borough.”It's quiet,” Lamb said of Laurelton.So, too, is Lamb. Luckily, Johnson is not. The Quinnipiac-bound guard has emerged as Loughlin's leader and it doesn't hurt that he has the ear of the team's best young player everyday as they commute back and forth from school. The usual topic is basketball during the long ride, but it can venture to school and girls, too. No subject is off limits.”He's like my younger brother,” Johnson said. “We get to bond.”Johnson has become an expert in that topic. He's been the glue that has held Loughlin together this season. Greene praises his senior leadership and Lamb calls him “the team's heart.”Johnson has been instrumental in the growth of Lamb's on-court maturation. He's not just the point guard to Lamb's shooting guard, either. He's a mentor and friend. Not to mention travel companion. Johnson's presence on the Q5 and J train has eased Lamb's transition after the move.”That's big,” Brigitte Lamb said. “He has somebody to go with.”Their next stop might be the city championship game.Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at mraimondi@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.

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