The Vikings of Northeast High were a bit overwhelmed by the size and skill of their closest neighbor in the Public League. Traveling only about a mile and a half, the Railsplitters of Abraham Lincoln brought their undefeated (in league play) and very tall team into the Northeast gym for a matchup this afternoon.
The game was never close, with the Railsplitters taking control very early. The score after one quarter was 26-13 in their favor, 48-19 when they went to break at half and 55-31 after the third.
Lincoln is a program on the rise, having gotten to the second round of the PIAA State tournament in ’16-17. They beat a respected squad, the Conestoga Pioneers, out of the Central League (District 1-6th seed) for the first state win in school history 66-60, and were then taken down by the legendary Carlisle Thundering Herd team 85-69, the Mid Penn League 5-seed out of District 3: one of only two schools in Pennsylvania history to win four straight PIAA Titles, Neumann-Goretti of the PCL is the other.
Two quality starters for the visitors were injured and did not play. The 6’6” Jahi (JR) Randall has a possible meniscus situation and should know shortly what his prognosis is after an MRI at the local urgent care center. The other player is 6’2” Carl Jefferson, a solid contributor. He should return soon.
Starting for Lincoln these days is the Brazilian Pedro Matos, a senior standing over 7’ tall. He’s been listed by some services at 7’2” when he hasn’t cut his hair in a few months. Regardless, he is a giant in this “B” division of the Public League. Working very hard when out on the court, he’s been seeing more and more time as he gradually learns how to play the American game. Still a newcomer to basketball, he has a healthy attitude and is supported by his more experienced mates. He is also a very good student, studying business and accounting, and has mastered English quickly. He spent his junior year bouncing around a bit between Frankford and Northeast before finally settling at Lincoln.
Lincoln also shows up with several other players topping 6’7” including Oluwadara Idowu, Aseem Lucky and Patrick Obogo. They are very deep, undefeated in the Pub and headed for a showdown next Tuesday, January 23 with the Sankofa Freedom Academy, who is also undefeated in B Division play.
Point guard Emeul Charleston led all scorers with an athletically impressive 22. Charleston learned his skills at the Holmesburg Boys Club, which has been producing fine guards for decades, many of whom end up at Father Judge in the PCL. Listed at a slightly generous 5’10”, and claiming 5’11”, he nevertheless shows remarkable abilities to score over bigger players. He is a fine facilitator for this squad that appears on the verge of becoming a competitor for league honors in this and the next few years, as many of the team members are underclassmen.
Also in the scoring mix for Lincoln was Shakeir Morrison, a 6’ senior two guard with 13, and Khalif Meares, a 6’3” senior combo guard with 11. The final score was 77-48 in favor of the Railsplitters. Shaquil Bender led Northeast with 10.