VIDEO: Ponds’ triple-double leads Jefferson over Lincoln
Over the last 20 years, some of the biggest names in New York City high school basketball have gone to Lincoln — Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair, Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Whitehead — but that trend appears to be over. Instead, the biggest name in New York City right now could be Jefferson’s Shamorie Ponds.
Ponds showed off his skills when he scored 35 points with 10 steals and 10 rebounds in a dominant performance that led the Jefferson Orange Wave (8-0) to a 98-86 victory over the Lincoln Railsplitters (6-1) in East New York on Thursday.
“Kidnap him,” said Lincoln head coach Kenny Pretlow, when asked about the best way to stop Ponds. “Don’t let him get to the game … He’s probably the best player in the city right now.”
Jefferson set the tone early as Curtis Smith gave it a 23-16 lead when he hit a three to close out the first quarter. Ponds had five points in the first, but he really began to play well in the second to give the Orange Wave a 10-point lead at halftime.
Jefferson eventually led by as much as 17 points, but Lincoln went off on a 20-3 run behind eight points from Jahlil Tripp, who finished 24 points and 13 rebounds, that got them right back in the game. When Tyler Bourne, 15 points, hit a three to take a 59-58 lead, it was the first lead of the night for the Railsplitters.
That lead didn’t last five seconds, though. Ponds raced down the court, nailed a three, then stole the inbound pass from Lincoln immediately after and scored again to put Jefferson back up 63-59.
“That’s what he does,” Jefferson coach Bud Pollard said of Ponds. “He’s long, he’s deceptive, he’s in the passing lanes, and our style of play fits him to a T. He loves playing on his home court in this atmosphere. He’s playing well. Hopefully he can sustain it.”
Jaquan McKennon, 11 points and 12 assists, played well for Jefferson down the stretch, and junior guard Rasheem Dunn, 15 points, made a couple of great plays as well.
“That was a great game to watch,” Pollard said. “I wish I could have bought a ticket and sat in the stands to watch that game. Sometimes when you are coaching, it’s bad for the heart. I’m exhausted. It was a great win and I’m going to sleep well tonight.”
Lincoln is in transition since Whitehead graduated last year and former head coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton followed him to Seton Hall. But with talent like Tripp, Bourne, Greg Poleon, Paul Pearson and Donald Flores, the team is still going to compete for the city title.
Pollard said it was weird facing Lincoln without Tiny on its sidelines, but added that with Pretlow taking over the program, he didn’t expect the Railsplitters to miss a beat. Pretlow, who has been an assistant at Lincoln for the past 12 years, said it wasn’t much different for him, but added that he’s going to get all of the blame for losses now.
“I’m going to get that call from Tiny in about 10 minutes asking how I lost to Jefferson,” Pretlow joked. “But other than that it’s no different.”
Pretlow wasn’t upset with the loss. He noted that Jefferson is a powerhouse expected to compete for the city title, while his team is still quite young and inexperienced.
“We’re basically playing with two freshmen and a sophomore,” Pretlow said. “We got here undefeated and despite the loss this was encouraging. We fought back from a big hole, and I liked seeing that fight in them. I told them that they have no reason to hang their heads. This was a big game, but not a big game. We’ll see them again.”
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