By David Cordova
If there’s one division in the PSAL that has a lot of tough teams, it’s the Brooklyn “AA” division. What separates Brooklyn from the other boroughs is the competitive nature and the grind that all of the teams display.
When you think of the “AA” division in Brooklyn, you first think of either the Abraham Lincoln Railsplitters, who are defending PSAL AA city and New York State Federation champions, or the Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave, who had both of those titles in the 2015-16 season or even the South Shore Vikings, who many believe is the best team in the borough and the city at the present time.
But now there’s one program that plans on making their presence felt in the borough. That team is the Brooklyn Collegiate Lions. The program from the school located in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn has plenty of underrated talent on its roster which also has Division I talent.
The guards on the roster are senior Chris Goodwin, who is committed to Division II Bloomfield College, junior Glen Anderson, who has interest from a few Division I schools and offers from schools such as Iona and Howard, and sophomore Majesty Johnson. Then their frontcourt consists of forwards in juniors Amadou Traore and Erlyn Ramirez.
Throughout the summer, the Lions played outstanding in summer leagues such as the Tri-State Classic in Harlem and the Conrad McRae Youth League in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn and also in team camps such as the University of Maryland. Their ascent continued in the fall leagues such as Tru Ballaz in the Bronx and More Than A Game in Brooklyn.
When it was time for the season to start, they did so in great fashion against one of Connecticut’s powerhouse teams, Hillhouse on November 27th, winning 55-48 at home as part of their annual Thanksgiving Invitational.
Then three days later, on November 30th, they started out their first PSAL game of the season on the road against Thomas Jefferson, in which they fell behind throughout the first three quarters. But then they mustered a strong fourth quarter and caught up to the opposition. However, it would not be enough as the Orange Wave would win their season opener by seven, 89-82.
Their next game would be against South Shore this past Tuesday, December 5th, on the road. This one would be another rough one for the Lions, as the Vikings would dominate from start to finish and win, 77-61.
And just like that, the Lions were 0-2 in the PSAL Brooklyn “AA” division, but the young squad would not be deterred, as they faced Lincoln on Thursday, December 7th in their home gym.
In the beginning of the game, the game would be a close one as the Lions would lead after the first quarter, 16-14. Then Lincoln’s size advantage and strong play would send them into the half leading by ten, 37-27.
The second half would continue to be a close affair, and then the Railsplitters would stay on top for most of the third quarter. As the fourth quarter came, the stage was set for the Lions to make their mark. Lincoln would start to fold as Brooklyn Collegiate’s defense would force them into turnovers and bad shots by the Railsplitters would give the Lions an opportunity to be seized, as they hit clutch free throws, made key jumpers and a dunk by Goodwin would serve as the exclamation point in their seven-point win, 66-59.
Now the Lions are 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the PSAL. The question now is how will they stack up against the other schools in the division such as Robeson, Westinghouse, Boys & Girls and Eagle Academy II?
With the formidable nucleus they have, which also includes junior Charles Brown and senior Babakumn Babalola, there’s no telling that they can pull off some good victories in the ultra-competitive Brooklyn “AA” division.
Aside from their league schedule, they will be playing a good non-league schedule which includes Wings Academy, Eagle Academy I, Lincoln Academy of Georgia and New York State powerhouse Long Island Lutheran. All there is left to say now is, look out for the sleepers in the league in the Lions of Brooklyn Collegiate.