WASHINGTON D.C — Lincoln Park took game 1 of the 2016 Goodman League Finals, defeating the Drew All-Stars 60-55 in a double overtime thriller.
Hugh Jones aka Baby Shaq, led all scorers with 25 tough points. Shaq isn’t as athletic as he may have been 10 years ago, but the size and skill are still there. Shaq was the dominant force Lincoln Park needed to combat the Drew All-Stars’ physical play. In the first game against the Drew in the regular season, Shaq only finished with 10 points and went 0-2 at the free throw line. In this Game 1 he was more focused, converting 4 And-1s and hitting all four of his free throws in overtime.
Game 1 was very similar to the sloppy regular season game just a few weeks prior. For the Drew All-Stars, winning ugly has become their thing, so the sloppy game played into their favor. They wanted to bully Lincoln Park and force them to play out-of-character again. Except this time, Lincoln Park relied on their own bully to get them through the physical play.
Lincoln Park went up by as much as 8 points in the second half, but the Drew All-Stars went on a 8-0 run to tie the game led by Nate “Ol’ Man Game” Flowers (Oklahoma City University). The Drew All-Stars had opportunities to take the lead and even win the game in regulation after Dele Ojo had a mental lapse with less than 30 seconds left in the game, but Lincoln never lost their composure.
The Drew All-Stars will have to win game 2 in order to extend their season in this best-of-three finals. They will need a big game from Jimmie Black Jr. who had only 5 points in this contest. Coach Drew may have to change his starting lineup, something he is not fond of doing. Lincoln Park, despite winning, still hasn’t been able to play their type of open game against the Drew All-Stars because Ojo, Bruce Massey (Middle Tennessee State) and Zaire Hearst (Quinnipiac) haven’t had great outings.
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Author Kendall Hilton, founder of Fan-I Sports Group and Fan-I.com, has covered the Goodman League for multiple seasons.