Lincoln Park senior Ibrahim Dosunmu is 6-6 and strong. He’s bold and assertive in the post, a rebounding machine. His presence has helped the Lions play close games against some of the area’s top teams.
No one would rank Lindblom with the area’s best teams, but don’t tell the Eagles that. They won the White-Central behind high-scoring guards Paris Edward Jr. and Charles Dickson and arrived at Lincoln Park on Wednesday with a chip on their shoulder.
“(In the post) it felt like fists were being thrown at me,” Dosunmu said. “I didn’t know what to do then I calmed down, gathered myself and played.”
The Lions followed Dosunmu’s lead and shook off a rough start to beat Lindblom 51-43 in the first round of the Public League playoffs.
Dosunmu scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Sophomore Julius Francellno scored a game-high 16 points.
“We needed points,” Francellno said. “(Gordon) told me to go out and embrace the moment, be great.
Francellno didn’t play much in the first half of the season but has now become a key member of the team.
“(Francellno) has been instrumental of late, averaging 12-15 points, he’s been our guy and playing very well,” Lincoln Park coach Pat Gordon said. “He’s come a long way for us.”
The game was tied at the half and Lindblom led 31-28 after three quarters. The Lions (14-10) outscored the Eagles 23-12 in the fourth quarter.
“We knew they were going to come out hungry,” Lincoln Park senior Amari Freeman said. “They won their conference, were undefeated and they thought the Red-North was going to be something sweet. But we just came out in the second half with confidence and played defense.”
Freeman scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Hamza Gocobija added 11 points and four rebounds. Gocobija drained a three early in the fourth quarter and Freeman followed with a dunk on the next possession to tie the score at 33.
Edwards fouled out 20 seconds later and Lindblom (15-7) found itself without any momentum and without its best player. Edwards scored just five points, he was in foul trouble throughout the game. Dickson led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds and Jalen Morris scored eight points for the Eagles.
Lincoln Park turned the ball over 26 times. Point guard Marco Lewis is a junior, and despite the larger turnover number he’s a solid presence on the court.
“Turnovers have been our achilles heel,” Gordon said. “Against Curie we were up one point at the half and then had 18 turnovers in the second half.”
The Lions will face Westinghouse in the second round of the playoffs next week. Regardless of how that game goes, the future is bright at Lincoln Park.
“We only have one guy with varsity experience from last year,” Gordon said. “So it has been a new coach with a new team and there have been a lot of growing pains. We are a lot more seasoned now though and have a lot of underclassmen that gained experience.”