For the last few years, Robeson High School has kind of been the doormat of the Public School Athletic League’s Brooklyn AA Division as they hadn’t had a winning record since 2010-11. It was looking like it would be more of the same this year as they were being blown out by teams by 20 or 30 points earlier in the year.
Things aren’t looking so bleak for the Crown Heights school right now though as they nearly upset Jefferson last Thursday night and then came back to beat Westinghouse 62-60 at home on Friday. It was easily their biggest win of the year and a sign that they are much improved.
“This is a team that is starting to gel together and is starting to believe in the concepts that the coaches are teaching them,” Robeson coach Bishop Green said. “I’m proud of these kids, they’re starting to step up. They are starting to believe in each other now. Before it was different individuals, but they are starting to put it together.”
The key to Robeson’s improvement this season has been the emergence of point guard Adam Goldsberry and swingman Michael “Pop” Watson. The duo combined to score 49 points against Westinghouse.
“Our chemistry has improved a lot,” Watson said. “Better chemistry, we’re practicing every day. It’s a lot of hard work, but we feel that it’s starting to pay off.”
Goldsberry showed off a quick first step and strong range when he scored 15 points in the first half of the game. When Westinghouse started putting all of its attention on Goldsberry, he dusted off his passing skills and started to involve Watson more.
“I had to switch up because I started off scoring and later on in the game they were trapping me so I had to work to find my teammates and get them involved,” Goldsberry said. “Our coach talked to us at halftime and told us that we had to pick up the tempo. We came out sloppy, but he said he had confidence in us and we came out with the win.”
Robeson trailed by nine points at halftime, but came out on a 10-2 run in the third quarter to cut the lead to just one point and tied it at 38-38 when Lavont Dorsey scored on a layup and got the and-one. That’s when Watson started his barrage of threes, hitting four in the quarter, and Robeson had a 53-48 lead going into the fourth.
“I had a lot of confidence in myself,” said Watson. “I knew that I had to get this game for my teammates, they’ve been working really hard in practice and tonight my shots fell.”
Besides Goldsberry and Watson, no Robeson players scored more than six points, but that isn’t to say that the rest of the group didn’t contribute. They played exceptional defense in the fourth quarter and held Westinghouse to just two field goals in the fourth quarter as they finished off the close win.
“We feel like we can beat anybody now,” Goldsberry said. “This was a good win because it’s going to bring our confidence up even further.”
Robeson will be put to the test for the rest of the season as they have four games left including matchups against Lincoln, Brooklyn Collegiate and Boys and Girls. The Eagles feel like their confidence and chemistry has improved and are now hoping that it turns into results.
“This team has made some really big improvements,” Green said. “I wouldn’t say that we’re up there with the rest of the Brooklyn AA yet, but we’re getting there. You might as well say that we’re from Coney Island because we’re on a roller coaster. We’re on the Cyclone. That’s the best way to put it.”