Presidential 21 Tourney: FINALS
All that came before.
Round 5 results (Final):
(1)LBJ 21, (1)Lincoln 17
Johnson gets last laugh; wins title in classic post battle with Lincoln
Based on the arc of each player throughout the Tournament, many anticipated the championship game between the hulking Democrat Johnson and the lithe Republican Lincoln to be a broader referendum on power vs. finesse, on the big man of the past vs. the big man of the future; what materialized, however, was a very traditional-looking contest as the two talented players clashed in the post. Lincoln made it a contest, but Johnson played a controlled game to deny the brilliant Republican the 21 title.
Johnson’s game plan was clear from the beginning. Upon getting the ball for the first time, he dipped his shoulder and powered to the goal for two, dropping Lincoln in the process. Johnson was extremely amped, and this excitement may have been responsible for him missing a few easy layups. Nevertheless, Johnson used his size and his positioning to race out to a 7-0 lead.
Lincoln seemed to take Johnson’s plan of attack as a personal challenge. Though initially pushed around on defense, Lincoln quickly began to use his wingspan and leaping ability to contest everything Johnson put up. Furthermore, instead of playing on the outside and shying away from contact on offense, Lincoln went right at Johnson down low. The lanky Republican flashed a myriad of sweet low-post moves to give him some space against his larger opponent. This fearlessness and footwork helped Lincoln pull even with Johnson.
But with the contest knotted at 13, Johnson kicked it into another gear. While he was patient and poised on the block, he moved with urgency and displayed some impressive footwork of his own. Johnson closed out the game at the line, and then fell to his knees, smiling and crying simultaneously. Lincoln was clearly dejected, but he was gracious in defeat. After allowing Johnson a moment to drink in his victory, Lincoln went over to congratulate his opponent, and then shared a joke that made Johnson unleash a belly laugh that shook his entire frame. Given how hard Johnson fought to win this Tournament, no one could blame him if he never stopped laughing.