Tough break doesn’t ruin Lincoln’s Day

Sanhei Day became a student of the game when he broke his ankle, and now he’s back on the team with high hopes.

Once a scorer, Sanhei Day is Lincoln’s starting point guard. JOE MASON / TIMES PHOTO

Sanhei Day was in the midst of being a top player on an improving team. And that’s when his season ended early.

“I was going up to block a shot and I broke my ankle,” said Day, a senior on the Abraham Lincoln High School boys basketball team. “It was last year at the end of January. I was one of the scorers on the team, so when I got hurt, I was upset. Not because the pain or anything, but because I wanted to play.”

The injury required surgery. He was on crutches for three months and wasn’t able to play basketball for five months. That meant he was a spectator as the Railsplitters won the Public League Class 6A championship and advanced to the second round of the PIAA state tournament.

No fun at all.

But not a lost cause, either.

While Day was recovering, he still spent time around the team, which meant he was always sitting with the coaching staff as the Railsplitters went on their run. He wasn’t helping on the court, but he was absorbing everything the coaches wanted from the team. Instead of just being a cheerleader, he became a student of the game, and now he’s using that to make himself a better player.

Day was a shooting guard last year, but now he’s the point guard for a Lincoln team that has high hopes.

The Railsplitters played a tough nonleague schedule to prepare for the playoffs and so far it’s paid off handsomely.

Lincoln is in the Public League quarterfinals. It bested Mastbaum 84–50 in a second-round game.

Tyree Corbett led the balanced Railsplitters with 14 points, while Khalif Mears scored 12 and Emeuel Charleston added 11. Day chipped in with 10, as the Railsplitters had 11 players score points.

Day also handled his business like he has all year. He ran the point and made sure to feed his open teammates while running the fast-paced offense to perfection. He finished with six assists.

“My job is to make everyone else happy,” said Day, who is averaging about six points a game. “Last year, I was a scorer, we had a point guard, but this year we needed someone who could just make everyone around them better.

“I try to make sure everyone gets it. I’ll get the open man. Playing on this team is fun because nobody gets upset when they don’t get the ball. Everyone wants to get it, but as long as we’re doing well, they don’t care who scores. That makes my job a lot easier.”

Lincoln’s run in the Public League playoffs ended on Friday when it fell to Constitution 89–77 in a Public League quarterfinals. The Railsplitters will now wait until Friday when they’ll face the winner of a game between Frankford and George Washington in a game that was played after the Times went to press.

His teammates might make his job easier, but according to Lincoln coach Al Brown, Day is the guy who keeps everything calm on the court.

“We love having him out there because of his senior leadership and because he’s an extension of the coaching staff on the floor,” Brown said. “We need things out there and he takes care of it. He makes sure everybody is where they need to be.”

Last year, Lincoln made its run in the postseason by having a great point guard in Marlon Sharpton and a tenacious defense that led to points.

This year, the point guard is Day and the defense is just as tenacious.

“Our defense is our calling card,” Day said. “Our guys like to play defense because it leads to offense. This is something we stressed last year and this year they’re doing a great job, too. When we can force turnovers, we get layups, so it’s helping both our offense and our defense.”

Day’s responsibility on defense is pressuring guards, which means he might not come down with the steal, but another player will pad his stats with interceptions.

As with offensive numbers, Day isn’t too concerned about his stats.

He’s only concerned about surviving and advancing.

“Last year, they just wanted to win, and we’re the same way this year,” Day said. “We’re not stinkin’ Lincoln anymore. We’re a lot better.”

Next year, Day hopes to continue his basketball career while studying business management.

“I want to own my own business,” Day said. “I love business. I have some ideas. But I want to play basketball, too.”

Day hopes to get in better condition for college basketball by running track in the spring, but he’s not ready to turn his attention to that sport.

He hopes there is a lot of basketball left to be played.

“Last year, we got experience playing in big games and this year we’re hoping to go even further,” Day said. “The only thing we want to do is win. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing and if we do that, we should be able to beat anyone.”