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By Jeff Mayfield

[MARCH 1, 2004]  WOW! Unbelievable! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

First, it was the Lincoln Railers winning yet another CS8 championship on Friday night and getting their 20th victory in the process. It is an amazing feat that will be talked about for the ages.

People began writing this team off once the final horn sounded a year ago, and here they are league champions again with a No. 3 seed in their sectional complex. Hats off to a great group of players and a coaching staff that is second to none!

Then, the Lincoln Christian College Angels put an exclamation point on arguably their greatest season ever. They won the Midwest Regional championship right here in beautiful Lincoln -- in the Laughlin Center -- 74-69 over a solid team from Grace.

You can not even fathom the fantastic job husband-and-wife coaching team Amanda and Donnie Bowman have done with these ladies. This is truly a special basketball team.

If that wasn't enough, the Lincoln Christian College men's basketball team had to play the always incredibly tough Maranatha squad for the regional title. Did I mention that the game was played on Maranatha's home floor? Did I also mention it was the last game for their classy coach, Jerry Terrell?

In a game that the Preachers seemed to be trailing in a lot, All-World guard Brian Dunaway made his move to the rack. His drive was stalled, but he spotted sensational sharpshooter Caleb Edson of Centralia and Country Bob fame and tossed him the rock. Edson glanced at the clock and let fly a 3-pointer… It went in and all Preacherdom has gone into pandemonium! Hats off to this outstanding squad and to their coaches.

 

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LCC's basketball teams are both advancing to their respective national tournaments for the first time in their history! The women will try to win the banner in Joplin, Mo., while the men will seek the rings in Springfield, Mo. We'll bring you more coverage later. Lincoln resident-players factored in both teams' wins.

On top of all this, the Illinois Fighting Illini won their eighth straight game and went 8-0 in February as they won 76-66 over a very strong Northwestern squad. Dee Brown led a group of Illini players in double figures and seems to be heating up at the most opportune time possible. The orange-clad Illini fans roared their approval and led Illinois to another 13-1 home campaign.

Things stiffen up and the stakes rise through the roof next, as the Illini must go on the road to Purdue's house of doom and to the always tough arena in Columbus, Ohio. Wisconsin must go to Indiana and to Michigan State, but all the Spartans have left is that home match with Bucky Badger.

I think conventional wisdom would say that if the Illini split (in fact if you'd give me that now, I'd mail it in) that would be about as good as you could expect. And if Michigan State holds serve at home, they will win the title outright. Everyone eat cheese this week to bring Bucky some luck!

[Jeff Mayfield]

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