Railers punch ticket to state!
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[MARCH 17, 2005]
edition of the Railer basketball team is a prime example of why I
never became a betting man. Going into the year I thought this team
might win 20 games, but I thought 17 or 18 wins was much more
plausible. Then after they made their first run through the CS8
teams, I began to think that this team had as good a chance as any
to claim the crown. My only concern then was that they were to
finish the season with too many games on the road.
Then there was the beautiful seeding
process and the IHSA's new way to fix something that wasn't broke.
Lincoln would be forced to play Mount Zion in Decatur, or more or
less on their front porch. I should never have given it even a
moment of consternation. Coach Neil Alexander and his Railers have
proven themselves over and over again. I should've known that this
team wouldn't be happy unless they were finishing the season living
it up in the Pere Marquette!
So why was I worried about the bigger, stronger Washington Panthers?
Perhaps it was because they were bigger and stronger. Little did I
know that Lincoln would hold them to one offensive rebound. Can you
believe that? As a semipro writer I'm bound to tell you the truth. I
was also told that they had one of the best freshmen in the state.
They were wrong. He may be one of the best freshmen in the country
and certainly one of the best I have ever seen. The long 3-point
rainbows he was sinking were good from the moment they left his
hand. I've shot millions of shots just like that kidů in my dreams!
The name Matt Roth is one you'll probably hear a lot of over the
next decade or so. Subtract his dazzling 25-point performance and
this isn't even a game.
Not to be outdone, Lincoln's own
underclassmen served notice that they have a game too. Sophomore
Matt Schick (I'm currently toying with the idea of nicknaming [son]
Payne, Matt) hit arguably five of the biggest points in Railer
history. He did so without a conscience and looked like he wanted
the ball every time down the court. Sophomore Brandon Farmer picked
up Lincoln's intensity in the final few minutes after it disappeared
in the second half.
And I shouldn't have been worried
about Lincoln's 26 percent shooting in the second half after a
blistering 65 percent in the opening stanza. Once again these kids
told the old man to sit down. That's because Schick tallied 14
points and Farmer seven. Seniors David Pickering, who had a
sensational first half, and John Harmsen contributed 10 points and
eight points. And rugged Chris Gossett added six points to the
cause. They are a true epitome team, and even 25 points by
Washington's Roth was not enough to eliminate the Railers.
Some day, I'll stop worrying.
[to top of second column in this article]
- Harmsen's two 3s make him
Lincoln's all-time leader, with 110 on the season!
- Lincoln's eight 3s shatter the
all-time state record for 3s in a season, with 279. The Railers
broke Chicago Brother Rice's mark of 263 set during the 1995-96
- Lincoln is set to play Rockford
Jefferson in the late 8:15 game at the Peoria Civic Center on
- Lincoln beat Jefferson earlier
this season at the Bloomington Holiday Classic.
- An announced crowd of 4,184
witnessed the incredible and historic action.
- This is Lincoln's first trip to
state since the Gregg Alexander, Brian Cook-led team took them
there in 1999.
LCHS students could purchase student
section tickets from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and a lottery for season
ticket holders (with their tickets in hand) was from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
The general public could get tickets, IF any remained after the
lottery, from 7 p.m. on.
This information was gleaned from
the LCHS offices.
Tickets might also be purchased from
the Peoria Civic Center itself at (309) 680-3555. Ticket prices are
$10, $8 and $6.
game matchups and times
- Carbondale vs. Chicago Crane,
- Harvey Thorton vs. Downer's Grove
South, 1:45 p.m.
- Northbrook Glenbrook North vs.
Chicago Brother Rice, 6:30 p.m.
- Rockford Jefferson vs. Lincoln,
Should Lincoln win, the Railers
would play the winner of Glenbrook North and Chicago Brother Rice in
the second game Saturday, at 12:45 p.m. (if I'm reading the brackets
CONGRATULATIONS to the Lincoln
players, Coach Alexander and his staff, and good luck at state!