usual, defense was the key to the initial win of the season. Lincoln
held the Flyers to single-digit scoring in three of the four
quarters. The Railers used a trademark "Railer Run" at the end of
the first and most of the way through the second quarter to take
control of the game.
Down 9-7, senior Louie Schonauer scored 10 consecutive points to
lead the 21-2 run that gave the Railers a 28-11 lead just before the
half. Sophomore Jordan Nelson notched the first five points of the
second half, giving the home squad a 20-point advantage at 34-14.
From that point on, the Flyers could get no closer the 17.
After the game, coach Neil Alexander was pleased with the overall
effort but saw areas that could be improved. One stat that was
troubling was the Flyers scoring 17 points on second chances.
Alexander said that rebounding is the hardest thing to do since
you have to get down, block out and then carry the weight of the
other guy. The coach said he is pleased with the potential of the
offense, with eight players who, on any night, could carry the load.
The play of Neece and Young was noted because the Railers brought
a toughness to the court that was not there last year. Part of that
was inexperience, part of it youth. The physical situation is being
addressed as the Railers continue to spend time in the weight room.
Monday night showed that the efforts of the players is not being
wasted. The teams will only get tougher, and the Railers will
certainly need the strength to carry on.
The Railers used balanced scoring as seven of the nine players
scored. Jordan Nelson led with 17, Louie Schonauer added 11, and
Kyle Young finished with nine (tying his career high). Ben Brackney
had a quiet night in scoring with eight, but it was one of those
nights when others had the hot hands.
Sophomore Nathaniel Smith finished with seven, but his biggest
contribution may have been on the defensive end, as he pressured the
ball and altered shots with intensity most schools don't see from
their seniors, let alone a player in only his fifth varsity game.
Alex Anderson added six on two long 3-pointers, and Kyle Frick
finished with two. Wes Neece did not score, but created steals and
was consistently on the floor after every loose ball, including one
steal made while lying on his back.
Coach Alexander felt, at least for the first game, that the
rotation of Nelson and Neece at the point guard position, worked
very well. Cameron Turner also got some minutes, did not score, but
did have a block.
The Railers will be back at it on Wednesday as they play host to
Danville, a game you can hear on 96.3 FM and on
lincolndailynews.com. On Monday, Danville lost to Champaign
In the other game from the tournament on opening night, Peoria
Manual handled O'Fallon 72-49.
[to top of second column]
Nelson 7 0-0 17, Schonauer 4 1-2 11, Young 3 3-6 9, Brackney 2 3-4
8, Smith 2 2-2 7, Anderson 2 0-0 6, Frick 1 0-0 2, Neece 0 0-0 0,
Turner 0 0-0 0, TEAM 21 9-14 60.
3-point FG: Team 9 (Nelson 3, Anderson 2, Schonauer 2, Brackney,
East St. Louis (37)
Sain 10, Thomas 9, Ramone Rias 6, King 4, Weston 3, Ford 2, Ramez
Rias 2, Branson 1.
End of first quarter -- LCHS 13, ESL 9
Halftime -- LCHS 29, ESL 14
End of third quarter -- LCHS 46, ESL 26
Other notes (again references to the
tournament stats are from 1999 to current):
The win was the
500th at Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium. All-time, the Railers are
500-141 at "The Roy."
The win was the
560th (401st at LCHS) for coach Neil Alexander.
With his two
3-pointers, Alex Anderson moved into a tie for 16th place
(Brandon Booth and Eric Graue) with 78 3s.
With the loss
Monday night, O'Fallon will have a difficult time defending its
championship from last year's tournament. However, it might not
be a surprise, since no team has repeated since 1999.
The 93 points
scored by Centennial is only two away from the most points
scored in a game. Lincoln knocked off Rockford Jefferson 95-60
Also, this game
marked the first time the margin was 33 points. As mentioned in
article, still no 24-point margin. It was close though.
There were two 23-point games on Monday.
[Special report by JEFF BENJAMIN]