Lincoln has been voted as the
No. 1 seed at the Bloomington Regional. The Railers' first game will be Tuesday, March 3, and
they will face off against the previous night's victor between 4th-seeded Normal U-High and the
No. 5 seed, Rantoul. Should the
Railers win that contest, they will advance to the regional
championship on Friday, March 6, taking on the winner of
Wednesday's contest pitting second-seeded Mahomet-Seymour against
the homestanding No. 3 seed, Bloomington.
If the Railers advance with a regional title, they will travel to
Decatur Eisenhower for the sectional round. They would play on
Wednesday, March 11, against the winner of the Decatur MacArthur
regional. Most likely to come away with that title would be No. 1 seed Decatur MacArthur or second-seeded Chatham Glenwood.
more win and the Railers would be playing for a sectional title, and
it wouldn't be easy. Lincoln would square off on Friday, March 13,
against the winner from the matchup of the regional champions from
Champaign and Springfield. It is very possible that game could have
the No. 1 team in the state, Champaign Centennial, taking on
Central State Eight conference rival Springfield Southeast.
Now we're really getting down the road. If the Railers can pull off
a sectional championship, it's on to the supersectional to be
played at Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center. Lincoln
would face a team from down south in the form of the representative
from the Salem Sectional. The St. Patrick's Day matchup could
feature such teams as Centralia, Mount Vernon, Carbondale, Marion, or
a team that has already beaten the Railers earlier in the year,
A win at the PCCC would send the Railers to the Final Four in Class
3A and guarantee their first trophy since 1980. Their semifinal
matchup on March 20 would feature a team from Chicago,
possibly Chicago Marshall (remember them???), North Lawndale,
Westchester St. Joe's (home of Isiah Thomas) or a number of other
It is not an easy road, but nothing worth cherishing can be earned
by taking the easy path. Some say the Lincoln Regional is pretty
easy. Well, try telling that to the folks at Bloomington who would
love to pay back some dues from the Big 12 days and knock off the
What about at the sectional? Depending on what happens on
Feb. 27, it's possible the Railers may have to avoid being beaten
by Southeast three times in one season. Maybe Centennial. They beat
Lincoln early at the Thanksgiving tournament, a game the team will
tell you they should have taken. This is a much different Railer
team than then.
Will this be the year? The next four games are important, but no
more than to the fact to get this team ready for March. When
March arrives, will this team be remembered for going out and
playing like a lamb or like a lion? The latter could result on
coach Neil Alexander climbing a ladder and cutting down some
[to top of second column]
Regional semifinal at Bloomington -- Lincoln vs.
Normal U-High or Rantoul
Regional final at Bloomington -- Lincoln vs.
Mahomet-Seymour or Bloomington
Sectional semifinal at Decatur -- Lincoln vs.
Decatur regional winner
Sectional final at Decatur -- Lincoln vs.
Champaign vs. Springfield regional winners
Supersectional at Springfield -- Lincoln vs.
Salem sectional winner
State semifinal at Peoria -- Lincoln vs. Hoffman
Estates Supersectional winner
Saturday, March 21
State final or third-place game at Peoria
[Special report by JEFF BENJAMIN]