Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illini adventure continues

Railers hold on for 34-32 win over Springfield

By Jeff Benjamin

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[January 07, 2009]  Most folks hope that holiday hangovers last only a few hours, maybe a day. However, the layoff from the last week while the new year was celebrated almost snuck up and caught the Railers off guard on Tuesday night. The Springfield Senators came very close to starting 2009 on an unhappy note for Lincoln, but the visitors missed two shots in the final seconds as the Railers survived at home 34-32. Lincoln never seemed to find the right mix on the offensive end, but a couple of key defensive stops and timely free-throw shooting kept the Railers perfect in Central State Eight play.

Lincoln (11-2, 4-0) got four early points inside from Kyle Young, who was matched up against 6-foot-3, 250-pound sophomore Kendall Murdock. It was apparent early on that the Railers would be able to feed Young the ball inside with that matchup.

Senator coach Matt Reed made a key decision early by going to four guards, taking Murdock out and trying to out-quick the Railers on both ends of the court. The Railers only scored five points the rest of the quarter -- two more from Young and a 3 from Jordan Nelson. The pace quickly turned to a Senator-favored slow-down type of game with 30 to 45 seconds per possession.

The second quarter was no better offensively for the Railers. In fact, over the final three quarters, Lincoln scored only two field goals in each eight-minute span. Lincoln's seven points in the second quarter were bested by sophomore guard Mark Gilchrese's eight points for the Senators. The Railers went into halftime with a 16-15 lead, and it appeared the game was headed to a "first one to 30 wins."


As the third quarter started, things were looking up as Louis Schonauer and Nelson hit from long distance to stretch the Railer lead to seven at 22-15. Unfortunately, Lincoln could not handle the advantage and watched as the Senators ran off 11 in a row to take a three-point lead at the end of the quarter. Other than the early six from Schonauer and Nelson, Lincoln's only other scoring in the quarter was a free throw from Schonauer.

Defensively, the Railers were doing a good job, holding the Senators to only 26 points in the first three quarters. However, the Senator defense was doing a little bit better, creating an offensive turmoil for Lincoln, forcing the Railers into quick shots, sloppy passes and bad decisions.

Once into the fourth quarter, and with the lead, Springfield seemed content to run as much clock as possible and shorten the game. The decision to slow down the game may have cost Springfield, as it seemed to rob them of any momentum that had amassed on their side.

The Railers were able to get the lead back at the 6:00 mark, 29-28, thanks to a Jordan Nelson 3-pointer. Two free throws by the Senators put them on top 30-29, while the seesawing continued with a Schonauer layup. The last Springfield lead was at 32-31.

Lincoln took the lead for good after a foul, questionable from Springfield's perspective, put Nelson at the line, where he hit both free throws. One more free throw by Kyle Young finished out the scoring, although the Senators missed a baseline jumper, got the rebound and fell short on the final shot before time expired.

The evening's PA announcer, Jeff Nelson, may have summed up the game better than anyone by saying, "Lincoln survives 34-32."

The evening's 34 points were from only four players, led by Kyle Young's 12. Jordan Nelson joined him in double figures with 11, including three 3-pointers. Louis Schonauer added nine, while Kyle Frick chipped in a basket.

After being named to the all-tournament team at Collinsville, Ben Brackney was held scoreless, but he did lead the team in rebounds with six.

Rebounding was again an issue for Lincoln as they were out-boarded 24-13, none of them on the offensive end. Offense was a trouble spot all night as the Railers managed only 10 shots in the second half and 26 for the game.

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The junior varsity for Lincoln dropped a close contest to open the night, falling to the Senators 50-47.

Lincoln will be back in action Friday night as the Railers take to the road in conference play against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin. The contest will tip at 7:30 and, as always, you can catch the game on WLCN-FM 96.3 and here at


LINCOLN (34) -- Young 3 6-8 12, Nelson 3 2-2 11, Schonauer 3 1-2 9, Frick 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 0-0 0, Brackney 0 0-0 0, Neece 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0 TEAM 10 9-12 34.
3-point FG: Team 5 (Nelson 3, Schonauer 2).

Springfield (32) -- Gilchrese 13, Hale 8, Mathis 5, Burnett 4, Wilkerson 2.

End of first quarter -- LCHS 9, Springfield 7
Halftime -- LCHS 16, Springfield 15
End of third quarter -- Springfield 26, Lincoln 23

Other Railer notes:

  • Lincoln shot 39 percent (10-of-26) for the game, while the Senators also finished at 39 percent.

  • Lincoln had no second-chance points.

  • On a personal note, I would like to thank all of those who have extended condolences to me and my family after the death of my father last week. Your thoughts and prayers have been greatly appreciated and mean a great deal. I want to thank Tom Larey for sliding into the play-by-play seat for the last day at Collinsville, while Mitch Smith took over the commentary. They had to do this without much notice and almost brought the Railers home with the first-place trophy. I also want to thank Tom for filling in on bringing you these reports on the Railers. It was a good thing to get back, because I didn't want to be Wally Pipp-ed. Again, I thank you all -- it was greatly appreciated!

[Special report by JEFF BENJAMIN]

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