first question posed to him was looking for an explanation of how a
Lanphier team that was held to only seven points in the first half
could be allowed to score 41 in the second half and almost upset the
eighth-ranked Railers. Coach Alexander's response spoke louder than
anything when he said ... simply nothing. The disappointment was all
over his face, just as the defensive struggles were all over the
court in the second half as the Railers survived Lanphier 55-48.
It was a win, but, as Alexander stated, "Sometimes a win isn't
really a win." It was apparent that he was getting frustrated with a
team that still can't put together a full 32 minutes of solid
Lincoln (13-2, 6-0), whose success is predicated on good, solid,
fundamental team defense, looked on the way to another easy win,
thanks to allowing only four points in the first quarter and then
one less in the second. Seven points at half -- ah, just another
Not so fast, as Lanphier emerged from intermission with more
energy and fire than the Railers. The Lions outscored Lincoln 41-34
in the second half, cut a 16-point game down to two and had a chance
to tie the game late before the Railers scored the final five points
of the contest.
After the teams traded baskets early, things quickly turned in
Lincoln's favor. A 14-0 run from late in the first quarter to midway
through the second quarter put the Railers up 17-4. A key to the
early run was the defense holding Central State Eight conference
scoring leader Karl Madison scoreless until just over three minutes
left in the half. Madison scored his only basket of the first half
with 3:10 remaining.
Lanphier's offensive woes were aplenty as Cheldon Brown was the
only other Lion to score for a team that missed 17 of the 20 shots
they took in the first 16 minutes. The 21-7 lead the Railers enjoyed
at the half could have been larger, but the offense certainly wasn't
hitting on all cylinders, going 8-for-25 (32 percent) and just
3-of-13 from long range.
The key to the run from Lanphier came in the second half as the
Lions switched from zone to man, and the physical, in-your-face play
seemed to rattle the Railers. All that being said, Lincoln enjoyed
their biggest lead of the night at the end of the third quarter,
Justin Smith scored his first six points of the night in the
third but was just getting warmed up for his role in the comeback.
Smith hit three times from long range in the fourth quarter to
finish with a game-high 17 points. Jalen McBride added an inside
presence, 12 points and eight rebounds, that helped bring Lanphier
(5-11, 3-2) closer and closer down the stretch.
The Lions used an 11-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 50-48
on a Karl Madison free throw. Madison missed the second, and the
rebound grabbed by McBride slipped away, as did the final hopes for
Lanphier. Lincoln was able to get a layup from Louis Schonauer and a
free throw each from Ben Brackney and Nathaniel Smith to seal the
Again, it wasn't pretty, but the victory keeps the Railers
undefeated in conference play.
For the second game in a row, the Railers were led in scoring by
Louis Schonauer. The senior connected on four 3-pointers and
finished with 14 points. Kyle Young quietly had a solid game,
finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds and a team-high four
assists. Another key to the comeback by Lanphier was holding Young
scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Nelson finished with seven points, while Ben Brackney
contributed a good floor game. Brackney also ended with seven
points, put did a majority of the ball-handling, working against the
Lanphier pressure, and hit double figures in rebounds with 10.
Sophomore Nathaniel Smith was good as usual, chipping in six points,
three rebounds and two steals.
[to top of second column]
Wes Neece played only about six minutes but scored his four
points to start the fourth quarter. Alex Anderson added two but
continued to struggle from behind the arc, missing all four
attempts. Kyle Frick had a typical game, scoring only two, but
adding three rebounds, three steals and making key plays on defense.
The season is approximately half over and, based on his comments,
Alexander is wanting to see improvement from his team. Yes, the team
is 13-2, ranked eighth and has yet to lose in conference. However,
this team won't be measured by its record in mid-January; it will be
how far it can go in March. If the consistency of the defense is not
there, no one is sure how far into March it can or will go.
The junior varsity for Lincoln held off a late charge as well by
knocking off Lanphier 56-46.
Lincoln will be back in action tonight as the Railers finish out
the weekend homestand by taking on LaSalle-Peru. The contest will
tip at 7:30 and, as always, you can catch the game on WLCN-FM 96.3
and here at
LINCOLN (55) -- Schonauer 5 0-0 14, Young 6 1-3 13, Nelson 2 2-2
7, Brackney 1 5-6 7, Smith 2 2-4 6, Neece 2 0-0 4, Frick 1 0-1 2,
Anderson 1 0-0 2. Team 20 10-16 55.
3-point FG: Team 5 (Schonauer 4, Nelson).
Lanphier (48) -- Smith 17, McBride 12, Madison 9, Brown 8,
End of first quarter -- LCHS 11, Lanphier 4
Halftime -- LCHS 21, Lanphier 7
End of third quarter -- LCHS 40, Lanphier 24
Other Railer notes:
In the last two
games, the Railers have given up 51 points in the fourth quarter
The free throw
missed in the second quarter by Nathaniel Smith was the first of
his varsity career. He missed the second one in the fourth
If the McBride
sounds familiar, yes, it is the younger brother of former Lion
This is the third
time Louis Schonauer has led the team in scoring. Jordan Nelson
and Kyle Young have done it five times, while Ben Brackney has
done it twice.
Over the past four
games, the Railers are only shooting 66 percent (41-of-62) from
the free-throw line.
The four 3-pointers ties a career high
in a game for Louis Schonauer. It's the fourth time he has
accomplished it (last done Dec. 30 in the game with Oakville).
[Special report by JEFF BENJAMIN]