Now, Young is one of those veteran seniors and, along with a
solid set of sophomores, the Railers hope to return to Peoria, only
this time to bring home some hardware. On Wednesday night, it was
the combination of the senior Young and sophomore Jordan Nelson that
led to Railers to a 57-41 victory over the Bulldogs from Highland on
the second night of the 2009 Meijer Winter Classic in Chatham.
Young and Nelson combined for 44 points, outscoring their
opponents by themselves, to keep Lincoln perfect in the tournament.
The next three games in the tournament are against conference foes
(Taylorville, Jacksonville and Glenwood), and Lincoln looks to stay
undefeated in the CS8, setting up a possible showdown of unbeatens a
week from Friday with Southeast.
The story of the night was the inside-outside play of Young and
Nelson. Highland had no defensive answer for Young. He finished with
25 points on 11-of-13 shooting, as well as leading the team with
rebounds. "He scored in a lot of different ways tonight, " coach
Neil Alexander said of Young, "going strong to the basket, had a
nice turn- around 10-footer in the lane, running the floor on break
opportunities and getting to the line. If you're going to be
scorer, you've got to be able to score in different ways."
Another factor that helped the Railers was that the defender that Highland coach Todd Strong had picked to keep Young from the basket
got in early foul trouble, picking up three quick fouls, and then
his fourth early in the third quarter.
When the Railers (16-2) weren't getting the ball to Young down low,
the motion offense ran very well at times, allowing Jordan Nelson to
find good shots within the framework of that offense. Nelson did not
appear to force any of his 12 shots, hitting seven, including all five
of the 3-pointers for the Railers, to finish with what seemed
to be a very quiet 19 points.
The other Railers did a nice job of finding the hot hands of
Young and Nelson, letting them lead the way to their 16th win.
Lincoln was also able to keep their turnovers down again, this time
making only eight on a night where most of those were unforced
errors, not plays by the Highland (7-9) defense.
Coach Alexander's crew put together a couple of the normal Railer
runs, including a 12-0 run late in the first and early in the second
quarter. The run that put the game out of reach was a 24-7 run after
Highland cut the lead to only seven early in the third at 33-26.
Highland scored the last eight points of the game to bring the game
closer than it actually was, making the final margin of 17.
The Railer defense played well, but as Alexander said, "our
intensity was up and down tonight, and we have to find a way to play
32 minutes." The Railers forced 20 turnovers, holding Highland to 14-of-34 shooting (41 percent), but the Bulldogs were able to connect
on half of their 3-pointers (8 of 16). Lincoln's shooting eye was
still there from Monday night, hitting 23 of 41 (56 percent),
including 61 percent in the second half.
Nathaniel Smith added six points along with a strong defensive
effort. Kyle Frick added four and even found himself at the point of
the Railer zone at times during the game, giving Highland more fits.
Louie Schonauer was the only other Railer to score, with three.
[to top of second column]
Ben Brackney, who had a strong offensive game on Monday night,
was held scoreless. However, Brackney played a nice floor game and
did not force many shots.
The past two nights show why the Railers
may be a tough out when tournament time comes around. "Monday night
it was two kids, tonight it's another two kids, so I think we're
hard to scout because any given night, it could be any kid, " coach
Alexander said after the Railers ran their all-time record in the Meijer Classic to 26-5.
Something the Railers have done very well over the past few games is
take away the main offensive option of their opponent. Last night,
Highland's leading scorer coming in, Brent Kuper, did score a
Bulldog-high of 13 points. However, his first points did not come
until 1:40 left in the first half, and after hitting two 3s
early in the third quarter, he was held to a single free throw in
the fourth quarter.
Other scores from Wednesday night saw Jacksonville beat Taylorville
67-38, and Alton came back to surprise Glenwood 35-34. Alton didn't
score their first basket until about a minute and a half left in the
After two games, the standings at Chatham look this
way: Lincoln 2-0, Jacksonville 2-0, Alton 1-1, Glenwood 1-1,
Highland 0-2, Taylorville 0-2.
Lincoln will be back in action Friday night as the Railers continue
in the 2009 Meijer Winter Classic in Chatham by taking on the
Taylorville Tornadoes in the first of three Central State Eight
conference games over the weekend. In early December, Jordan Nelson
led the Railers with 14 to an easy 72-33 win over Taylorville at Roy
S. Anderson gymnasium. The contest is scheduled to tip around
6:30 p.m. and, as always, you can catch the game on WLCN-FM 96.3 and
LINCOLN (57) --
Young 11 3-5 25, Nelson 7 0-0 19, Smith 3 0-0 6, Frick 1 2-2 4,
Schonauer 1 1-2 3, Brackney 0 0-0 0, Neece 0 0-0 0, Turner 0 0-0 0,
Anderson 0 0-0 0, Fisher 0 0-0 0, Coyne 0 0-0 0. Team 23 6-9 57.
3-point FG: Team 5 (Nelson 5).
Highland (41) --
Kuper 13, Donaldson 12, Sudhoff 5, Reutimann 5, Knebel 3, Buehne 3.
End of first quarter -- LCHS 17, Highland 8
Halftime -- LCHS 31, Highland 20
End of third quarter -- LCHS 44, Highland 28
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]