After Cahokia's Javion Spencer scored the first points of the
season, the Railers ran off seven in a row, starting with a 3
from Jordan Nelson. A basket from Coyne, a new starter this season,
was followed by Brackney's first two of the night to give
Lincoln a 7-2 lead. Early on, however, the Railer defense could not
keep Cahokia from getting back into the contest. The Comanches ran
off eight in a row to take a 10-7 lead that would be their
biggest of the night. A 10-1 run by the Railers ended the first
quarter, including a Reuben Bowlby 3 from the left wing as the
first-quarter buzzer sounded.
The Railers continued the run by starting the second quarter with a
12-5 run that gave Lincoln (1-0) a 29-16 lead. The run included six
points from Brackney, four from Bowlby, and a lay-in from Coyne. Once again, too many easy baskets from both the paint and the
perimeter and Cahokia was able to cut the game to five at 31-26.
Little did they know that would be as close as they would get the
rest of the contest. The
last of Brackney's 13 first-half points gave the Railers a seven-point lead
of 33-26 at the half.
The Railers were 12 of 29 in the first half, including 3 for 15 from
3-point range, a point that did not escape head coach Neil Alexander.
"We took too many quick shots in the first half," Alexander said.
"We were settling for shots and not working the offense." Alexander
also mentioned that Cahokia was able to get too many easy shots in
the lane, on spin moves, with no defensive help. "They're a good
team. You can't make it easy for them," he said.
Cahokia came out of the locker room hoping to cut the lead even
more, but, instead, they were met with a barrage of Lincoln 3s
and defense. The Railers' first three baskets were long range from
Cameron Turner, Brackney and Nelson. With four more
points scored around a Cahokia basket, coach Darian Nash was forced
to call a timeout to stop the run with Lincoln up 46-28. As had
happened in the first half, the Railers seemed to let down on their
intensity, as a 9-2 run brought the Comanches back to within 11
With Brackney carrying the load for much of the first
half, Nelson stepped up to score eight of Lincoln's next 10
points to push the lead back to 18, at 58-40 early in the fourth
quarter. As it turned out, this was the time Cahokia was knocked
down and did not get back up.
A 12-5 run midway through the final quarter gave the Railers their
biggest lead of the night at 70-45. A couple of traded baskets made the
final score 74-50. Lincoln's shot selection was better in the second
half, going 18 of 30 (60 percent) while holding Cahokia (0-1) to just
9 of 26.
"It was good to get a game in. It's easy to get stale playing
against yourselves," Alexander said. "There are certainly some
things to work on, and we only have tomorrow to work on things
before Danville on Wednesday night."
Along with the 22 from Brackney and Nelson, and Brant Coyne's 10, Bowlby added nine, Nathaniel Smith chipped in with six,
Cameron Turner had a 3, while Steven Green came off the bench to
score a basket late.
Coming into the game, most felt the trio of Brackney, Nelson and
Smith would be the keys to this team (each one played over 30 minutes). On this
night, we may have gotten a glimpse at what players like Coyne and Bowlby can offer this team. "I
don't think they (Coyne and Bowlby) missed a shot all night. They
were 7 for 7 with 19 points total. We'll take that every
night from our post players," Alexander said.
Smith added six points, five rebounds and three assists. As the
season progresses, he will be asked to do more as teams focus more
on Brackney and Nelson.
So, game one is in the books. Lincoln will be in action again on
Wednesday night at 7:30 against Danville. The Railers hold a 6-3
advantage over the Vikings over the last nine seasons but have
split the last six, with Lincoln winning 63-52 last season. As
always, you can read about it after the game here at
[to top of second column]
In other opening round games, Belleville Althoff's maiden voyage
in the tournament was a record setter. The Crusaders set the record
for most points in a game (106) and largest margin of victory (62)
with a 106-44 victory over Rochester. Champaign Centennial began
defense of their 3A state title with a 91-75 win at Danville.
Cahokia and Althoff will play at Cahokia Wednesday night while
Rochester will take on Centennial.
Brackney 9-21 2-2 22, Nelson 9-16 0-0 22, Coyne 5-5 0-0 10, Bowlby
2-2 4-4 9, Smith 3-8 0-0 6, Turner 1-4 0-0 3, Green 1-1 0-0 2, Kirby
0-0 0-0 0, Cosby 0-2 0-0 0. Team 30-59 6-6 74.
3-point FG 8-27 (Nelson
4-10, Brackney 2-7, Bowlby 1-1, Turner 1-4, Cosby 0-2, Smith 0-3), rebounds 28 (Brackney 10),
assists 12 (Nelson 4), steals 13 (Brackney
4), turnovers 10.
Spencer 18, Norris 18, Broaden 6, Ivy 4, Beckley 2, Hunt 2. Team
20-48 4-9 50.
3-point FG 6-23, rebounds 30, assists 6, steals 5,
End of first quarter: Lincoln 17, Cahokia 11
Halftime: Lincoln 33, Cahokia 26
End of third quarter: Lincoln 52, Cahokia 39
Jordan Nelson (131) is now just one behind David Pickering (132)
for seventh on the career 3s made list. He is also just three behind
Josh Komnick (134) and sixth place.
Ben Brackney set and Jordan Nelson tied a career high by making
nine field goals in the game. Nelson tied the mark he set at last
year's Collinsville tournament against Riverview Gardens. Brackney's
previous high was eight against SHG back in January 2008.
Lincoln's 74-50 was the first 24-point margin in the tournament
history. (A reminder -- all tournament references begin with the 1999
format and forward.)
[Special report by JEFF BENJAMIN]