Saturday, December 08, 2012
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Crimsons crush Railer winning streak 46-44 in OT

By Jeff Benjamin

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[December 08, 2012]  Hoping to pick up in December where they left off in November, the Lincoln Railers were looking to stay perfect in CS8 play against Jacksonville on Friday night. Unfortunately, the visitors from the west took matters in their own "Hance," coming away with a heartbreaking 46-44 overtime win over the Railers at Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium.

Jacksonville junior Blake Hance dropped in a turnaround 15-footer as time expired in overtime to give the Crimsons the win. The Crimsons inbounded the ball with 2.6 seconds left, but the pass went through the hands of its intended target, Josh Peak. However, the ball found its way to Hance, who turned and fired as time expired.

The loss drops the Railers to 5-2 on the season, while being even in CS8 play through two games. One of the big keys in the contest was the battle of the leading scorers. Peak, the 6-foot-5 nephew of former Jacksonville and University of Illinois star Andy Kaufmann, paced the Crimsons with 17 points, nine of those in the fourth quarter and overtime. On the other side, Lincoln's top scorer, Edward Bowlby, saddled with foul trouble most of the evening, was held scoreless. It wasn't the only time scoreless could be associated with this game.

"How you don't even score in a quarter is beyond me," an exasperated Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said after the game, referring to his team being shut out in the fourth quarter while Jacksonville came back from an eight-point deficit to begin the final eight minutes of regulation. "You've got to be able to execute, and we certainly did not."

It was certainly a game of runs. After Gavin Block scored on a lob pass on the first possession, Jacksonville ran off a 9-3 spurt. In the midst of that run, Bowlby went to the bench at the 3:53 mark with his second foul. A Will Podbelsek 3 got the Railers to within one at 9-8. Another 9-2 run gave the Crimsons an eight-point advantage at 18-10 early in the second quarter. During that run, it was Block forced to the bench with his second foul.

Most of the early stages of the game, the Jacksonville defense was playing off junior guard Max Cook, who usually found himself at, or near, the top of the key. It was important for the Railer offense for Cook to at least take the shot he was being given in order to open up some offensive options. Cook finally took, and made, a 3, his only points of the night, but it ignited a 23-5 run for the Railers, taking them from down eight to up 10 at the half.

After Cook's 3, Block scored on an inside move. Turning up the pressure and trying to speed up the Crimsons seemed to bother Jacksonville. After the Block score, an inbounds pass was simply dropped and lying in the lane. It seemed the Crimsons were waiting for some foul to be called, but Podbelsek picked it up and was fouled on the shot attempt. Making one of the two pulled Lincoln to within two at 18-16. After a Jacksonville basket, the game turned into the Tyler Horchem portion of the show. The junior, who scored a career-high 17 points, hit on three 3s in a row to put the Railers up 25-22. After two free throws from Block, it was Horchem making a steal and layup to push the lead to seven, and that advantage grew to double digits when Podbelsek connected for one of his four 3s on the night, giving Lincoln the lead at 32-22. Each team hit one free throw heading into intermission, and the Railers enjoyed a 10-point cushion at 33-23.

The story of the second half was the inability of the Lincoln offense to get anything going. While Jacksonville slowly climbed back into the game, the Railers just could not find an answer on offense. After the Crimsons had scored the first six points of the half, it was Podbelsek coming up big again. Although only seven games into the season, more and more, it feels that if a big shot is going to be hit, it's going to come from Podbelsek. The senior's 3 moved Lincoln's edge back to seven, and an Austin Krusz turnaround in the lane made it 38-29. Krusz did yeoman's work filling in for Bowlby in his foul trouble. When Horchem hit the last of his five 3s on the night, Lincoln was back up 10, and things were looking pretty good.

Oh, but that fourth quarter. That one is going to sting for a while. It is hard to imagine a team scoring 23 points in one quarter (Lincoln in the second) and then not scoring even a point in the fourth. Of course, give credit to Jacksonville, as they took full advantage and slowly climbed back into the game. Down eight to start the fourth, the Crimsons (5-1, 1-0) turned to their big men, Peak and Hance, who chipped away at their deficit. The Railers did their best, or not their best, in aiding the Crimson comeback.

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"At times, it seemed like we shot the ball just to give it back to them," said Alexander. "I mean we started with the ball at the half, we step on the end line; next time down, we step on the end line again. I'm really at a loss with this one."

When Peak scored late in the contest to tie the game at 41, the Railers still had an opportunity but did not get the look they were seeking. After a scramble left the ball with Jacksonville and one second put on the clock, Jacksonville's Andy Jackson made a potential game-costing mistake. While trying to inbounds from in front of the Railer bench, Jackson's pass sailed out of bounds over everyone's head in the right corner, giving the ball back to Lincoln from the same spot. However, Podbelsek's last-second shot was blocked and, for the second time this season, it was on to overtime.

The extra session was scoreless until the 2:39 mark, when Peak hit one of two free throws. He ended up at the line after being fouled by Block, who fouled out on the play. The Railers took their final lead of the night when, you guessed it, Podbelsek hit another 3 to make it 44-42. Again, though, Peak would not be denied and made two more free throws to tie the game at 44. That all set up the heroics from Hance, who joined Peak in double figures with 11 points.

After blistering the nets in the first half from 3-point range, going 7 of 13, Lincoln cooled, making just 3 of 15 after intermission, a total of 36 percent for the game. Overall, the team hit on 34 percent (14 of 41) for the contest. Jacksonville outrebounded the Railers 31-18 while shooting over 50 percent (16 of 30).

The Railers were led by Horchem's 17 points and 13 from Podbelsek. Before fouling out, Block scored nine, with Cook adding three and Krusz scoring two.

A game the Railers should have won, absolutely. This game harkened back to some of last year's defeats when, instead of finding a way to win, the team let victories slip into losses. Let's hope some lessons were learned Friday night because the road does not get any easier over the next two weeks with a trip to Southeast and a visit from Glenwood on the docket.

Lincoln is back in action next week on Friday night as they travel to Southeast to take on a very good Spartan squad. Varsity will tip around 7:30, with the JV starting things off at 6. The JV got the night off to a good start on Friday with a 41-35 win.



Horchem 6 0-0 17, Podbelsek 4 1-2 13, Block 2 5-7 9, M.Cook 1 0-0 3, Krusz 1 0-0 2, W. Cook 0 0-0 0, Dunovsly 0 0-0 0, Bowlby 0 0-0 0, Conrady 0 0-0 0. Team 14 6-9 44. 3-point field goals 10 (Horchem 5, Podbelsek 4, M.Cook).


Peak 17, Hance 11, Dugan 8, Keene 7, Armstrong 3. Team 16 11-16 46. 3-point field goals 3 (Dugan 2, Keene).

Scoring by quarters:

LCHS 10-23-8-0-3 44
JHS 14-9-10-8-5 46


Railer-related information:

Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles

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