Cook hit for a game-high 22 points, the last two a driving
left-handed layup down the lane with 1.9 seconds remaining, to give
the Railers a nail-biting 41-39 win over Glenwood. The Lincoln
defense held the Titans from getting a last-second shot, and the
Railers improved to 7-2 on the season while boosting their CS8 mark
Just like last week, when the Railers were down 10-0, Glenwood
used two 3-pointers from highly touted junior Peyton Allen to run
out to an early 8-0 lead. Lincoln did not tally until the 2:40 mark,
on a basket from Gavin Block. The bucket ended the eight-point run
by the Titans and started a 13-0 run by the Railers. Lincoln's other
points in the quarter came on a 3 from Tyler Horchem as the quarter
ended. With the score 8-5 in favor of Glenwood, it was easy to
harken back to last year's contest at Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium when
that was the score … at halftime.
The Railers used the momentum from the end of the first quarter
to push out to a 13-8 lead on 3s from Will Podbelsek and Cook, along
with another basket from Cook. After Glenwood scored to end the run
and pull to within three, it was the senior Podbelsek hitting his
second 3 of the night to double the Railer advantage. Connecting
from long range is nothing new for Podbelsek, whose 54 career 3s
leave him just one behind Chad Tungate for 30th all-time on the
Cook, who was held scoreless in the first quarter, continued his
outburst in the second. The junior scored Lincoln's last four points
of the period, including his only two free throws of the night with
under two seconds left in the half. He was sent to the line after
Glenwood was whistled for their first foul of the game. Cook's 12
points in the quarter helped the Railers take an eight-point lead
into intermission, at 23-15.
Unfortunately, what has become more rule than exception, the
Railers continue to struggle in the third. After each team fired up
quick 3s on their first possessions of the half, Glenwood got on the
board first on a basket from Craig Fuchs. Horchem answered for the
Railers to give Lincoln their biggest cushion of the night at 26-17.
Both teams exchanged a free throw, and it was time for Allen to
begin taking over the game. The leading scorer in the conference
scored a quick five to pull the Titans (9-2, 1-2) to within four at
27-23. Another score from Glenwood made it a two-point game, but as
has been the case all season, when in need of a clutch shot to push
back a run, Podbelsek scored to end the seven-point run and extend
the Lincoln lead to 29-25.
After the score from Podbelsek, the Titans continued on their
11-2 run to knot the game at 29 on a shot from Fuchs. The rest of
the way, it felt as though Cook and Allen told everybody to get out
the way and enjoy the show. The juniors traded scoring punches as
Cook scored to put Lincoln up 31-29, only to have Allen tie the game
at 31. The only non-Cook points of the quarter came on a layup by
Block, which again was answered by Allen.
"He's a tough player," Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said,
referring to Allen. "We got out on him and pushed him off the line,
but in the second half he got his points on the inside."
Cook struck again, this time from 3-point range, to give the
Railers a 36-33 lead. Allen scored again to pull Glenwood to within
one. In an attempt to hold the ball for either a layup or, if
possible, to run out the clock, the Titan defense held tough and,
finally, senior Miles McAdams picked his spot and tipped away a pass
intended for Podbelsek. As the Glenwood football quarterback tracked
the ball down in the frontcourt and Podbelsek fell, McAdams' layup
at 1:34 gave the Titans their first lead since the end of the first
quarter, at 37-36.
[to top of second column]
As has been the theme the past two weeks, it was Cook stepping up yet
again. With one tick over a minute left in the game, Cook struck for his
fourth 3 of the night, putting the Railers back up 39-37. With Glenwood
running their offense, most likely looking for Allen, it was Block
running through a screen by Allen that sent the junior to the line for
two free throws. As he continued his perfect night from the line, going
6 for 6 to tie the game at 39 with 31 seconds to go, it was now up to
Cook to take his turn in the "anything you can do, I can do better"
battle that was being waged with Allen.
After a timeout, it was Cook working the dribble near the
time line, just waiting for his opening. With about five seconds
to go, Cook's teammates split from the lane toward the
sidelines, leaving a wide-open chasm that he drove and finished
off with a left-handed layup that fell with 1.9 seconds to go.
After a series of timeouts and a quick pass from McAdams to Brown
to get the ball to half-court with 1.1 seconds to go, the
Lincoln defense stood tall again, and Fuchs' inbounds pass,
intended for Tyler Brown in the near corner, was tipped away,
and the Titans' attempt for a game-winner never came to pass,
with Lincoln holding on for the 41-39 win.
If the ball had gotten to Allen, there is no telling what would
have happened. But, in the battle of Cook and Allen, Cook got the
last shot and his team got the win.
Both teams have shown they can score at will, but Friday night it
"I don't think he (Coach Todd Blakeman) likes to play against the
ball press," Alexander said. "And I know I don't like playing
against his defense. It was another close game."
Yes, something Railer Nation has gotten used to, with seven of
the nine games this season being decided by five points or less.
The 22 points from Cook put him as the only Railer in double
figures, with Podbelsek scoring eight, Horchem six and Block five.
Both teams put only four players in their respective scoring
columns, with Cook and Allen the stars of the game.
The Railers do not get any time to rest, as they are back in
action Saturday night, when they travel to Normal West for
out-of-conference action against the Wildcats. The contest gets an
early start, as the varsity tips at 6:30, with the sophomore squad
going at 5. Coach Gregg Alexander's younger Railers will look to
continue their winning ways, building off
Friday night's 46-45 win in overtime on Aron Hopp's 3-pointer.
Cook 8-13 2-2 22, Podbelsek 3-6 0-0 8, Horchem 2-6 0-0 6, Block
2-8 1-2 5, Bowlby 0-3 0-0 0, Ebelherr 0-0 0-0 0, Dunovsky 0-0 0-0 0,
Krusz 0-0 0-0 0. Team 15-36 3-4 41. 3-point field goals 8 (Cook 4,
Horchem 2, Podbelsek 2).
Allen 6 6-6 21, Fuchs 4 0-0 8, McAdams 2 2-2 7, Brown 1 1-2 3.
Team 13 9-10 39. 3-point field goals 4 (Allen 3, McAdams).
Scoring by quarters:
LCHS 5-18-6-12 41
GHS 8-7-12-12 39
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]
Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles