completed a Saturday sweep with wins over Belleville Althoff and
Granite City to win the consolation championship at the 29th
annual Schnucks Holiday Classic
in Collinsville. The wins will allow the Railers to head into 2013
with a record of 11-3. However, it's been a while since a three-win
stay in Collinsville has been met with so much disappointment.
"Well, we finished 3-1," coach Neil Alexander said, "but it's not
the right 3-1. We put ourselves in this situation by not finishing
The Railers closed out their stay on Saturday night with a come-from-behind overtime victory over Granite City 53-45. It was almost a reversal of fortune from
Thursday, when it was the Railers watching a second-half lead
disappear on the way to an overtime loss. Lincoln used a 9-4 run to
close out regulation, fueled by a 3 by Tyler Horchem and two from
long range by Will Podbelsek, the second with 38 seconds left, to knot the
game at 41.
In the overtime, it was junior Max Cook taking over. Cook, who
led the team with 16 points in the game and was Lincoln's lone
representative on the all-tournament team, scored 10 in the extra
session to defeat the Warriors. Cook's only other points in the
contest came in the closing minutes of the first half, when his first
3 of the night tied the game, while another from behind the arc
put Lincoln up three at the half.
Playing for the third time in two days, the Railers got off to a
slow start against Granite City (8-6). Lacking the offensive
rhythm that had been exhibited in the past two games, Lincoln
trailed 8-5 at the end of the first quarter. The largest lead either
team held in the first half was only four, as both teams showed the
effects of the weekend. After baskets from Edward Bowlby and Austin
Krusz, Lincoln got a couple shots to go down from Podbelsek to tie
the game at 13.
A 3 from Granite City put the Warriors back on top, but the
3s from Cook gave Lincoln the halftime lead. Unfortunately, the intermission seemed to come at the
wrong time for Lincoln as, for the first time all night, the offense
started to look more like it had. When the third quarter started, a
quick start by Granite City forced a timeout to settle the Railers
down. With the game tied at 19, another basket from Lincoln's most
consistent player on the night, Bowlby, put Lincoln up 21-19. The
Warriors' best opportunity to win came at the 2:56 mark of the third,
when Bowlby picked up his third foul and had to retreat to the
bench. Without the junior, Granite City was able to impose its will
on the Railers and run off an 8-0 spurt to take command 29-21.
The Railers got a basket from Gavin Block prior to the end of the
quarter and then another at the start of the fourth to pull Lincoln
to within four at 29-25. After a Warrior basket, Horchem hit his
first 3 of the night to cut the deficit to three. Granite City
then split a pair of free throws, allowing two big baskets from Bowlby to tie the game at 32. Just as dominant as Bowlby had been,
both on the boards and defensive end as well as scoring, there was
nothing he could do after the 1:55 point of the fourth, when he
picked up his fifth foul with the Railers trailing 34-32.
Down 37-32, a big shot was needed, as it has been all season, and
was delivered by the senior Podbelsek. Three of his 13 points brought
the Railers to within two. After two more Warrior free throws,
Horchem's 3 pulled Lincoln to within one, setting up Podbelsek's
game-tying 3 from the right corner.
On Thursday, Oakville was the team that tied it late and took all
the momentum into overtime. Saturday night, the Railers took a page
out of that book. Using the 8-0 run by Cook, including the wide-open
3s from the top of the key, Lincoln was able to put together a
strong four minutes, including going 6 of 7 from the line, and come
out with the eight-point win.
Alexander was pleased about the win, but not completely in the
manner in which they got it. "Yes, it was a good comeback, but we
should have never put ourselves in that situation," Alexander said.
"This team has to be more consistent. The teams that have the real
good records at the end of the year are more consistent, not a
roller coaster like this team has been."
The nightcap saw three Railers in double figures, with Cook scoring
16, Podbelsek 13 and Bowlby 10. Horchem and Block each added
six, while Austin Krusz, who played a big part defensively due to
the absence of Bowlby, scored two.
[to top of second column]
Lincoln was able to reach the consolation championship after a convincing 21-point win earlier in the day over familiar foe Belleville Althoff. It was rather
obvious that only one team really seemed like it wanted to be on the court for
the 1 p.m. start. Not many probably saw the 47-26 win for the Railers coming.
From the opening tip, the Railers showed that if they were going to be there,
they may as well show up ready to play, and that they did. Lincoln raced out to a
13-5 lead at the end of the first, powered by the last eight of the quarter from
Max Cook. Five Railer points in a row from Gavin Block extended the Lincoln lead
to 18-7. Tyler Horchem continued his long-range efforts in Collinsville,
finishing the weekend with 14 3s, to push the Lincoln lead at the half to
Althoff was able to pull within 10 to start the second half, causing Lincoln to
take a timeout at the 5:50 mark of the third. Whatever was discussed must have
worked, as the Railers stormed off to a 7-0 run to stretch the advantage to
31-14. Leading 32-19 starting off the fourth, Edward Bowlby scored six of his
eight points in the quarter to help put the game out of reach.
A 9-2 run to end the game gave the Railers a solid 47-26 victory. Unlike the
first two games, Lincoln used balanced scoring, as Max Cook led the way with 12 points
and Block finished
with 11, while Horchem scored nine and Bowlby added eight. Podbelsek scored
three and Will Cook hit a pair of free throws.
Hard to believe the season is one game away from being halfway through. Lincoln
will be back on the court Friday night, as the Railers return to Roy S. Anderson, hosting Springfield in
Central State Eight play. The varsity is set to tip at 7:30, after the sophomores
get things started at 6.
MCook 4 2-4 12, Block 4 2-2 11,
Horchem 3 0-0 9,
Bowlby 4 0-0 8,
Podbelsek 2 0-0 5,
WCook 0 2-2 2,
Drusz 0 0-0 0,
Dunovsky 0 0-0 0,
Ebelherr 0 0-0 0,
Perry 0 0-0 0.
Team 17 6-8 47.
3-point field goals 7
(Horchem 3, MCook 2, Podbelsek, Block).
Renner 8, Krause 5, Young 4, Strieker 3, Gooch 3, Furmanek 3. Team 10 4-5 26.
3-point field goals 2 (Strieker, Krause).
Scoring by quarters:
Althoff 5-4-10-7 26
MCook 4 4-4 16,
Podbelsek 5 0-1 13,
Bowlby 5 0-0 10,
Horchem 2 0-0 6,
Block 2 2-2 6,
Krusz 1 0-0 2,
WCook 0 0-0 0,
Dunovsky 0 0-0 0.
Team 19 6-7 53.
3-point field goals 9
(MCook 4, Podbelsek 3, Horchem 2).
GRANITE CITY (45)
Miller 10, Walker 10, Grimes 9, Garcia 7, Narvaez 7, Wallace 2. Team 14 12-17
45. 3-point field goals 5
(Miller 2, Walker 2, Garcia).
Scoring by quarters:
LCHS 5-14-4-18-12 53
GCHS 8-8-13-12-4 45
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]
Collinsville Schnucks Holiday
Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles