Let's hope it is a memorable game for more than just that reason.
Friday night's battle with Glenwood is one we would like to
Looking at times more like "Friday Night SmackDown" than a high
school basketball game, the homestanding Titans outshot and outmuscled the Railers en route to a 59-37 Central State Eight win. The
victory moves Glenwood to 3-0 in the tournament, while Lincoln fell
to 2-1 for the week.
Now the fans in attendance can tell you a lot of things that went on
that did not get called, and that certainly went both ways. They
also saw each team score in the other's basket in a short span, one
being one of those you see on highlight reels. Depending on which
fandom you ask, it was either a rough and tough game or one where
not much was being called and it eventually took its toll.
Both teams came out shooting well, making their first two shots
each. Glenwood connected on two 3s, one each from TJ Gates and
Peyton Allen, while the Railers answered with shots from Christian
Van Hook and a 3 from Jordan Gesner to make the score 6-5 in
favor of Glenwood.
The Titans scored again, but Van Hook answered
with two more of his 11
first-quarter points. Five more from Glenwood extended the lead to
13-7, but a 7-0 run Lincoln including a jumper from Van Hook, a backdoor layup from Max Cook on a nice bounce pass from Gavin Block, and
a 3 from Van Hook gave the Railers their only lead of the
evening at 14-13.
The lead was very short-lived as Glenwood hit yet another
go back up 16-14. Van Hook ended a wonderful first quarter by tying
the contest, but -- you guessed it -- another 3 from the Titans gave
them the lead 19-16 at the end of an exciting first quarter.
teams shot extremely well in the first, with the Railers hitting 7 of
11 shots, while Glenwood missed only three of their 10 shots and
made a blistering 5 of 6 from 3-point range.
In the second quarter, Gesner hit his second 3 of the night to
pull Lincoln to within one at 22-21. Then, things started going bad.
With Van Hook on the bench with two fouls for a good portion of the
quarter, Glenwood was able to clamp down on the Lincoln offense. The good shooting from the first quarter was replaced by 2-of-9
With about 40 seconds remaining and down 25-21, Gesner had
the ball stolen from him near the timeline. As Glenwood pitched it
ahead, going for a layup, Genser was whistled for an intentional
foul when he attempted to block the shot of Daniel Helm, but, in the
opinion of the official, was too blatant and physical with the foul.
After Helm made one of the two free throws, Glenwood got the ball
back at 26-21. Tough Lincoln defense prevented the Titans from
getting a good look in the waning moments of the half, and the Railers went to the locker room down just five.
The first half was filled with physical basketball. Both teams were
allowed to get away with a lot of pushing, shoving, hand-checking,
and, if you looked real close, some of the Lincoln players found
themselves in headlocks while trying to establish position on both
ends of the court.
No matter what the fans thought of the
officiating, Lincoln coach Neil Alexander knows you have to play
through it. "I thought we were soft," Alexander said after the game.
"They (officials) weren't calling anything, so you have to adjust and
we didn't." Yep, it was chippy and then some.
When Glenwood connected on a 3 to start the third, the Railers
answered back as Austin Kirby hit his only shot of the night from
behind the line. On this night, though, it was too much Glenwood
firepower from the outside. Two more 3s and another score
accounted for an 8-0 run, quickly pushing Glenwood's lead to 13 at
37-24. From Gesner's 3 in the second, the Titans were on a 15-3
run and there was no stopping them. After a Block basket made it
37-26, strange things started happening.
On a scramble for a loose ball heading out of bounds, Chatham's Nick
Fuchs got to the ball just before it reached the sidelines. As his
momentum was taking him out of bounds, he flipped the ball back inbounds toward the Lincoln basket. I'm sure he didn't plan for it to
go off the backboard and into the Lincoln basket. Now, since he was
clearly behind the 3-point line, there was some confusion about
how the play should be scored. The basket, which was credited to the
nearest Railer, Will Podbelsek, was first posted as a 3, but
later changed to a two. Prior to inbounding the ball in front of our
broadcast position, the officials informed us it was not a 3 because it was not an attempted shot and therefore, by rule,
could not be a 3-pointer. Maybe this was the break the Railers
(9-11, 4-5) needed to catch the No. 10 team in the state.
[to top of second column]
No, not the way things were going for the Railers on this night.
After another 3 put Glenwood up 40-28, the favor was
returned. After a Lincoln miss, the Titans rushed the ball upcourt. As Glenwood threw a pass downcourt, trying to find an
open teammate for a layup, the ball was tipped by Van Hook, went
off his fingertips and into Glenwood's basket. By the end of
the third quarter, another hot shooting period for Glenwood (6
of 8) put the Titans up 45-31.
The fourth quarter felt like more of the same, with Glenwood making
shots (5 of 9) while Lincoln couldn't buy a basket, going 1 for
8. Their only make came on a Dane Eimer layup in the final
It was one of those games when the opponent pushed and
the Railers just didn't push back. Believe me, there was
certainly a lot of pushing going on in the contest.
The one Railer who seemed to relish the physical play was
Kirby. Much of the second half saw Kirby and Fuchs battling at
the high post on Glenwood's offensive end, with the Lincoln
senior trying to deny position and the ball from Fuchs. After a
couple of foul calls, Fuchs could be seen laughing directly in
the face of Kirby, who refused to back down, and other Railer
I'll say this: There is a way to win while displaying
class and of course, there is the opposite. I'll chalk Fuchs'
behavior easily in the latter.
This game did not come down to calls from the officials; it came
down to Glenwood being more physical in a very physical contest
and hitting their shots, finishing the night 12 of 23 from 3-point range, while Lincoln shot 17 times from behind the arc,
making only five. Glenwood also dominated the boards by a margin
of 35 to 18.
The Railers were led by Van Hook's 13 points, all in the first
half. Gesner finished with nine, while Podbelsek added five.
Cook and Kirby each had three, with Block and Eimer scoring two.
There are two games on tap for Saturday. The first is scheduled
to tip at 11:30 as the Railers look for revenge from an earlier
loss to Rochester. A win would get the Railers back to .500 in
the conference. Later that evening, Lincoln will have their one
nonconference battle as they square off with Highland at 6:30.
Even with the poor showing on Friday night, the Railers still
have a chance to finish at 4-1 for the week. Of course, there is
also the possibility that, after winning 17 in a row at Meijer,
they could leave Saturday night on a three-game losing streak.
Van Hook 6 0-0 13, Gesner 2 3-3 9, Podbelsek 2 0-0 5, Cook 1 1-2
3, Kirby 1 0-0 3, Block 1 0-0 2, Eimer 1 0-2 2, Olson 0 0-0 0,
Hays 0 0-0 0, Heidbreder 0 0-0 0, Bowlby 0 0-0 0. Team 14 4-7
37. 3-point field goals 5 (Gesner 2, Podbelsek, Van Hook,
Allen 13, McAdams 10, Esperum 8, Thurston 7, Fuchs 6, Gates 6,
Helm 5, Sharp 4. Team 20 7-16 59. 3-point field goals 12 (Allen
4, Esperum 2, McAdams 2, Gates 2, Fuchs, Thurston).
Scoring by quarters:
Lincoln 16-5-10- 6 37
Glenwood 19-7-19-14 59
[By JEFF BENJAMIN;
pictures by DANIEL HEMENWAY]
Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles