Setting the mark for fewest total points scored in a tournament game
since 1999, the Railers withstood a tough defensive effort by the
Potters in a game that saw only 56 points scored and headed into
Thanksgiving with a 32-24 win on Wednesday night at Roy S. Anderson
Let's hope some dressing and pumpkin pie will get this out of their
It was a game that failed to reach any type of rhythm, and thanks to
the defensive efforts, the Railers spent much of their offensive
possessions outside the 3-point line. On the occasions when a Railer ballhandler would penetrate into the lane, more times than
not, the ball would be kicked back out for a 3 or to continue to
look for a better shot.
At the very least, an attempt near the
basket might get Lincoln to the free-throw line. On Monday night,
those were guaranteed points. Wednesday, the free throw shooting
seemed just as frustrating, as the home squad hit only 5 of 12
Morton got on the board first with a rebound basket while the
Railers struggled to find anything to get points on the board.
Lincoln was finally able to score on a back-door cut and basket from
the team's leading scorer on the night, Joey Olden. The senior took
a nice look from Gavin Block to knot the game at 2-2. Proving how
effective the Railer offense can be, using the same set on the next
trip, Olden was covered up on the back cut, but Block found a wide-open Edward Bowlby in the far corner. Bowlby's
3 gave Lincoln a
5-2 lead. It seemed rather obvious there might not be much scoring as
the Railers held a 6-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Another basket from Block put Lincoln (2-0) up 8-4. As happened
Monday night against Centennial, the presence of junior Will Cook
provided a little spark. Cook missed a 3 from the corner but
was able to charge in from the corner and get the rebound, getting
fouled on the shot. Converting on just one of the shots, Cook
extended the lead to 9-6.
Again, it was Lincoln's rebounding
difficulty that kept Morton in the game. All three of Morton's
scores in the first half were the direct result of offensive
rebounds. It was an area Lincoln struggled with all night, being outrebounded 32-21, with the Potters coming down with 15 offensive
Starting the third quarter up 10-6, the Railers suffered a bout of
déjà vu. On Monday, it was Centennial scoring two quick baskets to
climb back into the contest. Against Morton, a five-point burst gave
the Potters their first lead since early in the game. Leading scorer
Cory Dullard, who did not attempt a shot in the first half, got the
scoring going with a 3-pointer. That was followed by another
rebound putback by Ian Saathoff, and just that quickly, the Potters
had gone ahead 11-10.
The few times the Railers drove to the basket resulted in positives
for Lincoln. Down by one, Olden got by his defender, getting a layup
to go down. Morton came back and got the ball to Dullard, who pushed
the lead back to the Potters. It was Olden again answering by
driving the right side of the lane, putting Lincoln up 14-13. As
tough-minded and solid defensively Olden is known for, it's with the
ball that the team may be looking to him more.
"We need him (Olden) to
score for us," Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said. "He can do that
and we will need it."
[to top of second column]
The Railers were able to stretch the lead to four
thanks to Max Cook. Based on how well he does it and how many times
he hit big shots last year, Cook drained what has to be his
signature shot. With Cook hanging back to be part of the secondary
break, the senior pulled up just behind the top of the key to hit
his only 3 of the night. Adam Conrady hit from just inside the
3-point line and the Lincoln lead grew to six at 19-13. Dullard
continued his second-half resurgence by hitting another 3 to cut
the Lincoln lead in half. Cook connected again with just under three seconds to
go to push the lead back to five at the end of the third quarter, 21-16.
Starting the fourth quarter, it was Dullard hitting another
3 to get the Potters (0-2) as close as they would be for the rest of
the night. The defense for the Railers adjusted to pay less
attention to the other remaining Morton players and focus on
Dullard. Whether it was Olden or Cook, Lincoln was willing to allow
the other Potters freedom while making sure Dullard had no room to
The offense finally was able to put together a run, certainly not an
offensive juggernaut, but when a game has only 56 points, you won't
see much. A jumper from Conrady started a 10-2 run that put the game
out of reach and allowed Railer Nation to enjoy their Thanksgiving
Eve with the eight-point win.
It was not the picture-perfect system
for winning, but it was a win. It is very un-Railer like to have
more turnovers (11) than assists (8) for the game. However, as my
former broadcast partner Tom Larey texted me after the game, "2-0
ugly better than 1-1."
Olden's career high of nine points led the Railers, with Max Cook
scoring eight and grabbing a team-high six rebounds. Bowlby added six
points, with Conrady and Block contributing four points. Will Cook
had the only other scoring for the Railers with a free throw. Block
led the way handing out assists with five.
The next game is Friday night as Lincoln will play
host to Chicago Harlan. Game time is set for 8 p.m. and will be the
third game of the Friday session.
The other Wednesday game at Roy S. Anderson
Gymnasium saw Cahokia easily handle Harlan 79-51.
Olden 4-5 1-2 9, M.Cook 3-4 1-3 8, Bowlby 2-5 0-0 6, Block 1-4 2-5
4, Conrady 2-3 0-0 4, W.Cook 0-2 1-2 1, Horchem 0-1 0-0 0, Ebelherr
0-2 0-0 0, Krusz 0-0 0-0 0. Team 12-26 5-12 32.
3-point field goals
3-13 (Bowlby 2-4, M.Cook 1-2, Olden 0-1, Horchem 0-1, Block 0-1,
W.Cook 0-2, Ebelherr 0-2).
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]
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