Knowing the Titans favored a tough, pressure, man-to-man defense,
the Railers turned to their myriad of plays set up to take advantage
of the possible overplays by Glenbrook. Early on, by coach Neil
Alexander's own admission, the timing of the Railer offense was
absent, thanks in large part to the defense of the Titans.
Railers were able to stay in the game early on thanks to Will
The senior provided the only offense Lincoln was able to muster
through much of the first quarter, but his eight points gave the
Railers an 8-7 advantage, taking the lead after Podbelsek converted
a steal into a layup. A Gavin Block 3-pointer was the only other
scoring for Lincoln as they took an 11-7 lead into the second
Just like the night before, the Railer defense was near the top
of its game, forcing turnovers. Unfortunately, the shooting from the
contest against Rochester did not linger into Saturday.
Opportunities created by the pressure were not turned into points.
Halfway through the second quarter, Lincoln (23-4) held only a slim
12-10 lead. You didn't necessarily feel like Lincoln was in danger
of losing, but there was some uneasiness as to if, and or when,
something would get the team out of its malaise.
Enter Joey Olden.
The junior, who missed much of the season with a broken arm
suffered in the third game of the season, forced a steal and made a
layup at the 3:50 mark to spark a 12-2 run to end the first half.
The run included two 3-pointers in a row from Edward Bowlby, and
when the defense ran out to check Bowlby, who was setting up for a
third 3, the Titan defense forgot all about Tyler Horchem, who
slipped a screen and scored on a shot in the lane. His field goal
would be the last two-point shot the Railers would make until late
in the game. But don't worry; that's not a bad thing at all.
The home squad would continue the momentum, outscoring Glenbrook
20-3 in the third quarter to stretch their run since Olden's steal
to 32-5. All of Lincoln's points in the third came from either the
free-throw line or behind the 3-point line. The long-range
marksmanship came from Block, Bowlby and a pair from Max Cook.
Fittingly, the period ended on a 3 at (actually after, but who's
counting) the buzzer from an unlikely source in Austin Krusz, the
first of his career from 3-point range.
But it seems all of this can be directed back to the lift created
by Olden in the second quarter. What did Alexander think of Olden's
hard-nosed play? Wait, maybe I shouldn't have said nose.
"Well, we're always telling him to stick his nose in there, and
how does he get rewarded?" Alexander said. "He's come out with a
broken nose." My broadcast partner, Josh Komnick, questioningly
verified with Alexander about his report. "I wouldn't kid you,"
First it was the broken arm and now looks like a broken nose.
Something tells me he is the type of player who will not let this
affect him, especially on the defensive end, where he has become a
weapon as effective as some of the long-range bombers on the
The fourth quarter was reminiscent of Friday night's game, when a
number of the reserves were able to get in well after the game's
outcome had been decided. The Railers got scoring from the line by
Olden, Krusz and Adam Conrady. Baskets from Payton Ebelherr and Will
Cook rounded out the Lincoln scoring.
[to top of second column]
It was a dominating weekend for the Railers, who gave up only 59
points over the two games. For a team that is challenging the
school's all-time defensive average, allowing less than 30 points a
contest is not going to hurt in their journey.
We've gotten used to the defensive efforts by the Railers as well
as balanced scoring, and the contest against Glenbrook South was no
different. Block was the only Railer to reach double figures,
leading the team with 10 points, with Bowlby scoring nine and Max
Cook and Podbelsek adding eight each. Olden's efforts were also seen
on the offensive end with seven points. Krusz scored four and
Horchem put in three. Will Cook and Ebelherr each had two, with a
lone free throw coming from Conrady.
The 23-4 record is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but it's
important to also give credit to coach Gregg Alexander's sophomore
squad. The younger Railers improved to 20-1 with a 55-30 win as Will
Cook paced the team with 16 points.
So, only three regular-season games to go. It will be another
two-game weekend at home, starting with Friday night's matchup with
SHG. The Cyclones were the last team to defeat the Railers, a 44-41
loss in Springfield. If the Railers have any hopes of staying in
contention for at least a share of the CS8 crown, a win over SHG is
an absolute necessity. One would have to believe the atmosphere will
be quite intense, and a good turnout from the Railer Nation would be
"The guys have worked hard and they deserve it," coach Alexander
said in response to the fans turning out to provide support for a
team that could turn out to have a special season.
Both Lincoln and Southeast are tied for the CS8 lead, with each
having two games left. Lincoln hosts SHG and then travels to
Lanphier to end the regular season, while Southeast travels to
Rochester and finishes their campaign at Glenwood.
The sophomores will tip against SHG at 6 p.m. with the varsity
scheduled for 7:30.
Block 2 4-4 10, Bowlby 3 0-0 9, Podbelsek 3 1-1 8, MCook 3 0-0 8,
Olden 1 5-6 7, Krusz 1 1-2 4, Horchem 1 1-2 3, WCook 1 0-0 2,
Ebelherr 1 0-0 2, Conrady 0 1-2 1, Perry 0 0-0 0, Dunovsky 0 0-0 0,
Hopp 0 0-0 0. Team 16 13-17 54. 3-point field goals 9 (Bowlby 3,
MCook 2, Block 2, Podbelsek, Krusz).
GLENBROOK SOUTH (28)
Nikitas 10, Seigel 8, McCarthy 4, Dahiya 2, Buisel 2, Sadowski 2.
Team 10 4-7 28. 3-point field goals 4 (Nikitas 2, Siegel 2).
Scoring by quarters:
LCHS 11-13-20-10 54
Glenbrook 7-5-3-13 28
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]
Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles