Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Sports News

All-new sponsor, same old results

By Jeff Benjamin

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[January 15, 2013]  CHATHAM -- After the previous sponsor, Meijer, dropped out earlier this season, the Winter Classic in Chatham picked up new backer in County Market. If Monday and history are any indication, the other teams may ask Lincoln to drop out as well.

Edward Bowlby led three Railers in double figures as Lincoln picked up its seventh win in a row, a solid and convincing 57-32 decision over Taylorville. The win improves Lincoln's all-time record at the Classic to 43-6. No other team has won even as many as 30 games over the course of the 10 years. The Railers' record goes to 15-3 and 6-1 in the Central State Eight.

Hoping to avoid complacency after handling the Tornadoes by 30 earlier in the season, the Railers went inside for their early scores, the first two being baskets from Bowlby. Unlike the matchup in December when the Railers led 23-2 after the first quarter, Taylorville fought back with a 6-0 run to take a 6-4 lead. That lead did not last long.

With the return of junior Joey Olden to the lineup at the 5:19 mark, after missing all but the first three games of the season due to a broken arm, the Railers went on a 16-2 run to close out the first quarter, led by Bowlby and sophomore Gavin Block. After Max Cook started the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, Bowlby and Block took over. Block hit his first 3 of the night and then tossed a perfect lob pass to Bowlby, who converted off the glass.

Ahead 12-8, Block got another shot to go down, followed by his second 3 of the night. The Railers closed the quarter in style with Bowlby hitting a 3 as the quarter came to a close.

It wasn't just those two leading Lincoln to the first-quarter lead. On both offense and defense, the Railers were passing the ball about as well as has been seen this year, while the defense was quick to the ball, forcing one turnover after another. When Taylorville did get a shot, the ones that didn't go in were usually snatched down by the Railers, led by the newly energetic Block, who most times was outleaping everyone for the rebound.

The second quarter played a lot like the first, with Taylorville scoring first. Tyler Horchem hit the scorebook with a 3, followed by a strong move down the lane by Cook, resulting in a layup. It seems every game features Cook showing more and more how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands going down the lane. Bowlby extended the Railer lead to 27-11 with a strong offensive rebound and putback. The Railers ended the scoring with another make from Bowlby and, to make things come full circle, Horchem closed the scoring just how he started it, by draining a 3.

With Lincoln up 32-14 at the half, it seemed they had reached that point very effortlessly. I'm not saying there was no effort, but everything seemed to come easily for Lincoln in the first 16 minutes.

The Tornadoes (10-7, 0-6) came out with some energy to start the third quarter, trading buckets with the Railers, but not getting closer than 37-21. Will Podbelsek ignited a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer that was followed up by another Bowlby basket. The Railer Nation in attendance saved the biggest cheer of the night for when Joey Olden hit a 3, his first scoring since coming back from injury. Horchem, used to scoring from behind the arc as Olden did, switched things up by putting one off the glass from the low block.

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The addition of Olden was a welcome sight to everyone pulling for the Red and Green. There may have been no one happier that coach Neil Alexander.

"Joey was a little rusty out there, but that's to be expected," Alexander said. "But, our top three guys out there are playing 32 minutes a night, and we have to find a way to get them off the court."

The fourth quarter was a chance to get the starters on the bench, and Payton Ebelherr and Adam Conrady joined in the scoring parade. It was a quick game as only five free throws were shot, four of those by Lincoln.

Bowlby's 16 points led the way, with Block and Cook each scoring 11. Horchem added eight points, and Podbelsek, Olden and Ebelherr each made a 3-pointer. Conrady's basket accounted for the rest of the Lincoln scoring on the night.

The Railers are back in Chatham Wednesday night to take on the lone non-CS8 team, the Highland Bulldogs. Highland fell to Jacksonville in the night's first game. The Wednesday game is the first contest of the session and will start at 5 p.m.



Bowlby 7 1-2 16, MCook 4 0-0 11,Block 4 1-2 11, Horchem 3 0-0 8, Podbelsek 1 0-0 3, Olden 1 0-0 3, Ebelherr 1 0-0 3, Conrady 1 0-0 2, Perry 0 0-0 0, WCook 0 0-0 0, Dunovsky 0 0-0 0, Krusz 0 0-0 0. Team 22 2-4 57. 3-point field goals 11 (MCook 3, Horchem 2, Block 2, Podbelsek, Olden, Ebelherr, Bowlby).


Wilhour 11, Jackson 8, Rhymes 4, Fulk 4, Livingston 3, McCristy 2. Team 13 1-1 32. 3-point field goals 5 (Wilhour 3, Livingston, Jackson).

Scoring by quarters:

LCHS 20-12-15-10 57
Taylorville 8-6-10-8 32


Railer-related information: www.railerbasketball.com

Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles

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