But it's hard to say whether that rule will apply to the Lincoln
Railer basketball team in Thursday night's sectional semifinal
matchup with Chatham-Glenwood in Mount Zion.
The Railers do own two wins over the Titans this season. But, in
both games, the Titans were less than 100 percent.
In the first meeting between the two teams, on Dec. 21 at Roy S.
Anderson Gymnasium, Lincoln escaped with a 41-39 victory. However,
in that contest, Chatham-Glenwood was without center Daniel Helm and
guard Cole Harper.
In the second meeting between the two teams, on Jan. 18, Lincoln
won 44-33 in Chatham. In that game, the Titans were without their
star guard Peyton Allen, who was recovering from mononucleosis.
This time around, Helm, Harper and Allen are all near full
Which drastically diminishes the meaning of the first two games,
according to Lincoln coach Neil Alexander.
"We're not playing the same team that we've played the first two
times. It's a totally different team," said Alexander. "We're
approaching it that way. They've got different options and kids have
different responsibilities from their side.
"They will create a lot more problems for us, moving those people
around when they have a full squad."
Now healthy, Harper, Helm and Allen join the Titans' two most
consistent threats this season: forward Craig Fuchs and guard Miles
McAdams. Fuchs was recently named to the Central State 8
all-conference team, while McAdams -- who doubles as the starting
quarterback for the Titan football team -- was awarded honorable
Allen's performance -- and how Lincoln defends him -- could be an
especially critical factor in the contest. After initially
struggling to regain his strength and scoring prowess in the early
span of his comeback in late February, Allen showed signs of
returning to form in the Titans' regional championship win over
Sacred Heart-Griffin. The junior finished the game with 16 points
and hit clutch back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half to extend
the Titans' lead over the Cyclones from two points to eight points.
[to top of second column]
Mirror, mirror in Mount Zion
The healthy Titans, with their diversity of scoring options,
perhaps have the most similarities to the Railers of any team that
Lincoln has faced this year.
Shooters? Check. Gritty post players with size? Check. Unselfish
Alexander sees similarities.
"No doubt. They have a lot of different weapons," said Alexander.
"They can score inside, they can score outside. They are physical,
they have good ballhandlers and they have a Division I player
(Allen). We've just got to be solid and keep doing what we've been
doing. Hopefully, that will be enough."
Cook, Block, Podbelsek, Bowlby receive CS8 honors
Four of the Railers were listed in the Central State Eight awards
that were announced this week.
Junior Max Cook, sophomore Gavin Block and senior Will Podbelsek
were each named to the all-conference team in voting by coaches.
Junior Edward Bowlby received honorable mention all-conference.
Winner gets Centennial
The winner of Thursday night's game will have a short turnaround
to face Champaign Centennial on Friday night in the sectional
championship. The Chargers, led by University of Illinois commit
Michael Finke, defeated Taylorville on Wednesday night 57-51.
[By JUSTIN TIERNEY]