Glenwood's Peyton Allen tied the game with a 3-pointer with less
than 10 seconds to go in regulation and then hit a jumper as time
expired in overtime to give the Titans a 44-42 win over Lincoln.
Glenwood will now play Champaign Centennial on Friday night for the
sectional title while the Railers will have to start the process of
thinking about what could have been.
Or should have been.
Many will say the play Glenwood used with one second on the clock
in the extra session should have never happened had the baseline
official made a call that seemed obvious to a packed house in Mount
Zion. As Glenwood looked to go for the win, a missed shot was
corralled by Lincoln senior Will Podbelsek. As Podbelsek came down
with the ball, he was hit in midair and forced out of bounds.
Instead of a foul being whistled and giving the senior a chance to
hit potential game-winning free throws, the only call made was that
Podbelsek had landed out of bounds, giving the ball back to Glenwood
with only one tick left, setting up Allen for his heroics.
"They deserved better than this," Alexander said about his team
after the game, trying to find the right words to say while at the
same time fighting back what he may have truly wanted to express.
"I'll have to be careful with what I say. "
We understand, Coach, we all feel the same way.
Now, it was a game when Lincoln certainly had numerous chances to
put away Glenwood, but untimely turnovers kept the Titans in the
game. The Railers got off to a good start from long range as
Podbelsek, Tyler Horchem and Max Cook all hit 3s in the first
quarter to give Lincoln a quick 9-2 lead. However, due to the early
success from long range, the Railers started to settle for 3s
instead of running the offense to find possible better looks. In the
first eight minutes, the Railers were 3 of 7 from behind the arc
without attempting a 2-point shot.
The Titans (22-10) started climbing back late in the first, down
only 9-7 at the end of the quarter. Glenwood continued the momentum
to finish off a 13-0 run to go up 15-9. Being in a number of big
games this year, Lincoln did not panic. They did start looking down
low, and a backdoor play to Podbelsek ended the run and started a
7-0 spurt that put the Railers back up. After the layup, Cook hit a
3 and a 2.
Glenwood quickly answered to go up 17-16, but Edward Bowlby's
first 3 of the night put Lincoln up 19-17. The Railers would not
trail again until overtime. After the Titans tied the game at 19, it
was Cook again delivering for 3 and then splitting a pair of free
throws to give Lincoln the 23-19 advantage going into the locker
As the third quarter started, Glenwood got on the board first,
but Cook again made one of two free throws. The Railers finished the
night 6 of 9 from the stripe and, yes, in a game that you don't win
in overtime, it's easy to think how just a free throw here or there
could make a difference. Glenwood was able to tie the game at 26
only to have Bowlby convert on a lob play to start an 8-0 run that
carried over into the fourth quarter. Bowlby's basket was followed
by another 3 from Cook as well as one from Bowlby himself. Just like
that, the Railers had grabbed their largest lead of the night at
Coach Todd Blakeman's troops would not give up. After a Glenwood
3, Craig Fuchs was fouled and made both free throws. However, the
second make was nullified when a Glenwood player stepped into the
lane too quickly. You just got the feeling with 4:45 to go, that
point could come back to make a difference in the game.
A Gavin Block score put Lincoln back up by six at 36-30. Glenwood
continued to put spurts together, stringing a 5-0 run to pull to
within a single point at 36-35. As time ticked down, it was obvious
Glenwood would be forced to send Lincoln to the line. With 15.5
seconds to go, junior Joey Olden calmly, and I don't know how much I
can stress calmly, stepped to the line and sank both free throws to
give Lincoln the three-point cushion at 38-35. The Titans went back
downcourt and got the ball to their top option. Allen drained a 3 to
tie the game at 38 with just under 10 seconds to go. You have to
believe Glenwood fans were glad the game was tied but knew they had
given Lincoln too much time.
Unfortunately, the Railers needed a little bit more. With Cook
bringing the ball upcourt, he was the option Glenwood wanted to take
away. The Titan defense held Cook, who scored a game-high 16 points,
scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime. When Cook handed the
ball off near the top of the key to Block, the sophomore up-faked
once to get a clear view of the basket. But, when he let go of the
shot, the clock had already expired. It was too bad, too, as Block's
shot sailed through the net. Just a little too late.
The Railers would now move into their seventh overtime game of
the season, going 4-2 in the first six. It was Fuchs who put
Glenwood up by two with a little jumper outside the lane, but a
driving Block got a layup to fall to knot the game at 40. A basket
from Cole Harper put Glenwood back on top 42-40. With 2:05 to go,
Podbelsek stepped to the line and hit two free throws. Those two
points would turn out to be the last in Podbelsek's Railer career.
[to top of second column]
Things slowed down as both teams were jockeying for the shot that
would move them on in the tournament. After a Lincoln timeout, a
pass was thrown that Olden tried to save inbounds. As he did,
Glenwood's Daniel Helm was called for a foul, his fifth of the game.
With 33 seconds remaining, Olden missed the front end of the
one-and-bonus and now Glenwood controlled their fate at the end of
As mentioned before, no one in Railer Nation, from coach to
student to broadcaster, could have asked Podbelsek to do more than
he did on that final rebound. Going up against the bigger and
stronger Titans, the senior snatched the ball away, only to be
jettisoned out of bounds with a body block. The foul that sent Olden
to the line just moments before was nowhere near the force exerted
on Podbelsek on the play.
"It takes guts to put on those stripes," Alexander said. "But
that guy is going to have to live with that call. I just don't
understand how you don't make that call."
Trust me, Coach, Railer Nation didn't understand either.
As a personal note, for any Glenwood fans or just anyone
interested in the game, you will never be able to convince me of
your sincerity if you would say, "Well, it was just a good, tough
play." If it would have happened to the team you pull for, you would
have expected the call to be made.
All that being said, Allen delivered a short jumper and the game
was over. And so was the Railer season.
"I think I'd rather get beat by 20 than lose a game like that,"
Anyone else feel like they got punched in the gut? As we watched
the Railers file out of the gym, there were plenty of red eyes, red
from tears that show Railer Nation cares so much because the kids
and coaches who make the sacrifice to bring up Railer basketball
care so much. There is no guarantee the Railers would have emerged
victorious against Centennial Thursday night, but that opportunity
to find out was taken from them and it will take a while for this
wound to heal.
The Railers were led by Cook's 16, and he was joined in double
figures by Bowlby's 10. Podbelsek scored seven, while Block added
four, Horchem three and Olden two free throws.
As Alexander was wrapping up his comments, the always gracious
coach made sure to thank "the fans, our student section -- they were
great tonight -- the community and everyone for all the support
they've given these kids this season."
It is about as hard as I've seen him take a loss. After his
interview, he went down a couple of rows and sat next to his wife,
Denise. I can only imagine what, if anything, was said between the
two. Maybe nothing was said and that's OK. The look on his face said
So, that's it. Another season in the books. The Railers finished
28-5, conference co-champions and regional champions. But it would
have been nice to make plans to be in Peoria next weekend, and it
was not to be.
I want to thank everyone at LDN for again allowing me to ramble,
babble, vent, you name it, regarding the Railers this season. It is
truly a privilege to follow this team, and I hope I will be given
the opportunity to do so again next season.
Look in the next couple of weeks for a final wrap-up of the
season, including stats and some other thoughts. I'm not sure this
one will have worn off just yet.
See you next season!!
Cook 5 2-4 16, Bowlby 4 0-0 10, Podbelsek 2 2-2 7, Block 2 0-0 4,
Horchem 1 0-0 3, Olden 0 2-3 2. Team 14 6-9 42. 3-point field goals
8 (Cook 4, Bowlby 2, Podbelsek, Horchem).
Allen 13, McAdams 13, Fuchs 9, Helm 4, Harper 3, Brown 2. Team 18
1-3 44. 3-point field goals 7 (Allen 3, McAdams 3, Harper).
Scoring by quarters:
LCHS 9-14-8-7-4 42
GHS 7-12-7-12-6 44
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]
Jeff Benjamin's Railer basketball articles