Lincoln's defense completely dominated the young and inexperienced
Quincy Notre Dame Raiders en route to a 69-16 thrashing on the
second night of the County Market Winter Classic in Jacksonville.
Hmmm, maybe there is a theme of 16 at this tournament. On Monday
night, Lincoln coach Neil Alexander became the 16th coach in
Illinois to win 700 games, and Wednesday night QND scored only 16
points as the Railers picked up their 16th win of the season. Of
course, there is the obvious fact that Lincoln is named for and
christened by ... the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Wonder what
Friday night will bring?
In every category, the fourth-ranked Lincoln squad was in top
form against the Raiders (5-11). After Tyler Horchem and Edward
Bowlby opened the scoring with two of Lincoln's eight first-half 3s,
Quincy Notre Dame scored their first points with a 3 of their own.
Now, there's kicking up a gear, not letting down and so on, but what
the Railers did next was (you fans of the movie "Spaceballs" will
understand) go plaid. In my 13 years of doing Railer games, I can
honestly say I had never seen a 43-2 run.
After the 3 by QND, Lincoln scored the next 31 points and did so
in many Railer ways, mostly from long distance. A Gavin Block 3
started the run, which was followed by an alley-oop lob and two more
3s from Bowlby. A 3 from Max Cook, which ties him for 12th on the
all-time list at 109 (with Derek Schrader), put Lincoln up 20-3 at
the end of the first quarter. And the rout was just getting started.
Defense keyed the continuation of the run to start the second
quarter as two steals from Horchem resulted in drives to the basket,
where he was fouled. He did not convert the layups, but he hit four
in a row from the free-throw line. After the last of the charity
tosses, a steal on an inbounds pass by Joey Olden turned into three
points after he was fouled on a reverse layup and made the free
throw. By this time, QND was shellshocked as they were down 27-3.
The dominance continued. As Lincoln ran their record over the
last 27 games at the Winter Classic to 26-1, Block added to the
scoring with a 3, a result of hustle to save the possession by Bobby
Dunovsky. Dunovsky was rewarded on the next trip downcourt with a 3
of his own. By now, Alexander had the luxury of getting players lots
of needed rest, both as a result of the draining weekend past and
the upcoming schedule of three games this weekend.
Adam Conrady made his presence known as he posted strong on the
low block, taking the feed from Bowlby to get the first of his
career-high eight points. Will Cook also saw significant playing
time and joined in the fun with a basket on the way to his career
best of nine. QND finally scored in the second quarter, but the
tally left them trailing 37-5. A jumper from Conrady ended the
first-half scoring at 39-5.
One habit that has plagued the Railers has been that once up by a
comfortable margin, they have a tendency to throw it in cruise
control, take themselves out of their game and slip into some bad
habits. That was not the case Wednesday night.
After an inside move by Bowlby started the scoring, Block
connected for the next eight points. The two combined for 29 points
as the only players in double figures for the Railers. After a rare
basket from the Raiders, Will Cook knocked down a 3-pointer followed
by another score from Bowlby. At 54-8, it was the last score of the
night for any of the Railer starters.
Payton Ebelherr took his turn hitting from long range, and
Conrady scored underneath again. Quincy Notre Dame was finally able
to reach double figures on a basket with 12 seconds left in the
third quarter, ending that quarter's scoring at 59-11.
[to top of second column]
Due to the margin being over 30 and in the fourth quarter,
the final eight-minute session did not take long as the running
clock was in effect. Conrady continued his solid play with
another score, and Will Cook hit a pair of free throws and a
floater high off the glass. Lincoln's final points came on a
basket by Aron Hopp and a putback from Garrett Aeilts.
Even with the win, games like this are not always easy to watch.
They are also not easy to coach.
"Well, the toughest part of a game like this is getting some of
the kids on the floor," Alexander said. "All these guys are at
practice every day, they work hard, and they deserve to see the
floor as well."
When the starters were off the court, there was no letdown in
this one, a game that was decided by a margin (53) that looks more
like the average number of points Lincoln scores in a game.
The Railers were led by Bowlby with 15 and Block with 14. Will
Cook added nine, with Conrady scoring eight and Horchem chipping in
with seven. Lincoln got three each from Max Cook, Olden, Ebelherr
and Dunovsky, while Hopp and Aeilts scored two each.
Lincoln shot very, very well on the night, hitting 50 percent
from the floor, including 12 of 31 from 3-point range. On the flip
side, QND made only six of their 31 shots. The Lincoln defense
forced 20 turnovers. On offense, the Railers handed out 18 assists,
led by the Cooks: Max with six, Will with four. Will Cook also had
six steals on the night, while Max and Block had four rebounds each.
After the day off Thursday, the Railers are back in Jacksonville
on Friday, facing off against the host for the week, the Crimsons
coached by J.R. Dugan. Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. and is the
third game of the session.
Earlier in the second session at The Bowl, Taylorville knocked
off Rochester 60-53, and the night was finalized as Glenwood slipped
past Jacksonville 54-49.
Through the first two nights, the standings show Lincoln and
Glenwood tied at 2-0, Jacksonville and Taylorville at 1-1, and
Rochester and QND each looking for their first win during the week.
Bowlby 6-10 0-0 15, Block 5-7 0-0 14, WCook 3-4 2-2 9, Conrady
4-7 0-0 8, Horchem 1-4 4-4 7, MCook 1-4 0-0 3, Olden 1-2 1-1 3,
Ebelherr 1-1 0-0 3, Dunovsky 1-4 0-0 3, Hopp 1-1 0-0 2, Aeilts 1-2
0-0 2, Krusz 0-1 0-0 0, Perry 0-3 0-0 0, Fry 0-0 0-0 0. Team 25-50
7-7 69. 3-point field goals 12-31 (Block 4-5, Bowlby 3-7, MCook 1-3,
Horchem 1-4, WCook 1-2, Ebelherr 1-1, Dunovsky 1-4, Olden 0-1, Perry
0-2, Aeilts 0-1, Krusz 0-1).
QUINCY NOTRE DAME (16)
Ray 5, Stuckman 5, R.Walz 3, Bottorff 3. Team 6-31 1-1 16.
3-point field goals 3-17 (Walz, Bottorff, Stuckman).
Quincy Notre Dame 3-2-6-5
[By JEFF BENJAMIN]
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