Three-pointers and a strong defense put Lincoln in the state final

Album 1

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[March 22, 2014]     Send a link to a friend  Share

PEORIA  The Friday afternoon game of the Railers versus Rockford Lutheran was intense, from the first minute to the last 4 seconds. The Railers led, the Railers trailed, the Railers tied, and around and around it went, until in the end the only thing that really matters is the Railers WON.

Here is an excerpt from LDN sports writer Jeff Benjamin's article in today's edition:

With 25 seconds left, it was senior Joey Olden who calmly, at least on the outside, sank the first, then  the second free throw to put the Railers up 45-42. After getting the ball to half-court, the Crusaders called a timeout to set up a final play. Up three, there was discussion about the possibility the Railers might think about fouling guard James Robinson, who had struggled all game, including missing both of his free throws earlier in the contest. During the later stages of the timeout, Rockford Lutheran coach Tom Guse tried to substitute Ryan Dolan into the contest in place of Robinson. However, because Dolan was not at the scorer's table in time during the timeout, he was not allowed to enter, and Robinson was sent back into the game.

With the Railers calling on their defense one more time, Olden came away with a steal with seconds to go and got the ball to Block, who was fouled. The second-team all-stater stepped to the line to secure the victory. The game had not been easy, so why should the last 6.2 seconds. Block missed the free throw off the front of the rim, and Nate Wieting grabbed the last of his 12 rebounds, tossing it to Kopelman. The Lincoln defense did not give the leading scorer for the Crusaders (30-4) any room as he maneuvered into the frontcourt, and his forced and off-balance 3 from the right wing did not find the mark. As Edward Bowlby cradled the rebound, the buzzer sounded.

Seriously, folks, it just doesn't get any better than that!

Today at  2 p.m. is the final game of the season, and the victor will emerge as the IHSA Class 3A state champion.

Pictures by Debbie Olden



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