Lincoln used 67 percent shooting for the game, including 11 of 19
from three point range to keep the Cyclones winless in conference
play while the hosts moved to 6-2 on the season.
For the second game in a row, senior Aron Hopp scored a game high 20
points, most of them on dazzling drives to the baskets. When Hopp
wasn’t scoring, he was facilitating ways to get his teammates the
Hopp is certainly playing the best basketball of his career. “I’m
really pleased with how he (Hopp) is
playing,” Coach Neil Alexander said after the game. “He did a great
job of getting to the basket, but also getting his teammates
involved.” Hopp’s 20 points came on a perfect 9 of 9 from the field,
while dishing out five assists. Throughout the entire night, you
just felt watching Hopp that he could easily get to the lane on any
defender SHG put in front of him.
With all the accolades being poured on Hopp, it was another senior,
Garrett Aeilts, that carried the load in the first quarter. Fresh
off his important role in the second overtime against Rochester last
week, Aeilts picked up where he left off, getting Lincoln on the
board with the first of his three first quarter three-pointers.
After Hopp scored on a layup to tie the game at five, a Drew Bacon
three and reverse layup from Isaiah Bowers (off a no look pass from
Hopp), Lincoln took the lead at 10-7. A 4-0 run from SHG put the
visitors up 11-10. Aeilts then took over from the right side,
hitting threes from the wing and then the corner, the second putting
Lincoln up 19-13.
The Railers started to show a bit of their dominance early in the
second quarter, running off the period’s first six points. Led by
Hopp, scoring on a driving layup and then a steal and another
reverse layup, Lincoln went up 25-14 after KJ Fry took the inbounds
pass from Bacon, spun in the lane, and converted on a layup.
The Lincoln defense played well on Friday night, as did most facets
of the game. Forcing SHG to one mistake after another, the Railers
did a good job at keeping the ball out of the inside. A strong
defensive effort led to easy points on the offensive end. A finger
roll layup by Bowers was followed by a deep three pointer from
Bryson Kirby and the Lincoln lead had grown to 30-17. A quick four
point burst was interrupted by another three from Kirby. Another
drive by Hopp finished the first half scoring for the Railers, now
Lincoln had a chance to finish even stronger at the end of the first
half, running down almost 1:20 of the clock against tough pressure
defense from SHG. With less than ten seconds remaining, a set play
to called from the bench, and that’s when things started to unravel.
With spacing an issue and mishandling of the basketball, SHG’s Sam
Sergent picked up the errant pass and scored on a layup to send the
teams into the locker room, Lincoln up 35-25. By the manner of his
gait, Coach Alexander was not pleased with the half’s final moments.
“Well, I called a set and that’s when we decided to stop playing.
There is a lot of things for us to work on.”
Whatever the halftime discussion, the message was delivered.
After SHG drew within eight on an offensive rebound and putback,
Lincoln through everything into high gear. Bowers started the run
with five straight points off drives down the lane. It was good to
see Bowers be strong in the middle. In the first half, the sophomore
had a chance to work in the lane, but kicked the ball back out.
Starting the second half, Bowers would not be denied as he was the
Fry his his first three of the night off a pass from a driving Hopp,
while another steal found its way
eventually to an open Aeilts who continued his hot shooting from the
[to top of second column]
The Aron Hopp show continued as he scored on a layup and then
another layin, this one on a spin move one way and back to the lane.
Showing his true team leadership, Hopp’s steal saw him toss a behind
the back pass to an open Aeilts for his fifth three of the night and
the 21-0 run had exploded the Lincoln lead to 56-27.
Finally, if you are an SHG fan, with 1:37 to go in the quarter, a
pair of free throws ended the run only to see Nolan Hullinger
connect from deep in the right corner, one of five Railers to hit a
three pointer on the night. By the time Hopp had scored the next six
on a floater over the outstretched SHG hands in the lane, a regular
lay-in, and a shot he just flipped up and in, Lincoln had built
their advantage to 65-30 before pulling away to the final 67-40
“It was a good win, but we need to get better,” Alexander said. “I
thought everyone out there tonight put forth a great effort. But
things like 17 turnovers, that’s too many for us. We should have had
only seven turnovers. That would have given up ten more shots.”
Hopp’s 20 points led the way again, followed by a season high 15
points from Aeilts. Bowers reached double figures also with 11
points. Fry, Hullinger, and Kirby all added six points, with Bacon
scoring three early in the game.
The Railers play the second of back-to-back home games with a
Saturday night matchup against
Springfield. The schedule is a bit different from normal action. The
sophomore boys will play at 3:30 with the girls’ varsity set to play
at 5:00 prior to the scheduled tip time of 6:30 for the boys’
varsity action. The Lady Railers are off to a good start so Saturday
is a great opportunity to watch a lot of good basketball courtesy of
Hopp 9 2-2 20, Aeilts 5 0-0 15, Bowers 5 1-1 11, Fry 2 1-2 6, Kirby
2 0-0 6, Hullinger 2 0-0 6, Bacon 1 0-0
3, Biggs 0 0-0 0, O’Donoghue 0 0-0 0, Cannon 0 0-0 0, Grunder 0 0-0
0, Sloan 0 0-0 0, Birnbaum 0 0-0 0,
Morris 0 0-0 0. TEAM 26 4-5 67. 3pt FG 11 (Aeilts 5, Kirby 2,
Hullinger 2, Fry, Bacon).
Okwuegbunam 8, Reid 7, Sergent 6, Moseley 5, O’Connor 4, Ingram 3,
Brenneisen 3, Andrews 3, Boll 1.
TEAM 14 7-13 40. 3pt FG 5 (Brenneisen, Andrews, Sergent, Moseley,
LCHS 19-16-24-8 67
SHG 14-11-4-11 40
I would also like to draw your attention to another news item that
involves Lincoln basketball as well as everything else at Lincoln
High School. There has been discussion about whether or not Lincoln
will stay in the Central State Eight conference or possibly switch
to a different affiliation. My best advice is to go to the detailed
recap of the Wednesday discussion sessions found on Lincoln Daily
News. You can find it