LINCOLN 55, SPRINGFIELD 33
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[December 22, 2016]
After the first eight minutes Wednesday night at Roy S.
Anderson Gymnasium, the Railers were on pace to score over 100
points and win by eighty. Now, in most cases, the small sample size
of just one quarter can skew the perception of a game.
Unfortunately, the Railers did not carry over their first quarter
play. It was enough to come away with a 55-33 win over the Senators,
but there was a definite sour taste left from the final three
“Well, we played tonight like we practice. We start out well and
then just lose our focus,” Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said after
the game. “We can’t be a good team until we figure out how to play
32 quality minutes. I don’t want to keep harping on it but 32
minutes is the key.”
Over the final three quarters, the Railers outscored Springfield by
only two. But, it was in the game’s first eight minutes that the
contest was decided. After being postponed from Friday due to the
wintry mix that affected travel across Central Illinois, Lincoln
picked up where they left off 12 days ago with the surprising win
over Jacksonville. The first quarter was dominated by the outside
shooting of the Railers as they connected for six of their season
high ten threes. A three each from Drew Bacon, Bryson Kirby, and
Nolan Hullinger allowed Lincoln to explode out to a quick 11-0 lead
in the first three minutes of the game, forcing Springfield to take
not one, but two timeouts to try to halt the Lincoln start.
Once the outside game got Lincoln the early lead, Titus Cannon
scored on consecutive possessions to build a 15-0 lead before
Springfield got on the board thanks to an offensive rebound with
just over three minutes left in the first quarter. A basket from Ben
Grunder preceded the second of three Hullinger threes to extend the
advantage to 20-2.
Springfield (2-8, 1-4) tried to find a little more rhythm
offensively but the Lincoln defense made life very difficult for the
visitors. More threes from Kirby and Hullinger allowed the Railers
to dash out to a 20 point lead after one, 26-6. The offensive
onslaught continued in the early portion of the second quarter. The
outside shooting of Hullinger paid off for Bacon as Hullinger held
the ball just outside the three point line. With Springfield
defenders coming from all directions, Bacon cut to the basket and
scored after taking the pass from Hullinger. Lincoln climbed to
their largest lead of the night when Grunder struck from outside,
putting the Railers up 31-6.
From there, Lincoln seemed to put it in cruise control and that did
not set well with the coaching staff. “We have to play with
intensity and passion for 32 minutes, as a team,” Alexander said. “I
would almost rather lose but play 32 tough minutes than play the way
we did tonight.”
Springfield did go on a mini 7-0 run but fittingly, the Lincoln
scoring in the half ended on another three from Kirby and the
Railers took a 34-13 lead into the locker room. The Railers had
played well from ahead earlier in the season, winning the previous
five games in which they lead at the break.
The start of the second half was sloppy, with each team turning it
over or taking ill-advised shots for the first few minutes. It
seemed like a scrimmage had broken out in the middle of the game.
There wasn’t much energy on the court and that transferred to the
crowd. Kirby picked up where he left off in the first half with two
more threes, giving him five for the game, tying his career high for
threes in a game. His last one in the third pushed Lincoln’s lead to
[to top of second column]
The fourth quarter was mop up time. The only points from the
starters for the Railers were free throws from Bacon and Isaiah
Bowers. The leading scorer for Lincoln coming in, with an average of
almost 16 points a game, Bowers was held to just two free throws on
the evening. The junior did contribute with 6 rebounds, 5 assists,
and 5 steals but the scoring was taken care of by other Railers on
this night. Lincoln got bench scoring from Tate Sloan, Zach Morris,
and Colton Holliday. Again, this was a game that was decided early.
However, the manner in which Springfield forced Lincoln (7-1, 3-0)
to play poorly was on the mind of Coach Alexander, who was already
looking ahead to the holiday tournament in Collinsville.
“If we are fortunate to get by Urbana, and they’ve scored 100 points
in a game and also beaten Danville (the only team to beat Lincoln
this year), we get Edwardsville and they were here watching tonight.
They saw how we handle pressure and if you think Springfield brought
pressure, Edwardsville will really bring it.”
Kirby led the way with 15 points, all on threes. Bacon finished with
11 with Hullinger notching a career high of nine points. Grunder
added five with Cannon and Sloan each scoring four. Morris had a
late three points, while Bowers and Holliday finished with two.
Lincoln remains one of only three unbeatens in the Central State
Eight but they will be tested on Thursday night when a much improved
SHG squad comes to town. If you like basketball, head over to Roy S.
Anderson for four games against the Cyclones. At 4:00, the boys’
sophomore squad will play in the front gym with the girls’ teams
playing in the back gym. At 5:30, the Lady Railers will take the
court in the front gym with the boys varsity in the nightcap
scheduled for 7:00.
Kirby 5 0-0 15, Bacon 3 4-5 11, Hullinger 3 0-0 9, Grunder 2 0-0 5,
Cannon 2 0-0 4, Sloan 2 0-0 4, Morris 1 1-1 3, Bowers 0 2-4 2,
Holliday 1 0-0 2, Birnbaum 0 0-0 0, Combs 0 0-0 0. TEAM 19 7-10 55.
3pt FG 10 (Kirby 5, Hullinger 3, Bacon, Grunder).
Minder 10, Washington 6, Reiser 5, Hawkins 4, Harris 3, Small 2,
Hughes 2, Jackson 1. TEAM 14 2-5 33. 3pt FG 3 (Minder, Harris,
LCHS 26-8-9-12 55
SPRINGFIELD 6-7-8-12 33
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