Railer win streak reaches four as Bowers reaches 1000
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[December 09, 2017]
by Jeff Benjamin
The strong play of the Lincoln Railers in Apollo Conference action
continued on Friday night with a 20 point win over the Flaming
Hearts from Effingham. Lincoln’s 63-43 victory over the visitors was
highlighted by senior Isaiah Bowers eclipsing the 1,000 point mark
for his career.
On the evening, Bowers scored 27 points and grabbed six rebounds as
he moved into 20th place all-time on the Railer scoring list. A nice
accomplishment that few have reached but not the most important
number to the four-year player. “The important this is adding a
number to the win column,” Bowers said after the game. “It doesn’t
matter who is taking the shots, whether it’s Titus (Cannon), Ben
(Grunder), or now Drew (Bacon). As long as we get the win.”
Over the last three games in conference play, the Railers have
outscored their opponents 181-97, moving to 3-1 in the conference.
Friday night was also a welcome back to senior Drew Bacon who was
out for the first seven games of the season. As if on cue, Bacon may
have two of the game’s biggest plays. Bacon drilled his first points
of the season by connecting on a three-pointer from the top of the
key to end the first quarter, giving Lincoln a 19-9 advantage.
More importantly, his presence was felt on the defensive end. After
Lincoln had built a 38-20 lead in the third quarter, the Railer
defense hit a bump in the road allowing Effingham (4-3, 1-1) to
climb back into the game. A 12-2 run from the Hearts brought them
within eight and, after a Lincoln turnover, a chance to cut into the
lead even more. A drive to the basket from Ryan Sandifer was
thwarted when Bacon stepped in the lane drawing a charge and forcing
the turnover. After that play, the Railers closed the game on a
“The play by Drew was a huge momentum stopper. I think it was only
the second charge of the year we have taken,” Coach Neil Alexander
said after the game. “That is exactly the kind of play we need and
expect from Drew.”
As has been the case as of late, it was the Lincoln defense that set
the tone early, forcing 11 first half turnovers while holding
Effingham to single-digit scoring in each of the first two quarters.
During the four-game winning streak, Lincoln has had quicker hands,
moved together as unit much better, and forced teams to be very
uncomfortable in what they want to do. They were put to the test
though by Effingham’s Landon Wolfe, who scored a team-high 26
points. “He is a good player, good scorer, and can find his way to
the basket,” Alexander said. “He’s good but still scored too many
easy baskets. We have to communicate, talk more on defense. That is
something we will have to work on, talking to each other.”
The Railers jumped out to an early 7-2 lead thanks to a layup in the
lane from Titus Cannon, who then assisted Bowers on a back door
layup. Bowers hit the first of his two three pointers to move the
lead to five. Effingham did not just fade away as their own 7-2 run
tied the game at nine. That’s when Lincoln exploded for a 21-4
stretch in the first half. A three from Ben Grunder gave the Lincoln
the lead back for good, while Bowers remained active by scoring on
an offensive rebound and tipping in a missed layup. Bacon’s three
ended the quarter with Lincoln on top by ten and feeling pretty good
after the first eight minutes.
A steal by Bowers led to another basket from Cannon, who reached
double figures on the evening with 12 points. A basket from Colton
Holliday left the Hearts down 14 and it seemed the rout was on.
Wolfe, however, would not let his team get run out of the gym as he
scored the game’s next four points. Grunder stopped the quick
outburst with a drive before Jermaine Hamlin brought the crowd to
its feet. Another Grunder drive resulted in the defense collapsing
on him. Instead of forcing a shot, Grunder dropped the pass off to
Hamlin who rose up for a two-hand dunk while getting fouled.
Not only did the play energize the fans, it is also seemed to
energize Hamlin, who seemed more of a presence on defense. After a
steal, Hamlin ran the floor and was rewarded with a pass which he
converted to a layup and a 30-13 lead for Lincoln. Wolfe again, in
fact all six points for his squad in the second, before Bowers’
15-footer ended the first half scoring at 32-15.
[to top of second column]
In a case of déjà vu, the second half started the way the first did
with Cannon finding no resistance as he drove the lane and scored on
a layup. Even with nice leads at halftime, the Railers have shown a
tendency to let opponents back in. “We have to find a way to take
those 15 point leads and put teams away,” Alexander noted. “That and
our free throw shooting is going to cause us to lose a game down the
With Lincoln up 38-20, Effingham turned up the pressure while
relying on Wolfe and Mason Hull to cut ten points off the Railer
lead. The 12-2 run feature Wolfe driving to the basket with ease
while Hull hit a pair of three pointers. After drawing the charge,
Bacon and the Railers seemed to take a breath and refocus on the
task at hand. The Railers scored the last seven points of the
quarter to go back up by 15, the last three being the milestone
With about 50 seconds left in the quarter, Bowers found himself on
the right side. As his three went in, he reached the 1,000 point
mark for his career. If his scoring continues in this manner, 76
points over the last three games, he will quickly rise up the list
of Lincoln scorers.
Bowers got some help on his next score as Isaac Dewberry kept the
ball alive twice on the same possession before it found its way to
Bowers for the basket. Up 52-38, the Railers finally put together a
run that put Effingham away with most of it directly a result of the
defense taking over. Cannon forced a turnover and scored on the
ensuing layup. After a 14-footer from Bowers along with him
splitting a pair of free throws, Lincoln led 57-41. With Effingham
getting the last basket, Lincoln scored six points in about 20
seconds. Bowers converted another back door before Tate Sloan and
Cannon each forced turnovers at the timeline and scored layups off
All in all, a good win. Still some areas that need work, but you
don’t want to be playing your best basketball now. The next point of
interest for the Railers is now coming up Sunday when it is expected
the seeds for the Collinsville Holiday Classic will be released. At
least one representative from Collinsville was at the game Friday
night. The question is will the 6-2 record, especially the play over
the last four games, be enough for the Railers to grab one of the
top four seeds. Stay in touch with Lincoln Daily News for updates
regarding the seeds and brackets.
The Railers were led by the duo of Bowers (27) and Cannon (12).
Hamlin had a strong night with seven while Grunder and Bacon each
added five. Sloan chipped in with four with Holliday scoring three.
Lincoln now has a week to prepare for their next matchup, an Apollo
Conference battle at Mt. Zion. Game time is set for 7:30pm with the
sophomores tipping at 6pm. The sophomores continued their strong
play with a 53-28 win.
Bowers 12 1-2 27, Cannon 5 2-2 12, Hamlin 3 1-3 7, Grunder 2 0-1 5,
Bacon 2 0-0 5, Sloan 2 0-0 4, Holliday 1 1-2 3, Dewberry 0 0-0 0.
TEAM 27 5-10 63. 3pt FG 4 (Bowers 2, Grunder, Bacon).
Wolfe 26, Hull 9, Sandifer 4, Smith 4. TEAM 16 7-11 43. 3pt FG 4
(Hull 3, Wolfe).
EFFINGHAM 9-6-17-11 43
LCHS 19-13-15-16 63
LINCOLN ALL-TIME SCORING
16 Donny Aeilts 1034
17 Dave Cadwallader 1028
18 Nathaniel Smith 1018
19 Jason Osborn 1012
20 ISAIAH BOWERS 1011
21 Dan Duff 991
[by Jeff Benjamin]