Railers drop inaugural contest in Apollo
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[November 25, 2017]
Were the Bulldogs of
Mahomet-Seymour very welcoming to the Lincoln Railers in their first
contest as members of the Apollo Conference? In a word – Noe.
That’s not a miss by my spell check. Instead, it was a team knowing
who their leader was, finding him, and letting him put the team on
his shoulders. Senior Cory Noe scored 21 of his game-high 25 points
in the second half and was involved by either scoring or assisting
on every fourth quarter point for Mahomet-Seymour as they knocked
off the Railers 48-42 on Friday night at Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium.
Simply put, Noe took over. With Lincoln up 31-25 in the third
quarter, the offense for the Bulldogs seemed to be ‘get the ball to
number five.’ After Noe brought his squad within two at the end of
the fourth quarter, an Isaiah Bowers basket put Lincoln up 35-31.
Noe scored three on a conventional three point play and then gave
the Bulldogs the lead with a three-pointer with 3:51 remaining.
After Ben Grunder tied the game at 37, Bowers hit three pointer at
the 3:06 mark to give Lincoln the 40-37 advantage.
That is when Noe kicked it into high gear. A basket from the senior
was followed by a three at 1:35, putting Mahomet-Seymour (3-0) up
42-40. From there, they left the Railers in their rear-view mirror.
The next possession saw Noe drive the baseline, only to have the
Lincoln defense cut off the baseline. Noe easily dumped off a pass
to Joshua Johnson in the lane who got the easy two. Noe converted a
pair of free throws to stretch their lead to 46-40.
Lincoln went almost three minutes before getting on the board, their
final points coming from free throws by Colton Holliday. Noe drained
two more from the charity stripe with 13 seconds to go to set the
final score at 48-42. It was a very discouraging night for all of
Railer Nation. “They executed and that’s what happens when you
execute,” Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said. “Coach Benedict had his
team ready. In fact, they (Mahomet-Seymour) , the way they looked,
executed the way we normally do.”
As these teams opened Apollo Conference play, the Railers hoped home
court advantage would put Lincoln in the win column. Unfortunately,
it did not stick to the script. “There are only 12 conference games,
not 18 and, now, we just lost our home court advantage,” Alexander
In a game that was close throughout, neither team having a lead more
than six, the Railers got on the board first when Holliday took an
inside pass from Grunder for a lay-in. The Bulldogs scored the next
five to take the lead only to have Grunder cut the lead to one.
Grant Coleman scored another two for Mahomet-Seymour while Grunder
answered back with a 14-footer to put Lincoln within one at 7-6.
Another four from the Bulldogs pushed the deficit to 11-6. As the
clock neared zero at the end of the first quarter, there seemed to
be some confusion on the part of the Railers as where everyone was
supposed to be. The ball ended up with Holliday, who laid the ball
in the basket, cutting the lead to 11-8. Not sure it was drawn up
that way, but a score is a score.
In the early stages of the second quarter, Bowers hit a pair of free
throws and a 15-foot jumper to keep the Railers down three at 15-12.
After Coleman scored to put Mahomet-Seymour up 17-12, Coach
Alexander reached down the bench to find some energy and hopefully
some scoring. Lincoln’s own number five, sophomore Isaac Dewberry,
showed he was ready for his season debut. Dewberry scored five
consecutive points on a three pointer and strong drive to the basket
to tie the game at 17. Noe scored to take the lead away from the
Railers only to have Grunder’s driving layup knot the game again.
After the Bulldogs took the lead back, Titus Cannon drove the lane
and got past his defender to tie the game at 21. Lincoln did have
one last shot to take the lead before half, but again, confusion
seemed to reign and an off-balance three didn’t find the mark.
[to top of second column]
With the game tied at 21, both teams were in the locker room knowing
there were opportunities left on the floor. The key, however, was
seeing the scorebook say that Mahomet’s Noe only had four points. He
came in averaging over 21 a game and you just knew, he would be
heard from. “Maybe they looked at the point he only had four points
and thought, well, he’s not that good or they forgot about him,”
Alexander said. “Well, as good as he is, he was going to get his.”
The third quarter started with Dewberry being rewarded for his first
half by being on the floor as the second half got underway. Dewberry
capitalized by hitting a corner three to give Lincoln their first
lead since 2-0. A Mahomet score was answered by a three from Bowers.
After Noe scored after a steal and layup, Holliday scored on a a
drive and Dewberry continued his breakout night with a finger roll,
putting the Railers up 31-25, their largest lead of the night.
And that’s when Noe took over. A two-time member of the
all-tournament team, Noe solidified his place on this year’s squad.
The senior is already on my ballot, no matter what happens on
Saturday. As for the Railers, Coach Alexander stated “don’t give up
on this team. This team can still be good, but there are a number of
things that need to be worked on.” The work on those things, and
others, will start on Saturday as the Railers do double duty,
starting at 1pm with a game against Danville, a team that is
averaging over 80 points a game. With some of the offensive
struggles the Railers have shown in the first three games, the
defense will have to step up to hold the Vikings close. The nightcap
of the tournament will show the Railers taking on Bartonville
Limestone, a team that has struggled to score this week.
On Friday nights, the Railers had three in double figures as Bowers
led with 12, while Grunder and Dewberry added 10 apiece. Holliday
scored eight while Cannon chipped in with two.
It will definitely be interesting to see how the Railers handle
teams on opposite ends of the spectrum with matchups against the
Vikings and Rockets. If you get the chance, make sure you stop out
to see this team. The talent is there and once they figure out how
to coexist together, this team will start looking more cohesive and
any groans of frustration will be replaced with cheers of success.
Bowers 4 2-2 12, Grunder 5 0-0 10, Dewberry, 4 0-0 10, Holliday 3
2-2 8, Cannon 1 0-0 2, Hamlin 0 0-0 0, Sloan 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0
0. TEAM 17 4-4 42. 3pt FG 4 (Bowers 2, Dewberry 2).
Noe 8 7-8 25, Colen 4 0-0 9, Johnson 4 0-1 8, Campion 2 0-0 4,
Benedict 1 0-0 2. TEAM 19 7-9 48. 3pt FG 3 (Noe 2, Colemen).
MAH-SEY 11-10-10-17 48
[by Jeff Benjamin]