Railers sweep the 2018 Lincoln Eaton Basketball Tournament as varsity wins 65-33 and JV win 62-45 over Cahokia

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[November 28, 2018]  The Lincoln Eaton Basketball Tournament featuring four schools - Lincoln, Springfield, Cahokia and Limestone - has come to completion with LCHS Railers teams coming out on top. Each school’s JV and Varsity teams played each other in the three-day tournament that provided lots of excitement for basketball fans

Varsity Lincoln Railers vs Cahokia Comanches

The Lincoln Railers dominated the Cahokia Comanches Saturday night at Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium. When it was all said and done Lincoln clinched the tournament championship with a 65-33 win over Cahokia.

The Railers are off to a 3-0 record to start the season and this young group is playing hard and having fun.

Wyatt Collier goes to the free throw line to shoot the technical shots for the Railers. Collier was a perfect 2-for-2 at the line.

Every night of the tournament it’s been a solid team effort from Coach Neil Alexander’s squad, however, a different player each night has topped the scoreboard in points.

The first night in the 64-49 win over Limestone, it was Jermaine Hamlin leading the scoring with 18 points.

On night number two it was Kaden Froebe’s 22 points that guided the Railers to a 63-33 win over Springfield.

Junior Kaden Froebe is handed his all-tournament team plaque. Froebe finished the tournament with 52 points, 13 rebounds and 9 steals.

And Saturday night the spotlight belonged to Kameron Whiteman. Whiteman scored a career-high 26 points to lead Lincoln to a 65-33 win over Cahokia. Whiteman nailed six three-pointers and every time he tossed the ball up from behind the arc, the crowd was into it.

Whiteman might have missed the three at the first quarter buzzer, only because the ball literally spun in and out of the rim, but the junior took another shot at it just as the halftime buzzer was ready to sound. His three to close out the half was nothing but net and he definitely had “the touch” in those hands versus Cahokia.

It’s a ton of fun to watch a player on the court when he’s “feeling it.” Whiteman was fun to watch Saturday night, but then again, so was the rest of this Railer bunch.

Senior Jermaine Hamlin picks up his all-tournament team award. Hamlin finished the tournament with 39 points and 23 rebounds.

The game

For the third consecutive game, Coach Alexander put the same starting five out there. Like that old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” When Will Ewald, Kaden Froebe, Jermaine Hamlin, Dylan Singleton and Kameron Whiteman come running out under the spotlight, with #1 Railer Fan Tim McDougall holding the giant flag and trotting up and down the sidelines and around the young kids lined up for high-fives, it’s the most exciting place to be in Lincoln on a Saturday night.

The Railers wore their home white uniforms versus Cahokia Saturday, after sporting their green uniforms against Limestone and then the red uniforms against Springfield. No matter what the uniform color, these 2018-19 Railers look good and play good.

First quarter

Not trying to sound repetitive, but it was Froebe for the third game in a row getting the Railers on the scoreboard first. After Lincoln won the tip and Whiteman missed a three to start the game, the action headed the other direction, where Cahokia missed, too. But it was Froebe coming through for the Railers and his three at the 6:40 mark made things official.

Lincoln wasted little time running out to a 10-0 lead on buckets from Whiteman and Ewald. After Froebe tossed out an offensive rebound to Whiteman, Whiteman popped a three and Lincoln was cruising early, 13-2 the score.

Hamlin’s putback was good at the 1:15 mark and he also made good on the “and one.”

Lincoln was dominating early, 16-2 over Cahokia. Lincoln’s defense once again was outstanding and the Comanches were irritated early as the first quarter closed and the score remained 16-2.

Second quarter

Whiteman’s three to start things off only extended the Railers lead and puzzled Cahokia’s defense even more.

Cortez Brown did manage to score a bucket in the lane for Cahokia on the next trip down the court. It was his second basket of the game and he was solely responsible for the Comanches offense at this point. The rest of the Cahokia team was going to have to get involved or Whiteman alone was going to beat the whole team.

Speaking of Whiteman, he hit another three from downtown Lincoln at the 3:44 mark in the second quarter and one fan was overheard saying, “That was a Jordan Nelson three.” Whiteman was undoubtedly in a groove and Lincoln was loving it to the score of 22-4.

Jimeque Harvey of Cahokia managed to sneak into the lane alone and put up a shot for the Comanches to make the score 22-6 but even with that bucket there was barely a peep outta the Comanche fans.

Railer Nation on the other hand was loud again. The student section was decked out in their Beach/Hawaiian themed attire looking and sounding good. Leader of the pack, Austin O’Donoghue, had his floaty on and he looked ready to jump in if needed.

A Froebe pass to Hamlin at the 3:13 mark would result in a Jermaine dunk and you guessed it, the crowd ate it up. Railer Nation went bonkers. The Railers lead was 24-6. Life is good on the beach.

Let’s just end this quarter, that’s kinda what the Comanches were thinking. How about getting Noah Funk in the scoring column. Funk hit a three for Lincoln with 1:35 remaining and then, yes, Whiteman capped things off with a buzzer-beating thrilling three.

You can’t ask for these guys to do it any other better way. With a 30-7 lead Lincoln ran off to the locker room.

As for the rest of the gym, get out the flip flops, sit back, relax and enjoy. Even scorekeeper Eric Grunder had his cargo shorts on behind the score’s table.

Third quarter

Lincoln’s stride from beyond the arc was not about to be broken. Froebe’s three was perfect and the lead was 33-7.

While the third quarter would see a couple other Comanches get their names in the scorebook, the game still belonged to Lincoln. Whiteman switched it up a bit and moved closer to the basket to hit a couple closer-ranged field goals. Hamlin and Funk scored in the lane as well and at the end of this quick and painless quarter, the Lincoln lead was 45-24.

Fourth quarter

The final quarter still consisted of Whiteman connecting for threes, until he settled on 26 points for the night. Froebe was busy connecting from beyond the arc, in the lane, and from the free throw line. Froebe would finish with 16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. His final two free throws gave Lincoln a 30-point lead, 61-31 the score.

[to top of second column]

Railer Man strikes a pose with Railer Nation. The theme for the night was Beach/Hawaiian. Someone bring sand next time!

The game’s not over yet. Just as Landon Hullinger was fouled and heading to the free throw line, a technical foul was called. It appeared to be called on a Comanche player who was lining up for the free throws.

So with 1:05 remaining in the game, Hullinger sank two free throws and then Coach Alexander called on senior Wyatt Collier to shoot the technical shots. Collier was a perfect 2-for-2 at the line and Railer Nation gave him the applause he deserved.

With the score 65-31 Railer Nation was relentless and they got what they wanted. After chanting and holding up signs that read, “WE WANT CHUNK” all evening long, Railer Nation got their wish. Patrick McCraith, nicknamed “Chunk” by friends, entered the game at the 1:05 mark and that move resulted in the loudest cheers of the night. A fan favorite for the season has been crowned.

As soon as the 5’8-sophomore touched the ball the fans were ecstatic. When McCraith took a shot, the fans held their breath and were ready to cheer with arms flailing through the air. He tossed one up and missed. The crowd still chanted “Chunk” and went wild.

There will be another opportunity. Just not this game. Time ran out and the Comanches were ready to throw in their beach towels anyway.

The final score in this one was 65-33 and with the win the Lincoln Railers Varsity earned the 2018 Lincoln/Eaton Basketball Tournament Championship Trophy.

Before the trophy presentation, three Lincoln Railers were honored as members of the all-tournament team: Jermaine Hamlin, Kaden Froebe and Will Ewald. They joined Mike Dunne of Limestone and Bennie Slater of Springfield on the all-tournament team.

Lincoln last won this tournament in 2015. So for this group of current Railer juniors, they were not even in high school when the team last claimed the trophy. Junior Kameron Whiteman had this on his radar and he delivered in a big way. His 26 points was a career-high. And this is just the beginning of great things out of Whiteman at the varsity level.

As for the win Saturday night, Whiteman was focused. “We knew coming in here that we had to win this game to win the championship so we kinda had a chip on our shoulder coming in. So we just tried to get the job done and we got it done,” said Whiteman.

Junior Will Ewald was also key in the win. He scored 5 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Ewald was hitting the boards more than usual and was second on the team behind Hamlin’s 10 rebounds. As for hitting the boards, he said after the game with a smile, “Coach was yelling at me. That’s the reason I hit those boards.”

As for the 3-0 start and the success this group is having, Ewald had an answer. “It’s gonna be a fun season because we’ve got Jermaine and we got guys who can lob it to him really well. And we’ve got guys who can drive by defenders. We’ve also got plenty of guys who can shoot the three. Even if we have an off night, we can just use Jermaine. We can shoot mid-range shots, too, if we’re not hitting three-pointers.”

The Railers have a lot of options. Nice options.

Junior Will Ewald also made the all-tournament team. Ewald racked up 22 points and 12 rebounds over the three games.

Ewald was also pumped about Railer Nation and their enthusiasm they brought to Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium. “The student section was awesome tonight,” said Ewald. “They know what they’re doing. They’re awesome.”

A little surprise greeted Ewald once he hit the court Saturday night for introductions and glanced over at the fan section. The leader of Railer Nation, Austin O’Donoghue, was holding a giant picture of a baby photo of Ewald. To be more correct, Ewald was a toddler maybe with hair. Nonetheless adorable.

“He pulled out my baby picture when we had starting lineups and I was very surprised,” said a smiling Ewald of Austin O’Donoghue.

After the game the picture was autographed with a “Will Ewald #23” personal touch making it more special. The picture will most likely make future appearances at ballgames. Among others, but who knows.

Will Ewald and Austin O'Donoghue with nothing but respect for each other. Ewald holds a giant picture of himself, the same prop that O'Donoghue held up during the game.

In the meantime, it’s anybody’s guess what the next theme night will be for Railer Nation. But hands down these kids are doing an amazing job keeping the crowd pumped.

The next time the Railers take the court at home will be December 4th. Mark that on the calendar.

The hardest working men behind the scenes ~ the Railers Student Assistants ~ Trent Butterfield, Evan Ewins and Virat Patel.

The Railers have the better part of this week off. Rest will do their bodies good. Although they’ll keep grinding in practice to get ready for a game at Taylorville Friday night.

It’s a short drive to Taylorville and they’ve got good pizza in that town. Hope to see everyone there.

Go Railers!

Varsity game stats

Lincoln 65

Whiteman 26
Froebe 16
Hamlin 9
Funk 5
Ewald 5
Hullinger 2
Collier 2
Cahokia 33

Brown 6
Higgins 6
Hudson 4
McCall 4
Rogers 4
Baker 3
Schooler 2
Harvey 2
Binford 2

JV Lincoln vs Cahokia

The Lincoln Railers JV (Sophomore) team beat Cahokia 62-45 on Saturday night to win the JV side of the Lincoln/Eaton Basketball Tournament.

Three Railers placed in double figures. Landon Hullinger led the team with 21 points. Adam Grunder tossed in 15 points. Keagan Ferguson added 10 points.

The Lincoln JV team improves to 3-0 on the season.

Game stats (JV)

Lincoln 62

Hullinger 21
Grunder 15
Ferguson 10
B. Whiteman 6
McCraith 5
Koehler 3
Tungate 2
Cahokia 45

Jones 11
C. Hill 9
Singleton 7
Stevenson 6
Sanders 5
Binford 4
R. Hill 3

[article and pictures by Teena Lowery]

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