Railers survive and advance in regional action vs Lanphier

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[February 28, 2019] 

The Lincoln Railers opened play in the Class 3A Regional at Clinton High School Tuesday night and survived a scare by the Lanphier Lions.

Lanphier led the Railers most of the ballgame but a 22-point fourth quarter, led by Kameron Whiteman's 10 points, allowed Lincoln to overcome the Lions and pick up a 57-47 win.

Jermaine Hamlin was a key factor in the game, despite sitting on the bench with four fouls from the 2:17 mark in the third quarter until re-entering the game at the 4:11 mark in the fourth quarter. Hamlin led Lincoln with 20 points and his presence on the court was felt as he battled Lanphier's 6'7 big men, Karl Wright and KJ Debrick.

Talk about a battle. Lincoln had their hands full with the lineup Blake Turner put together that featured a freshman, Tye Banks, as the leading scorer and a sophomore, Debrick, off the bench as the second leading scorer. Turner also relied heavily on two seniors Tuesday night, Wright and Larry Hemingway. Two other Lanphier seniors just quit the team last week.

Lincoln trailed 2-0 to start the game as Banks tossed in the first basket of the game.

Kaden Froebe would make Lincoln's first basket and tie the game 2-2 at the 6:30 mark in the first quarter. The game was moving quickly but the shots were not falling early for either team.

Dylan Singleton put Lincoln on top 3-2 with a free throw but the Lions jumped back in front with a basket by Karl Wright.

Jermaine Hamlin's dunk off the alley-oop pass from Froebe put Lincoln up 5-4 at the 5:17 mark and the large Lincoln crowd that traveled up Route 10 to Clinton was loving it.

Hemingway put the Lions back on top 6-5 and by all early indications this one was going to go back and forth all night long.

Following a Froebe miss on the drive, Lanphier's Wright was offered up his own alley-oop at the other end of the court and he delivered. He rattled the rim for an 8-5 Lions lead.

Will Ewald made good on his drive to the basket in the Railers next possession and after drawing the foul, he sunk the free throw to tie the game 8-8 with 3:48 left to play in the first quarter.

Dylan Singleton put the Railers on top 10-8 with his hustle and ability to collect the rebound and put the ball back through the hoop.

Hamlin would give Lincoln a 12-8 lead but with under a minute to play the Lions ran off seven quick points and took a 15-12 lead over the Railers as the first quarter came to a close.

Second quarter

Banks started the second quarter off by extending the Lions lead to 17-12 and this was not good, nor was this expected.

Lincoln would not score until the 6:08 mark when a steal from Singleton resulted in the sophomore stopping and popping a two and Lincoln closed the gap to 17-14.

A free throw by Hamlin a minute later edged Lincoln closer 17-15.

Banks, reminder: he's a freshman, scored again and this time his three put Lanphier up 20-15.

Following a Lincoln miss and then a Lanphier turnover, the ball and the momentum bounced back in Lincoln's direction.

Landon Hullinger came through off the bench and hit the money ball with his three at the 3:36 mark. Three seconds later it was Froebe with the quick steal and bucket that tied the game 20-20.

Lanphier took the lead on a three but Hamlin was quick to answer with a two. The Lions would stretch the lead to 25-22 after another basket by Banks.

Hamlin quieted the few Lions fans in attendance with his slam that shook the basket and pulled the Railers to within 25-24 around the 1:20 mark.

Neither team would score in the final minute of the first half and the Lions were lucky to have a 25-24 lead over Lincoln.

Third quarter

Jaden Snodgrass, an SHG transfer, gave the Lions a 27-24 lead early in the third quarter.

The Lions held a 29-27 lead until Hamlin decided to even the score. On the perfect lob from Froebe, Hamlin jumped in the air and stuffed it home for a 29-29 tie around the 3:30 mark in the third quarter.

Hemingway recaptured the Lions lead, 32-29, with a three. The Lions would build up a four-point lead, until baskets by Froebe and Whiteman tied things up again at 35-35.

Debrick's field goal with 5.5 seconds left in the third quarter gave Lanphier a 37-35 lead as the quarter closed. Lincoln had work to do and just eight minutes left to complete the job.

Fourth quarter

Lanphier's Hemingway extended the lead to 39-35 after he picked off the pass meant for Froebe and ran downcourt for the layup to start the fourth quarter.

Lincoln's Froebe got revenge immediately at the Railers end. He drove past Hemingway and tossed up a jumper at the free throw line over Maki Rose and drew the foul. After making good on the foul shot, Froebe pulled the Railers to within 39-38.

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Railer fans filled the seats of the Clinton gym to cheer on Lincoln.

The Lions stole the lead back 41-38 but Whiteman was not content with that. He tied the game 41-41 on a three as 6:11 flashed on the scoreboard.

Those Lions would not give up though. A 45-41 Lanphier lead was a quick result of their resolve.

But with 5:21 flashing on the clock it was Whiteman again to the rescue. This time his corner three in front of the Railers bench bounced high off the rim and came down aligned with the basket and IN for three points.

The Lions still held a 45-44 advantage but that was about to come to a sudden ending. Lincoln would allow the Lions one more basket, a two by Debrick, that put them up 47-44.

But re-entering into the game at the 4:11 mark, after a lengthy break on the bench due to foul trouble, was Hamlin. A quick two by Hamlin was just the beginning of a 13-0 run by Lincoln to overtake the game. Hamlin came through again at the 2:25 mark with a bucket in the lane and the foul. This basket had Hamlin and the crowd fired up as Lincoln took a 49-47 lead and never looked back.

Jermaine Hamlin extends Lincoln's lead late in the fourth quarter. The Railers defeated Lanphier 57-47 in regional action.

Hamlin would get fouled in the lane by Wright, his fifth foul, and with 1:10 remaining the big guy sank those free throws and Lincoln was up 51-47. Two more free throws by Hamlin stretched that to a 53-47 lead.

With 23.1 seconds left Whiteman sank two free throws as Railer Nation began to chant "I believe that we will win."

With 12.2 seconds left Whiteman hit two more free throws for Lincoln and this sealed the 57-47 win for the Railers. The 10-point margin of victory was a lot closer in reality, with Lincoln elated to capture a win over their former Central State Eight rivals.

Coach Neil Alexander credited his team for staying with the game plan following the win. "Our kids just stayed close, they stayed tight, they stayed with the game plan and they didn't panic," said Alexander. "You know, we'd get down three or four points and just hope we'd have a little run.

"Kameron Whiteman had a great game. He made some big shots for us to keep us right there. Jermaine came in and he really exerted himself there in the last four minutes.

"It's a great win for our kids. They are really pumped up. We had a good game. You gotta play games like this. I know in '14 we had a game that we had to win in overtime in the regional. For you to advance you gotta have luck. Tonight might have been a lucky night. I hope we didn't use up our luck and we've still got a little bit left."

Jermaine Hamlin's 20 points led Lincoln to victory.

Kameron Whiteman was dynamite with 14 points in the game for the Railers.

These two combined for 19 of the Railers 22 fourth quarter points. Talk about stepping up big time in pressure situations.

It was intense and loud in that Clinton gymnasium.

Railer Nation kept the volume at level 10 with their constant cheering. Hats off again to these outstanding students who bring it every night.

Freshman Tye Banks led Lanphier with 12 points. Sophomore KJ Debrick tossed in 10 points coming off the bench.

Lincoln survives and advances to the Class 3A Regional Championship Friday night at 7 p.m. vs the winner of tonight's (Wednesday) Taylorville-Quincy Notre Dame game.

The Railers improve to 25-4 on the season.

The Lions finish the season with a 15-16 record.


Lincoln 57

Hamlin 20
Whiteman 14
Froebe 11
Singleton 6
Ewald 3
Hullinger 3

Lanphier 47

Banks 12
Debrick 10
Wright 8
Snodgrass 8
Hemingway 7
Rose 2

[Teena Lowery]

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