Railers terrific season comes to an end
Southeast clinches the Sectional
Championship with a 66-43 win
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[March 09, 2019]
The 2018-19 Lincoln Railers
basketball season was a special one. The team that featured a
starting lineup with one senior, who had very little varsity
experience, and four others, with really no varsity experience, took
fans on a wild ride all the way to the championship game of the
Class 3A Sectional against the No. 3 state-ranked Southeast
In the end the Spartans lived up to the hype. They are THAT good,
THAT fast, THAT athletic, THAT well-coached. They put the Railers in
a position they had not been in the entire season ~ down by about 20
points most of the game.
Lincoln had to call a few more timeouts than normal
in the Sectional Championship with Southeast
The Spartans were a team that went 18-0 in the Central State Eight
Conference this season and dominated opponents at home by outscoring
them by 34 points on average per game.
As Coach Neil Alexander said Friday night following the game, "One
of the things you try to avoid playing Southeast is letting them get
off on a quick start because then you're chasing them and you ain't
gonna catch 'em."
The race on the clock begins
After Lincoln's 6'10 senior Jermaine Hamlin won the tip over
Southeast's 6'8 senior Michael Tyler at Herb Scheffler Gymnasium
Friday night, it was just a matter of seconds before the quick hands
of the Spartans forced a Railer turnover and from here things
The Spartans grabbed a 2-0 lead after Damon Davis scored the first
basket in the lane and there was no looking back for Southeast.
Lincoln missed a couple scoring opportunities early and the Spartans
took advantage. Deon Mathews hit a three, Terrion Murdix missed a
shot but grabbed his own rebound and put it back in for two and then
it was Tyler sneaking under the basket and catching the quick pass
from Stepheon Sims for another quick Spartans bucket. A 9-0 run to
start the game was the result and Lincoln was not used to this.
The Railers finally got on the board at the 4:00 mark after a long
three from Kameron Whiteman swished through the net.
Whiteman hit another long three from the opposite side of the
Railers court and at the 3:33 mark Lincoln trailed 9-6.
This close margin just fueled the Spartans offense and they quickly
ran out to a 16-6 lead.
A three-point play from Jermaine Hamlin around the 2:00 mark sneaked
the Railers closer.
Then a short jumper just beyond the top of the free throw line from
Kaden Froebe pulled the Railers to within five points, 16-11 the
Southeast enjoys going on runs and they did just that to close out
the first quarter. A 7-0 run was ignited by Sims with four quick
Mathews tossed in another three for Southeast. He had three treys in
the first quarter. The Spartans led 23-11 after the first eight
minutes that flew by quicker than a New York minute.
Murdix stretched the Spartans lead to 25-11 to start the second
quarter. Then it was James Dent sinking three foul shots to give the
Spartans a 28-11 lead. As the 4:00 mark approached the lead grew to
30-11 after a bucket by Devin Blue-Robinson.
Lincoln moved to a two-three zone and still that did little to faze
the Spartans. Blue-Robinson tossed in another bucket and a 32-11
lead by the Spartans was impressive on this Railer squad.
Finally with 3:20 on the clock, Hamlin connected for two free throws
and the Railers were back in the scoring column.
Hamlin completed another three-point play quickly thereafter and it
was Lincoln trailing 33-16.
Froebe would get fouled in the corner with 1:44 left in the first
half and he would sink both free throws making the score 33-18.
But for every missed opportunity by the Railers offensively from the
field, the Spartans grabbed the rebound and usually came away with
adding to their point total. To close out the half Sims and
Blue-Robinson added baskets and the Spartans darted off to the
locker room with a 37-18 lead over Lincoln.
Lincoln struck first in the third quarter on a baseline drive by
That was followed by a 10-0 run by the Spartans. The 47-20 lead by
Southeast was impressive.
It would take Lincoln a while to hit a shot from the field but when
they did it was Whiteman launching a long three off the inbounds
pass from Froebe, 47-23 the score.
Southeast stretched the lead to 50-23 but it was Lincoln getting the
last five points of the quarter with under a minute to play.
A steal by Whiteman and a pass downcourt to the sprinting Froebe
resulted in the lefty tossing in a layup.
Then it was Froebe giving fans what they love one last time in this
spectacular 2018-19 season - a buzzer beater. Following a Spartans
miss, Froebe grabbed the long rebound and ran past half-court with
it and knowing that time was about to expire he tossed the ball up
and hit nothing but net, much to the delight of Railer Nation, as
the buzzer sounded.
[to top of second column]
The Railers huddle before the tip versus Southeast
Southeast took a 50-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
Froebe didn't let up in the third quarter. He was on a roll in the
second half. He connected for a corner three to get the Railers
offense going early in the final quarter. He then hit the baseline
layup and the foul shot that resulted. Froebe then went up and over
6'8 Tyler for the basket in the paint. Nice.
Froebe also managed to hit a couple free throws at the 3:00 mark and
then scored off a steal seconds later. His 12-point effort in the
fourth quarter was evidence of his grit and determination in the
quarter, even with his team down by 20-plus points at times.
Will Ewald would complete the Railers scoring for the season with a
three at the 2:17 mark and the Spartans lead was 62-43. As Railer
Nation chanted, "E for 3" the Lincoln fans applauded just as loudly
as if they were winning by 20.
The fan support never let up the entire game. Railer Nation is the
The Spartans finished the scoring and added a 66-43 Class 3A
Sectional Championship win to their credit. Just a quick note, most
people probably know, but Southeast lost two of their key players to
injuries early in the season. What an incredibly talented team
assembled by Southeast Coach Lawrence Thomas.
Kaden Froebe led the Railers with 23 points. He exploded for 19
points in the second half alone.
Lincoln finishes an amazing season with 27 wins and 5 losses.
The end of the Jermaine Hamlin era. The senior sits
on the end of the bench by trainer Missy Anderson as the game draws
near a close.
After the game, Coach Neil Alexander spoke about the loss and had
high praise for Southeast and Coach Lawrence Thomas. "They just
pressure you for 32 minutes," said Alexander. "They don't let you
get good shots and they don't let you run an offense. That's just
their style and it's a very good style. They are very well-coached.
I can't say enough about LT. He's one of the top coaches in the
state of Illinois. He does a great job. He's got a good group of
"You know, you take two starters out of there like he's had to do
and they didn't miss a beat. They just keep going and doing things.
There's a program there. It makes things pretty tough to beat.
"We haven't seen a team that quick all year, overall team," added
Alexander. "We've seen some quick players, but overall how they
recover and how they rebound.
"You know, Murdix, I've been around this area for 30 years coaching
and he's one of, if not the best, pure point guard that I've seen
come out of Springfield. When he goes out at half-court and starts
messing with the ball, we got no chance. I thought we forced him
into some turnovers towards the end of the fourth quarter but I
think he just got a little careless. When you have a lead like that
your focus can dwindle a little bit but he is an outstanding one. He
is a pure winner along with Sims. Those two guys are phenomenal.
They will not allow them to lose."
As for the Lincoln Railers season, Coach Alexander said, "We had a
great season. You know, we're young and you can tell the difference
between seniors and juniors. He had nine or ten seniors out there
and we had five or six juniors out there. We got all those guys
coming back but you take Jermaine Hamlin out of the middle of us and
we become an ordinary team. So we hope that they'll grow.
"We've got to work on a lot of things but these kids are committed
and they will do the things that we need to do to get better. I
would've never picked this team winning 27 games being as young as
we were and the inexperience of Jermaine. You know we lost
everybody. Jermaine maybe played a half a year ago. And the juniors
didn't play at all. So 27 wins was a great year for us."
Southeast continues their dominating season with a 30-2 record and
the Spartans advance to the Super-Sectional on Tuesday night at the
Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield versus East St. Louis.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Kaden Froebe 23
Kameron Whiteman 9
Jermaine Hamlin 8
Will Ewald 3
Deon Mathews 14
Terrion Murdix 14
James Dent 13
Stepheon Sims 11
Devin Blue-Robinson 6
Michael Tyler 6
Damon Davis 2
Sports Reporter/Feature Writer | Lincoln Daily News
217.454.6419 | email@example.com]
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