High School Girls Basketball
Another one bites the dust
Lady Railers stop 4A Alton 57-49
Team improves to 30-0

Send a link to a friend  Share

[February 05, 2024] 

"Another one bites the dust. And another one gone. And another one gone." Looking back on the Lady Railers spectacular weekend in O’Fallon and Wood River, the famous Queen song from the 80s, “Another One Bites the Dust” could very well be the theme of the Lady Railers trip down south.

After the incredible 62-55 win over the O’Fallon Panthers on Friday night inside a packed Panther Dome at O’Fallon High School, the place where Kloe Froebe surpassed 3,000 points, the Lady Railers took their talents to another packed gymnasium just down the road.

This time the Railer short bus stopped at the historic Memorial Gymnasium, built in 1949, in Wood River.

Saturday afternoon’s marquee matchup on the neutral site in the Mike Fahnestock State Farm Shootout featured the no.1 Class 3A team, your Lincoln Lady Railers, and the no. 2 Class 4A team, the Alton Redbirds. The gym that seats 2,800 people was filled to the rafters with enthusiastic basketball fans who could’ve chosen to enjoy the beautiful sunny 52 degree day outside in southern Illinois but instead they arrived early and sat patiently, awaiting this highly-anticipated girls basketball game. Those who traveled nearly two hours were not disappointed. And since Alton was nearby, they also brought a huge crowd full of energy.

In the end, it would be the corner crowd of Lincoln fans who began chanting, “Lincoln Railers. Undefeated.”

The Lady Railers jumped out to a really nice lead in the first quarter and even though the Redbirds came within six points a couple times in the second half and had two opportunities to cut the deficit to four points, Lincoln never wavered.

These two terrific teams really battled until the final buzzer, with Lincoln giving Alton their first loss of the season by a team from Illinois. The 57-49 win was not just a victory for Lincoln but for all of girls basketball.

Hats off to Coach Taylor Rohrer for risking the undefeated regular season and challenging her team to elite competition. After all, Lincoln has been playing on another level all season long and just rolling over opponents game after game. Rohrer recognized that for her team to be better prepared for the upcoming postseason run, they have to play better competition. There was no better time than right now.

Taking down two top Class 4A schools in two days was no easy feat, but the Lady Railers did it with class and left an impression down south that will not be forgotten any time soon.

In fact, the O’Fallon coach, Nick Knolhoff, posted pictures on Twitter Saturday of his daughter posing with Kloe Froebe in the Panther Dome, both girls wearing the no. 5 and Knolhoff proclaiming, “When the coaches daughter comes with you to let Lincoln in for a shoot around and leaves with a new favorite player. Blair also loved they wear the same number! Kloe is a class act.”

A new favorite player. You cannot deny the impact these girls can have on the younger generation. As far as Coach Knolhoff and his O’Fallon Panthers, the defending Class 4A state champs, they were also a class act. Coach Taylor Rohrer even said so.

Time to move on to the game with the no. 2 ranked team in Class 4A.

First Quarter

Hang on for a ride because the first quarter is going to be ten girls running up and down the court at a swift pace. Alton struck first with a three from Alyssa Lewis, a 5’8 senior.

Kloe Froebe put Lincoln in the scoring column with a bucket in the lane and in a matter of seconds it was 6’1 junior Jarius Powers with a basket in the paint to give Alton the 5-2 lead.

Jenna Bowman did not back down from the height of the Redbirds and she tied the game with a three at the 6:05 mark. Becca Heitzig was the Lady Railer who scored to put Lincoln up 7-5 and from this point on, Lincoln would never trail in the game. Heitzig’s bucket came after she knocked the ball away from Alton’s tallest player, 6’2 junior Talia Norman, and tossed the pass ahead to Froebe, who missed the layup, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim and Heitzig grabbed it.

Lincoln’s own state champion in track dribbled out of the traffic in the lane and after the chaos settled she dribbled back towards the free throw line and bounced in the leading two points. Six seconds later, Heitzig stole the ball on the press and ran towards the bucket. This time she was sandwiched in between two Redbirds and still made the underhand scoop in the lane. Her split-second reaction led to a 9-5 Lincoln lead. That 9-5 lead took just less than three minutes. Lesson here: don’t be late for a Lady Railers game.

Lincoln was just getting started on a 9-0 run that took the wind out of the Redbirds and really fueled the Lady Railers and their fans.

Tori Geriets increased the lead to 11-5 by stepping outside the lane for a shot. Then it was Froebe with a three just off the top of the key as the clock drew close to three minutes. What a way to take advantage of the missed shots by Alton and fight for the rebounds, despite being at a height disadvantage. Lincoln was definitely playing like the bigger team, with a 14-5 lead.

Lewis finally sank a three for the Redbirds to toss some applause their way, but then it was Heitzig right back to wreaking havoc in the lane. With 1:14 on the clock, Heitzig took the long pass from Froebe on the fast break and with 5’10 jumping around her and 6’2 hovering over her in the lane, she took a few dribbles to escape that potential disaster and once she got a clear view of the basket, she did what she does: she swished it. Lincoln went up 16-8.

With less than forty seconds left the jump ball goes Lincoln’s way and they have an opportunity to extend the lead. With Froebe bringing the ball down the court, Heitzig quickly goes back door and it takes a perfect bullet pass from Froebe thru the lane for her to score.

The Redbirds were really caught off guard on that one. Of course, it all transpired in less than ten seconds and even though the defending state champions are a quick team, it was evident in the first eight minutes they had not come across a team quicker in Illinois than Lincoln. It also appeared they were a little shocked and rattled at the 18-8 deficit they found themselves in at this moment.

[to top of second column]

But the putback at the buzzer by Norman, off the air ball from Lewis, did give the Redbirds positive reinforcement at the end of the first quarter. Still it was Lincoln, maybe surprising a few people with the 18-10 lead.

Second Quarter

Norman is going to catch another rebound in the second quarter to close the gap to 18-12 early on. But really offensively the second quarter is going to be a battle between Froebe and the tall girls. Froebe will come out of it unscathed, having scored all ten points for Lincoln. Her most impressive shot in the quarter was the three over the 6’2 Norman. The score was sitting at 22-19 for quite a while in this quarter but after that three the score rose to 26-19.

Powers and Norman will each end up with four points in the quarter and they’ll get a boost at the buzzer by a three from Pruitt. With Froebe able to successfully sink 5-for-6 shots from the free throw line in the second quarter, Lincoln was able to hold on to a 28-22 lead at the half.

Third Quarter

Let’s turn the “3” button on in quarter number three. It took 30 seconds but Froebe was able to sink the first three in the quarter and it seems like a few others took note.

Kiyoko Proctor sank the next three and the Lincoln lead was still a respectable 31-25.

After Heitzig poured in another two points, she was absolute money on the day by the way, it was time for Jenna Bowman to crank out some more threes. Back-to-back threes here from Bowman would give Lincoln a 39-28 lead.

Powers brought her team back to life with consecutive buckets and a 39-32 score.

Time for Piper Whiteman to get her two cents in. She’s going to circle the lane and catch the eye of Heitzig, who fired a pass into her and the junior bulldog tossed the ball off the glass for two points in the paint.

Then it was Proctor with another three, keeping her team’s hope alive. She cut the lead to 41-35.

With just a minute left in the quarter, Froebe drained a three in front of some Redbird fans who had been chirping all afternoon. Look at that 44-35 lead the no. 1 player in the state gave her team with that basket. And there’s more coming. With just less than five seconds to go Taryn Stoltzenburg fires a long inbounds pass to the opposite corner to Froebe and the future Colorado State Ram dribbles around everybody and takes on Norman directly in the middle of the lane and manages to toss the ball precisely off the glass and in for the final two points of the quarter.

Lesson 101 with Kloe Froebe: use the backboard, kids. Lincoln is looking good as the third quarter ends with a 46-35 lead.

Fourth Quarter

The Lady Railers and their winning mentality will not let anybody down in the fourth quarter.

Heitzig bounces the first basket in for a 48-35 lead. Bowman is also going to sink another three, good for a 51-37 lead. Despite buckets by Lewis and Powers, Lincoln remained calm and the 51-45 score had no impact on their mindset.

This scrappy Lincoln team was about to leave no doubt why they are the best team in Class 3A.

The Redbirds blew an opportunity when an attempted layup ricocheted off the bottom of the backboard. Froebe’s free throw and Heitzig’s nothing but net jumper stretched the lead to 54-45 and it was all but over as the time was running short for Alton. Then Froebe’s block on Alton’s no. 5, Kaylea Lacey, just solidified how amazing of a player she truly is.

Then Whiteman picked up a fourth foul, also proving how valuable her game is. The rest of the game was settled at the free throw line, with Froebe sinking 3-for-4 and the Redbirds going a perfect 4-for-4. That is how the final score of 57-49 was reached.

The Alton Redbirds fall to 26-2 on the season.

The Lady Railers improved to 30-0.

Kloe Froebe led all scorers with 27 points. She was named the Player of the Game by tournament officials.

In addition to passing the 3,000 mark on Friday night versus O’Fallon, Froebe also passed Steph Reichle for the most points scored in a season by a senior Lady Railer. Reichle’s record was 807 and Froebe currently sits at 848 and counting. Froebe actually would’ve passed Reichle with her first free throw in the third quarter versus the Panthers. The moment was lost with her already eclipsing 3,000 points earlier in that game.

Froebe’s parents were in attendance for the Alton game (mom Kari was on the broadcast) but had to hurry out of the gym to catch her little brother’s state basketball game. Kruz Froebe and the WLB Wolverines dominated in the IESA 7th Grade State Tournament on Saturday and they will play for a state championship on Thursday night. It has been a record-breaking week for the Froebe family with son Kaden also reaching a milestone of 1,000 points scored in his college career on Thursday night. Kaden Froebe plays for the Missouri S & T Miners.

Becca Heitzig just keeps elevating her energy and her game and she was a beast with 14 points. She also had 29 family members in the crowd, including a surprise visit from her older brother, Brenden. Brenden took a break from Mizzou to drive over from Columbia to see his sister play. He is on the track and cross country team there. Anyway, great defense and great passing was a huge part of Heitzig’s game on Saturday and she was a strong candidate for Player of the Game, an award won by Froebe.

Jenna Bowman was key to the game with her great defense and her 12 points, all threes. Her little brother, Colby, will also play for a state championship on that WLB team.

The Lady Railers have one more regular season game left.

Tuesday night the Lady Railers will play the Normal University High School Pioneers in Normal.

The JV game will start at 5:30 p.m.

The Varsity game will start at 7:00 p.m.

It’ll be worth the short drive to Normal to see the Lady Railers in action plus there are so many great places to eat in the Bloomington-Normal area.


Lincoln 57

Froebe 27
Heitzig 14
Bowman 12
Whiteman 2
Geriets 2

Alton 49

Powers 15
Lewis 9
Norman 8
Proctor 7
Lacey 7
Pruitt 3

[Teena Lowery]

Back to top