Railers stave off Glenwood 2nd half comeback, hold on for 40-36 victory

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[January 06, 2024]  Chatham – The LCHS boys basketball team raced out to an early lead and held on to earn a 40-36 Central State 8 win at Glenwood.

Traditionally, boys basketball matchups between Lincoln and Glenwood often turn out to have as much action as watching paint dry, with both teams running their offenses very deliberately to find high-percentage shots. Railer coach Neil Alexander has joked in the past that games between the two schools should be “the first team to score 20 wins.”

On this occasion, however, Lincoln made it past 20 points in the first half. The Railers opened the contest by jumping out to an 11-0 lead on the strength of 3 3-pointers (two by Karson Komnick, 1 by Trey Schilling) and a layup by Drew Hayes. Lincoln went on to outscore the Titans 13-4 in the period.

LCHS continued its sizzling first-half shooting in the second quarter, outscoring the Titans 11-8 to double Glenwood’s score at halftime, 24-12. Lincoln shot 56.3 percent from the field in the first half, including hitting 6 of 10 3-point field goals. Schilling led the Railers with 9 first-half points with Komnick adding 6 and Hayes scoring 5.

A staple of the team all season, the smothering Railer defense limited Glenwood to 3-of-15 (20 percent) shooting from the field in the first two quarters.

But halftime is an opportunity for teams to regroup and adjust, and it was apparent Glenwood did that to start the third quarter, as the Titans made a concerted effort to try utilizing their height advantage. While Glenwood spent most of the first half working the ball around the perimeter on offense, the Titans opened the second half by looking to initiate their offense by passing into the high post, then either driving to the basket or kicking the ball back out to an open shooter.

In addition, Glenwood threw a mix of different defenses at the Railers in the second half. Lincoln faced the Glenwood man-to-man defense in the first half, but the second half saw the Titans use some full court pressure, traps and run-and-jump tactics. And while Lincoln never trailed in the contest, the Titans made a game of it, being down by 13 points near the midway point of the third quarter at 27-14 before scoring the last 9 points of the period to trim the Railer lead to 27-23 entering the final quarter.

The teams traded baskets to start the final quarter before Lincoln went on 7-0 run to extend its lead to 36-27. Glenwood outscored the Railers 9-4 the remainder of the quarter, but Lincoln escaped with a 40-36 victory.

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“We should’ve had that one and put that one away pretty easily if we’d have made free throws,” Alexander said. “But I’m proud of the effort and how hard we played and the intensity we played with.

“We managed to hold on. We were able to work the ball. We did what we wanted to do, except hit the free throws when we needed them.”

Lincoln made 8 of 16 free throws, all attempted in the second half. Despite the dismal numbers from the free throw line, Alexander said he was pleased with the way his team bounced back following its losses in the final two games of the Collinsville holiday tournament.

“It wasn’t the same team we saw the last two games down at Collinsville,” he said of the Railers. “But we’d also had a week to recover, and we’ve been working to refresh our legs. We’ve been working a little bit on conditioning; they don’t like that part of the game, but we were able to beat a very good Glenwood team tonight.

“It was a very, very good game for us. I’m very pleased with the effort that our kids gave.”

Schilling led all players with 16 points. The senior made 4 of 8 3-pointers and hit 4 of 6 free throws. He dished out 2 assists and added a steal while tying Hayes for the team lead with 5 rebounds in the game. Schilling was the only player for Lincoln to play all 32 minutes of the game.

“I thought Trey played exceptionally well,” Alexander said. “He did have maybe his best game of the year, and hopefully we can continue to work with what we’ve got and improve and be ready to play Tuesday.”

Gabe Smith added 7 points for Lincoln and Komnick scored 6.

“It’s a great group of kids,” Alexander said. “We just want to continue to get better, and we made a big step tonight.”

Lincoln hosts Springfield on January 9 in a Central State 8 contest starting at 7 PM. Lincoln travels to Lanphier on January 12 in another CS8 showdown, then hosts state-ranked Quincy in a non-conference game on January 13.

[Loyd Kirby]

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