Railers leap out to 9-0 lead at Bloomington, defeat winless Purple Raiders 64-32

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[January 17, 2024]  Bloomington – Following a grueling pair of contests over the weekend, the Railer boys basketball team could certainly have used a break.

Lincoln won a game featuring a wild finish at Lanphier on Jan. 12, then faced a physical team Class 4A state-ranked Quincy the following night.

As teams make their final push toward securing seedings in the postseason regionals, the schedule is not forgiving. Lincoln’s game Tuesday night at Bloomington marked the first of four consecutive road games for the Railers, as well as the second of three weeks in row with three games scheduled per week.

Following a sluggish performance against Quincy, it was important for the Railers to get out to a good start in their game against Bloomington. Lincoln did just that, opening the contest by scoring the first 9 points in sprinting out to a 16-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Railers led wire to wire in a running-clock victory, doubling up winless Bloomington, 64-32.

The Purple Raiders had trouble putting the ball in the basket in the first half but amassed 15 of their 19 first-half points on 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) shooting from the 3-point line. The Railer defense made things difficult for Bloomington, as Lincoln totalled 21 steals and the Purple Raiders committed 28 turnovers.

While Lincoln outscored Bloomington in each quarter and led by as many as 32 in the final period, Railer head coach Neil Alexander said he’d like to see better perimeter defense from his squad.

“That’s one thing we didn’t do a very good job of is getting out and covering the three,” Alexander said. “Those are things we’ve got to do every night, take care of that three-point arc. The ones they [Bloomington] were making were right on the line, and we’re not moving to get out defensively and get into them to force them off the line.”

Karson Komnick

Karson Komnick led all scorers with 16 points, including 14 in the first half. Drew Hayes added 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field while grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists. Aidan Gowin scored 10.

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Coach Neil Alexander

Drew Hayes

Bloomington was led by Jeremiah Pilant with 10 points.

The nonconference tilt may have come at just the right time on the schedule for Lincoln, giving the Railers a chance for a positive experience prior to hitting the road again to face conference foe U High on Friday.

“They’re a solid basketball team,” Alexander said of the Pioneers of Normal U High. “It will be a challenge for us. We’ve got to be prepared to give it a 32-minute effort.”

Tipoff for the contest Friday at U High is slated for 7 PM. The Railers travel to Rock Island on Saturday for a 6:30 PM nonconference game.

[Loyd Kirby]

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