Overall Record: 11-12
CIML Metro: 5-5, 3rd Place
Fall Team GPA: 3.62
Seniors: Josiah Conkrite (15.8 PPG); Ben Knoebel (10.4 PPG, 37% 3pt); Logan Sharp (5.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG); Felix Gallagher (4.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG); Karon Allen (2.3 PPG); Marcos Sandoval
The 2018-2019 Lincoln Boys Varsity Basketball team will not easily be forgotten. Though an 11-12 overall record did not snap the 11-year streak without a winning season for Railsplitters basketball, Lincoln achieved a number of milestones in year three of Head Coach Justin Einerson’s tenure.
Lincoln started 2-0, won five consecutive games in January, advanced to the Substate 2 semifinal and finished 6-5 in games on John Carle Court at the Lincoln Roundhouse. But two major milestones pack a big punch for the Rails and the culture of the program moving forward. First, the 12 Lincoln Varsity players combined for a team GPA of 3.62 in the fall semester. Secondly, two players were named to the CIML Metro First team; Josiah Conkrite and Ben Knoebel.
Will Feller (Graceland University) was named to the Metro first team in 2018 but Conkrite and Knoebel represented the first duo to be named to the Metro first-team from Lincoln in over a decade. Felix Gallagher, one of the best defenders and rebounders in the Metro, was named second team all-Metro. Logan Sharp and Nate Feller were named to CIML Metro Honorable Mention. Junior guard Ben Badger also received recognition but the limit for Metro awards is five per team.
One of Lincoln’s most memorable nights of the season included the unveiling of John Carle Court on January 25th that also featured a win for the Rails over conference rival Ottumwa. Another was the win over Dowling on the road on February 12th. An early season tilt with East at the Wells Fargo Arena was also a nice memory in a win for the Rails.
“This was an extremely special group,” said Einerson. “These seniors couldn’t have represented the Southside and this program better. They were around at 6am in the offseason, were awesome in the classroom and pushed our younger players to be the best they could be as well. I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with these seniors.”
November 27 @Fort Dodge, 52-45: Knoebel 18, Conkrite 15, Feller 10, Gallagher 13 Rebounds
December 1 @East (Wells Fargo Arena), 76-63: Conkrite 21, Feller 11, Sharp 10; Gallagher 10 Rebounds
December 21 Vs. Roosevelt, 61-53: Conkrite 26, Badger 18, Gallagher 10 Rebounds
January 4 Vs. East, 86-47: Conkrite 28, Knoebel 15, Sharp 14 & 10
January 15 Vs. Marshalltown, 54-45: Conkrite 22, Badger 14, Knoebel 10
January 19 @ Hoover, 43-27: Conkrite 13, Feller 11
January 21 Vs. Atlantic, 71-44: Conkrite 28
January 24 @ Urbandale, 49-47: Conkrite 17, Knoebel 12
January 25 Vs. Ottumwa, 73-57: Conkrite 27, Badger 15, Sharp 12 & 11, Feller 10 & 9
February 12 @ Dowling, 57-55: Conkrite 24, Allen 9 Rebounds
February 18 Vs. Urbandale (IHSAA 1st Round), 52-44: Badger 17
The Lincoln Boys Basketball team earned a home playoff game and the 3-seed in 4A Substate 2. That 3-seed set up a Monday night clash with 6-seed Urbandale on John Carle Court at the Lincoln Roundhouse in front of a boisterous Southside student section.
The Railsplitters jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and rode a strong defensive night to a quarterfinal win, 52-44.
Lincoln’s defenders were flying around Monday night, holding the Jayhawks to just 13 first half points. Down 26-13 at half, Urbandale was able to cut the lead to four in the second half before some clutch defensive stops and free throws helped Lincoln extend the lead.
Junior guard Ben Badger scored 17 points and five steals for Lincoln. Josiah Conkrite added eight points and three assists. Felix Gallagher scored seven points and Ben Knoebel finished with six rebounds on a slow 1-for-5 shooting night for the senior sniper.
Both teams shot just 36 percent from the field but Lincoln’s 15-for-19 performance at the free throw line created separation for the Southsiders. Lincoln also out-rebounded the Jayhawks 34-24 and out-scored Urbandale in the paint 24-20.
The Rails move on to play in Ames on Friday night against the Little Cyclones in the Substate 2 Semi-final matchup. The winner will move on to play the winner of the North-Mason City game Friday night in the Substate 2 final. Tip Friday night is set for 7pm at Ames High School.
In a clash of styles at the Roundhouse Friday night, the Ankeny Centennial Jaguars shot 28 free throws to Lincoln’s four in a game that ended in a 56-51 loss for the home team on Senior Night.
The Rails struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 33 percent and 10-of-33 from three but Lincoln also out-rebounded Centennial 32-29. The difference in the game was simple: free throw attempts.
Lincoln put up 57 shots from the field while the Jaguars put up 43 during the game. Not only did Centennial shoot 24 more shots from the charity stripe than the Rails, they connected on 18-of-32 of their two point attempts while going 0-for-11 from three.
The Railsplitters finish the regular season at 10-11 and went right back to work Saturday morning to prepare for the first round of the 4A Substate 2 Playoff matchup with Urbandale, set for Monday night at John Carle Court at the Roundhouse.
In the regular season matchup with Urbandale, Lincoln survived an spirited defensive grind to pull out a 49-47 win on the Jayhawks’ floor. Urbandale finished the regular season at 5-16 but beat Roosevelt and Ottumwa in the final week of the year.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm Monday night at the Roundhouse and the winner will travel up to Ames to take on the Little Cyclones Friday night.
By Justin Einerson
Lincoln Boys Varsity Basketball Coach
Coaches are always trying to convince players that hard work pays off, especially in the off-season. If you go around the country you see quotes on walls, doorways and entry ways that suggest that there is no substitute to hard work and dedication. The reality is that achieving your own personal potential, is an extremely rare feat. Distractions are everywhere, waiting for the right moment to take you off track. Most of us fall away from our dreams or goals because of those distractions. And instead of taking ownership for our setbacks, we blame others.
That’s where this 2019 class is extremely special to me. They took year-round ownership in their personal and player development. Just two years ago, this group’s sophomore year, the varsity and sophomore teams at Lincoln finished with one win each.
Marcos Sandoval came in this summer as a senior committed to being a vocal leader and great teammate. He accomplished even more than he set out to because he became another coach on the bench and in practices. His team-first approach gives us a huge boost on the daily basis. He has a bright future in coaching if he chooses that path.
I met Josiah Conkrite the day after that season ended in 2017. He had come to watch the Freshmen/Sophomore game and I learned that he had moved to the Southside and was enrolled to Lincoln about a month earlier. I told him that we would have an intense open gym/weight room schedule in spring and summer and he immediately joined the fray. As a junior, he was our starting point guard and was named second-team all CIML Metro. He also led the CIML in getting his head coach in trouble for shooting in the Roundhouse without the lights on before anyone else got there. Yes, he’s averaging almost 20 points a game as a senior and getting recruited by some great programs around Iowa. He still is the first one in the gym and last to leave. But the coolest thing is that he got a 4.0 in the fall semester of his senior year. All that tells me is that Josiah is unstoppable. Give him a challenge, he’s going to grind and find a way to overcome it.
Karon Allen contacted me in the summer of 2017 telling me that he was moving to the district from Burlington and he was looking to play football and basketball at Lincoln. In both sports, he played sparingly as a junior but stayed committed to working hard and earning his minutes. Karon was unskilled as a junior but one of our champions of hustle and an awesome teammate. The task in front of him to go from a practice player to a spot starter and heavy rotation guy was immense because he struggled to shoot it and had limited finishing ability. This year, Karon has hit a handful of clutch threes for us and has become a matchup problems for opponents due to his ability to attack, finish, shoot, rebound and guard every position on the floor. He earned every skill he attained. Just a pure grinder by nature. I’m also pretty sure he’s every teacher’s favorite student. This is the kind of kid that could change his community forever because of the presence he gives. We’re sure lucky he landed on the Southside.
I used to refer to Logan Sharp as our gentle giant but despite his mild manner, he plays with a ferocity as a senior and I couldn’t be more proud of him for that. Since I met him during his sophomore year, Logan has been a diligent and dedicated worker on and off the floor. He battled a few frustratingly-timed injuries during key development times in his career but always came back in great shape with a great mindset. Logan never let an injury or an illness derail him and now he’s being heavily recruited by some great coaches and great college basketball programs in the Midwest. Logan is always attacking his weaknesses, which tells me that the best of him is still to be found.
Ben Knoebel was one of the first players I met when I took the job in summer of 2016. From the start, it was obvious that he wanted to be a great player here and have a shot at college basketball. An inconsistent and inefficient shooter as a sophomore, he put up hundreds of shots per day, year-round, to smooth out his release. He also studied the game to find ways to maximize his efficiency. His growth as a player went exactly to plan for our program but he continues to improve small facets of the game. He’s become one of our best rebounding and defensive wings, something I never would’ve expected from him as a sophomore. He’s a fantastic student who’s going to have a chance to light up college defenders next year and beyond. Ben is averaging 11.2 points per game this season on almost 40 percent from three.
Felix Gallagher represents everything that Lincoln Railsplitters Basketball is all about. He’s the kind of guy you love having on your team and hate playing against. He’s guaranteed to be more energetic and more invested than anyone else on the floor that night. I have a great picture of him sweeping the floor before a summer practice this year. That’s perfect, that’s exactly the type of person he is. Need someone to rebound, defend an opponent’s best player, sweep the floor? He’s your guy. He didn’t fully commit to basketball until the summer before his junior year and his growth in that span of time is honestly astounding. As a senior, he’s only starting to scratch the surface of what he can become as a basketball player. He started at the five for us due to his intensity as a junior but has developed into a skilled inside finisher with an improving perimeter game and jump shot. Those improved skills allowed us to play him in multiple spots this year. Of course, he still guards the opponent’s best player. We flat-out built this program around Felix. Day-to-day, hour-to-hour, he’s going to outwork everyone, everywhere. He, along with this entire senior class, will be talked about for a long time in the Roundhouse. He is about to step into a college playing career and turn every practice into an intense battle. I love that he will wear that Lincoln chip on his shoulder at the next level.
I want to personally thank Marcos, Josiah, Karon, Logan, Ben and Felix and all of those around them that have made them who they are. Parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates: you have carved out some amazing young men through your influence on them. Lincoln High School, the boys basketball program, and the Southside are forever grateful for everything these men have done for the program.
My wife told me this fall, “Don’t take this group for granted.” I think about that every single day. Even when our work together is done, I’ll be the biggest fan of these six guys in their next endeavors.
The Lincoln Boys Basketball team had been waiting on pins and needles to hit the floor after Friday night’s loss to North at the Roundhouse. Lincoln and Dowling were originally scheduled to play Tuesday but weather concerns bounced the date of this contest around three times before the snow finally held off long enough for the Rails and Maroons to tangle, ironically, on the originally scheduled date of the contest.
Lincoln got a boost and 24 points by star senior guard Josiah Conkrite, who was 7-for-7 from the line to go with his three long-range bombs. The Rails led early until Dowling went on a late second quarter run that put the Maroons up 24-20 into the locker rooms.
A spirited Railsplitter squad came out firing in the third, scoring 25 points in the quarter, good enough to take a six point advantage into the fourth. Down 10 at one point in the third, Dowling’s defense stiffened and Lincoln missed some open shots at the rim and beyond the three point line, allowing the Maroons back to even.
Down the stretch, some timely rebounding and clutch free throw shooting from the Rails clinched a 57-55 win.
Lincoln got nine rebounds and four assists to go with five points by senior forward Karon Allen. Ben Knoebel hit three from deep to finish with nine points while banged up junior point guard Ben Badger scored seven points.
The Rails shot just 38.3 percent from the field but connected on 9-of-23 from the three point line and 12-of-16 from the free throw line. Dowling shot 43 percent from the field but was just 2-of-16 from three and 16-of-29 from the charity stripe.
The road win moves the Rails up to 10-10 on the year with a chance to finish the regular season above .500 for the first time since 2007-2008. Friday night’s contest with Ankeny Centennial is SENIOR NIGHT! The game will tip off at 7:45pm.
The Lincoln Boys Basketball team is locked in a tough stretch of the schedule and Tuesday night’s contest with Valley, one of the top ranked teams in 4A, was among the toughest tests the Rails will face this year. Valley’s hot start was too much for Lincoln to counter and the Tigers took a 62-45 win on Senior Night.
Valley (15-3) came out firing and scored 20 points in the first four minutes before three early timeouts by Lincoln Coach Justin Einerson to weather the storm. The Rails defense stiffened and the Tigers didn’t score for the remainder of the quarter, taking a 20-11 lead into the second.
Valley’s hot shooting continued throughout the second quarter and the Tigers stretched their lead to 42-19 into the locker rooms.
From the start of the third quarter, Lincoln’s ferocity showed as they held the Tigers to nine points in the third and 11 in the fourth. Offense, however, was tough to come by for the Rails against one of the better defensive teams in the state. Lincoln cut the final deficit to 17 at the finish but shot just 33 percent from the field and 6-of-25 from three. To make matters worse, Lincoln connected on just 5-of-14 from the free throw line, sealing the fate of the men in maroon.
Josiah Conkrite led the Rails in scoring with 11. Nate Feller and Ben Badger both finished with 9. Lincoln had just three assists on the night but only recorded seven turnovers.
Lincoln’s next test is against CIML Metro Champion Des Moines North at the Roundhouse Friday night. North took an 11 point win in the first meeting and is unbeaten in Metro competition this year. A win for Lincoln (5-4 Metro, 9-9 Overall) will ensure at least a tie for second place in the conference.
The Lincoln Boys Basketball team had been on an offensive tear during its 5-game winning streak but the deep freeze that hit central Iowa over the past week transferred over to the Railsplitters on Friday and Saturday night.
On Friday night, the Rails trailed 31-27 at halftime before Roosevelt put a lid on the rim and stretched a small first-half advantage into a dominating 69-48 win over Lincoln.
On Saturday night, the Rails led Johnston 41-38 late in the third quarter before the Dragons benefited from a 12-0 run to flip the script. Johnston escaped the Roundhouse with a 65-58 win.
Senior Josiah Conkrite, who came in averaging 19 points per game, struggled mightily in the back-to-back contests, shooting 5-for-26 from the field and netting just 13 points overall.
Ben Badger and Ben Knoebel reached double figures for Lincoln on Friday night with 11 and 10 respectively, but shot 33 percent between the two of them in tough atmosphere on the northwest side.
After a morning shootaround, it was clear that the confidence had returned to the Rails rotation and Lincoln controlled the second and third quarters against Johnston, who came in winners of six straight games.
Nate Feller tallied his first double-double of the year with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Lincoln. Ben Badger scored 15 points on 10 shots and Ben Knoebel got his shooting stroke back with 12 points on 4-of-8 from deep.
Despite the disappointing results on the scoreboard, the Rails were able to limit the turnovers over the course of the weekend, recording just nine in each game. Lincoln shot 31 percent from the field Friday night and 33 percent on Saturday night. Coming into the game, Lincoln had averaged 52 percent from the field over the five-game win streak.
Roosevelt was on fire Friday night, shooting 9-of-17 from three and 48 percent. On Saturday, free throw attempts were the story as Johnston shot 27 compared to Lincoln’s 14. The difference led to seven more made free throws in a game separated by seven points.
The Rails drop to 9-8 on the year and prepare to take on another tough test Tuesday night as CIML powerhouse Valley waits at 14-3 on the season.
On a night where legendary Lincoln Basketball coach John Carle was recognized with the Roundhouse floor named in his honor, the Lincoln Boys Basketball team won its fifth straight game for the first time since 2008.
After losing to the Bulldogs 63-60 without Logan Sharp on December 18, Sharp gave the Rails a double-double, 12 points and 11 rebounds in a 73-57 win for LHS. Josiah Conkrite led the scoring charge for the Rails, finishing with 27 points on 11-of-23 shooting. Ben Badger finished with 15 points and three assists. Nate Feller finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Lincoln got out to an early lead and held an advantage between 10 and 18 points through the duration of the night. Unlike the night before in Urbandale, the Rails were sharp offensively throughout the contest. Lincoln shot just under 50 percent from the field and 15-for-19 from the free throw line. The Rails finished with just six assists but only six turnovers to go with it.
The win moves Lincoln to 9-6 overall and into a tie with Hoover for second place in the CIML Metro and the Railsplitters are back at home Tuesday night with red-hot Johnston.
CIML Metro Standings
North 8-0, 12-3 Overall
Lincoln 5-3, 9-6 Overall
Hoover 5-3, 10-5 Overall
Ottumwa 3-5, 4-11 Overall
East 1-6, 1-12 Overall
Roosevelt 1-6, 3-10 Overall
On Urbandale’s Senior Night, facing a spirited Jayhawks squad, the Lincoln Boys Basketball team needed some clutch performances down the stretch to grab its fourth straight victory.
Though Josiah Conkrite and Ben Knoebel gave the Rails 17 and 12 points respectively, the Rails got a spark from their bench at the free throw line late. Kameron Young was fouled with the Rails up one in the final minute of the fourth quarter. The junior stepped up and stuck two free throws to extend the lead to three.
When Urbandale answered with a three to tie it, Karon Allen rebounded Josiah Conkrite’s missed go-ahead attempt and was immediately fouled. Alone at the line with 4.7 seconds left, Karon knocked down the front half of a one-and-one and converted on the second as well to give the Railsplitters a 49-47 lead.
Head Coach Justin Einerson called a timeout to organize the defense but Urbandale completed a pass to half court and called timeout right in front of the home bench with 2.5 seconds left. Six-foot-eight center Logan Sharp was subbed in to protect the rim and the Jayhawks went right at him with the inbound pass, but the ball was fumbled and the clock expired.
“We knew it was going to take quite a bit from our guys to come in here and grab a win on senior night. Urbandale plays so hard and they were very sharp tonight. It says a lot about our fortitude to keep fighting with the same vigor whether we were up or down. We didn’t always have it rolling but our guys weren’t leaving that gym without a win,” said Einerson.
Conkrite finished with 17 points on 7-of-15 from the field. Knoebel was 4-for-10 with 12 points, all on made threes. Ben Badger had six points, six rebounds and five steals while Logan Sharp had six points and seven rebounds for the Rails.
Lincoln is back at it tonight, Friday January 25th, against Ottumwa in a rematch of a 63-60 Bulldog win back on December 18th. Come out tonight to support legendary Lincoln coach John Carle as Lincoln High School names the court at the Roundhouse in his name.
CIML Metro Standings:
North 7-0, 11-2 Overall
Hoover 5-2, 10-4 Overall
Lincoln 4-3, 8-6 Overall
Ottumwa 3-4, 4-10 Overall
East 1-5, 1-10 Overall
Roosevelt 0-6, 2-10 Overall
The Lincoln Boys Basketball team came out firing on Monday night and rode two monster quarters to a 71-44 win over Atlantic at the Roundhouse.
Josiah Conkrite continued his hot streak, netting 28 points on an 11-for-16 performance from the field that featured four made threes in six attempts. After starting a bit slow this season, Conkrite is now up to 18.5 points per game on the season and up over 40 percent from the field.
Lincoln shot over 54 percent from the field and made 8-of-19 three point attempts. The Rails also finished with 14 assists.
While the offense was the show for the Railsplitters on Monday night, the defense has been getting it done as well. For the third straight game, Lincoln held its opponent below 50 points. Atlantic connected on just 32 percent from the field and the Rails out-rebounded the Trojans 35-22.
All twelve players saw action for Lincoln on Monday night and 10 of them scored. Logan Sharp and Nate Feller finished with eight points while Ben Badger and Ben Knoebel finished with seven and six respectively.
Lincoln’s Tuesday night matchup at Urbandale High School was snowed out and will now be played Thursday night at 7:45. The Rails return home to the Roundhouse on Friday to take on Ottumwa in a CIML Metro rematch.
CIML Metro Standings
North 7-0, 11-2 Overall
Hoover 5-2, 10-4 Overall
Lincoln 4-3, 7-6 Overall
Ottumwa 3-4, 4-10 Overall
East 1-5, 1-10 Overall
Roosevelt 0-6, 2-10 Overall