The Des Moines Lincoln Boys Basketball team had a tough assignment to open the 2018-2019 campaign on Tuesday night. Fort Dodge is long, athletic, well-coached and regularly sends players to college on scholarship. The Dodgers, who are traditionally very good at home, finished 14-9 a year ago and as always, were up to the challenge the Rails presented them.
With the offense sputtering for Lincoln, the defense shined in what turned out to be a grind-it-out 52-47 win for the Railsplitters in hostile territory.
Ben Knoebel made a splash early, connecting on three from behind the arch to give the Rails and early 9-2 lead. Knoebel finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, all from deep.
The Dodgers were able to slow the pace of the game throughout the remainder of the first half and Lincoln brought a slim 22-19 lead into the locker rooms.
The grind continued in the third quarter. The Rails jumped out to a nine-point lead when a run of turnovers brought the Dodgers right back within three by the end of the period.
Josiah Conkrite, who had 35 points for the Rails in the exhibition game against Winterset, was held scoreless through the first two periods. In the second half, Conkrite came to life, scoring 15 points to give Lincoln the boost needed to pull away for the win.
Conkrite finished with 15 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Knoebel finished with 18 points and four rebounds as well. Junior Nate Feller scored 10 points on eight shots and grabbed six rebounds.
In the front court, Logan Sharp and Felix Gallagher grabbed 25 rebounds between them. Gallagher grabbed 13 to go along with his four points.
Fort Dodge was held to just 27.6 percent from the field and 2-of-11 from three. Lincoln shot 36.4 percent from the field and connected on 7-of-25 from three.
The 1-0 Lincoln Railsplitters take on Des Moines East downtown on Saturday. The game is scheduled for 3:30pm and a ticket for the Lincoln-East game is also good for the Wolves-Suns game that tips at 7pm.
To buy tickets for a discounted price, click here: Lincoln Vs. East Tickets