Believe the hype about Lincoln girls basketball

No. 1 Railsplitters top Dixon to capture Class 3A La Salle-Peru Supersectional

The No. 1 ranked Lincoln Railsplitters defeated Dixon 46-24 to capture the Class 3A LaSalle-Peru Supersectional Monday night. Lincoln rides a 36-0 record back to state after finishing second a year ago.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Lincoln girls basketball team.

Their starting five might as well be called the Fab Five.

Senior all-stater Kloe Froebe is the Caitlin Clark of Illinois high school girls basketball.

The Railsplitters are best girls team in Illinois no matter the class.

They’ve turned the term “running clock” into a verb, as in Lincoln “running clocks” so and so.

And all that I’ve heard is right.

The Railsplitters made themselves right at home at Sellett Gymnasium for the Class 3A La Salle-Peru Supersectional against Dixon, Lincoln’s red and green colors matching that of the host school.

It didn’t come as easy as it’s been for most of the season, however. The Duchesses played the mighty Railers to a 9-6 game through one quarter, 25-12 at the half and 40-20 after three quarters before succumbing 46-24 as Lincoln spread the floor and ran out the final two minutes plus.

But there would be no running clock this time, the Railsplitters having an uncharacteristically cold shooting night against a solid defensive effort by Dixon. Lincoln’s 46 points was a season low by eight, having won every other postseason game by at least 28 points.

“Dixon played a great game. That’s a good team. He’s got really good players,” Lincoln coach Taylor Rohrer said. “They’re a really good rebounding team. We knew that was going to be a key tonight. I wished we would have done a little bit better job on the boards, but I think we played incredible defense, and our defense won us the game tonight.

“They did get some putbacks, but I feel like we didn’t let any thing easy go. That tough-nosed defense these kids played tonight is the reason we won tonight.”

Rohrer and Froebe, who scored 16 points Monday to move up to No. 5 in career scoring, according to the IHSA website, said what makes the Railers so special is their team chemistry. Most of the seniors have been playing together since kindergarten.

“It’s our bond and chemistry on the court,” Froebe said. “We grew up playing together, so we know what we’re going to do and where we’re going to be at on the court.”

“The chemistry that these kids have makes them really special. It’s a team through and through,” Rohrer said. “Because of that, because of the way they play together and the way they know each other so well, in hard games against great teams, they find a way to win.”

Froebe has a strong basketball pedigree. Her father (Kent), mother (Kari), sister (Kaelyn) and brother (Kaden) were all 1,000-plus point scorers in high school, her siblings for Lincoln. Kaden recently scored his 1,000th collegiate point.

Don’t forget little brother Kruz had 10 points for West Lincoln-Broadwell’s recent seventh grade state championship victory.

Froebe said having her mom as her coach coming up “made me the player that I am.”

Next up for the Railers is a return trip to Normal to chase down the state championship that eluded them in last year’s title game. They have not lost since that game and will bring a 36-0 record against Montini (29-7) at 11:15 a.m. Friday in Normal.

“We’ve had this in the back of our mind, and then going into volleyball, it just kind of motivated us even more,” said Froebe, noting Lincoln’s state runner-up finish in volleyball last fall.

As the girls received their trophy, some of the Lincoln students, who had chanted, “No school Friday, No School Friday,” rushed out of the stands to greet their hoops heroes. Rohrer told them firmly, “Don’t hurt [the players].”

Lincoln is not quite my hometown team, but they might as well be. I grew up just down old Route 66 from the Logan County seat in Atlanta, played American Legion ball and spent much time there.

Lincolnites live and breathe Railer basketball, following the likes of father and son Norm (Kansas) and Brian Cook (Illinois/NBA), Seymour Reed (Bradley), Dan Duff (Notre Dame), Chuck Verderber (Kentucky) and Gregg Alexander (ISU), just to name a few greats.

My hometown Atlanta Redwings once surprised the mighty Railers 84-80 for the regional championship in 1959 with famed sports writer Dave Kindred, who was in attendance Monday, sinking four clutch free throws to ice the Redwings’ upset victory.

You can add this Railers team to that Lincoln lore.

• Kevin Hieronymus has been the Bureau County Republican sports editor since 1986. Contact him at

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