As was their meeting last year in Nokomis, Saturday's game between Nokomis and Lincoln was special for reasons having nothing to do with what transpired on the court that night.
Prior to the game in Lincoln, the Railsplitters took time to honor former Lincoln and Nokomis Coach Loren Wallace, Nokomis Head Coach Steve Kimbro, former Lincoln football coach John Flowers and Lincoln Head Coach Neil Alexander.
Kimbro, Flowers and Alexander all grew up in Fillmore and played under Wallace when he was at the helm of the Redskins.
The hospitality was touching, especially for the large contingent of Nokomis fans who made their way from Montgomery County, but that kindness ended once the whistle blew.
The Railsplitters showed why they are one of the top teams in Class 3A, outscoring Nokomis 27-2 in the first quarter en route to a 64-27 victory.
The hosts dropped threes like bombs from outside the arc, picking up triple after triple to build up their early lead. Nokomis would play better in the second quarter, outscoring Lincoln 11-8, but the early barrage was enough to give Lincoln a 35-13 halftime lead.
Coach Alexander's crew continued to score in the second half, outscoring Nokomis 22-10 and 7-4 in the final two quarters as they finished off the 37-point win.
Kaden Froebe (15), Kameron Whiteman (14) and Will Ewald (11) would all reach double figures for Lincoln, while Carter Sabol led Nokomis with 14. Jake Johnson added in eight for the Redskins, followed by Kendall Knodle with three and Seth Johnson with two.
While Nokomis' game the night before didn't have the gravitas that Saturday's game in Lincoln had, Friday's 45-34 win over Metro-East Lutheran was more enjoyable from a results standpoint.
The Redskins outscored the Knights in all four quarters, leading 11-8 after one and 20-15 after two.
After quarters of eight and seven, Metro-East Lutheran was again held to single digits in the third quarter as Nokomis extended their lead to 33-24, spreading 13 points around to five different players.
In the fourth, the Knights would finally hit double digits, but just barely as they were outscored 12-10 in the final frame. Evan Herpstreith was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the fourth to help sew up the contest.
Herpstreith would finish the game with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Carter Sabol recorded a double-double for the Skins with 16 points and ten rebounds.
Kendall Knodle added in eight points, followed by Jake Johnson with four, Seth Johnson with three and Elijah Aumann with two.
Nokomis was 18-for-28 from the field for a 64 percent field goal average, while Metro-East Lutheran shot 35 percent, going 14-for-39.
Now 14-9 on the year, Nokomis will host Father McGivney on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in a rematch from the Rick McGraw Memorial Invitational in Litchfield. Nokomis won that meeting on Jan. 20, by a 58-24 final score.
January 31 at Nokomis
Metro-East Luth. 8 7 9 10 34
Nokomis 11 9 13 12 45
Metro-East Lutheran (34) - Cameron Gusewelle 11, AJ Smith 9, Brendan Steinmeyer 3, Zion Tucker 3, Ziare Woody 2, Tyler Williams 2, Christopher Chipman 2, Elliott Wilson 2. Totals: 14 1-3 34.
Nokomis (45) - Carter Sabol 16, Evan Herpstreith 12, Kendall Knodle 8, Jake Johnson 4, Seth Johnson 3, Elijah Aumann 2. Totals: 16 11-15 45.
Three-point field goals: Metro-East Lutheran 5 (Gusewelle 3, Tucker 1, Smith 1); Nokomis 2 (Herpstreith 1, Knodle 1).
Records: Nokomis (14-8, 3-1); Metro-East Lutheran (9-11, 2-2).
February 1 at Lincoln
Nokomis 2 11 10 4 27
Lincoln 27 8 22 7 64
Nokomis (27) - Carter Sabol 14, Jake Johnson 8, Kendall Knodle 3, Seth Johnson 2. Totals: 11-30 3-5 27.
Lincoln (64) - Kaden Froebe 15, Kameron Whiteman 14, Will Ewald 11, Dylan Singleton 9, Adam Grunder 8, Trent Koehler 3, Seth Tungate 2, Landon Hullinger 2. Totals: 27-52 0-0 64.
Three-point field goals: Lincoln 10-25 (Whiteman 4, Grunder 2, Ewald 1, Froebe 1, Koehler 1, Singleton 1); Nokomis 2-8 (Sabol 1, Knodle 1).
Records: Nokomis (14-9); Lincoln (20-2).