There is a pretty good chance that you won’t recognize too many names on this year’s Lincolnwood boys basketball roster, unless you were a dedicated follower of the junior high teams the last two years.
The Lancers, who opened their season on Monday, Nov. 22, in New Berlin have just two seniors and two juniors on this year’s roster, with the rest of the 16-man crew made up of freshmen and sophomores.
Senior Will Jenkins and junior Braden Whalen are the only two players with significant varsity minutes, although junior Zake Guzman played in 12 games last year, but will miss extended time with a knee injury. Senior Lucas Reznicek, who was an all-state lineman for the eight-man Pawnee football team, is the other upper classman.
This all means that Coach Matt Millburg will be forced to put some unknown quantities in varsity situations. Just one game into the season this already came to fruition as all 12 players on the roster saw action in the Lancers’ 63-32 loss to Jacksonville-based Routt Catholic on Monday night at the New Berlin Tournament.
The two teams traded baskets to start the game, with Brady Schmedeke hitting a floater near the baseline for Lincolnwood’s first points of the season at the 7:10 mark of the first quarter.
Schmedeke’s basket would be the only points for the Lancers for six minutes, with the Lincolnwood (via Morrisonville) sophomore hitting a free throw at the 1:07 mark to end a 17-0 run by the Rockets.
During Routt’s run, the Lancers’ growing pains showed against an opponent who started three juniors and two seniors. One of those seniors exacerbated the problem as 6’5” 210-pound Gus Abell nine first quarter points against a shorter, narrower Lancer defense.
Despite the early 17-point deficit, Lincolnwood finished on a high note, getting a basket and free throw from Will Jenkins after Schmedeke’s charity toss to make it a 13-point game at the end of the first. The Rockets’ defense had made it difficult to get Jenkins the ball in the first quarter, but the Lancers’ leading scorer from last year was able to break free at the end of the frame.
Routt responded to start the second quarter with a pair of field goals to up their lead back to 17, but Lincolnwood looked more in control as they shook off some of their first game jitters. Freshman Jonah Elvidge cut the lead to 14 with his first varsity points, a three from near the top of the key, with Jenkins knocking down a second triple a minute later to make it 23-12.
After a few empty possessions by both teams, Schmedeke scored again, cutting the lead to single digits for the first time since the 5:15 mark of the second quarter.
Unfortunately, Routt would keep the Lancers from getting too much closer as they outscored Lincolnwood 12-4 in the final three minutes to up their lead back to 17.
After the break, the third quarter belonged to the Rockets. Nolan Killion started the quarter off with a three-pointer to boost the lead to 20 and Routt continued to build on that advantage, eventually getting it to 57-25 by the end of the frame as they outscored Lincolnwood 22-7.
With the clock in constant motion due to the mercy rule, both teams emptied their benches, with five Lancer freshmen (Cooper Poggenpohl, Brayden Morris, Kennady Cook, Drew Gilpin and Karson Hayes) getting their first taste of high school ball, after two (Elvidge and Jared Klein) had already done so earlier in the game.
Hayes would make the most of his opportunity scoring five points, with the final three coming on a trey at the buzzer just in front of the Lincolnwood bench, where his uncle Blake Lucas would be minutes later, in his capacity as the head coach of the New Berlin basketball team.
Hayes and fellow freshman Brayden Morris, who had two free throws in the fourth quarter, had all of Lincolnwood’s points in the fourth quarter and were two of the seven Lancers to score in the game.
Will Jenkins led Lincolnwood with eight points, while Brady Schmedeke added in seven. Braden Whalen finished with five, followed by Jonah Elvidge with three and Trenton Watson with two.
Gus Abell led all scorers with 17 for Routt, while Nolan Killion added 12 for the Rockets, who put 10 different players in the scoring column.
After a night off Tuesday, the Lancers continue play in New Berlin on Nov. 24, at 8 p.m., against Coach Lucas and the host Pretzels. They wrap up pool play on Nov. 26, with a 3 p.m. tilt against Lutheran, followed by the medal round games on Saturday, Nov. 27.
Nov. 22 at New Berlin
New Berlin Tournament
Lincolnwood 6 12 7 7 32
Routt 19 16 22 6 63
Lincolnwood (32) - Will Jenkins 8, Brady Schmedeke 7, Braden Whalen 5, Karson Hayes 5, Jonah Elvidge 3, Brayden Morris 2, Trenton Watson 2. Totals: 10 9-13 32.
Routt (63) - Gus Abell 17, Nolan Killion 12, Michael Wilson 8, Will Merwin 7, Joe Whalen 6, Ethan Walker 4, Braden Cors 3, Nolan Turner 2, Carter Lightfoot 2, Ethan Mahoney 2. Totals: 24 11-19 63.
Three-point field goals: Lincolnwood 3 (Elvidge 1, Jenkins 1, Hayes 1); Routt 4 (Killion 3, Merwin 1.
Records: Routt (1-0), Lincolnwood (0-1).
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