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Jermaine Hamlin 1

Lincoln's Jermain Hamlin blocks a shot against Springfield Southeast in the Class 3A Springfield Southeast Sectional championship. 

SPRINGFIELD — It was total domination. 

Springfield Southeast scored the first nine points of its Class 3A Springfield (Southeast) Sectional championship against Lincoln and never looked back to win 66-43 on Friday. 

The Spartans never trailed and built a 25-11 lead over the Railers by the end of the first quarter. 

"It was the worst case scenario but we knew that could happen. It's one of the things you try to avoid when you play Southeast because then you are chasing them and you aren't going to catch them," Lincoln coach Neil Alexander said. 

Six different Spartans scored in the first quarter as they had an answer for everything the Lincoln defense threw at them.  

"It looked like our defense couldn't limit them anywhere. They hit 3s and got the ball inside. We knew we had to rebound but (Southeast) tortured the boards," Alexander said. "They pressure you for 32 minutes and they don't let you get good shots or run an offense. They are very well coached."

In the second quarter Lincoln (27-5) went even colder, hitting one field goal and five free throws to trail by 19 at halftime 37-18. 

Senior point guard Terrion Murdix set up the Spartans' offense, scoring 14 points, dishing out seven assists while also grabbing nine rebounds.  

'When we play Lincoln we always like to put someone in the middle who can handle the middle and (Terrion Murrdix) was there tonight," Southeast coach Lawrence Thomas said. "He's hard to deal with and he's a special player and he made some nice passes out to Deon Mathews and the other shooters tonight and they were ready to knock them down."

Murdix fed Mathews (14 points including four 3-pointers), Stepheon Sims (11 points, seven rebounds) and James Dent (13 points), earning high praise from Alexander. 

"I've been coaching in this area for around 30 years and Terrion Murrdix, if he is not the best pure point guard that I've seen some out of Springfield, I'm not sure who is," Alexander said. "When he goes out at half court and starts messing with the ball, we don't have a chance. He is a pure winner, along with Sims. They will not allow them to lose."

The sectional championship is the fifth in school history for Southeast and the Spartans are poised to return to the state tournament, where they finished second last year in their first trip to state. 

Southeast will face East St. Louis on Tuesday at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield at 7 p.m. in the super-sectionals.

In the second half, Lincoln's Kaden Froebe led the offense, scoring 19 of his 23 points in the third and fourth quarters, but the Railers couldn't get the lead below 18 points.

"Seeing the deficit that we were in, we tried to do everything we could to get the lead back but it was too late," Froebe said. "That's the quickest team I've ever played. Terrion and Stepheon are two of the best duo guards in the state and what they do for their team is incredible. They are so smart and they are all around a great team and they will do great things."

Lincoln's Kameron Whiteman added nine points on three 3-pointers and senior center Jermaine Hamlin won the battle of the big men as the 6-10 Hamlin scored eight points and came down with 10 rebounds while Southeast's 6-8 Michael Tyler scored six points and grabbed two rebounds. 

Hamlin is the only senior starter on the Railers team and his absence next season will be felt. 

"When you take Jermaine Hamlin out of the middle, we become an ordinary team," Alexander said. "I hope that (the team) will grow and they will do what we need to do to get better. But overall we had a great season and we were young and you can tell tonight the difference between juniors and seniors. I think they had seven seniors out there and we had five or six juniors out there. 

"I never would have picked this team to win 27 games as young as we were. Twenty-seven wins was a great season for us."

Froebe said he is proud of his team that blew past the limited expectations some had placed on the Railers. 

"I think a lot of people thought we were going to be inexperienced and that we were too young. I thought that we had a heck of a run and we surprised people," he said. "Having one senior starter and making it to the sectional championship game says a lot about how hard we worked."

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Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten

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Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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