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Clinton Maroons Fall to Shelbyville Rams

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Shelbyville Rams by a score of 62-33 on Tuesday night. The Maroons were led by Junior, Seth Westfall, with 9 points. Junior, Austin Baker, contributed with 8 points.
 
Shelbyville was led by Malcolm Miller with 31 points and Turner Pullen added 18 points.
 
With the loss the Maroons fall to 7-11.
 
Tune in Friday as the Maroons take on Tuscola. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Sages Travel To St. Joseph-Ogden Tonight

Coming off back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday night in Okaw Valley boys basketball action, the road in the Okaw doesn't let up for the Monticello Sages boys basketball squad.
 
The Sages needed overtime to get by Champaign St. Thomas More Friday night on the road, then topped Unity Saturday. 
 
Tonight at 7:30 pm, the Spartans await tonight in another road game for the Sages.
 
The Sages are in the midst of a four road games in a five game stretch. 
 
After this weekend's two victories, the Sages are 13-3 overall while St. Joe-Ogden enters action tonight 15-6.
 
Hear all the action starting at approximately 7:15 tonight on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Cardinals Surrender Two Picks, $2-Million To Astros

For roughly 20 months, the FBI and Justice Department were investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for hacking into the internal database of the Houston Astros. 
 
Former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison last July for what amounted to 12 counts of corporate espionage.
 
Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced it had concluded its investigation into the  hacking scandal. The Cardinals have been hit with the following penalties from commissioner Rob Manfred:
 
- A $2 million payment to the Astros, which must be paid within 30 days.
The Cardinals' two highest picks in the 2017 draft are being awarded to the Astros.
 
- Correa has been placed on the permanently ineligible list. He's banned from baseball.
 
The Cardinals surrendered their first-round pick to sign qualified free agent Dexter Fowler earlier this offseason, which means their second- and third-round picks will go to Houston. Those are the 56th and 75th overall selections.
 
"The Houston Astros support MLB's ruling and award of penalties," the team said in a statement. "This unprecedented award by the Commissioner's Office sends a clear message of the severity of these actions. 
 
MLB says it found no evidence a Cardinals employee other than Correa hacked into the Astros' database, so no one else with the team has been disciplined. The club has been fined because ultimately, this happened on their watch. Manfred said he found Houston "suffered material harm" that is "not amenable to precise quantification."
 
"We respect the Commissioner's decision and appreciate that there is now a final resolution to this matter," Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt said in a statement. 

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'The Big Hurt' Speaks Out on PED Users in Hall of Fame

Over the weekend, the Chicago White Sox held their annual SoxFest fan convention in the Windy City. Among those taking part in the festivities was Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.
 
Without naming names, Thomas spoke out against "two great players going in" to the Hall of Fame this year despite performance-enhancing drug suspicion. Those players are, of course, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez.
 
Thomas said quote -"(Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds) should be in now, as far as I'm concerned. They've let a few people in already we all know. It's uncomfortable at this point. I'm sure this year's going to be uncomfortable because we've got two great players going in, but they know. It's no secret. If they didn't do it, they would be stomping and kicking and in interviews saying 'I didn't do it.'"
 
Thomas, who has been strongly opposed to PEDs his entire career, went on to say there is a "lot of internal talk going on" between Hall of Famers who are "not happy about this at all." Thomas even floated the idea of a separate wing in the Hall of Fame for PED users.
 
Neither Bagwell nor Rodriguez ever failed a PED test or served a suspension, and neither was named in the Mitchell Report. Jose Canseco, in his book "Juiced," claimed to have personally injected Rodriguez with PEDs when they were teammates with the Texas Rangers from 1993-94. Rodriguez denied the allegations.

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Blues, Blackhawks Return To Ice After All-Star Break

The Chicago Blackhawks limped into the All-Star break after two straight difficult losses and in need of a recharge as their upcoming schedule will be challenging, to say the least.
 
The Blackhawks open a six-game road trip Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks with both teams locked in tight battles in their respective divisions.
 
Chicago is 12-9-1 on the road and trails the Central Division-leading Minnesota Wild by four points.
 
Puck drops tonight in San Jose at 9:30 pm central time.
 
As the St. Louis Blues prepare for the resumption of the season following the All-Star break, coach Ken Hitchcock prefers to look ahead, not backward.
 
What Hitchcock sees in the team's future is the possibility of earning a playoff spot. Whatever has happened in the first half of the season, in Hitchcock's opinion, doesn't really matter now.
 
The Blues won only one of their last five games before the All-Star break, and have struggled in goal for most of the last month. Jake Allen, who has not won since the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 against the Blackhawks, will get the start against the Jets.
 
Puck drop tonight is 7 pm from the Scottrade Center. 
 

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Gonzaga College Basketball's New AP, Coaches Poll No. 1

After a wild week, Gonzaga is the new No. 1 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday.
 
Seven of the top 10 teams in last week's poll suffered losses and, the team that benefited the most from the madness is the Zags, who remained unbeaten with another perfect run this week over Portland, San Diego and Pepperdine. With eight games left on the regular season schedule, KenPom favors Gonzaga to win in each game. There's a solid chance Mark Few's team will go into Selection Sunday undefeated and No. 1.
 
Looking back on the week's action, the ACC may have been the most affected by the week's results. The conference essentially cannibalized itself with Saturday's games alone, with three of its five results coming in upset fashion.
 
Even after North Carolina's baffling loss to Miami, the Tar Heels are still a half-game up on the rest of the league going into Monday's action with a Duke-Notre Dame matchup on tap. It's Notre Dame -- not Duke -- who is just a game back from the ACC leader before the big Monday duel with the Blue Devils.
 
Across the country, the Big 12-SEC Challenge over the weekend yielded some intriguing results that played a huge impact in the rankings. For the first time since the challenge began, the Big 12 didn't take the crown. It was a straight up tie. Going into Saturday night with the SEC holding a 5-4 lead, Kentucky, considered a favorite over Kansas, fell 79-73 behind Josh Jackson's 20-point night in Rupp Arena. Now on a two-game skid, the Wildcats drop four spots to No. 8.
 
Illinois State received two votes to join the top-25 in the AP Poll.
 
There were 14 ranked teams that took on a total of 17 losses in the previous seven days.
 
Yet the newest coaches poll doesn't have one team from last week's rankings outside the top 25 this week. We've got a lot of shifting, but no new teams to the fold. Northwestern -- which is one of the best stories in college hoops right now -- along with SMU, USC and Miami, they're all on the outside looking in.
 
We do have Gonzaga at No. 1, as the Bulldogs move up after Villanova and Kansas took losses last week. The Bulldogs are now the top team on both polls.
 
Kentucky only drops two spots despite losing two games. Louisville, which has a better record than Kentucky and defeated the Wildcats in December, is a spot behind. Wisconsin nearly lost to Rutgers, yet jumps from 15th to ninth. It's a weird week in the polls. Florida State's slip from No. 8 to No. 16 is the biggest drop this week.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to Meridian on Senior Night

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Meridian Lady Hawks by a score of 48-47 on Monday night. The Lady Maroons were led by junior Alyssa Saulsberry with 13 points. Sophomore Savanah Moore and junior Madi Filkin also chipped in with nine points each. Senior Seairah Moore had five points and was named the Country Financial representative Stephan York Maroons Player of the Game.

 

The Lady Hawks were led by senior Amy Aukamp with 15 points and senior Hannah Wetzel with 12. Sophomore Emma Jackson also chipped in with 11 points.

 

With the loss the Lady Maroons fall to 10-15 overall and 1-5 in CIC conference action. Meridian improves to 10-12 on the season.

 

Tune in Thursday, February 2, as the Lady Maroons take on the Sullivan Lady Redskins. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Sages Top in Unity

The Monticello Sages opened up a 17-6 lead in the first quarter and never looked back as they topped Tolono Unity 58-45 in Okaw Valley boys basketball action from Monticello High School on Saturday night. Isiah Florey scored eight of 12 points in the first quarter. Luke Stokowski had six of his 11 in the second quarter. Johnny Dawson scored six of his 13 points in the third quarter and Calvin Fisher had seven of his 14 points in the third quarter. Florey finished with a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. J.T. Wheeler finished with a game high 19 points for the Rockets. Monticello improves to 14-3 and 2-1 in the Okaw Valley, while Unity drops to 7-9 and 1-3 in Okaw Valley action. Monticello returns to action on Tuesday night when they travel to St. Joseph-Ogden for a 7:30 start time. Tune in to 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com for all the action.

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Clinton Maroons Defeat Warrensburg In CIC Tournament

As heard on WHOW, the number seven seed, Clinton Maroons, defeated the number two seed, Warresnburg-Latham, in a Central Illinois Conference tournament game by a score of 54-49 on Saturday night. The Maroons were led by junior Austin Rauch with 13 points. Juniors Seth Westfall and Dalton Smith also chipped in with 10 and 13 points, respectively.

 

With the win the Maroons improve to 7-10 overall and Warrensburg-Latham fall to 14-5 on the season.

 

Tune in Tuesday, January 31, as the Maroons take on the game four winner. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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New Berlin Downs Maroa-Forsyth

Hunter Stockton scored all 12 of points in the second half, Max Day also scored all 11 of his points in the second half as New Berlin used a big second half to get by Maroa-Forsyth 53-39 in Sangamo Conference boys basketball action Friday night from Maroa-Forsyth High School.

 

Leading 23-22 at the half, the Pretzels used a 30-17 second half do down the Trojans.

 

Daanish Mahmood scored 10 of his team high 12 points in the second half and Hayden Mitchell added 10 points for Maroa-Forsyth.

 

New Berlin shot 15-for-24 from the free throw line for the game.

 

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Monticello Holds on For Overtime Win Over Champaign St. Thomas More

The Monticello Sages outlasted the Champaign St. Thomas More Sabers in overtime 63-59 Friday night in Okaw Valley boys basketball action from Champaign.

 

The Sages led 56-50 with 4:19 to play in the fourth quarter, but the Sabres used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 58 and Johnny Dawson missed a turnaround three from the wing with 0.8 seconds to send the game to overtime.

The Sages outscored the Sabers 5-1 in the overtime, making just one free, but Dawson’s two free throws with 47 seconds to play sealing the victory for Monticello.

 

Luke Stokowski’s 19 points and 10 rebounds led the Sages. Calvin Fisher added 13 points and 15 rebounds.

 

Dawson added 11 points and Isiah Florey finished with nine points.

 

The Sages dominated the glass 48-26, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds for 18 second-chance points.

 

The Sages shot 10-for-21 from the free throw line to the Saber’s 16-for-19.

 

St. Thomas More drops to 9-12 overall while the Sages improve to 13-3 overall and 1-1 in Okaw Valley action.

 

The Sages return to action Saturday night when they host Unity at Monticello. Tip time is set for 6:30 pm.

 

Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Tuscola Wins CIC Girls Basketball Tournament From Clinton High School

Emma Henderson scored 24 points to lead the Tuscola Lady Warrios to a Central Illinois Conference girls basketball tournament title 49-26 over Decatur St. Teresa at Clinton High School Thursday night.
 
Henderson scored 20 points in the first half, helping the Lady Warriors build a 25-10 halftime lead, while holding the Lady Bulldogs to just one field goal in the second quarter.
 
Henderson was the only player to reach double figurs for the game.
 
DaeLin Switzer scored nine points to lead the Lady Bulldogs and Makenna Thornton added seven points.
 
The Lady Bulldogs made just six field goals for the game.
 
In the third fourth place game from Clinton High School, Sullivan edged Central A&M 52-49.

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Maroons Open CIC Tournament Play Saturday

The Clinton Maroons will open Central Illinois Conference tournament action Saturday night when they take on Warrensburg-Latham.
 
The Maroons are the seventh seed while the Cardinals the tournaments second seed.
 
The Decatur St. Teresa Bulldogs are the top seed this year, they play host-Sullivan.
 
The tournament tips at 3 pm Saturday when St. T and Sullivan open tournament play.
 
The Maroons and Cardinals meet at 6 pm Saturday. Tune in to 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com for all the action.
 
If the Maroons win, they play Tuesday at 6 pm and Monday at 6 pm if they lose. The winner/loser of Shelbyville and Meridian awaits. 
 
Hear all Clinton Maroons games from the CIC tournament on WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Pacers Drop T-Wolves; Bulls G Rondo Lashes Out on Instagram

Paul George scored 32 points after being picked for his fourth All-Star game to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 109-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
 
Myles Turner added 23 points, and Jeff Teague had 20 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds to help the Pacers snap a three-game losing streak. Indiana outrebounded Minnesota 44-34 and shot 52 percent.
 
Karl-Anthony Towns had 33 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves after getting passed over for the Western Conference reserves. Zach LaVine scored 23 points, and Andrew Wiggins had 21, but the Timberwolves missed a chance for their first four-game winning streak since 2012.
 
The Pacers had lost three in a row and four of six since a trip to London snapped a five-game winning streak.
 
George was named a reserve for the Eastern Conference about an hour before tipoff, and he came out firing with the 21-year-old Wiggins checking him. George hit 3 of 4 3-pointers and got Wiggins to foul him on a 3-pointer with seven minutes to play. Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau picked up a technical foul from Scott Foster for arguing the call and George, the leading free throw shooter in the league, made all four foul shots for an 86-81 lead.
 
Towns hit a pair of 3-pointers to try to jumpstart a Wolves charge and LaVine hit another to cut the deficit to 96-90. But Teague and C.J. Miles each hit 3-pointers late in the shot clock down the stretch to turn back the Wolves.
 
Indiana returns home to host Sacramento on Friday night.
 
>>Rondo Lashes Out On Instagram
 
Bulls guard Rajon Rondo criticized Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler in an Instagram rant Thursday for questioning the team's desire.
 
Rondo fired back one day after Chicago's stars went off following a rough loss to Atlanta. Though he didn't mention Wade and Butler by name, it seemed clear who he was referring to in a post that accompanied a photo of him with former Boston Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
 
Rondo, apparently referring to Garnett and Pierce, repeatedly used the term "my vets," saying they would "never go to the media." He wrote they "didn't take days off," that they "didn't care about their numbers," that they "played for the team" and that they "showed the young guys what it meant to work."

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Blues, Blackhawks Lose

Andrew Copp and Bryan Little scored in a 32-second span in the third period, and the Winnipeg Jets beat Chicago 5-3 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory against the Blackhawks this season.
Little, Copp, rookie Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist, helping the Jets to their third win in their last nine games. Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves on the final night before the NHL All-Star break.
 
The Blackhawks had a 3-2 lead before Copp tipped Josh Morrissey's shot past Scott Darling with 4:03 left. Little then blasted a shot by Darling for his 13th of the season, silencing the crowd of 21,746.
 
Scheifele added an empty-netter at 17:57 for his 22nd goal, moving the center into a tie with Laine for the team lead.
 
>>Wild Blast Blues
 
Nino Niederreiter had a goal and two assists, Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves and the Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-1 on Thursday night.
 
Mikael Granlund added a goal and an assist, and Erik Haula, Tyler Graovac and Mikko Koivu also scored for the Wild, who are 21-3-2 in their last 26 games. Heading into the break with 69 points, Minnesota trails Washington by three in the race for the league's best record.
 
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 21st goal for the Blues, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Carter Hutton stopped 25 of 30 shots before being pulled early in the third period.
 
Haula and Tarasenko traded goals early in the second period before Graovac put Minnesota ahead for good with a deflection of a centering pass by Niederreiter. The Wild then put it away with a three-goal flurry that spanned the second intermission.
 
The Blues host the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 31.

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Cubs Agree With LHP Brett Anderson

The World Series champion Chicago Cubs added pitching depth, finalizing a $3.5 million, one-year contract with left-hander Brett Anderson.
 
Anderson, who can make an additional $6.5 million in bonuses based on starts, figures to compete with Mike Montgomery for the fifth spot in the rotation behind Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. Anderson has dealt with several injuries during eight big league seasons and was limited to three starts and one relief appearance with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year.
 
Anderson was sidelined until August because of surgery for a bulging disk in his back and developed a blister on his pitching hand that limited him to two games in September.
 
He was 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA in a career-high 31 starts in 2015 helping the Dodgers win the third of four straight NL West titles.
 
Anderson, who turns 29 on Feb. 1, is 38-43 with a 3.86 ERA in 115 starts and 12 relief appearances with Oakland (2009-13), Colorado (2014) and the Dodgers (2015-16).
 
His agreement was announced Thursday.

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Justin Rose Leads at Farmers Insurance Open

It had been 522 days since Tiger Woods last played on the PGA Tour, but that all changed Thursday at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open as Woods went out with a four-over 76, saving a disastrous back nine with a birdie on 18.
Torrey Pines has been good to Woods over the years, which makes it the perfect place for the 41-year-old to begin what is likely the last phase of an all-time career. Still, he probably wishes he had a number of shots back from Thursday.
 
Instead, it's a man who shares his agent who leads at Torrey Pines with a few other big names on his heels. Here is how the top of the leaderboard looks along with how a few other stars performed at Torrey.
 
Justin Rose (7 under) made two eagles on the easier North Course on Thursday.
 
Rickie Fowler shot 72 on the easier course Thursday and will have a ton of work to do Friday just to make the cut. 
 
Dustin Johnson (E) was fifth in the field off the tee (per usual), the final hole when he made a birdie alongside partners Woods and Jason Day.
 
Jason Day (1 over) was fourth in the field in strokes gained tee to green and shot 1 over. 

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Lady Maroons Take CIC Consolation Championship

Madi Filkin and Alyssa Salsberry finished with 13 points apiece leading the Clinton Lady Maroons past Meridian 51-41 in the Consolation Championship at the Central Illinois Conference girls basketball tournament from Clinton High School. 
Salsberry scored eight of her 13 in the first half and Filkin went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for the Lady Maroons, who held the Lady Hawks to one field goal in the first half. 
 
Tori Wilson finished with ten points for Clinton, who went 16-for-20 from the free throw line for the game. 
 
Chloe Herbert led Meridian with 16 points, scoring 13 in the second half. The Lady Hawks shot 20-for-27 from the free throw for the game.
 
Hannah Wetzel added eight for the Lady Hawks. 
 
In the first game of the night, Warrensburg-Latham topped Shelbyville 46-28. 
 
Tonight, Tuscola and Decatur St. Teresa will play for the conference tournament title at 7:30 pm. 

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Illinois, Illinois State Win; Bradley Loses

Michael Finke scored 17 points off the bench and led Illinois in a 76-64 win over Iowa on Wednesday night.
Illinois got off to a quick 10-0 start in the first few minutes of the game and never gave back the lead.
 
Offense was not a problem in a game where Illinois (13-8, 3-5 Big Ten) looked dominant, shooting 55 percent from the field in the first half and finished shooting 45 percent, including 9-19 from beyond the arc.
 
The offense thrived with good ball movement - Illinois finished with 18 assists, the second-most this season.
 
Maverick Morgan added 12 points and seven rebounds.
 
Nicholas Baer scored led the way for Iowa (11-10, 3-5) with 12 points.
 
The Hawkeyes got off to a slow start, shooting under 20 percent from the field for the first eight minutes of the game and 37 shooting percent for the half.
 
>>ISU Remains Unbeaten In Valley Play 
 
Deontae Hawkins and Phil Fayne had 19 points each on Wednesday night, and Illinois State escaped a close contest for its tenth straight win, 71-66 over Indiana State.
The Redbirds (17-4, 9-0 Missouri Valley) pulled away with the final five points of the game at the foul line. The Sycamores (7-14, 1-8) tied it at 66 on Jordan Barnes' 3-pointer with 1:01 to go, but Brenton Scott missed a layup with 26 seconds and Matt Van Scyoc missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied it with 4 seconds to go.
 
Both teams' largest lead was seven points, and Indiana State held the lead for 18:32 compared to 18:29 for Illinois State.
 
Hawkins also grabbed 12 rebounds and Paris Lee added 18 points for Illinois State, which extended its home winning streak to 17.
 
Scott had 15 points; T.J. Bell scored 12 and Van Scyoc 10 for Indiana State.
 
>>Loyola Downs Bradley
 
Donte Ingram scored 24 points with six 3-pointers and Loyola (Chicago) used a big second-half run to beat Bradley 70-50 on Wednesday night.
Milton Doyle added 14 points with two 3s for the Ramblers (15-7, 5-4 Missouri Valley), who shot 11 of 21 from behind the arc (52.4 percent) and 27 of 53 from the floor (50.9 percent).
 
Ingram scored 16 points with four 3-pointers in the first half and Loyola led 34-30 at halftime after five lead changes and four ties.
 
Tyson Smith's 3-pointer capped an 18-2 run and Loyola led 52-38 in the second half. Ingram and Bruno Skokna each hit 3-pointers in the surge, and the Ramblers led 62-44 with 6:20 left after Ingram and Skokna hit consecutive 3s. Doyle hit his third 3-pointer and Loyola led by 21 with 3:07 to play.
 
Donte Thomas scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Bradley (8-14, 3-6), which has lost four straight.

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Hawks Rally Past Bulls

Dennis Schroder scored 24 points, Paul Millsap added 21 and the Atlanta Hawks ended the game on a 19-4 run to beat the Chicago Bulls 119-114 on Wednesday night.
Thabo Sefolosha scored 18 and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 17, hitting four of his team's 17 3-pointers as the Hawks pulled out their seventh straight win against Chicago.
 
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 40 points. Dwyane Wade scored 33, but Chicago let a 10-point lead slip away down the stretch.
 
It was 110-100 with less than three minutes remaining when Millsap, Schroder and Hardaway nailed 3s on consecutive possessions to start the game-ending run. Schroder gave Atlanta a one-point lead with a layup, and Dwight Howard made one of two free throws to make it 112-110 with 58.6 seconds left.

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Flyers Blank Rangers

Steve Mason stopped 34 shots for his 31st career shutout, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek scored 2:36 apart in the third period and the Flyers beat the New York Rangers 2-0 on Wednesday night.
 
Philadelphia, which beat the New York Islanders 3-2 in overtime in Brooklyn on Sunday night, improved to 5-9-3 since their long win streak ended Dec. 17.
 
Mason got his first shutout of the season and first since last March 5 against Columbus. He helped Philadelphia end a five-game losing streak to the Rangers and get its second win in the last 13 meetings at Madison Square Garden.
 
Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for the Rangers, who ended a three-game winning streak.
 
The Flyers took the lead at 6:09 of the third, just 34 seconds after the Rangers' Matt Puempel was sent off for tripping. Voracek fired a shot from the right slot that was stopped by Lundqvist, but Brayden Schenn jabbed at the puck, it went to Simmonds and he backhanded it in for his 20th.
 
Voracek doubled the lead with some help from the Rangers as he knocked the puck off Michael Grabner's right skate, left skate and off the left goalpost and in for his 14th at 9:45.
 
New York went 0 for 3 on the power play and is now 0 for 14 over its last four games.
 
The All-Star break is next for the Rangers.

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Unity Drops Clinton

A second half rally for the Clinton Maroons fell short Tuesday night as the Unity Rockets held on for a 58-50 win in non-conference boys basketball action.
 
Trailing 31-12 at the half, the Maroons outscored the Rockets 38-27, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
 
Peyton McCubbin led Clinton with 17 points and Austin Rauch chipped in with 12 points.
 
JT Wheeler led Unity with 28 points, the only Rocket to score in double-figures.
 
The Rockets improve to 8-9 overall while Clinton drops to 6-10. 
 
The Maroons open Central Illinois Conference tournament action Saturday night when they take on Warrensburg-Latham at Sullivan High School. Hear all the action starting at 6 pm on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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St. Teresa Tops Maroa-Forsyth

Jaxson Nelson and Daanish Mahmood each scored 12 points but it wasn't enough as the Decatur St. Teresa Bulldogs topped Maroa-Forsyth 45-34 in non-conference boys basketball action Tuesday night. 
 
Tied at 18 at the half, the Trojans led after three quarters, 27-25, but the bulldogs pulled away with a 16-9 third quarter.
 
Ian Bond led St. T with 17 points, he scored 12 points in the second half.

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Tuscola, St. Teresa To Meet in Final of CIC Girls Basketball Tournament

Decatur St. Teresa outscored Central A&M 10-2 in overtime to get past the Lady Raiders 49-41 in semi-final action from the Central Illinois Conference girls basketball tournament from Clinton High School. 
Makenna Thornton led the Bulldogs with 24 points and Vanessa Nutakor scored 10 points. 
 
The Tuscola Lady Warriors used balanced scoring to get by Sullivan 54-41 to advance to the final of the Central Illinois Conference girls basketball tournament.
 
Emma Henderson led the Lady Warriors with 13 points and Alexis Koester added 11 points.
 
The Lady Warriors and Lady Bulldogs will meet for the CIC tournament title on Thursday night at 7:30 pm.

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Central Illinois Confernece Boys Basketball Brackets Released

The Central Illinois Conference boys basketball tournament brackets were released Tuesday afternoon. 
The Clinton Maroons will take on second-seeded Warrensburg-Latham Saturday night at 6 pm.
 
The top seed of the tournament is Decatur St. Teresa. They play Sullivan Saturday afternoon at 3 pm.
 
Other first round matchups in the CIC tournament:
 
#4 Central A&M vs #5 Tuscola
#Shelbyville vs #6 Meridian
 
Hear all Clinton Maroons boys basketball games on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Bulls Drop Magic

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points, Jimmy Butler added 20 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Orlando Magic 100-92 on Tuesday night for their second straight victory.
Facing an Orlando team that was missing three of its four top guards, Wade and Butler took full advantage with drives to the basket and pull-up jumpers as the Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter.
 
The turnover-prone Magic simply could not keep pace with a Bulls team that is going through point guard issues of its own with the surprising benching of Michael Carter-Williams.
 
Nikola Vucevic had 20 points for the Magic, who have dropped two straight and 11 of their last 14 games.

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Blues Blank Penguins

Carter Hutton stopped 34 shots for his sixth career shutout to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 victory over the Penguins on Tuesday night.
 
Colton Parayko, Ryan Reaves and Scottie Upshall scored to help the Blues end a three-game skid.. Hutton won for the third time in his last four starts and fifth in the last seven to improve to 7-6-2 this season.
 
Hutton recovered from allowing three goals on eight shots against the Washington Capitals last Thursday. St. Louis had allowed at least five goals in each of its previous three games.
 
Matt Murray finished with 24 saves for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game winning streak. Murray, 17-5-1 was 9-0-1 in his first 10 starts at home this season.
 
The Penguins, 0 for 6 on the power play, lost in regulation at home for the first time since Nov. 21, when they fell 5-2 to the New York Rangers. They had won seven straight at home since then.
 
The Blues are at Minnesota on Thursday night.
 
>>Lightning Top Blackhawks
 
Tyler Johnson scored two goals 30 seconds apart early in the third period, rallying the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday night to end a three-game slide.
Brian Boyle had a goal and an assist, and Nikita Nesterov and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning, who broke loose for three goals in a 3:57 span of the third to erase a 2-1 deficit.
 
Alex Killorn set up both of Johnson's goals, and Valtteri Filppula had two assists to help Tampa Bay win for just the third time in 11 games.
 
Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist, and Duncan Keith also scored for the Blackhawks, who had their three-game winning streak stopped. Chicago lost for only the third time in its last 10.

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Woods Grouped With DJ, Jason Day at Farmers Insurance Open

All eyes were already going to be on Tiger Woods in his return to regular PGA Tour action at the Farmers Insurance Open, but a Thursday-Friday grouping with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson will only exacerbate the desire of golf (and sports) fans to catch Big Cat.
 
Woods will go off with Day and Johnson at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday on the South Course and at 12:30 p.m. ET Friday on the North Course (the easier one).
 
"I think he's excited," Day said of his pal, Woods.
 
Woods will have his work cut out for him, too. Johnson was No. 2 on the PGA Tour last year in driving distance with an average of 314 yards. Day was No. 15 with an average of 304 yards. Woods' swing looked fluid and crisp at the Hero World Challenge, but the temptation to keep up with these two ludicrously long bombers will be great.

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Late Rally Lifts Monticello Past Warrensburg-Latham

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages turned a four-point deficit into a four point lead with an 8-0 run, and held on for a 54-50 win over Warrensburg-Latham Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action from Monticello High School.

 

The Sages trailed 48-44 with 3:14 to play in the game, but the Sages flipped the deficit into a lead forcing two turnovers and grabbing two offensive rebounds to take a 52-48 lead.

Isiah Florey was fouled on a layup to tie the game but missed the and-one free throw, but Calvin Fisher got the offense rebound and made the putback layup for the Sages first lead since the 1:44 mark of the first quarter.

 

The Sages held on despite missing two straight free throws in one-and-bonus situations, but Fisher made two free-throws with eight seconds left to make 54-50.

 

Fisher led the Sages with 17 points and grabbing five rebounds. Isiah Florey added 12 points with six rebounds and dished out four assists.

 

Johnny Dawson and Luke Stokowski added ten apiece.

 

6-foot-9 senior Andrew Butts led all scorers with 21 points. The Cardinals came in with four players averaging double-figures in scoring, though no other player finished in double-figures for the night.

 

The Sages outscored Warrensburg-Latham in the paint 40-26, and turned 17 turnovers into 27 points while grabbing eight offensive rebounds for 12 points. The Cardinals did not have any second chance points.

 

Both teams shot better than 50-percent for the game while Monticello outrebounded Warrensburg-Latham 22-19.

 

The Sages improves to 12-3 on the season while the Cardinals drop to 14-4.

 

The Sages are back in action Friday night when they travel to Champaign to take on St. Thomas More. Hear all the action at 7:30 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lady Sages Storm Past Tolono Unity

As heard on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com Monday night, the Monticello Lady Sages used lock-down defense and balanced scoring to top Tolono Unity 50-15 in Okaw Valley Girls Basketball action.
 
The Lady Sages shut out the Lady Rockets in the first quarter as Unity scored their first basket over 10 minutes into the game. By that time the Lady Sages had built an 18-2 lead.
 
Emma Reeder led the Monticello with 14 points. Zanna Myers added nine while Tatum McCall added eight and Rachael Lockmiller chipped in with seven points.
 
Hannah Rutledge and Jordy Curtis each led the Lady Rockets with five apicee. 
 
Unity drops to 12-10 on the season and the Lady Sages improve to 16-4 overall.
 
Hear more Monticello girls basketball next Monday night when the Lady Sages host Champaign St. Thomas More for senior night. Hear the action at approximately 7:30 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Pacers Comeback On New York Falls Short

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and broke a tie with a turnaround baseline jumper with 23.4 seconds left to give the New York Knicks a rare victory at Indiana, 109-103 over the Pacers on Monday night.
Derrick Rose had 20 points and six assists as New York ended a two-game skid.
 
Indiana erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit and tied the score at 103 on two free throws by Paul George with 42 seconds remaining.
 
Anthony answered with the tiebreaking shot, and the Pacers didn't score again.
 
George led Indiana with 31 points and seven rebounds. Myles Turner had 22 points and 10 boards for the Pacers, who have lost three straight.

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Dodgers, Rays Make Swap

The Dodgers have acquired second baseman Logan Forsythe from the Rays, in exchange for pitching prospect Jose De Leon.
 
Forsythe, 30, hit .264/.333/.444 (113 OPS+) with 24 doubles, 20 home runs, 52 RBI, 76 runs and six stolen bases last season. A DL stint limited him to 127 games. He's served as a super-utility type in the past, but settled in as an everyday second baseman with good seasons in 2015 and 2016. He's playing on an $8.5 million club option this season, so he'll hit free agency after just one year in L.A., unless he's given a contract extension.
 
The Dodgers have been trying to fill a void at second base for a greater portion of the offseason. They were connected heavily in rumors to the Twins' Brian Dozier, but those talks seemed to stall a few weeks ago and reports indicated the two sides had reached an impasse. As a result, Forsythe is Los Angeles' newest second baseman.
 
Forsythe hit leadoff all year for the Rays last season.
 
The return of De Leon gives the Rays additional starting pitching depth. He was regarded as a top-25 prospect in baseball before last season. In 16 Triple-A starts, he had a 2.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings. He got a cup of coffee in the bigs and didn't fare well, but that doesn't change the upside. Lots of great players have a rough start in The Show.

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Arizona Moves Up After Road Win Over UCLA

A weekend full of top-25 action across the country ended with three top-10 teams taking losses. The most surprising, yet resounding, perhaps being Arizona's march to Pauley Pavilion where they dismantled UCLA with its star guard Allonzo Trier back in the lineup.
 
Former No. 7 West Virginia all but ended its chances to steal the Big 12 crown with its back-to-back losses, which could be good news for Kansas.
 
As a result of the chaotic week that was, the AP Top 25 got a bit of a makeover. 
 
Villanova retianed their top ranking, while Kansas is again at no. 2, Gonzaga moves up to third and Kentucky to fourth. Bayor is back in the top five this week as well.
 
Florida State is no. 6, up from their top 10 ranking last week. Arizona flies to seventh, UCLA, North Carolina and Oregon round out the top 10. 
 
Creighton dropped from seventh to no. 16 after a home loss to Marquette.
 
There were no new teams to the top 25 in the AP Poll this week.

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Rangers Hold on Against Kings

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots to lead New York to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night for their third straight win.
Lundqvist has now given up just four goals on 84 shots during the winning streak - including a 1-0 shutout at Detroit on Sunday - after allowing 20 on 113 shots the previous four games. That stretch included giving up seven goals before being lifted after two periods in a 7-6 loss to Dallas at Madison Square Garden last Tuesday.
 
Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello scored for New York.
 
Lundqvist needed to be at his best in this one as the Kings, who last played Saturday across town against the Islanders, seemed a step faster from the start and controlled play for most of the first two periods while outshooting the Rangers 22-9.
 
Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford scored, and Jeff Zatkoff finished with 14 saves for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight and five of seven.
 
The Rangers host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

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UPDATED: Clinton Lady Maroons Defeat Shelbyville

The Clinton Lady Maroons defeated Shelbyville 55-32 on Monday night in Central Illinois Conference girls basketball action from Clinton High School. 
 

The Maroons were lead by Savannah Moore with 14 points. Alyssa Saulsberry also chipped in with 12 points.
 
Shelbyville was lead by Mia Jones with 14 points and McKenna Donald with an added 11 points.
 
With the win, the Lady Maroons improve to 9-14.
 
Tune in next Monday as the Lady Maroons take on Meridian. You can hear the game live on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Other games from the CIC tournament at Clinton High School:
 
Macon Meridian 36, Warrensburg-Latham 33 
 
Games tonight:
 
Tuscola vs. Sullivan 6 p.m.
Central A&M vs. St. Teresa 7:30 p.m.

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Lady Maroons on WHOW Tonight

Esther Miller scored 14 points and Chloe Riley added 13 points leading Sullivan to the winners bracket Saturday night in the opening day of the Central Illinois Conference girls basketball tournament from Clinton High School.
 
Riley scored eight of her 13 in the second half while Miller scored 12 in the first half.
 
Lizzie Greer and Tatum Ellis added eight apiece for the Rams, who will take on Tuscola tomorrow night at six.
 
The Lady Maroons were led by Savannah Moore's 15 points, the only Clinton player in double figures.
 
Tonight, the Lady Maroons take on Shelbyville at 6 pm.
 
Hear all the action on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Falcons Throttle Packers, Meet Pats in Super Bowl

With another MVP-worthy performance and plenty of help from Julio Jones, Matt Ryan guided the Atlanta Falcons to a 44-21 rout of the Green Bay Packers for the NFC championship Sunday, a showing that erased any doubts about whether Ryan can win the big games.
In his ninth season, he's finally headed to his first Super Bowl .
 
Ryan threw for 392 yards and four touchdowns, but it was his 14-yard scoring run - his first TD on the ground since 2012 - that really set the tone .
 
Jones was right in the middle of things, too. After barely practicing during the week because of a lingering toe injury, he finished off the Packers with a 73-yard catch-and-run on Atlanta's second snap of the second half, pushing the lead to 31-0 and essentially turning the rest of the Georgia Dome finale into one long celebration.
 
Aaron Rodgers pushed the Packers quickly into Atlanta territory with a 27-yard pass to Jordy Nelson, who missed the previous game with a rib injury. But Mason Crosby, who hit two field goals longer that 50 yards in the closing minutes against the Cowboys, pushed a 41-yard attempt right of the upright to snap a playoff-record streak of 23 straight field goals.
 
Rodgers finished 27 of 45 for 287 yards and three TDs, but he also threw an interception, was sacked twice and faced a relentless Falcons rush.
The Falcons finished with a 493-367 edge in total yards.
 
The Falcons (13-5) will face Tom Brady and the Patriots on Feb. 5 in Houston, just the second Super Bowl appearance in Atlanta's 51-year history. Eighteen years ago, they lost to Denver in John Elway's final game.
 
New England, heading to its ninth Super Bowl, blew out Pittsburgh 36-17. The Patriots opened as a 3-point favorite.
 
Tom Brady threw for a franchise playoff-best 384 yards and three touchdowns in New England's sixth consecutive AFC championship game.
 
Brady's main weapon was Chris Hogan. The previously unheralded receiver found open spaces everywhere on the field against a leaky secondary. Hogan caught nine balls for 180 yards and two scores.
 
Top wideout Julian Edelman added eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown as Brady tied Joe Montana's playoff record with nine three-TD passing performances. 

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Toews Leads Blackhawks Over Canucks

Jonathan Toews scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:18 remaining and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Sunday night for their third straight victory.
 
Toews, who also had three assists, connected from the left circle after Richard Panik's shot from right wing went wide and caromed off the back boards. Toews fired before Canucks goalie Ryan Miller could move across the crease.
 
Panik had a goal and an assist and Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won seven of their last nine. Marian Hossa added an empty-netter with 24 seconds left for his 18th goal and 400th point with Chicago.
 
Corey Crawford made 26 saves to earn his 200th win.
 
Troy Stecher and Bo Horvat scored 46 second apart early in the third period to tie it for Vancouver.
 
Miller stopped 31 shots as the Canucks lost in regulation for just the second time in their last 13.
 
>>Kings, Blackhawks Make Swap
 
The Los Angeles Kings have acquired defenseman Cam Schilling from Chicago in exchange for forward Michael Latta.
 
The clubs announced the minor league swap Saturday.
 
Schilling has seven goals and 10 assists in 40 games for the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate in Rockford. He has played six games for the Blackhawks over three seasons.
 
Latta has six points and 67 penalty minutes in 29 games this season for the Kings' AHL affiliate in Ontario. Los Angeles signed him as an unrestricted free agent in July.

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Illinois State Stays Unbeaten in Missouri Valley Play; Illinois, Bradley Lose

Deontae Hawkins scored 19 points and Illinois State pulled away in the second half to beat Drake, 72-58 Saturday to keep its Missouri Valley Conference unblemished.
 
Graham Woodward hit a 3-pointer with one second left in the first half to get Drake within four at intermission, 30-26. But the Bulldogs got no closer in the second half after Billy Wampler's 3-pointer made it 46-42 with just over 10 minutes left.
 
Phil Fayne's layup with 8:04 remaining gave the Redbirds a 10-point lead and DJ Clayton's tip-in off an offensive rebound pushed the lead to 14.
 
Clayton finished with 15 points off the bench for Illinois State (16-4, 8-0). MiKyle McIntosh added 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
 
Drake was held to just 30.5 shooting from the field (18 of 59), including 10 of 32 from long range.
 
Reed Timmer and Woodward each had 13 points to lead the Bulldogs.
 
>>Michigan Avenges Earlier Loss to Illinois
 
D.J. Wilson scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half, helping Michigan build a double-digit lead in a 66-57 win over Illinois on Saturday.
 
The Wolverines (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten) lost to the Fighting Illini (12-8, 2-5) by 16 points Jan. 11 on the road.
 
Michigan's Derrick Walton had 11 of his 13 points in the second half and grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds. Zak Irvin scored 15 and Moritz Wagner added eight points for the Wolverines.
 
Illinois didn't have a player in double digits until there was 4:23 left, when Malcom Hill made a jumper. Hill finished with 16 points while reserves Te'Jon Lucas scored eight and Mike Thorne had seven points.
 
The Wilson-led Wolverines took control with a 13-3 run midway through the first half. The 6-foot-10 junior forward helped Michigan turn a one-point deficit into a 22-13 lead with 10 points in fewer than eight minutes. He made a 3-pointer, baskets off offensive rebounds and a free throw during the dominant stretch.
 
>>Missouri State Knocks Off Bradley
 
Dequon Miller matched his career high with 24 points and Alize Johnson added 13 points while grabbing 13 rebounds as Missouri State pulled away late to beat Bradley 76-62 on Saturday.
Johnson, who garnered his 12th double-double this season and had his ninth straight game with 10 or more rebounds, hauled in seven offensive boards.
 
Miller drilled 3 of 5 from distance and Chris Kendrix chipped in 17 points with four steals and one block.
 
Missouri State (14-7, 5-3 Missouri Valley Conference) led 41-31 at the break and was up 59-50 at the midpoint of the second period. A Koch Bar jumper closed the gap to 59-55 with 6:32 left but Kendrix made two free throws and Johnson drilled a 3-pointer for a 64-55 lead two minutes later and the Bears cruised home.
 
DonteThomas had 17 points and Jayden Hodgson added 16 for Bradley (8-13, 3-5).

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Baseball Loses Pair of Players

Kansas City Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 25 years old.
 
Both the Royals and Major League Baseball have confirmed Ventura's death.
 
Ventura originally signed with Kansas City as an amateur free agent in 2008. He reached the big leagues in September 2013 and had been a mainstay in their rotation since. Ventura was part of the club's 2014 AL pennant and 2015 World Series rotations.
In parts of four MLB seasons, Ventura went 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA (107 ERA+) in 547 2/3 innings. The team signed him to a five-year extension worth $23 million in December 2015.
 
Commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement regarding Ventura's passing:
 
"Today is a very sad day for our entire game and particularly for the many loyal fans in the Dominican Republic, the home of both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte.
 
"Yordano was a key figure in the Royals' recent success. His electric talent on the mound helped lead the Royals to two American League pennants and the 2015 World Championship. Andy was a respected member of six organizations who played seven Major League seasons, including for the Cleveland Indians from 2006-2010.
 
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to the families, teammates, friends and fans of both players."
 
The first details about Ventura's funeral have been reported. He'll be put to rest on Tuesday.
 
Royals general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost are among those expected to attend.
 
Third baseman Andy Marte, once one of the top prospects in baseball, was killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.
 
According to ESPN, Marte was killed when a car he was driving crashed into a house along the side of the road. Marte had been in the country playing winter ball.
 
Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died early Sunday morning when a car he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo, the capital.
 
Marte was once one of the top prospects in baseball, a can't-miss future superstar. Baseball America ranked him as the ninth-best prospect in baseball before the 2005 season, one spot ahead of Hanley Ramirez. Marte made two other appearances in the top 15 of the Baseball America annual top-100 list.
 
Marte never did live up to the potential he showed in the minors. Rather than develop into Chipper Jones' heir with the Braves, he was traded to the Red Sox and later the Indians, then spent most of his career bouncing around Triple-A. His last MLB appearance came with the Diamondbacks in 2014. He was a career .218/.276/.358 hitter in 308 big-league games.
 
Over the past two years, Marte found success with the KT Wiz in the Korea Baseball Organization. He hit .312/.390/.547 with 42 home runs in 206 games with KT from 2015-16.

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Hudson Swafford Wins CareerBuilder Challenge; McIlroy Out Indefinitely

There have been three PGA Tour tournaments played so far in 2017. In two of the three, the shot of the tournament has come on the 71st hole from the final group. In the Tournament of Champions to open the calendar year, it was Justin Thomas who stuck a dreamy iron from forever away to seal the deal. On Sunday, it was Hudson Swafford who nearly made an ace on the par-3 17th at the CareerBuilder Challenge to get his first career win.
 
The Georgia alum was flowing a little bit with two straight birdies entering the tough No. 17.
 
Runner up Adam Hadwin (who shot 59 on Saturday) covered Swafford up with a birdie of his own on the same hole to stay one back going to the final hole of the tournament. They both made par and Swafford took the trophy.
 
Swafford finished birdie-birdie-birdie-par to get to 20 under to Hadwin's 19 under. 
 
Swafford was the best driver in the field on the week and played bogey-less golf over his final 17 holes. His 67 on Sunday was third-best in the entire field.
 
Swafford came into the week with 92 career events and zero finishes in the top three. He has been a mainstay on the PGA Tour for the last three years, having earned just under $3 million with a top 10 in each season but nothing all that close to a win. Now, he joins Georgia pals Harris English, Chris Kirk and Brian Harman with a win.
 
>>McIlroy Out Indefinitely With Stress Fracture in Rib
 
It turns out Rory McIlroy's injury from South Africa last week is more than a tweaked back. McIlroy went for a MRI in Dubai on Monday, and it revealed a stress fracture in his rib that will sideline him for an indefinite period of time. McIlroy was slated to play the Abu Dhabi Championship this weekend, but he has since pulled out of that event.
 
"It's bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship," McIlroy said in a statement.
 
McIlroy also normally plays the Dubai Desert Classic at the beginning of February and potentially has the Genesis Open in the middle of February in Los Angeles as well. Those are both in doubt with this latest news.
 
The bigger storyline here is what this means for the Masters. McIlroy will have his third opportunity at the career Grand Slam come April, and he has noted that he was slated to play a lot more than normal in the lead up to Augusta this time around.

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Sages Hold On For Win Over Meridian

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages held on for a non-conference victory over Meridian, 77-67 Saturday night in boys basketball action from Monticello.

The Sages held a 19-point advantage at 60-41 with 3:32 to play in the third, but the Hawks trimmed the deficit to 64-57 with 6:32 in the game, but the Sages held on to improve to 11-3 overall.

 

Calvin Fisher led Monticello with 25 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Luke Stokowski finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals.

 

Isiah Florey was solid once again with 17 points and eight rebounds.

 

Johnny Dawson finished with seven points, five rebounds and four assists.

 

The Sages dominated the glass with a 36-18 advantage while outscoring Meridian 50-12 in the paint.

 

The Hawks were led by Layne Kercher’s 25 points. Garrett Meisenhelter scored 16 points and Cameron Getz chipped in with 15.

 

The Hawks drop to 9-10 on the season.

 

Monticello is back in action Tuesday night when they host Warrensburg-Latham. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Clinton Maroons Fall to Tuscola Warriors

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Tuscola Warriors by a final score of 55-46 on Friday night. Senior Peyton McCubbin led the Maroons with a total of 16 points. McCubbin was also recognized as the Stephen York Maroons Player of the Game. Junior Austin Baker also chipped in with a total of 7 points.
 
The Tuscola Warriors were led by Senior Kaleb WIlliams with a total of 17 points. Senior Ray Kerkhoff also chipped in with a total of 16 points.
 
With the loss the Clinton Maroons fall to 6-9 and the Tuscola Warriors improve to 10-6.
 
Tune in January 28th through Feburary 3rd as the Clinton Maroons take on the CIC Tournement! You can hear the big games live on The Big 1520AM/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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Bears Hire Three Assistants

The Chicago Bears have hired three new assistant coaches.
 
Jeremiah Washburn replaces Dave Magazu as offensive line coach. Washburn last served as assistant offensive line coach under Adam Gase with the Miami Dolphins.
 
Curtis Modkins was hired as running backs coach. Modkins has coached for 22 years, including nine with the San Francisco 49ers. Prior to that, he spent three seasons as the Detroit Lions' running backs coach.
 
Modkins replaces Stan Drayton, who left to become assistant head coach at Texas.
 
Roy Anderson joined the staff as assistant secondary coach. He has eight years of NFL coaching experience with the 49ers, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens. Anderson replaces Sam Garnes, who was fired.
 
The Bears also announced that the contract of outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt wasn't renewed.

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Caps Blast Blues

Justin Williams Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had a goal and an assist as seven different players scored in the Washington Capitals' 7-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
 
Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly, and Marcus Johansson also scored, and Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Winnik each had two assists to help Washington earn at least a point in its 12th straight game (10-0-2) for an NHL-best 66 points.
 
Braden Holtby bounced back from his roughest outing of the season with 22 saves. Holtby was pulled after giving up a season-high five goals on 26 shots in an 8-7 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. He improved to 22-8-4 and 5-0 lifetime against St. Louis.
 
Alexander Steen scored twice and Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for St. Louis, which has lost its last three against Washington.
 
Blues goalie Jake Allen was pulled twice in the contest and gave up four goals on 10 shots in 25:11. He has been lifted in four of his starts games.
 
The Blues are at Winnipeg on Saturday night in the opener of a three-game trip.

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Packers Head To Atlanta For NFC Championship Game

Defense wins championships.
 
That's the old adage. And it's about to be turned on its head by either the Green Bay Packers or Atlanta Falcons.
 
The Packers finished 21st in points allowed. The Falcons finished 27th. And yet, one of them will win the NFC Championship Game on Sunday in Atlanta.
 
The victor will be playing in Super Bowl LI, and it figures to be a battle of brilliant quarterbacks -- Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers -- who decide this one.
 
Behind Ryan, the Falcons scored 71 more points than any other team in the NFL. Ryan's 117.1 passer rating not only led the NFL, but was the fifth-best in NFL history. He threw for 4,944 yards with 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He topped 100 in passer rating in 12 of 16 regular-season games, then did it again against Seattle in the divisional round.
 
The Falcons enter the game on a five-game winning streak. Ryan has 14 touchdown passes and zero interceptions during the five-game streak.
 
Rodgers led the Packers to eight consecutive wins. Through the first quarter of the season, Rodgers ranked toward the bottom of the league in completion percentage (56.1) and yards per attempt (6.30). But he has been unstoppable as of late. During the winning streak, Rodgers has posted a 117.9 passer rating with 298.0 yards per game, 68.9 percent accuracy, 21 touchdowns and one interception. For the season, Rodgers threw for 4,428 yards with 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
 
Both teams will need huge efforts from their quarterbacks in what could turn into a shootout. They'll be attacking what are at times poor defenses. Green Bay finished 31st in pass defense. Atlanta wasn't much better at 26th. Both teams finished in the bottom fourth of the league on third down and in the red zone.

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Sages Use Big Second Half To Get By PBL

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the scripts were flipped when Monticello routed Paxton-Buckley-Lolda 59-38 Thursday night in a game that was being made up after being postponed in December.

 

In the third-fourth place game from the Monticello Holiday Hoopla, PBL shot 80% from the floor in the second half and made 10-of-12 three point shots to rout the Sages for third place back on December 29, however, Thursday night, it was Monticello who had everything fall in the second half, as the Sages outscored PBL 40-16 in the paint while going 16-for-21 in the second half to flip a 21-all tie at halftime into a 21-point victory.

 

PBL struggled to adjust to a zone defense the Sages used in the second half and made just six field goals on 24 attempts in the second half.

 

Isiah Florey scored nine of his 17 points in the third quarter to lead all scorers. Johnny Dawson added 15 points, Luke Stokowski added 14 points with seven rebounds.

 

Luke Fitton scored 15 points to lead PBL.

 

Andrew Zenner went for a double-double at the December matchup but was held to just seven points and five rebounds while Cole Eschleman also scored 20 points in the December matchup, scored just six points Thursday.

 

PBL drops to 8-5 overall while Monticello improves to 9-3.

 

The Sages take on Meridian Saturday night at 7:30 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to Warrensburg-Latham

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Warrensburg-Latham Lady Cardinals by a score of 50-40 on Thursday night. The Lady Maroons were led by junior Madi Filkin with nine points. Senior Tori Wilson and freshman Destiny Schlesinger also chipped in with eight points each. Wilson was also named the Country Financial representative Stephan York Maroons Player of the Game. Junior Alyssa Saulsberry added seven points.

 

The Lady Cardinals were led by senior Rachel Hoppe with 17 points and sophomore Makenzie Yaroch added 15.

 

The Lady Maroons play in the Central Illinois Conference tournament next. The game will either be Monday, January 23, or Tuesday, January 24. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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ISU Handles Bradley

Deontae Hawkins scored 20 points and Illinois State won its eighth straight game 69-49 over Bradley on Wednesday night.
 
Hawkins hit four 3-pointers and added 10 rebounds. Paris Lee finished with 14 points for the Redbirds (15-4, 7-0 Missouri Valley), who sit alone atop the Missouri Valley standings for the first time since 1997-98. It is just the second time in school history the Redbirds have opened 7-0 in conference play since going 9-0 during the 1982-83 season.
 
Antoine Pittman led Bradley (8-12, 3-4) with 11 points. The Braves, who have lost six straight to Illinois State, shot had just 15 field goals on 31.9 percent shooting.
 
The Redbirds opened up a 20-8 lead and limited Bradley to only 17 first half points. Two MiKyle McIntosh free throws to open the second half pushed the Illinois State lead past 20, 38-17, and the Redbirds cruised the rest of the way.

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Pacers Edge Kings

Paul George scored 24 points, Jeff Teague had 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, and the Pacers used a big second half to beat the Sacramento Kings 106-100 on Wednesday for coach Nate McMillan's 500th career victory.
 
The Pacers trailed by as many as 22 points in the first half, and then outscored Sacramento 65-40 in the final two quarters to win for the seventh time in eight games.
 
DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for Sacramento, which lost Rudy Gay to a suspected torn left Achilles tendon in the third quarter. It was Cousins' fifth career triple-double.
 
The Kings closed out a 1-6 homestand and have dropped eight of 10 overall.
 
Reserve Al Jefferson had 20 points in 17 minutes for the Pacers, and Myles Turner had 16 points.
 
George made a jumper and Teague connected on two foul shots to give Indiana a 99-98 lead with 1:56 left. George then hit another jumper and Thaddeus Young's block on Cousins set up a key dunk by Turner in the final seconds.
 
Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo and Kosta Koufos each had 11 points for the Kings. Collison also had nine assists and four steals.
 
Pacers face the struggling Lakers on Friday in Los Angeles.

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Bagwell, Raines, Pudge Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

After about six weeks of discussion, evaluation and arguing, we found out Wednesday that three players will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez.
 
Those players will be enshrined this coming summer, with induction weekend scheduled for July 28-31. The actual ceremony will take place on the 31st, and will be aired at 1:30 p.m. ET on MLB Network, as well as steamed on the Hall of Fame's website.
 
Bagwell received 86.2 percent of the vote in his seventh year on the ballot. Having previously dealt with steroid allegations and the like, it took Bagwell longer than anticipated to crack Cooperstown. From 2012 through 2015, he finished with between 53 and 60 percent of the vote. Last year, Bagwell broke through to reach a new height of 72 percent, and this year he more than cleared the 75 percent required for entry into the Hall of Fame.
 
For years a sabermetrics cause celebre, Raines received 86 percent of the vote in his 10th and final year on the ballot. Raines's vote percentage began at 24.3 percent way back in 2008, and dipped to 22.3 6 percent in 2009. Since then, however, he'd made gains nearly every year: topping the 50 percent mark in 2013, then the 60 percent mark in 2016. He displaces Bert Blyleven as the candidate who owes the most to the internet.
 
Bagwell, 49 come May, was one of the best hitters of his era. Over 15 seasons, he batted .297/.408/.540 while averaging 30 home runs a season. During his career, he made four All-Star Games, won the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and Gold Glove Awards once each, and took home multiple Silver Slugger Awards. Bagwell's 149 OPS+ during his career was the 10th highest among batters with more than 1,000 plate appearances -- roughly equal to Edgar Martinez, and just behind both Frank Thomas and Manny Ramirez.
 
Raines, 57, has had his statistical accomplishments laid out time and again. Here they are again: he notched 2,605 hits over parts of 23 big-league seasons, all the while recording a .294/.385/.425 slash line and more than 800 stolen bases. Raines made seven All-Star Games during his career, won the 1986 National League batting title, and took home a Silver Slugger Award. He led his respective league in runs scored or stolen bases a combined six times.
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Rodriguez, now 45, was the most well-regarded defensive catcher of his era -- an evaluation supported by his career 46 percent caught-stealing rate, as well as his 13 Gold Glove Awards. Rodriguez was no slouch at the plate, either. He finished his 21-year career with more than 300 home runs and a .296/.334/.464 slash line -- good for a 106 OPS+. Rodriguez also won a Most Valuable Player Award, numerous Silver Slugger Awards, and took part in 14 All-Star Games.
 
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens continue to be shut out from the Hall of Fame despite being two of the best ever at their respective positions. The reasoning is obvious: each has connections to performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds's 53.8 voting percentage represents the third consecutive year he's seen his rate increase -- and the first time he's topped 50 percent. Clemens has enjoyed a similar climb -- from percentages in the 30s to 45.2 percent last year, and now up to 54.1 percent. Both are likely to reach 75 percent in time, and perhaps as soon as next year, provided voters continue to show more willingness to elect potential steroid users.

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Williamsville Rolls Maroa-Forsyth

Jake Pennell led three Williamsville Bullets players in double figures as they rolled Maroa-Forsyth 60-25 in Sangamo Conference boys basketball action Tuesday.
 
Pennell scored all 17 points in the first half, propelling Williamsville to a 35-15 halftime advantage. Joe Mitchell scored 10 of his 14 points in the third quarter and Casey Tuttle chipped in with 11 points.
 
Daanish Mahmood led the Trojans with nine points. 

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St. Teresa Rallies Past Clinton

The Decatur St. Teresa Bulldogs outscored the Clinton Maroons 28-19 in the fourth quarter after the Maroons tied the game to end for the third quarter at 42-all, and came away with a 70-61 win at home in Central Illinois Conference boys basketball action.
The Maroons trailed 32-26 at the half and used a 16-10 third quarter to tie the game, but the Bulldogs were too much in the fourth quarter, as St. T remains unbeaten in CIC play.
 
The Maroons drop to 0-2 in conference action.
 
Noah Griffin paced the Maroons with 17 points while Seth Westfall added 13. Dalton Smith chipped in with nine points and Peyton McCubbin added seven.
 
The Maroons play at home Friday night when they host Tuscola at 7:30 pm. Hear all action live on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Purdue Routs Illinois

Isaac Haas had 24 points and six rebounds, and power forward Caleb Swanigan added 22 points and 10 rebounds in the No. 21 Purdue Boilermakers' dominating 91-68 victory.
 
Haas scored 13 points in the second half when the Boilermakers (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) led by as many as 27. Swanigan had a four-point first half but was almost unstoppable during the second half, accounting for 18 points and five rebounds.
 
Purdue placed five players in double figures, also getting 14 from freshman guard Carsen Edwards, 11 from forward Vince Edwards - no relation - and 10 from point guard P.J. Thompson.
 
Illinois (12-7, 2-4) got 15 points from Maverick Morgan and 12 from Malcolm Hill but had no answer for the Boilermakers' two post players, each of whom had his way around the basket.
 
Purdue made 9 of its first 14 field goal attempts, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, built a 19-5 lead with 13:01 to play in the first half and led 44-30 through 20 minutes, shooting 60 percent from the field (15 of 25).
 
The Illini travel to Ann Arbor on Saturday to play Michigan.

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Mavericks Edge Bulls

Wesley Matthews made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 12 seconds left, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 99-98 on Tuesday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Six players scored in double figures for the Mavericks, including all five starters. Harrison Barnes had 20 points, Seth Curry added 18 and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
 
Dallas trailed 98-96 after Jimmy Butler made a long jumper over Matthews with 23 seconds left, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided against a timeout and Deron Williams drove into the lane before kicking out to Matthews for the 3.
 
Chicago had one last chance, but Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning jumper from the corner on his 35th birthday as time expired.

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Blackhawks Get By Avalanche; Blues Lose

Vinnie Hinostroza scored twice in the third period, including the go-ahead goal with 11:49 remaining, and the Chicago Blackhawks rallied for a 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.
Tanner Kero had two goals and Nick Schmaltz and Brent Seabrook also scored for Chicago, which snapped a two-game skid.
 
The Blackhawks switched around their line combinations, breaking up the Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa tandem in an effort to spark the offense. It certainly worked with Hinostroza, Kero and Hossa combining for eight points. Hossa had three assists.
 
Matt Duchene had two goals and Blake Comeau and Matt Nieto also scored for the last-place Avalanche, who wrapped up a four-game homestand with a 1-3 mark. This game felt more like a road game, though, with all the Blackhawk fans in attendance.
 
>>Ottawa Tops St. Louis
 
Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone each scored twice to lead the Ottawa Senators over the St. Louis Blues 6-4 on Tuesday night.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan also scored for the Senators, who won their fourth straight at Scottrade Center for the first time in team history. Mike Condon made 19 saves.
 
Paul Stastny, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, who had their two-game winning streak snapped. Carter Hutton made 18 saves.
 
Stone's third goal in four games at the 2:35 mark of the third period halted a Blues surge. Exactly a minute after Steen tied it, Stone stole Jaden Schwartz's pass to score his 14th goal of the season, giving the Senators a 4-3 lead.
 
The Blues will host Washington on Thursday.

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McIlroy Top Paid Golfer From 2016

According to Golf Digest's latest list, Rory McIlroy was the highest-paid golfer in both on-course and off-course money in 2016. He is No. 1 on the list entering 2017.
McIlroy earned $17.5 million on the course (thanks in part to his FedEx Cup win which was worth $10 million) and $32 million off the course for a total of nearly $50 million.
 
McIlroy's sponsors include Bose, Nike, EA Sports and Omega.
 
This ranked nearly $10 million ahead of Arnold Palmer and almost $15 million ahead of Tiger Woods, who made 99 percent of his cash off the course.
 
Phil Mickelson made $37.8-million last year and was the third highest paid golfer while Jordan Spieth made $30.4-million to finish in the top five.
 
PGA Tour Player of the Year, Dustin Johnson, made $19.8-million, good for seventh on the list, while world number-one Jason Day made $19.6-million to follow Johnson at number-eight.
 
That number for Jason Day should increase after a huge contract with Nike was inked at the end of the year.

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Lady Sages Comeback Falls Short Against St. Joe-Ogden

As heard on WEZC Monday night, a ten-point fourth quarter deficit was cut to two with under one minute left, but Monticello's comeback fell-short against St. Joseph-Ogden, 49-46 in Okaw Valley girls basketball action.
 
The Lady Spartans scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, all from the free throw line, finishing 13-for-20 from the line in the fourth.
 
The Lady Sages comeback was fueled by nine fourth quarter points from Marissa McPike, who finished with 11. Rachael Lockmiller and Emma Reeder scored seven of their nine points in the second half.
 
Tatum McCall added seven points.
 
The Lady Spartans were led by Sydney Kelso's 15 points, all from three point range, with each one coming at crucial juncture's in the game. 
 
The Lady Sages never led as they dropped to 2-2 in the Okaw Valley Conference and 14-4 overall.
 
The Lady Spartans improved to 13-6 overall.
 
Monticello returns to action Thursday night when they travel to Maroa-Forsyth. 
 
Tune in for more Lady Sages basketball action on WEZC and dewittdailynews.com next Monday when Monticello hosts Tolono Unity. 

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Cubs At White House Monday

The Chicago Cubs have been celebrating their World Series win for the past few months and they may have completed their tour with a stop at the White House. 
 
President Barack Obama welcomed the team to D.C. today. The President, a White Sox fan, had the team, coaches and front office staff filled the East Room. Obama noted how he’s not a true fan of the team but his wife is.
 
 
Obama took having the other Chicago team win a title while he was President in stride.
 
 
The President was presented with what he called the best swag yet. A 44 from the Wrigley Scoreboard, a life-long all access pass to the park and a 44 jersey that he said would be difficult to put on.

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Pacers Hold Off Pelicans

Jeff Teague fell just short of the first triple double of his career Monday, and Paul George scored 19 points to help the Indiana Pacers hold off the New Orleans Pelicans 98-95.
Teague finished with 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds as Indiana won for the fifth time in six games.
 
All-Star center Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 16 points despite missing the final 19 minutes after hurting his right hip and left thumb. Team officials said X-rays were negative.
 
Without Davis, the Pelicans' came up just short. After playing catch-up most of the game, they finally tied the score at 91 with 4:10 to go. But Teague broke the tie with a 3-pointer on Indiana's next possession.
 
New Orleans had three chances to tie it again in the final 20 seconds but Jrue Holiday missed a 22-footer with 19.9 seconds to go, E'Twaun Moore missed a layup with 4.8 seconds left and Tyreke Evans' 3-pointer from the right corner hit nothing but air as the buzzer sounded.

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Penguins Outlast Caps in Thriller

When Pittsburgh's Conor Sheary ended it 34 seconds into overtime to give the Penguins a chaotic 8-7 victory over the Washington Capitals, Sheary's teammates darted for the tunnel while Washington stood on the bench a little dumbstruck after their nine-game winning streak came to an abrupt - if highly entertaining - halt.
 
Sheary had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Evgeni Malkin picked up his 11th career hat trick during a frenetic second period, and Sidney Crosby collected his NHL-leading 27th goal to go with three assists. Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray earned his seventh straight win at home win despite allowing seven goals on 28 shots.
 
The Penguins trailed 3-0 before scoring six goals in less than 11 minutes in the second period, more goals than the Capitals had allowed in a game all season.
 
Lars Eller scored twice for Washington, and T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky also found the net. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves after coming on in relief of Braden Holtby, who was pulled during Pittsburgh's second-period explosion.
 
Malkin's 19th of the season, a one-timer from the right circle, put the Penguins on the board 6:28 into the second. And just like that, the floodgates opened.

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Villanova Back to No. 1 in AP Poll; Kansas No. 1in Coaches Poll

For the first time in program history, Baylor earned a No. 1 ranking in the AP poll a week ago. With a spotless record and wins over Louisville, Michigan State, and Oregon, to name a few, the Bears had arguably the most impressive resume in the country. In fact, a case could be made they still do.
But Scott Drew's team was knocked off its perch quickly. A road trip to Morgantown ensued hours after being named No. 1 and the 15-game winning streak Baylor carried to open the season was history after West Virginia throttled the Bears en route to a 21-point loss.
 
Now it's another familiar face who reclaims its spot at the top in Villanova.
 
The latest edition of the USA Today Coaches Poll was released Monday afternoon, and we've got a few surprises.
Kansas is the new No. 1, which was anticipated after Baylor's loss to West Virginia last week. But the Bears did rebound with a road win against K-State. Nevertheless, BU goes from first to sixth this week. That means everyone else bumps up. But Gonzaga's undefeated record isn't impressive enough to get coaches to put the Bulldogs first, or even top-three.
 
Another somewhat surprising result: Xavier dropped two road games to Nova and Butler, yet maintains a top-20 ranking. The Musketeers can validate that ranking with a home win over Creighton on Monday afternoon.
 
Duke took the biggest tumble this week, slipping 11 spots after losing at Florida State and at Louisville.

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McDermott Leads Bulls Past Grizzlies

Doug McDermott scored a career-high 31 points, Jimmy Butler had a pair of key baskets in the closing minute and the Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies 108-104 on Sunday night.
The Bulls broke a 104-all tie with 25 seconds left on a 15-footer from Butler and a pair of free throws by McDermott. Butler had 16 points to help Chicago win its second straight.
 
Taj Gibson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls.
 
Mike Conley led Memphis with 28 points and eight assists, and Marc Gasol had 24 points and 11 rebounds.
 
Chicago was without second-leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who did not play on the second night of a back-to-back after the Bulls beat New Orleans at home Saturday.
 
The game featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties, with neither team holding a double-digit lead.

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Crosby's Clutch Field Goals Lift Green Bay Past Dallas

Rodgers threw a 36-yard pass to a toe-dragging Jared Cook on the sideline, and Mason Crosby kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired, sending the Packers to the NFC championship game with their eighth straight win while thwarting a huge Dallas rally in a 34-31 victory in the divisional round of the playoffs Sunday.
 
The throw on the run from Rodgers to Cook on third-and-20 with 12 seconds left - confirmed on review - wasn't nearly as debatable as Dez Bryant's famous catch that wasn't in the Cowboys' divisional round loss to Green Bay (12-6) two years ago.
 
Cook, who led Green Bay with 104 yards receiving, kept both feet inbounds with a knee just above the ground out of bounds.
 
And it came after the Cowboys tied the game twice in the final 5 minutes behind rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in their playoff debut.
 
It was the third field goal of more than 50 yards in the final 1:33 - two from Crosby and one from Dallas' Dan Bailey. And Crosby had to make the winner twice after Dallas coach Jason Garrett called timeout before the first attempt.
 
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott had 125 yards rushing.
 
Rodgers didn't seem to miss receiver Jordy Nelson, out with a rib injury sustained in the win over the Giants.
 
Rodgers found six different receivers, including a 34-yard touchdown to Richard Rodgers
 
Rodgers, who sparked last week's wild-card win over the New York Giants with another Hail Mary before halftime, is headed to an MVP showdown with Atlanta's Matt Ryan next Sunday. It will be his third NFC title game - all on the road.

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Blues Drop Ducks in OT; Blackhawks Lose

Patrik Berglund's second goal of the game, 51 seconds into overtime, lifted the Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night. It was St. Louis' first win in 11 visits to Anaheim.
Carter Hutton stopped 22 shots for his second win in two nights and Berglund scored his ninth goal in the last 14 games. The Blues got their first win in Ahaheim since Oct. 17, 2009, going 0-9-1 in 10 visits since.
 
In the extra period, Jaden Schwartz found Berglund speeding past Ryan Getzlaf and into the slot, where he was able to chip the puck high over goalie John Gibson.
 
Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim and Gibson made 24 saves as the Ducks fell to 1-8 in overtime.
 
The Blues host Ottawa on Tuesday night.
 
>>Wild Beat Blackhawks, Take Western Conference Lead
 
Jason Pominville scored in the third period, Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves and the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night to grab sole possession of the top spot in the Western Conference.
Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart also scored as Minnesota earned its fourth straight win and improved to 17-1-1 since Dec. 4. The Wild also beat the Blackhawks for the eighth straight time.
 
Minnesota (28-9-5) jumped in front for good when Marco Scandella shot the puck behind the net and it caromed right to Pominville standing all alone on the right side of the crease. He knocked it into the open net for his sixth of the season at 5:08.
 
Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter was sent off for tripping with 22.4 seconds left, but Chicago was unable to get a good look with a 6-on-4 advantage.
 
Patrick Kane scored twice for the Blackhawks and Corey Crawford made 29 stops.

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Illinois State Drops Wichita State, Leads Missouri Valley; Illinois, Bradley Lose

MiKyle McIntosh scored 20 points, Deontae Hawkins added 14 more and Illinois State took sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 76-62 win over Wichita State on Saturday night.
Illinois State (14-4, 6-0) got a layup from DJ Clayton with just over five minutes left in the first half to spark a 12-3 run that gave the Redbirds a 36-27 halftime advantage and the lead for good.
 
Clayton finished with 11 points, while Evans and Paris Lee had 10 points apiece for the Redbirds, who shot 54 percent from the field.
 
Wichita State (15-4, 5-1) cut the deficit to a single point in the second half with a 3-pointer from Brown that made it 43-42 before the Redbirds pulled away again with an 11-2 run and held on down the stretch.
 
Landry Shamet and Darral Willis Jr. led Wichita State with 14 points each.
 
>>Maryland Comes Back To Beat Illinois
 
Anthony Cowan scored a career-high 19 points and led Maryland to a 62-56 win over Illinois on Saturday.
Maryland (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) faced a better team than the one it dominated early in the season, but a sloppy second half from the Illini allowed the Terrapins to come back and hold off the Illini in the final five minutes.
 
The Terrapins had a cold start, including a 3-for-13 first half from beyond the arc, but Maryland responded to shoot 43 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range to make up for earlier mistakes.
 
Melo Trimble and Jaylen Brantley each added 12 points.
 
Maverick Morgan led the way for Illinois (12-6, 2-3 Big Ten) with 15 points and five rebounds Leron Black scored 14 points and added nine rebounds.
 
Illinois will face a difficult test when it travels to Purdue on Tuesday.
 
>>Bradley Falls To Indiana State
 
Matt Van Scyoc scored 22 points and Jordan Barnes a career-high 20 and Indiana State rode a big first half to an 81-71 victory over Bradley on Saturday to snap a five-game losing streak in picking up its first Missouri Valley Conference win.
Van Scyoc made six 3-pointers and Barnes five for the Sycamores (7-11, 1-5), who were 11 of 21 from the arc in the first half in taking a 44-22 lead.
 
Indiana State cooled to 3-of-11 3-point shooting in the second half but the Braves (8-11, 3-3) were only able to get within single digits at 64-56 on Darrell Brown's 3-pointer with 6:50 left. Two free throws each from Barnes and Everett Clemons made it 14-point lead with a minute remaining.
 
Laquarious Paige added 10 points for the Sycamores.
 
Brown had 20 points for Bradley, which has lost eight straight at Indiana State. Donte Thomas and Nate Kennell added 12 points each.

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Justin Thomas Wins Second Straight PGA Event

Justin Thomas closed out his dominant two-tournament stretch in Hawaii with a 65 on Sunday to set the all-time PGA Tour scoring record in a 72-hole event at 253.
 
His score bests the mark of 254 set by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Texas Open. Thomas finished at 27 under for the four-day event and won by seven over Justin Rose. Thomas also set the lowest 36-hole scoring record (123) and tied the 54-hole record (188).
 
On Sunday, Thomas made a bogey at the fourth hole and didn't make his first birdie until No. 8. But from there, he went on to make five more including one at the final hole of the tournament to shoot his 5-under 65. His scores for the week were 59, 64, 65 and 65 for the 253 total.
 
Thomas pulled off the Hawaii double with his Tournament of Champions triumph last week. He is the only golfer to win both Hawaii tournaments to start a PGA Tour season other than Ernie Els in 2003.
 
The No. 5 player in the world, Jordan Spieth, was 35 under at the two Hawaii tournaments. He lost by a combined 14 strokes to Thomas. 

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Monticello High School Basketball Game Canceled

The Monticello Sages game against the Tolono Unity Rockets has been canceled due to the impending weather. The game will be rescheduled for a later date.

 

Tune in Monday, January 16, as the Monticello Lady Sages take on St. Joseph-Ogden. The Sages take on Paxton-Buckley-Loda Thursday, January 19. You can hear both games live on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton High School Boys Basketball Game Canceled

Tonight's Clinton High School basketball game at Central A & M has been postponed due to the impending weather.
 
The game will be rescheduled at a later time and date. 

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Knicks Beat Short-Handed Bulls

Carmelo Anthony had 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah had big games against their former team, and the New York Knicks beat the short-handed Chicago Bulls 104-89 on Thursday night.
 
Rose scored 17 points in his return to Madison Square Garden after skipping the last game here, and Noah finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak. Rookie forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas had a season-high 19 points.
 
The Knicks bounced back from a loss at the buzzer in Philadelphia on Wednesday to win for the first time this season on the second night of back-to-back games.
 
Dwyane Wade scored 22 for the Bulls, who were missing star swingman Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine, all because of illness. They dropped their third straight.

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Kings Blast Blues

Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson scored two goals apiece in the LA Kings' fourth victory in six games, 5-1 over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
 
Trevor Lewis also scored and Peter Budaj made 21 saves for the Kings, who raced to a 4-0 lead early in the second period with a rare offensive burst from one of the NHL's lowest-scoring teams. Los Angeles won by more than one goal for the first time since Dec. 22.
Muzzin scored his fifth goal of the season 3:18 after the opening faceoff. The steady defenseman added another for just the second multi-goal game of his career and his first since March 5, 2013, also against St. Louis.
 
Los Angeles chased goalie Jake Allen with Muzzin's second goal, sending the St. Louis goalie to the bench early in his second straight game.
 
Carter Hutton replaced Allen and gave up two quick goals to Pearson, deepening the Blues' goaltending quandary. St. Louis has given up 30 goals in its last eight games, with Allen struggling for good form.
 
Paul Stastny scored on a skate deflection for the Blues, who have lost four of six after opening their three-game California road trip with another defensive disappointment.
 
Marian Gaborik had two assists for the Kings in his first multi-point game since Feb. 9. All-Star Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown also had two assists apiece, and the Kings got a strong game from Budaj after he was pulled from their 6-4 loss to Dallas on Monday.
 
The Blues are at San Jose on Saturday night.

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Packers, Cowboys Meet For Rematch Sunday

Aaron Rodgers is the lava-hot quarterback who throws Hail Mary touchdown passes as easily as slant patterns and already owns a Super Bowl ring.
 
Dak Prescott is the ultra-cool customer, who seemingly isn't bothered by any of the pressure that comes with being a NFL quarterback.
Prescott looks to guide Dallas to its first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years and that task begins Sunday when the Cowboys host Rodgers' Green Bay Packers in an NFC divisional-round contest (4:40 p.m. ET, FOX).
 
Prescott led Dallas to a 13-3 and earned the NFC's No. 1 seed behind Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott, who led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards during the regular season.
 
Rogers guided the Packers to six straight wins to conclude the regular season and then helped fuel last Sunday's 38-13 thrashing of the New York Giants in the wild-card round.
Rodgers has been superb by firing 18 touchdowns passes without a single interception over the last seven contests. One of his four touchdown passes against the Giants was his third Hail Mary toss in a 13-month span.
 
Rodgers could be without his top target in Jordy Nelson, who is in jeopardy of missing the contest after suffering a rib injury in the game against the Giants. Nelson was the recipient of a helmet hit from New York safety Leon Hall that prompted an overnight stay in a Green Bay hospital.
 
Nelson won't practice until Saturday at the earliest and head coach Mike McCarthy didn't want to speculate on whether he could play against the Cowboys.
 
Nelson caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season) and his absence would elevate now-healthy Randall Cobb (60 catches for 610 yards and four scores) into the role of lead receiver. Cobb caught three touchdown passes against the Giants while accumulating five receptions for 116 yards.
 
Sunday's contest marks the eighth time the Cowboys and Packers have met in the postseason. Dallas holds a 4-3 edge.

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Thomas Continues Hot Play At Sony Open

It started with an eagle. It ended with one, too. Justin Thomas shot a 11-under 59 in Round 1 of the Sony Open on Thursday to take the lead just four days after winning the Tournament of Champions.
Thomas' 59 is just the seventh in PGA Tour history and the first with multiple eagles. The 23-year-old is also the youngest to break 60. The lowest-recorded score in PGA Tour history is a 58, which has been achieved once.
 
Thomas went out in 29 (he started on the back) with an eagle hole-out at the 10th, his first on the day). Then it looked as if he might not make it to 59 on the way home. He saved a long par putt at the eighth hole (his 17th of the day) before hitting his tee shot on the final hole into a fairway bunker where it looked like the dream had died. Thomas need to reach the par 5 on his second shot but was in a tough spot in the sand.

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Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to Tuscola Lady Warriors

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Tuscola Lady Warriors by a score of 47-32 on Thursday night. The Lady Maroons were led by junior Alyssa Saulsberry with seven points. Sophomore Claudia Workman added six points. Senior Alex Johnson and freshman Destiny Schlesinger also chipped in with five points each. Schlesinger was named as the Country Financial representative Stephan York Maroons Player of the Game.

 

The Lady Warriors were led by senior Emma Henderson with 15 points and four field goals and sophomore Natalie Bates with 14 points.

 

With the loss the Lady Maroons fall to 7-12 overall and 1-2 in Central Illinois Conference action. Tuscola improves to 12-4 on the season and 3-0 in the CIC.

 

Tune in Thursday, January 19, as the Lady Maroons take on the Warrensburg-Latham Lady Cardinals. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Morgan, Illini Down Michigan

Maverick Morgan scored 16 points, leading Illinois to a dominating 85-69 win over Michigan on Wednesday night.
 
llinois (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten) changed up its lineup after its 96-80 loss to Indiana on Saturday and the improvements showed as six different players finished in double figures.
 
The Wolverines had a 4:30 field-goal scoring drought and the Illini put together a 17-2 to close the first half for a 49-36 halftime.
 
Both teams shot better than 60 percent in the first half but the Illini were even better in the second, making 17 of 21 shots, and finished 9 of 14 from 3-point range. Michigan cooled off to 45 percent in the second half but finished 7 of 14 behind the arc.
 
Kipper Nichols had his strongest performance of the season, coming off the bench for 13 points and eight rebounds, helping the Illini to a 30-17 rebounding advantage. Illinois outscored Michigan 28-9 off the bench.
 
DJ Wilson led Michigan (11-6, 1-3) with 19 points and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14 points.

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Bradley Upsets Northern Iowa

Luuk van Bree had a career high 20 points, and Donte Thomas and Darrell Brown each scored 12 to lift Bradley past Northern Iowa 72-61 Wednesday night.
 
Bradley (8-10, 3-2 Missouri Valley) raced to a 7-0 lead and never trailed. Klint Carlson tied it at 20 on a 3 with 7:20 left, but Drake outscored the Panthers 20-5 over the next six minutes and led 40-25 on van Bree's jumper 60 seconds before intermission.
 
Spencer Haldeman's 3 at the 10:45 mark of the second half brought Northern Iowa to within 50-44, but van Bree buried back-to-back 3s, and JoJo McGlaston's thunderous dunk off a lob pass from Nate Kennell made it 58-44.
 
A freshman, van Bree was 8-for-13 shooting from the field including 4 for 7 from 3-point range. Thomas had a career-high 13 rebounds.
 
Haldeman led Northern Iowa (5-11, 0-5) with 16 points, Carlson added 15, and Jordan Ashton scored 12. The Panthers have lost seven straight.

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Illinois State Drops Southern Illinois, Unbeaten In Missouri Valley

DJ Clayton scored 13 points and Deontae Hawkins had 11 as Illinois State beat Southern Illinois 60-53 on Wednesday night to remain undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference.
 
Paris Lee added 10 points for Illinois State (13-4, 5-0), which has won six straight and is tied with Wichita State (15-3, 5-0) atop the conference.
 
The Redbirds opened the second half on a 22-11 run for a 50-44 lead with about eight minutes to play. The game was then scoreless until Phil Fayne's dunk stretched the lead to 52-44 with 5:34 left.
 
Mike Rodriguez made a layup and Sean O'Brien added a jump shot to pull the Salukis to 52-48 with four minutes left, but they didn't get closer.
 
O'Brien had 15 points and Armon Fletcher 12 for Southern Illinois (10-8, 3-2), which had its three-game win streak snapped.

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Sangamon Valley Edges Maroa-Forsyth

Nathan Doty scored 37 points for Sangamon Valley as the Storm held on Tuesday night against the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans, 63-58 in non-conference boys basketball action.
 
Doty scored 24 of 37 in the second half and shot 21 for 25 from the free throw line. Jimmy Staab finished with 16 points for the Storm, with 13 in the first half.
 
Daanish Mahmood paced the Trojans with 20 points and Jaxson Nelson added 14 points. Ian Bonner chipped in with 12 for the Trojans. 
 
Scores in CIC play Tuesday:
 
ALAH 43
Central A&M 55
 
Pana 80
Meridian 66
 
Cerro Gordo/Bement 22
Sullivan 39
 
Tolono Unity 53
Tuscola 57
 
Decatur Lutheran 45
Warrensburg-Latham49
 
Decatur St. Teresa 59
Argenta-Oreana 50

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Wall Leads Wizards Past Bulls

John Wall scored 26 points, including a game-winning baseline jumper with 5.9 seconds left, and added 14 assists as the Washington Wizards moved above .500 with a 101-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
 
Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Washington (19-18). He also set the screen that freed up Wall for his jumper to seal a 10th straight home win.
 
Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal each added 19 points for the Wizards, who completed their biggest comeback victory of the season after trailing by 18 in the second quarter.
 
Washington is above .500 for the first time in more than a year. A season ago, the Wizards were 6-5 after a victory on Nov. 24, 2015.

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Cubs, Casper Deshaies Agree To Terms

The World Series champion Chicago Cubs have agreed to three-year contract extensions through 2019 with television play-by-pay announcer Len Kasper and analyst Jim Deshaies.
Kasper and Deshaies have been working together the past four seasons.
 
The 45-year-old Kasper was hired in 2005 and is entering his 13th season calling play-by-play on Cubs telecasts. He previous called games for the Milwaukee Brewers and Florida Marlins.
 
Deshaies joined the Cubs' TV booth in 2013 after 16 seasons as an analyst with the Houston Astros. He pitched 12 seasons in the majors, including seven with the Astros.
 
The Cubs announced the extensions on Tuesday.

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Blackhawks Win; Blues Lose

Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal 38 seconds into overtime, lifting Chicago to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night for the Blackhawks' fourth straight victory.
 
Keith, who also had an assist, beat Petr Mrazek with a rising screened shot from the top of the slot. The man advantage was set up when Justin Adbelkader was called for boarding Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson with 15.2 seconds left in the third.
 
Richard Panik also had a goal and assist for Chicago, while Brian Campbell and Tanner Kero each scored. Ryan Hartman added two assists. Corey Crawford stopped 33 shots.
 
Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar and Luke Glendening had Detroit's goals in regulation. Mrazek had 39 saves as the Red Wings fell to 2-2-2 on a season-high seven-game road trip.
 
>>Bruins Blast Blues
 
Brad Marchand scored twice, including an empty netter, and David Backes got into a fight as the Boston Bruins beat the Blues 5-3 on Tuesday night.
 
Frank Vatrano, Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 2-0-1 in their last three games. Tuukka Rask made 14 saves.
 
Backes, who spent his first 10 seasons with St. Louis before signing with Boston as a free agent, fought with former teammate Joel Edmundson late in the second to the delight of the Scottrade Center crowd. Backes dropped the gloves in retaliation for a hit on Bruins teammate David Krejci by Jori Lehtera and received an instigator and a 10-minute misconduct in addition to his fighting penalty.
 
Colton Parayko, Patrik Berglund and Kyle Brodziak scored for the Blues. Jake Allen was pulled for Carter Hutton after allowing three goals on 11 shots in the first period. Hutton finished with 26 saves.
 
Boston scored four goals on its first 13 shots.
 
The Blues are at Los Angeles on Thursday night.

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Top Ranked Baylor, Duke Blown Out Tuesday

>>Florida State Throttles Duke
 
Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, helping the ninth-ranked Florida State Seminoles pull away from the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils for an 88-72 win on Tuesday night.
Playing its first regular-season game as a top-10 team since 1993, Florida State rolled to its school-record 12th straight victory, breaking a mark that had stood since 1970. The Seminoles (16-1, 4-0) also improved to 4-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time.
 
Florida State's reserves outscored their counterparts 21-4, but the biggest difference was points in the paint. With Duke's Amile Jefferson sidelined by a bone bruise in his right foot, the Seminoles enjoyed a 56-28 scoring advantage inside.
 
When Duke started putting more pressure on Bacon and Terance Mann (13 points) in the second half, it created more space for Rathan-Mayes, who was 7 for 13 from the floor for the game.
 
The Blue Devils took a 50-48 lead on a Luke Kennard jumper before the Seminoles grabbed control with a 16-4 run over a five-minute span. All but two of the points came in the paint.
 
Kennard led Duke (14-3, 2-2) with 23 points, and Jayson Tatum had 21.
 
>>No. 1 Baylor Routed by No. 10 West Virginia
 
Nathan Adrian broke out of a shooting slump with a career-high 22 points, and No. 10 West Virginia beat the sloppy Baylor Bears 89-68 on Tuesday night in the program's first game with the top ranking.
Baylor defeated Iowa State and Oklahoma State last week by a combined six points at home to overtake Villanova for the No. 1 spot when the AP poll came out on Monday.
 
Against West Virginia, Baylor (15-1, 3-1 Big 12) committed a season-high 29 turnovers - the school record is 31 - and never led in its second true road game of the season. The loss means No. 5 Gonzaga is the only remaining unbeaten team in Division I.
 
West Virginia (14-2, 3-1) started the second half with an 11-3 run and kept pouring it on, leading by as many as 26 points down the stretch.
 
Jevon Carter scored 17 points for the Mountaineers, and Brandon Watkins had 11.
 
Terry Maston, Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. and Al Freeman each scored 10 for the Bears.
 
West Virginia leads the nation with nearly 13 steals and 24 forced turnovers per game. It rotated 13 players against Baylor and finished with 15 steals.

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Sages Rally Past Maroons

In a game heard on WHOW, WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages overcame a seven point halftime deficit to rally past the Clinton Maroons 67-57 Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action from Clinton High School.

 

Austin Rauch scored 16 of 20 points in the first half to carry Clinton to a 38-31 lead, but the Sages switched to a full-court zone defense and Clinton could not find any offensive rhythm, attempting just eight third quarter field goals.

 

Calvin Fisher led all scorers with 24 points and Luke Stokowski added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Sages. Johnny Dawson added ten points for Monticello, who improves to 9-3 on the season.

 

Rauch’s 20 points were a game high for the Maroons. Peyton McCubbin added 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

 

The Maroons drop to 6-6 on the season and take on Central A&M Friday night.

 

The Sages host Tolono Unity Friday night. Hear the game on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Lockmiller, McPike Lead Lady Sages Past Rantoul

In a game heard on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, Rachel Lockmiller led three players in double figures for Monticello as the Lady Sages rolled past Rantoul 57-24 Monday night in Okaw Valley action.
Lockmiller scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter. Marissa McPike scored 14 points, four in each quarter before being removed in the fourth quarter with one field goal, and Zanna Myers chipped in with ten points.
 
The Lady Sages pulled ahead 9-2 in the first quarter but Rantoul would trim the lead to 15-8 after scoring the first four points of the second quarter, however, Monticello finished the second quarter on a 14-4 run and never looked back.
 
The Lady Sages improve to 14-2 overall and are 2-0 in Okaw Valley action.
 
The Lady Sages travel to St. Thomas More Thursday. Hear Lady Sages basketball action next Monday on WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com when Monticello hosts St. Joseph-Ogden. Tip time is 7:30 pm.

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Maroons, Sages Square Off Tonight at Clinton High School

The Clinton Maroons and Monticello Sages will square off tonight at Clinton High School in a matchup of former conference opponents. 
 
The Maroons routed the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans Saturday at the Clinton New Year's shootout, that followed a heartbreaking overtime loss to Shelbyville, who won on an overtime game winning basket the night before. 
 
Ben Singleton's game winning jumper Saturday afternoon at Tri-Valley helped the Monticello Sages end a three game losing streak.
Monticello enters action tonight 8-3 overall while Clinton is 6-5 on the season.
 
Hear the game tonight on 92.3 FM WHOW, 95.9 FM WEZC and onlien at dewittdailynews.com. 
 
Tip time tonight from Clinton High School is 7:30 pm.

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Packers WR Nelson Has Two Broken Ribs

If Jordy Nelson plays against the Cowboys, he'll be overcoming a pretty significant injury.
 
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Nelson fractured two ribs in the Packers' 38-13 win over the Giants on Sunday, which puts his status for this Sunday's divisional round game in jeopardy. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that Nelson needs to practice Saturday to have a chance to play.
 
Nelson suffered the injury in the second quarter, when took a hard shot from Leon Hall as he tried to bring down Aaron Rodgers' sideline pass.
 
Nelson was eventually carted back to the locker room. He didn't return and spent the night in the hospital.
 
The Packers handled the Giants just fine, but they've been a different offense without Nelson in the past. When Nelson missed all of last year with a torn ACL, Rodgers posted career lows in completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating. This year, with Nelson back, Rodgers put up prolific numbers again.
 
In all, Nelson has caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns.
 

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Westbrook, Thunder Cruise Past Bulls

Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder pull away from the Chicago Bulls for an easy 109-94 victory Monday night.
 
Steven Adams scored 22 points and Enes Kanter had 20 points and 11 rebounds, leading a dominant performance inside for Oklahoma City. Victor Oladipo added 13 points.
 
Dwyane Wade led Chicago with 22 points, and Michael Carter-Williams had 15. Cristiano Felicio finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
 
The Bulls had won three in a row and five of seven, but they were no match for the Thunder with Jimmy Butler hampered by an illness. The reigning Eastern Conference player of week had one point on 0-for-6 shooting and seven assists in 29 minutes before exiting in the third quarter.

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Clemson Wins Thriller To Take National Title

Deshaun Watson and Clemson dethroned the champs and became the first team to beat Nick Saban's Alabama dynasty in a national title game, taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31 Monday night in the College Football Playoff.
 
Watson found Hunter Renfrow for a 2-yard touchdown pass with a second remaining to give the Tigers their first national championship since 1981. A year after Alabama won its fourth title under Saban with a 45-40 classic in Arizona, Clemson closed the deal and denied the Tide an unprecedented fifth championship in eight seasons.
 
The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but Watson got the ball last. Likely playing in his final college game, the junior quarterback threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns. In two games against Alabama and the most ferocious defense in college football, Watson has thrown for 825 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns. He was sacked four times and took some cringe-inducing shots from All-Americans Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster.
 
Clemson took its first lead when Watson found Mike Williams for a 4-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 24-21.
The Tigers took a 28-24 lead with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.
 
The Tide's offense, which had gone dormant for most of the second half, came to life with the help of a sweet call from newly promoted offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Receiver ArDarius Stewart took a backward pass from Jalen Hurts and fired a strike to O.J. Howard for 24 yards.
 
On the next play, Hurts broke free from a collapsing pocket and weaved his way through defenders for a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 31-28 with 2:07 left.
 
Watson hooked up with Williams and Jordan Leggett, who made great catches for big gains to get to first-and-goal with 14 seconds left.
 
A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the 2 with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a game-tying kick and potential overtime. Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line with the help of some traffic created by his teammates and was alone for an easy toss. It was the walk-on receiver's second TD catch of the night, adding to the two he had last season against Alabama.
 
The Tigers had snapped Alabama's 26-game winning streak and beaten a No. 1 team for the first time ever.
 
>>Clemson College Football's No. 1 Team After National Title
 
The 2016-17 college football season is now in the books after Clemson stunned Alabama with a last-second touchdown to capture the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship late Monday night.
 
That victory obviously pushed the Tigers up to No. 1 in the final AP Top 25 poll of the campaign, but they were not the only team elevated on the back of a strong postseason. USC, which similarly took down Penn State in the Rose Bowl, vaulted six spots up to No. 3 in the final college football rankings of the season.
 
LSU (up six spots to No. 13), Florida (up six spots to No. 14), Colorado (down six spots to No. 17), South Florida (up six spots to No. 19), Louisville (down six spots to No. 21), Auburn (down seven spots to No. 24).

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Baylor No. 1 In Latest College Basketball AP Poll

The week that was in college basketball gave us plenty of entertainment. From now-former No. 1 ranked Villanova falling at the hands of Butler and ending the nation's longest winning streak, to Purdue flexing its muscles as a potential Big Ten favorite against Wisconsin.
It had a little bit of everything, which, in part, is what gave us a brand new team at the No. 1 spot, the Baylor Bears.
 
Kansas moves to second in the country while former no. 1 Villanova drops to third and UCLA and Gonzaga round out the top five.
 
The ACC dominated the rest of the top ten with Kentucky, Duke, Creighton, Florida State and West Virginia rounding out the top ten.
 
Oregon improved to 13th while Louisville dropped to 14th after their loss this week to Notre Dame.
 
Minnesota entered the rankings at no. 24 while Cincinnati enters this week's rankings at no. 22.
 
Despite their big win over Illinois, Indiana's 1-2 start in the Big Ten dropped them from the rankings. 

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Packers Pull Away From Giants Late

Aaron Rodgers overcame a sluggish start and finished with four touchdown passes, including a momentum-swinging 42-yard heave to Randall Cobb at the end of the second quarter, to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 38-13 win Sunday over the New York Giants in an NFC wild-card game.
 
The Packers move on to face the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round next week.
 
Rodgers was 25 of 40 for 362 yards, continuing a remarkable run of quarterback play that helped the Packers win their final six games of the regular season to take the NFC North. Cobb finished with five receptions for 116 yards and three scores.
For much of the first half, the Giants' defense flustered the two-time NFL MVP. They got pressure on Rodgers and the secondary blanketed the Packers' talented receiving corps , and a few boos even rained down from the stands after New York built a 6-0 lead on two field goals by Robbie Gould.
 
A Packers defense ranked 21st in points allowed (24.3) coming into the game limited the production of Odell Beckham Jr., and the Giants' receiving corps in spite of a battered secondary.
 
Beckham finished with four catches for 28 yards. Eli Manning was 23 of 44 for 299 yards, including the 41-yard touchdown pass to Tavarres King in the third quarter.
 
Top receiver Jordy Nelson was knocked out of the game with 11 minutes left in the second quarter with a rib injury.

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Blackhawks Blast Predators

Ryan Hartman scored off a goalmouth scramble in the third period and tacked on two empty-netters, helping the Chicago Blackhawks beat the banged-up Nashville Predators 5-2 on Sunday night.
Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won the first three of a four-game homestand. Patrick Kane added three assists, running his team-best total to 32 in 43 games, and Corey Crawford made 25 saves.
 
Hartman was credited with his eighth of the season when Richard Panik's shot created a scrum in front of the net, and the referees ruled the puck crossed the line before the goal was dislodged. It looked as if the puck might have gone off Hartman's left hand while he battled Nashville defenseman Yannick Weber for position.
 
Nashville pulled Pekka Rinne for an extra attacker with 1:39 left, and Hartman added two more goals for his first career hat trick. The big night for the rookie moved him into fifth on the team with 10 goals.

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Alabama, Clemson Meet For CFP National Title

Alabama-Clemson is a national championship rematch with one unique twist.
 
The guy calling plays for the top-ranked Crimson Tide will be doing so for the first time with Alabama.
When head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin parted ways last week -- ostensibly because Kiffin had become distracted by his duties as new head coach at Florida Atlantic -- it created the ultimate X-factor for the third College Football Playoff title game, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET in Tampa, Fla., on Monday night.
Hello, Steve Sarkisian.
 
Sarkisian has been with the program almost all season as an offensive analyst, able to help with the game plan and such, but he was prohibited from offering coaching or instruction to the players until this week's promotion.
 
Sarkisian, the former head coach at Washington and USC, was fired from his job with the Trojans in October 2015 amid an alleged substance abuse problem.
 
Sarkisian visited Alabama in fall camp for a week, figuring he would try to do some TV work this season. But Saban found him a behind-the-scenes role that has morphed into being at the center of a white-hot spotlight.
 
Can he find a play-calling rhythm against an attacking and stout Clemson defense? Will he know exactly the right thing to say on the sideline to true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts?
 
How will he blend Alabama's multiple threats -- Hurts' legs, running backs Bo Scarbrough and Damien Harris, receivers Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart, tight end O.J. Howard?
 
Alabama has been ranked No. 1 all season and has been No. 1 at some point for a record nine consecutive seasons. The previous record was seven, set by Miami from 1986 to 1992.

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Justin Thomas Outlasts Field of Champions in Hawaii

Justin Thomas entered Sunday with a two-stroke lead over the hottest player in the world over the last three months, Hideki Matsuyama. He won by three as he finished at 22 under while Matsuyama finished at 19 under.
Thomas' lead swelled to five as the pair entered the back nine, but a chip-in eagle from Matsuyama at No. 14 combined with a costly double bogey from Thomas at No. 15 meant we had a one-stroke game coming home. Then Thomas hit the shot of the tournament on No. 17 with the entire week hanging in the balance.
 
He went on to make birdie and seal the deal on what was, despite a couple of hiccups, an assertion of his power up and down the coast of Maui all four days. Thomas led from the second round on and looked like he was in complete control for about 69 of 72 holes.
 
This is his first win on U.S. soil. His previous two came at the CIMB Classic in 2015 and 2016. With the win, he became the first two-time winner on the 2016-17 season.
 
Wordl No. 1 Jason Day had not played a competitive tournament since back in September, so he was sort of a poor man's version of Tiger Woods this week. That is, just stay upright and try not to re-injure the back. That was the win for Day at Kapalua. He did that and more as he shot three 70s and a 69 on the week that was punctuated by an eagle on the 72nd hole of the tournament.
 
Jordan Spieth posted the quietest T3 finish in the history of this tournament with a 65 on Sunday, which doubled as the low round of the day. He had a triple bogey and two doubles earlier in the week which were his undoing, but he putted brilliantly (No. 3 in the field) and more importantly for him hit it great with his irons (No. 6 in the field).

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Clinton Maroons Dominate Maroa-Forsyth Trojans!

The Clinton Maroons dominated the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans in the Clinton New Year's Showdown with a final score of 74-56! Junior Dalton Smith led the Maroons with a total of 14 points. Smith was recognized as the Stephen York's Financial Player of the Game. Senior Kaleb Murphy-Leach also chipped in with a total of 13 points.
 
Sophomore Hayden Mitchell led the Trojans with a total of 13 points. Junior Daanish Mahmood also chipped in with his slam dunk, and 11 points.
 
With the win the Clinton Maroons improve to 6-6!
 
Tune in Tuesday January 10th as the Clinton Maroons take on the Monitcello Sages! You can hear the big game live on The Big 1520AM/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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Rock Island Rock's defeat Limestone Rocket's

The Rock Island Rock's defeat the Limestone Rocket's with a final score of 58-37 in the Clinton New Year's Showdown. Senior Jacob Ellis led the Rock's with a total of 16 points. The 6'2" Senior was also recognized as the player of the game. Senior Jerry Hacker also chipped in with a total of 12 points.
 
Senior Caleb Barber led the Rocket's with a total of 14 points. Senior Taron Bell also chipped in with 9 points.
 
With the win, the Rock Island Rock's improve to 9-6 and the Limestone Rocket's fall to 4-11.

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Danville Vikings Defeat Dunlap Eagles

The Danville Vikings defeated the Dunlap Eagles in the Clinton New Year's Showdown by a final score of 60-50. Junior Kendle Moore led the Vikings with a total of 25 points. Moore was recognized as the player of the game. Junior Daylen Davis-Williams, Junior Blaize Cobb-Griffin, and Sophomore Sean Houpe all chipped in with 6 points each.
 
The Eagles were led by Junior Isaac Guyton with a total of 16 points against the Vikings. Junior Landon Patterson also chipped in with a total of 11 points.
 
With the win, the Vikings improve to 9-6 and the Eagles fall to 2-14.

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Monticello Sages Defeat Tri-Valley

Ben Singleton's game winning jumper lifted Monticello past Tri-Valley 48-46 Saturday afternoon from Downs. Johnny Dawson drove the base line and threw a desperation layup that missed and Singleton corralled the loose ball and sank a jumper from the elbow. The Sages were led by Luke Stokowski with 15 points and Jonny Dawson added 13.

 

For Tri-Valley, the Vikings were led by Hunter Merritt with 28 points.

 

With the win Monticello improves to 8-3 on the season and Tri-Valley falls to 5-8.

 

Tune in Tuesday, January 10 as Monticello takes on Clinton. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Central Catholic Dominates Kewanee

The Central Catholic Saints dominated the Kewanee Boilermakers in the Clinton New Year's Showdown by a final score of 65-53. The Saints were led by Senior Matt Barnes, with a total of 19 points. Barnes was recognized as the player of the game. Senior Garrett Holman and Junior Austyn Ellison both chipped in with scoring 12 points each.

 

The Boilermakers were led by Senior Carson Prescott with a total of 12 points against the Saints. Senior Juan Contreras also chipped in with a total of 11 points.

 

With the win, the Central Catholic Saints improve to 9-5 and the Kewanee Boilermakers fall to 12-5.

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Watseka Warriors defeat Argenta-Oreana Bombers

The Watseka Warriors defeated the Argenta-Oreana Bombers in the Clinton New Year's Showdown by a final score of 72-47. The Warriors were led by Senior Nathan Schreder, who scored a total of 22 points. Schreder was recognized as the player of the game. Junior Brendan Fletcher also chipped in with a total of 18 points.

 

The Argenta-Oreana Bombers were led by Junior Pierce Bradford, who scored a total of 17 points. Senior Brody Vcrey also chipped in with a total of 11 points.

 

With the win, the Warriors improve to 9-4 and the Bombers fall to 11-4.

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Lady Sages Dominate Tri-Valley

The Monticello Lady Sages used another balanced scoring effort to dominate Tri-Valley 68-15 Saturday afternoon from Downs.

 

Zanna Myers led the Lady Sages with 13 points and Rachael Lockmiller and Leslie Taylor each scored 10 points. Emily Edondson and Marissa McPike chipped in with eight points apiece.

 

The Lady Sages improve to 13-2 overall and open Okaw Valley play Monday night, hosting Rantoul. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com starting at 7:30 pm.

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Clinton Maroons Fall to Shelbyville Rams

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Shelbyville Rams by a final score of 70-67 on Friday night. The Maroons were lead by Junior Austin Baker with a total of 21 points. Baker was also awarded the Stephen York Maroons Player of the Game. Senior Peyton McCubbin also chipped in with a total of 17 points.
 
The Shelbyville Rams were lead by Sophomore Malcom Miller with a total of 24 points. Junior Turner Pullen also chipped in with a total of 16 points.
 
With the win, the Maroons fall to 5-5 and the Rams improve to 9-5.
 
Tune in Saturday January 7th, as the Maroons take on Maroa-Forsyth. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520AM/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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Monticello Sages Fall to Rantoul

The Monticello Sages fell to the Rantoul Eagles by a score of 49-45 on Friday night. The Sages were led by Calvin Fisher with 11 points. Luke Stokowski also chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

 

The Eagles were led by Martellian Gison with 19 points and Onycai Lawson added 14 points.

 

With the loss the Sages fall to 7-3 on the season and 0-1 in conference action. Rantoul improves to 9-5 overall and 1-0 in the conference.

 

Tune in Saturday, January 7 as the Sages take on Tri-Valley. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton High School Hosting First Ever New Year's Shootout

Clinton High School will be hosting their first shootout format basketball tournament this weekend.
 
Athletic Director Barry Gurvey says the credit for the idea goes to the boys varsity basketball coach Clay Haurberg, who came up with the idea about a year ago.
 
 
The Clinton New Year's Shootout will feature a JV and Varsity schedule for the day with the JV games to be played at Clinton Junior High School. Gurvey says the tournament will feature teams from all across the state.
 
 
Gurvey indicates this is an event the school hopes to continue to host year after year. He says next they will have new schools on the slate as well.
 
 
Gurvey indicates there is one admission price to every game of the tournament. He says five dollars will get you into any JV or Varsity game throughout the day. 
 
Hear every varsity game of the shootout on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. The schedule of games includes:
 
1:30 - Argenta vs Watseka
3:00 - Bloomington Central Catholic vs Kewanee 
4:30 - Danville vs Dunlap
6:00 - Rock Island vs Limestone
7:30 - Clinton vs Maroa-Forsyth

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Monticello Returns To Action Tonight at Rantoul, Saturday at Tri-Valley

The Monticello Sages will return to action for the first time since the Holiday Hoopla tournament last week at Monticello High School.
 
The Sages finished a disappointing fourth place with back to back losses to GCMS and P-B-L.
 
The Sages travel to Rantoul tonight to open Okaw Valley conference play. The Eagles are 9-5 overall while Monticello enters action 7-2.
 
Hear all the action tonight on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Following tonight's contest, the Sages travel to Tri-Valley tomorrow afternoon for a non-conference matchup.
 
It's a four-game slate from downs as the JV girls open action at 11:30 am, then the varsity girls play at 1 pm. 
 
You can hear girls varsity action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
The JV boys squads square off at 2:30 pm with the varsity boys programs to finish the day at 4 pm.
 
Hear varsity boys basketball action also on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Blackhawks Win in Overtime; Blues Lose

Patrick Kane scored 56 seconds into overtime, Artem Anisimov had two goals and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Thursday night.
 
Jonathan Toews set up Kane's 12th goal when he forced Anders Nilsson to make a left pad save. The rebound went right to Kane, who knocked it into the open side of net before Nilsson could recover.
 
Ryan Hartman also scored for the Blackhawks, who had dropped five of six. Kane also had two assists against his hometown team and Corey Crawford made 17 stops in Chicago's 10th consecutive victory against Buffalo.
 
Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, and Ryan O'Reilly had two assists in his return from an appendectomy.
 
>>Hurricanes Double Up Blues
 
Jeff Skinner got a go-ahead goal in the third period and Derek Ryan scored twice, helping the Hurricanes beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Thursday night.
 
Carolina ended a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in five games since Dec. 28.
Skinner scored a power-play goal with 6:08 remaining to make it 3-2, and then Ryan added an empty-netter for his second of the game with 1:19 left. Skinner's goal, his 14th of the season, deflected off St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.
 
Cam Ward made 21 saves to improve to 14-11-1.
 
Joel Edmundson and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for St. Louis, which was coming off a 4-1 win over Chicago in the Winter Classic on Monday.
 
Jake Allen made 25 saves, but lost to Carolina for the first time in four starts.
 
McClement, a former Blue, tied it at 2 with 8:58 left in the second period. That came after Tarasenko scored his team-high 19th goal of the season midway through the second.
 
St. Louis will host Dallas on Saturday in the fifth game of a season-high six-game homestand.

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Packers Host Giants For Wild Card Weekend

In 2007, the New York Giants lost at home to the Green Bay Packers in the regular season, then won at Lambeau Field for the NFC Championship.
 
In 2011, the Giants lost at home to the Packers in the regular season, then won at Lambeau for another NFC Championship.
It will be a similar story line entering Sunday's NFC Wild Card game. The Giants lost to the Packers in the regular season -- 23-16 at Lambeau in Week 5 -- and will try to turn the tables in Green Bay in a playoff rematch on Sunday.
 
Manning has as many playoff wins at Lambeau Field as his counterpart, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Manning is 2-0 while Rodgers is 2-2.
 
In what should be a tremendous matchup of strength vs. strength, it will be the Rodgers-led Packers offense against a superb Giants defense.
 
Behind a late-season scoring binge with four consecutive games of 30-plus points, the Packers finished the league ranked fourth in scoring with 27.0 points per game. The Giants, who allowed 10 points or fewer in three of their last four games, finished second in the league with 17.8 points allowed per game.

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Pacers Down Nets

Jeff Teague had 21 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds, and Myles Turner finished with 25 points and 15 boards as the Pacers beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-109 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.
Paul George scored 26 points and Thaddeus Young added 10 points and six rebounds for Indiana.
 
The Pacers put their foot down in the third quarter and broke the game open. Indiana (19-18) held a 66-59 lead when it went on an 18-4 spurt that opened a 21-point lead.
 
The Nets clawed their way back, pulling within eight with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Indiana then stretched its advantage back to double digits.
 
Trevor Booker and Justin Hamilton had 16 points apiece for the Nets (8-26), who fell to 1-17 on the road. Sean Kilpatrick and Sean Dinwiddie each scored 13.
 
The Pacers host the New York Knicks on Saturday night.

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Cubs, Cardinals Notes

>>Cubs Want To Host Bowl Game At Wrigley Field
 
The Chicago Tribune is reporting the Chicago Cubs are making a push to host a bowl game at Wrigley Field in the future. The team's president, Crane Kenney, told the Tribune that the team "absolutely" intends to host a bowl game at Wrigley in the future.
 
A bowl game at Wrigley would not be the first bowl game played in a baseball stadium in a cold-weather city. The Pinstripe Bowl has been quite successful for the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium, and there's no doubt the Cubs have seen that, and it plays a role in this decision. Where the problem comes here is that anybody who remembers how the last college football game at Wrigley went probably doesn't think this is a good idea.
 
When Illinois and Northwestern played a game at Wrigley in 2010, the field was barely squeezed into the confines of the stadium. So much so that both offenses could only go one way at all times because of the dangers of Wrigley's brick wall looming behind one of the end zones.
 
That won't be the case in the future, however. Wrigley has gone under, and continues to undergo renovations, and the changes that are being made would allow more space within the stadium for a football field. One in which both end zones could be used.
 
Wrigley is already set to play host to games for Northwestern again in 2020.
 
>>Cardinals Caravan To Make Stops in Illinois
 
It’s cold outside but spring is getting closer and that means baseball will soon be back on the diamonds in Arizona and Florida. 
 
It also means that fans of the St. Louis Cardinals should get ready for the Winter Warm Up - the caravan of current and former players that spreads out over 6 states to talk, shake hands and sign autographs. 
 
The team is stopping at 8 towns in Illinois: Champaign, Peoria, Quincy, Mattoon, Decatur, Springfield, Effingham and Carbondale.

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Walker On Top After Day 1 of Tournament of Champions

Jordan Spieth shot a 1-under 72 in the first round at Kapalua on Thursday. He is currently tied for 22nd, seven strokes behind leader Jimmy Walker, who shot an 8-under 65. The winner at the last six Tournament of Champions events has been within two strokes of the lead after Round 1. That currently includes Walker, Jim Herman (6 under), Justin Thomas (6 under) and Ryan Moore (6 under).
 
PGA Player of the Year in 2016, Dustin Johnson, opened a with a 4-under par, tied for seventh while world number one, Jason Day, opened with a 3-under par, tied for 12ths. Patrick Reed also opened 3-under in the opening round. 
 
Bubba Watson joined Spieth at one-under for day one.

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Lady Maroons Defeat Tri-Valley Vikings

The Lady Maroons defeated the Tri-Valley Vikings by a score of 55-41 on Thursday night. The Lady Maroons were lead by Sophomore Savanah Moore, with a total of 17 points. Moore was awarded the Stephen York Maroons Player of the Game. Junior Alyssa Saulsbery also chipped in with a total of 14 points.
 
Tri-Valley was lead by Sophomore Alaina Goff with a total of 11 points. Lily Young also chipped in with a total of 6 points.
 
With the win, the Lady Maroons improve to 6-12. The Tri-Valley Vikings fall to 0-14.
 
Tune in Thursday January 12th, as the Lady Maroons take on Tuscola. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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Bradley, Illinois State Win Wednesday

>>Illinois State Drops Missouri State
 
MiKyle McIntosh scored 21 points, Deontae Hawkins had 20, Paris Lee had a double-double and Illinois State edged Missouri State 74-71 in overtime on Wednesday night.
After Jarrid Rhodes' 3-pointer gave Missouri State a 67-64 lead to open overtime scoring, Lee matched that for the Redbirds. The Bears then missed six straight shots. McIntosh scored five straight points before he missed three straight free throws and Lee two, keeping the lead at 72-67.
 
Jarred Dixon hit a jumper for Missouri State and after McIntosh made two from the line, Austin Ruder scored with 11 seconds left, making it 74-71. McIntosh then missed two more free throws but the Redbirds had two fouls to give, keeping the Bears from getting a shot until a desperation air ball as time ran out.
 
Lee had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois State (11-4, 3-0 Missouri Valley). The Redbirds were 23 of 34 from the line, seven of the misses in overtime.
 
Rhodes had 19 points for the Bears (11-5, 2-1), who were 5 of 7 from the line but had 14 3-pointers on a school-record 38 attempts..
 
>>Bradley Drops Evansville
 
JoJo McGlaston scored a career-high 24 points as Bradley upset Evansville 74-63 in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup Wednesday night.
McGlaston was 7 of 11 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free throw line for the Braves (7-9, 2-1). Darrell Brown added 11 points.
 
The Braves led by two at intermission and Nate Kennell's 3-pointer pushed the lead to a 47-40 advantage with 11:45 to play. McGlaston sank a 3 to make it 63-55 with 4:39 remaining and Evansville never threatened after that.
 
It was only the second loss for Evansville in its last ten games and its first loss at home after nine-straight wins. The Purple Aces (10-6, 1-2) averaged 23.5 percent shooting from the field compared to 50 percent for the Braves.
 
Jaylon Brown led Evansville with 21 points. He was 2 of 13 from the field and 17 of 20 from the line.

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Butler Carries Bulls Past Cavs

Jimmy Butler scored 10 straight points during a critical stretch in the fourth quarter, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 106-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a less-than-100 percent LeBron James and were without stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Butler, who was coming off a 52-point game against Charlotte, scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth as the Bulls held off Cleveland's comeback.
 
Doug McDermott added 17 points for the Bulls, who made a season-high 13 3-pointers.
 
James, who has been battling a cold for several days, was questionable until about 20 minutes before the game, when the Cavs announced he would be the one - and only - member of Cleveland's "Big 3" in uniform. He finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes.

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Bears Chairman Stands Behind Fox, Pace

The chairman of the Chicago Bears insists he still has faith in coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace, even after the team's worst season in several decades.
Chairman George McCaskey said Wednesday he is "pleased" with the job Pace has done the past two years. McCaskey praised the "steady hand" presented by Fox and Pace.
 
The Bears went 3-13, matching their lowest win total in a non-strike season since the 1973 team went 3-11. They also tied the franchise record for losses set in 1969 and finished last in the NFC North for the third straight year.
 
Pace said no decision has been made about quarterback Jay Cutler's future. Fox, meanwhile, indicated defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will be back.

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2017 PGA Slate Opens Today

Tee times are up for the first golf tournament of 2017, and there are some incredible pairings. The crown jewel is Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, but that's not the only great duo teeing off at the Tournament of Champions on Thursday. Here are the four best from Kapalua.
Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson
Jason Day and Patrick Reed
Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama
Jimmy Walker and Brandt Snedeker
 
Day said on Tuesday of the first tournament on the calendar, quote - "The walk is tough but it's a good walk to get out and shake all the rust out of the legs and get things going. The people are great here. It's just such a wonderful -- it's wonderful scenery obviously, but it's a destination that people come to to have a vacation. And we're playing tournament golf, but it feels like a vacation at the same time. And I just love bringing my family here."

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Rangers Blast Flyers

Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner each scored two goals, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots and the Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 on Wednesday night.
 
Chris Kreider also scored to lead the Rangers to their fourth win in five games and match Columbus (27 wins overall and a 16-game winning streak) for the most wins in the NHL.
 
Jake Voracek scored twice for the Flyers.
 
The Rangers play Saturday at Columbus while the Flyers host Tampa Bay on Saturday.

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Maroons Topple LeRoy

Peyton McCubbin led three Maroons scorers in double figures with 24 points Tuesday night ast Clinton took down non-conference opponent LeRoy, 79-60.
 
McCubbin's 24 points were a game high and Dalton Smith added 12 points while Seth Westfall chipped in with 10.
 
LeRoy was led by Nick Perry's 22 points and Brett Egan chipped in with 13 points. 
 
The Maroons did not make a three point basket in the game and were just 9-for-22 from the free throw line. 
 
The Maroons used a 24-12 second quarter to open up a 39-23 advantage at the half.
 
Austin Baker and Kaleb Murphy-Leach added six points apiece for Clinton while Noah Griffin scored five points. 
 
The Maroons improve to 5-5 on the season and open Central Illinois Conference play Friday evening at home, hosting Shelbyville. Hear the game on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Blues Surge Late To Top Blackhawks at Winter Classic

The Blues and Blackhawks took to the outdoors Monday, with Vladimir Tarasenko scoring twice in a 1:53 span of the third period and Jake Allen stopping 22 shots to lead St. Louis to a 4-1 victory over Chicago in the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium.
 
It was 46 degrees when play began before a sellout crowd

 of 46,556, the sixth largest for a Winter Classic. This was the 21st regular-season outdoor NHL game.
 
The Blues went ahead 2-1 when Tarasenko made a backhand pass that hit Niklas Hjalmarsson's skate and slipped by goalie Corey Crawford at 12:05 of the third period. Tarasenko then scored on a wrist shot over Crawford's shoulder at 13:58, giving him 18 goals this season. Robbi Fabbri assisted on both goals.
 
The Blues added an empty-net goal by Alexander Steen at 18:46.

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Villanova Still No. 1. Oregon Jumps in Latest CBB Polls

What a wild week it was in college hoops. Five top-10 teams fell over the past week, and for the first time in history Duke and North Carolina lost by double digits as top-10 teams on the same day. They were two of the biggest losers from Saturday's crazy New Years Eve slate. As a result, the top-10 of the rankings received a makeover, with No. 1 Villanova being the only team in the top 5 that remained the same.
Baylor, Kansas, UCLA and Gonzaga round out the top five while Kentucky, West Virginia, Duke, Louisville and Creighton are the rest of the top 10. 
 
The AP Poll features six ACC teams. Southern California (No. 23), Florida (No. 24) and Southern California (No.25) were newcomers to the poll this week.
 
The ACC has seven teams ranked in the coaches poll for the first time in 2016-17.
 
The Coaches Poll was released on Monday afternoon and due to Duke's loss at Virginia Tech, the Hokies climbed into the rankings and solidified the ACC's claim as the overall best conference in America.
 
Elsewhere, Indiana going 0-2 last week with losses at home to Nebraska and on a neutral court to Louisville didn't cause the Hoosiers to drop out; they're 25th. It's a nine-spot fall for Tom Crean's team.
 
There are just three undefeated teams remaining, and they're ranked in the top four this week. Meantime, UCLA's loss at Oregon dropped the Bruins from second to fifth, a reasonable outcome considering the Bruins fell in the last second on a 3-pointer by Dillon Brooks.
 
One more big bump: Florida State's stones road win at Virginia gets the Seminoles from 20th to 13th, while the Cavaliers ... are ranked 12th.

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Butler Leads Bulls; Wade Sits Out

Jimmy Butler scored 52 points and outdueled Kemba Walker, carrying the Chicago Bulls in a 118-111 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
 
Butler was a point shy of his career high, which he got Jan. 14, 2016 at Philadelphia. He scored 20 points in the first half and 17 in the game's final four minutes.
Butler also had 12 rebounds and six assists while shooting 21 of 22 from the free-throw line. He has scored at least 25 points in four straight games, and his performance Monday surpassed his previous season high of 40 points, which he tallied Wednesday against Brooklyn.
 
Walker boosted his All-Star candidacy with 34 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. Walker, who scored 37 points against Cleveland on Saturday, tallied consecutive 30-point games for the first time since March 7-9, 2016.
 
Nikola Mirotic had 12 points and Michael Carter-Williams finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Chicago.
 
Bulls guard Dwyane Wade missed their game against Charlotte because of swelling in his left knee.
 
Wade is averaging 18.8 points in 32 games in his first season with his hometown Bulls. He could return Wednesday against Cleveland.
 
Wade noticed the swelling following Saturday night's loss to Milwaukee. Coach Fred Hoiberg says the team hoped to avoid using the 34-year-old veteran on back-to-back nights, but felt he was healthy enough to play this past weekend.
 
Doug McDermott will start in place of Wade on Monday night.
 
Wade missed two previous games this season, both for rest.

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Golfer Jason Day Signs Deal With Nike

Jason Day and Nike announced on Sunday that the No. 1 golfer in the world will be wearing Nike apparel and shoes in a multi-year deal thought to be worth up to $10 million a year.
 
Day announced the news on Instagram, and Nike released several photos of the Australian in his new threads. Day will continue to play TaylorMade clubs as Nike is out of the equipment business.
 
"Joining Nike is a dream come true," Day said. "The brand is synonymous with the world's best athletes. I'm honored and can't wait to be part of the team and working closely with Nike to take my game, and the sport of golf, to even higher levels."
 
On the apparel side, Nike now boasts the top two players in the world (Day and Rory McIlroy) as well as four of the top 16 (Brooks Koepka and Paul Casey). Throw in Kevin Chappell, Jamie Lovemark, Tony Finau, Patrick Rodgers, Nick Watney and that Tiger Woods fellow, and it appears Nike has positioned itself nicely for a post-equipment marketplace.

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