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UPDATED: Monticello Holds On To Big Lead For Sectional Win Over Bismarck-Henning

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages withstood a late rally by the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils and pulled away late to win 57-38 Tuesday night at the Monticello Section in boys 2A postseason action.
 
The Sages led 40-18 with 4:25 left in the third quarter, but a 16-4 run over the next 6:53 brought the Blue Devils within 44-34 at the 5:42 mark of the fourth quarter, and it was all Monticello the rest of the way, as they outscored Bismarck-Henning 13-4 the rest of the way and advanced to a Sectional Final Friday night at Monticello Middle School.
 
The Sages were led by Calvin Fisher’s 21 points and eight rebounds. Isiah Florey added 16 points, five assists and three rebounds. Luke Stokowski contributed ten points, pulling down eight rebounds and dished out five assists. 
 
Johnny Dawson only scored four points but had a season high nine rebounds and dished out seven assists as the Sages scored 26 field goals and dished out 20 assists as a team.
 
They also shot 66-percent from the field and went 4-for-6 beyond the arc.
 
Monticello outscored Bismarck-Henning 40-16 in the paint and dominated the glass, 34-14.
 
The Blue Devils turned 19 Sages turnovers into 16 points.
 
The Sages are now 21-5 overall and the Blue Devils end their season 22-10. 
 
Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Warrensburg-Latham meet up at 7 pm Wednesday night at Monticello Middle School with the winner to take on Monticello Friday night at 7 pm for the Sectional title.
 
Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 
 
Class 2A Sectional Semifinal scores from Tuesday:
 
At Olympia
 
Quincy Notre Dame 71
Olympia 49
 
Class 1A Sectional Semifinal scores from Tuesday:
 
At Arcola
 
Cissna Park 50
Heyworth 43
 
At Mt. Sterling 
 
Mendon Unity 66
Delavan 57
 
Class 3A Regional scores from Tuesday:
 
At Bloomington
 
Bloomington 65
Limestone 43
 
At Champaign Central
 
Champaign Central 86
Urbana 52
 
At Peoria
 
Washington 44
Peoria 31
 
At Peoria Notre Dame
 
Sterling 60
Metamora 44
 
At Springfield Lanphier
 
Springfield Lanphier 51
Rochester 27
 
At Taylorville
 
Springfield Southeast55
Taylorville 52
 
Class 4A Regional Scores from Tuesday
 
At Granite City
 
Edwardsville 67
Chatham Glenwood 38
 
At Normal Community West
 
Danville 57
Champaign Centennial 40
 
Normal West 40
Normal Community 39
 
Class 1A Sectional matchups tonight:
 
At Arcola
 
Ridgeview 7:00pm
Fisher
 
At Mt. Sterling
 
Peoria Quest Charter Academy 7:00pm
Pleasant Hill
 
Class 2A Sectional action tonight:
 
At Monticello
 
Paxton-Buckley-Loda 7:00pm
Warrensburg-Latham
 
At Olympia
 
Tremont 7:00pm
Williamsville
 
Class 3A Regional matchups tonight:
 
At Bloomington
 
Morton 7:00pm
Peoria Manual
 
At Champaign Central
 
Mahomet-Seymour 7:00pm
Rantoul
 
At Mattoon
 
Mt. Zion 7:00pm
Mattoon
 
At Peoria 
 
Normal U-High 7:00pm
Macomb
 
At Springfield Lanphier
 
Lincoln 7:00pm
Jacksonville
 
At Taylorville
 
Decatur Eisenhower 7:00pm
Decatur MacArthur

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Sages Take on Bismarck-Henning In Sectiona Action Tonight

The Monticello Sages will look to keep their season going tonight when they take on Bismarck-Henning from Monticello Middle School tonight in boys Class 2A Sectional basketball action.
 
The Sages are coming off close calls at the Unity Regional including a gamer winner in the semifinal game against Tolono and a nailbiter in the Regional final over Argenta-Oreana.
 
The Blue Devils are coming off a Regional title, which they hosted, last week including wins over Champaign St. Thomas More and Hoopston. 
 
The two squads met back on December 2, a 46-45 Monticello victory.
 
Hear tonight's game on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Class 2A Sectional action tonight:
 
At Stanford
 
Quincy Notre Dame 7:00pm
Olympia
 
Class 1A Sectional action tonight:
 
At Arcola
 
Cissna Park 7:00pm
Heyworth
 
At Brown County
 
Mendon Unity 7:00pm
Delavan
 
Class 3A Regional action tonight:
 
At Bloomington H.S.
 
Bloomington 7:00pm
Limestone
 
At Champaign Central
 
Champaign Central 7:00pm
Urbana
 
At Peoria
 
Washington 7:00pm
Peoria
 
At Peoria Notre Dame
 
Sterling 7:00pm
Metamora
 
At Springfield Lanphier
 
Springfield Lanphier 7:00pm
Rochester
 
At Taylorville
 
Springfield Southeast7:00pm
Taylorville
 
4A Regional action tonight:
 
At Normal Community West
 
Danville 6:00pm
Champaign Centennial
 
Normal West 7:30pm
Normal Community

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Cubs Eyeing 2020 All-Star Game Bid

The Chicago Cubs hope to meet with city officials in the next few months to plan a bid for the 2020 All-Star game.
During a luncheon on Monday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts reiterated the team's desire to host the game at Wrigley Field. He says he's not sure exactly when discussions with the city will happen.
 
Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped bring the NFL draft to Chicago in 2015 and 2016 after decades in New York. The Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908 last fall in a World Series that drew as a whole its highest rating since 2004.
 
An All-Star game in 2020 would be a huge showcase after a $600 million transformation to baseball's second-oldest ballpark and its surroundings.

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Blues Ship Shattenkirk To Caps

There’s no more waiting for a premier swap ahead of Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, because none other than the league’s No. 1 team, the Washington Capitals, struck not long before midnight Monday to land Kevin Shattenkirk.
 
Unarguably one of the hottest potential trade targets outside of Colorado’s Matt Duchene, Shattenkirk had long been the subject of deadline speculation. And despite a late-night suggestion from NHL Network’s Brian Lawton that the Pittsburgh Penguins were locked in a “fierce battle” for Shattenkirk’s services, it was the Caps who ultimately won the sweepstakes for the big-name defenseman.
 
The package sent to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Shattenkirk is notable, including forwards Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, a 2017 first-round draft pick and another conditional pick in 2019. But considering Washington also reeled in goalie Phoenix Copley and -- perhaps more important -- the fact that the Caps’ top-of-the-league competition, the Minnesota Wild, paid such a steep price to get Martin Hanzal over the weekend, the Shattenkirk swap seems awfully in favor of the powerhouse that is Washington.
 
Late in February 2016, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan made it clear that his team was operating on a “two-year window” to win the Stanley Cup Final. And if the late-season blockbuster deal for Shattenkirk is any indication, MacLellan and Co. seem to be sticking squarely to that plan, perhaps cutting it to one year.
 
Because no one needed any convincing that the Caps, despite some hiccups this month, are models of dominance, both on paper and on the ice, in the 2016-17 season and atop the Eastern Conference. And that was before Washington thrust a hot-shooting blue liner onto a defense that had not seen a major upgrade in some time.

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Steelers Lock Up WR Brown To Record Deal; Franchise Tag RB Bell

Antonio Brown is arguably the league’s best receiver. Now, he’s going to get paid like it. 
 
On Monday, the Steelers signed Brown to a new five-year contract, which will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2021 season. Browns’ contract was set to expire after the 2017 season, so this can also be viewed as a four-year extension. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the deal is worth nearly $73 million. 
Brown is now the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Bengals receiver A.J. Green led the league with $15 million per season, but Browns’ four-year extension means he’s getting $17 million in new money per season.
 
In 2016, Brown caught 106 passes for 1,284 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Since he entered the league in 2010 as a sixth-round pick (seriously), Brown has gone on to rack up the second most receiving yards (8,377) -- only Calvin Johnson, who retired a year ago, has more. He’s also caught 50 touchdowns in that span, which is the 10th highest total.
 
As expected, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell isn’t leaving Pittsburgh anytime soon.
 
On Monday, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Bell became the third player to be franchise tagged ahead of Wednesday’s deadline. Shortly after, the team confirmed the move. According to La Canfora, the Steelers used the exclusive tag on Bell, which means there isn’t even a slim chance that Bell will be playing for a different team next season. 
 
Like the Cardinals’ decision to tag Chandler Jones and the Panthers’ move to tag Kawann Short, the Steelers’ tagging of Bell was expected. In fact, their intention to franchise tag him was reported as far back as mid December. They also sound like they want to keep him around after 2017. 
 
That also makes sense, given Bell might be the game’s best running back. 
Both sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract agreement. If they’re unable to do so and if Bell signs his tender, he’s projected to earn somewhere around $12 million for the 2017 season. Earlier this month, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry, a former agent, took a look at why playing under the tag might not be the worst outcome for Bell. 

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Kansas New No. 1 in AP Poll, Coaches Poll

A wild week gave us a new No. 1 in the AP Top 25 rankings: Big 12 champion Kansas.
 
After wins in six straight to seal Bill Self’s 13th straight conference crown, the Jayhawks take over the top line and appear destined for a No. 1 seed when the field of 68 gets introduced in less than two weeks on Selection Sunday.
 
The Jayhawks moved up after Gonzaga, the previous No. 1, fell to BYU 79-71 on Saturday ending the Zags pursuit of an undefeated season. 
 
Gonzaga slipped to No. 4 in this week’s poll, but weren’t the only team in the top five to lose last last week. Villanova fell to Butler for the second time this season, ending a win streak at The Pavilion that extended for years and remained at No. 2. 
 
Arizona slipped from No. 4 to No. 7 after the Wildcats were shut down by UCLA in a Pac-12 game that not only shook up the conference race, but also the rankings. UCLA jumped from No. 5 to No. 3.
 
Gonzaga’s loss has dropped the Bulldogs to fourth in this week’s coaches poll. The big winner is Kansas, which takes over the top spot.
 
Interesting to see that four teams, including Gonzaga, are getting first-place votes. UCLA’s road win against Arizona puts the Bruins at second, while Villanova is third and still getting top votes even though the Wildcats were swept by Butler. (BU ranks 15th.)
 
UCLA and Villanova are tied for second place in points. 
 
Elsewhere, with Miami hopping into the poll, the ACC now has seven teams ranked. 

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Pacers Down Rockets

Jeff Teague scored 25 points and the Indiana Pacers overcame a huge first-half deficit and withstood a late rally by Houston to beat the Rockets 117-108 on Monday night.
 
C.J. Miles made a 3-pointer with 40.8 seconds left to make it 113-108, and Teague made a pair of free throws after that to put the game out of reach. It was just the second win in nine games for the Pacers and only their 10th road win of the season.
 
The Pacers rallied from 17 down in the first half and were up by 14 with about four minutes left The Rockets then used a 12-2 to get within two with less than a minute remaining. Lou Williams was fouled while making an off-balance 3 to cap the run, but missed the ensuing free throw. Miles followed with his 3.
 
Williams had 28 points to lead the Rockets. James Harden added 25 points with 12 assists and Nene added 15 points for Houston.

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UPDATED: Clinton Maroons Fall to Taylorville

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Taylorville Tornadoes by a score of 71- 57 on Monday night. 
 
The Maroons were led by junior Austin Baker with 19 points. Senior Peyton  McCubbin was named the Country Financial representative Maroons Player of the Game and chipped in with 14 points.
 
Taylorville was led by senior Logan Clayton with 25 points.
 
With the loss the Maroons' season ends 11-14. Taylor improves to 15-14 and advances in the regional.
 
Stay tuned to dewittdailynews.com for the Clinton Maroons baseball and softball broadcasting schedule.
 
Class 3A Regional Quarterfinal games Monday:
 
At Bloomington
 
Limestone 53
East Peoria 37
 
At Champaign Central
 
Urbana 86
Paris 69
 
At Peoria
 
Peoria 60
Canton 47
 
At Peoria Notre Dame
 
Peoria Notre Dame 39
Metamora 49
 
Peoria Richwoods 60
Dunlap 49
 
At Springfield Lanphier
 
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 41
Rochester 57
 
Class 4A Regional Quarterfinal action Monday:
 
At Granite City
 
Springfield 45
Chatham Glenwood 63
 
At Normal West
 
Bradley-Bourbonnais 40
Champaign Centennial 62

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Maroons Boys Basketball To Regionals Tonight

The Clinton Maroons won their final tuneup before tonight's Class 3A Regional quarterfinal matchup in Taylorville.
 
The Maroons defeated Prairie Central 58-53 Friday night in non-conference action. 
 
The Maroons are the tenth seed in the Effingham Sectional and take on Taylroville tonight with the winner to meet Springfield Southeast tomorrow night at 7 pm.
 
Southeast is the Effingham Sectional two-seed.
 
Decatur Eisenhower and Decatur MacArthur matchup Wednesday night at 7 pm.
 
Hear tonight's action at 7 pm on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Class 3A Quarterfinal action tonight:
 
At Bloomington
 
Limestone 7:00pm
East Peoria
 
At Champaign Central
 
Urbana 7:00pm
Paris
 
At Peoria
 
Peoria 6:00pm
Canton
 
Galesburg 7:30pm
Macomb
 
At Peoria Notre Dame
 
Peoria Notre Dame 6:00pm
Metamora
 
Peoria Richwoods 7:30pm
Dunlap
 
At Springfield Lanphier
 
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 7:00pm
Rochester
 
Class 4A Regional quarterfinal action tonight:
 
At Granite City
 
Springfield 6:00pm
Chatham Glenwood
 
At Normal West
 
Bradley-Bourbonnais7:00pm
Champaign Centennial

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College Baseball: Illini Drop Two of Three in Texas; ISU Swept By Memphis

Michael Massey and Pat McInerney hit three-run homers Sunday to give Illinois a 6-4 lead but the Illini could not hold on in a 7-6 loss against Missouri. Illinois finished the Kleberg Bank College Classic at Whataburger Field with a 1-2 record.
 
Massey hit his homer to the opposite field in the first inning, his first home run as an Illini, before McInerney followed in the second inning to nearly the same spot in left field. Those two swings were all the offense for Illinois, although the Illini totaled 11 hits, the same amount as Missouri.
 
Illinois (2-5) tried to rally in the ninth when freshman Ben Troike led off with his third single of the game. But Troike was thrown out on the move to second base on a strikeout-caught stealing double play on a 3-2 pitch that McInerney thought was low for ball four.
 
Eight Illini had hits in the game, including Troike and Bren Spillane (2) with multiple singles.
 
Missouri (7-1) broke out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on the way to its seventh straight win. The Tigers had five hits, three of them doubles, off of freshman starter Ty Weber in the first. Weber settled down to go four innings while allowing five runs on nine hits and striking out five before handing the ball to the bullpen.
 
Four Tigers had multi-hit days, led by leadoff man Connor Brumfield who went 3 for 5. Missouri took the lead in the sixth with runs on a wild pitch and an error on Illini third baseman Trent Hammond.
 
T.J. Sikkema (1-0) picked up the win. The lefty held Illinois scoreless over the game's final 4 1/3 innings. Missouri starter Liam Carter (2 IP, 6 R) could not get out of the third inning.
 
Illinois opened action in Corpus Christi, Texas with a 15-14 win over Texas A&M at Corpus Christi then lost to Houston 11-5.
 
Illinois is back to the diamond Friday at Florida Atlantic. That game kicks off a three-game series between the Owls and Illini.
 
>>Illinois State Swept By Memphis
 
Memphis starting pitcher Connor Alexander struck out nine over seven shutout innings to help the host Tigers earn a 3-1 victory and a series sweep of the Illinois State baseball team Sunday at FedEx Park.
 
Alexander retired 15-straight batters in a stretch between the first and sixth innings, while the Tigers scratched out runs in second, third and sixth innings, respectively, to support their starter.
 
Illinois State (2-4) had chances late. The Redbirds loaded the bases but failed to score in the seventh inning before plating their lone run of the game in the eighth, when Owen Miller's single chased Bryce Grimm home. Illinois State sent two batters to the plate with a chance to tie the game in the ninth, but Memphis closer Colton Hathcock secured the win by recording his second save in three days.
 
Miller's 2-for-4 day made him the only Redbird with multiple hits. Rave reached twice with a hit and a walk.
 
Redbird starter Mitch Weis was solid, allowing two runs over four innings, while striking out five. Matt Walker pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning before Brady Huffman allowed a run in the sixth. Colton Johnson and Trevor Cross finished out the game, each working a scoreless frame.
 
The Redbirds return action next weekend with a three-game series at Miami (Ohio). 

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Second Half Surge Sends Illinois Past Nebraska; ISU Wraps Up Share of Missouri Valley Title

Malcolm Hill scored 19 points and Illinois went on a 3-point shooting spree in the second half in a 73-57 victory over Nebraska on Sunday.
 
Tracy Abrams added 13 points and Maverick Morgan had 12 for the Illini (17-12, 7-9), who won their third straight road game and for the fourth time in five games overall.
 
Tai Webster had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead the Cornhuskers (12-16, 6-10).
 
The Illini, who came into the game 12th in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting in conference games (32.9 percent) made seven of their first eight 3s of the second half to go up 61-44 with 9:15 to play. They finished 13 of 26 from beyond the arc.
 
The Huskers are last in the Big Ten in 3-point defense in conference games (41.3 percent).
 
Hill scored 14 of his 19 points after half. He and Abrams each made four 3-pointers.
 
Illinois led 30-28 at half, and Abrams and Hill hit a couple 3s during a 10-3 spurt that gave the Illini a seven-point lead. Jalen Coleman-Lands' 3 pushed the lead to 47-37 with 13:41 to play, and the Huskers never got closer.
 
>>Illinois State Pounds Northern Iowa, Co-Missouri Valley Conference Champs
 
MiKyle McIntosh scored 15 points, Paris Lee and Keyshawn Evans scored 14 apiece and Illinois State won a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title for the first time in 19 years with a 63-42 win over Northern Iowa on Saturday.
The Redbirds (25-5, 17-1), who share their first title since 1997-98 with Wichita State, led 30-25 at halftime before shooting a blistering 65 percent (13 of 20) in the second half, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range.
 
McIntosh hit 7 of 9 shots and Lee had eight rebounds and four assists.
 
Jordan Ashton had 13 points for Northern Iowa (14-15, 9-9), which enters next week's conference tournament in St. Louis as a top four seed for the ninth-straight year. Illinois State received the top seed over the Shockers based on RPI.
 
The Redbirds closed the game on a 15-2 run, making seven straight shots before missing their last one while the Panthers missed their last six shots.
 
>>Bradley Gets By Drake
 
Donte Thomas scored 22 points to match his career high and grabbed 12 rebounds as Bradley completed its regular season with an 82-74 win over Drake and clinched the No. 6 seed into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Saturday afternoon.
 
The victory, coupled with Missouri State's loss to Wichita State, left the Braves and tied in the conference standing. Bradley's better RPI ranking earned it the tie-breaking edge to claim the higher seed.
 
Bradley (12-19, 7-11) never trailed in the game, but Drake tied the game twice in the first half and again at 48-48 with 11:01 left to play in the game, but the Braves always answered.
 
Thomas posted a double-double for the fourth time this season and grabbed nine of his 12 rebounds off the offensive glass. Darrell Brown added 15 points for Bradley (12-19, 7-11).
 
Graham Woodward put up a season-high 22 points for Drake (7-23, 5-13). De'Antae McMurray added 15 points.

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Blackhawks Get By Blues

Artem Anisimov scored with 5:20 left in the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win and ninth in their last 10.
 
Anisimov beat Jake Allen on the glove side from the right edge of the crease for his 22nd goal after taking a pinpoint cross-ice pass from linemate Artemi Panarin. Tanner Kero added an empty-netter with 2.6 seconds left.
 
Patrick Kane assisted on Anisimov's winner and scored a power-play goal. Jonathan Toews also had a goal and an assist for surging Chicago, which pulled one point behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist for his 500th NHL point.
 
Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who played their first game following their bye week and lost their third straight.
 
The Blues host Edmonton on Tuesday night before a three-game trip against Central Division rivals.
 
The Blackhawks host Pittsburgh on Wednesday night in first of two regular season meetings between the teams.

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Fowler Cruises To Win At Honda Classic

It wasn’t easy for Rickie Fowler on Sunday at the Honda Classic. And then it was. And then it wasn’t again. Closing out big leads is sometimes more difficult mentally than coming from behind to win tournaments, and Sunday tested Fowler’s mettle. He shot a 1-over 71 in tough (but not absurd) conditions to win by four over Gary Woodland and Morgan Hoffmann.
 
Fowler played the first six holes in 2 over and saw his four-stroke lead coming into the day dwindle to just a couple over Woodland and a handful of other players. Then he sprayed a drive on the par-4 eighth hole into the pine straw. It was not dire, but it was not looking great for Fowler who was looking for his first PGA Tour win since the end of 2015.
 
Then he got up and down for birdie (!) from 160 yards out.
 
Fowler, who had destroyed the field with his driver all week, could not find a fairway. He lost a stroke to the field in the final round off the tee after gaining one or more in each of the first three days.
 
The bogey at No. 9 was the last one he would make until the tournament was under wraps. Fowler put away a couple of pars before sticking a fork in the field with two huge putts at Nos. 12 and 13. Combined feet of the two birdies: 62.
 
Fowler finished second in the field in putting for the week after gaining nearly three strokes on the field average on a day in which he shot 71.
 
Fowler needed a par-par finish to set the 72-hole scoring record. Instead, he went bogey-bogey but still won by four over Woodland and Hoffmann.
 
This is also the first time Fowler has ever closed out a 54-hole lead. He is one for five in his career. All of his other wins have been from behind.

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Deron Williams Headed To Cavaliers

Mavericks guard Deron Williams was bought out on Thursday after the trade deadline passed, and it will not take long for him to find a new home on a championship contender. USA Today reports that Williams has informed the Cleveland Cavaliers he intends to sign with them. 
 
LeBron  James has wanted a playmaker for the better part of two months, and Williams fills that role to a T. Williams can run the offense, knock down shots, and generally just manage the team in a way the Cavs have been in desperate need of. Williams, notably, is in the 95th percentile in pick-and-roll offense, including passes out, per Synergy Sports. 
 
This is a home run move for the Cavaliers, and it’s just what they needed. The only drawbacks are concerns over Williams’ health, which derailed what was an All-Star career five years ago.

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Boys Basketball Regional Scores

 

Class 2A Regional finals:
 
Olympia 66, Farmington 65, F
Gibson City-Melivn-Sibley 40, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 43, F
Decatur St. Teresa 39, Warrensburg-Latham 44, F 
Teutopolis 68, Pana 35, F
Tremont 77, Illini Bluffs 76, F
Quincy Notre Dame 69, Pleasant Plains 56, F
Pittsfield 44, Williamsville 49, F
 
Class 1A Regional finals:
 
Abingdon-Avon 33, Delavan 34, F
Patoka 68, Central A & M 66, F
Heyworth 81, Decatur LSA 57, F
Ridgeview 46, Mt. Pulaski 35, F

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Clinton Maroons Defeat Prairie Central

The Clinton Maroons defeated the Prairie Central Hawks by a score of 58-53 on Friday night in non-conference action. The Maroons were led by senior Peyton McCubbin with 15 points. Junior Austin Baker also chipped in with 11 points. 

 

Praire Central was led by Tyler Burnett with 23 points.

 

With the win the Maroons improve to 11-14 overall and the Hawks fall to 11-15 on the season. 

 

Tune in Monday, February 27, as the Maroons take on Taylorville in the Taylorville regional. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Sages Win Regional Title Over Argenta-Oreana

In a game heard on WEZC and dewittdailynews.com Friday night, it wasn’t pretty, but the Monticello Sages boys basketball squad came away with a Regional title Friday night with a 66-59 win over Argenta-Oreana in Class 2A postseason action from Unity High School.

 

The Sages used a 15-0 run to open up a 24-9 lead with 5:37 to play in the first half, but the Bombers fought back to take the lead in the third quarter and it was a back and forth game the rest of the way.

 

Neither team led by more than four until Monticello’s Calvin Fisher made an and-one free throw with 24 seconds left to give the Sages a 64-59 advantage and then Luke Stokowski’s layup with seven seconds left sealed the victory for the Sages and their fourth Regional title in the last five years.

 

Four players scored in double figures for the Sages, led by Fisher’s 21 points and 11 rebounds. Isiah Florey scored 17 points, Johnny Dawson added 13 points and Luke Stokowski also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

 

After being outscored in the paint in the Regional semi-final against Unity, the Sages rebounded to dominate the paint against the Bombers, with a 38-16 edge and controlled the glass 35-18.

 

The Bombers shot 61% from three Friday night, going 11-for-18, however 12 turnovers resulted in 13 points for the Sages and Monticello scored 17 second chance points.

 

Argenta-Oreana was led by Derek Jones with 19 points. Pierce Bradford scored 17 points and dished out six assists. Brody Ulrey scored 12 points and hauled in six rebounds.

 

The Sages will take on Bismark Henning Tuesday night in Monticello. The Blue Devils beat Hoopston Friday night 62-45.

 

Game time Tuesday night is 7 pm from Monticello Middle School. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

In the three-point showdown, Monticello’s Noah Wright advanced to the Sectional competition next week.

 

 

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Illini Baseball Look To Bounce Back in Texas

Illinois looks to rebound from a 1-3 start to the 2017 season with a trip to the Kleberg Bank College Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. 
 
The Fighting Illini will play Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, Houston and Missouri during the three-day event at Whataburger Field, home to the Houston Astros' Double-A affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks.
 
Illinois had freshmen or sophomores get 73.5 percent of the team's hits (25 of 34) and throw 80.8 percent of the team's innings (28 of 34.2) during the four-game weekend. The Illini won the opener 10-2 against Milwaukee before losing to the Panthers Saturday and following with a two-game sweep at the hands of the host Lamar Cardinals.
 
Michael Massey was one of the underclassmen that shined. The freshman is on a four-game hitting streak and collected six hits in the four games, second on the team only to Jack Yalowitz who has eight. Yalowitz went 8-18 at the plate with 11 total bases and four RBIs.
 
Illinois' pitchers showed flashes of good stuff, as opponents hit just .238 against the Illini in the first four games, but the staff allowed 7.0 walks per game.

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Sages Go For Regional Title Tonight

A Regional title is on the line tonight when the Monticello Sages boys basketball squad looks to wrap up their fourth regional title in five years in class 2A boys basketball postseason action.
The Sages won a thriller Wednesday night when Johnny Dawson floated in a baseline jumper as time expired for a 44-42 victory over Tolono Unity.
 
The Sages will take on Argenta-Oreana tonight, who defeated Tuscola 49-41 Wednesday night.
 
The two have not played this year.
 
Game time tonight is 7 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Class 2A Regional finals tonight:
 
At Farmington
 
Olympia 7:00pm
Farmington
 
At Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
 
G.C.M.S 7:00pm
Paxton-Buckley-Loda
 
At Meridian
 
Decatur St. Teresa 7:00pm
Warrensburg-Latham
 
At Pana
 
Teutopolis 7:00pm
Pana
 
At Petersburg 
 
Tremont 7:00pm
Illini Bluffs
 
At Quincy Notre Dame
 
Quincy Notre Dame 7:00pm
Pleasant Plains
 
At Riverton
 
Pittsfield 7:00pm
Williamsville
 
Class 1A Regional Final Action tonight
 
At Abingdon-Avon
 
Abingdon-Avon 7:00pm
Delavan
 
At Okaw Valley
 
Patoka 7:00pm
Central A & M
 
At LeRoy
 
Heyworth 7:00pm
Decatur LSA
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Ridgeview 7:00pm
Mt. Pulaski

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ISU Baseball in Memphis This Weekend

The Illinois State baseball team will return to Tennessee for the second weekend in a row, this time for a three-game series at Memphis, beginning Friday, after posting a 2-1 record at the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge last weekend in Clarksville, Tennessee.
 
Friday's 4 p.m. series opener will be followed by a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday and a 1 p.m. series finale on Sunday. All three games will be played at Memphis' FedEx Park.
 
Illinois State (2-1) posted wins in its first and last games at the Governors Challenge last weekend, as the Redbirds topped Missouri Valley Conference foe Indiana State, 17-7, in their season opener on Feb. 17, and Youngstown State, 13-7, in their final game in Clarksville. The Redbirds' lone loss came at the hands of tournament host Austin Peay, which prevailed by a 9-4 score on Feb. 18.
 
Junior transfer Bryce Grimm tallied six hits in 12 at-bats for the Redbirds over the first weekend of play, while redshirt sophomore Ryan Hutchinson posted a .688 on-base percentage as he drew a team-high seven walks. Mitch Vogrin highlighted a stellar bullpen effort in the win over Youngstown State as the junior struck out a career-high six batters to earn the pitching win.
 
Illinois State will go with right-handers Jack Landwehr and David Meade to start the games on Friday and Saturday at Memphis. Sunday's starter has not yet been determined. Memphis (1-2) will counter with right-hander Tyler Walton on Friday, left-hander Drew Crosby on Saturday and right-hander Connor Alexander on Sunday.

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White Sox To Retire Buehrle's Number

The Chicago White Sox plan to retire No. 56, the uniform worn by former ace Mark Buehrle.
 
The White Sox say they will honor the four-time All-Star and 2005 championship team member before the game against Oakland on June 24.
 
He will become the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox, including former teammate Paul Konerko and Hall of Famer Frank Thomas.
 
Buehrle was 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA in 12 seasons in Chicago, pitching a no-hitter against Texas in 2007 and a perfect game against Tampa Bay in 2009. The left-hander was 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA for the White Sox and 214-160 with a 3.81 ERA during a 16-year career that included time with Miami and Toronto.

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Kane Tallies Hat Trick in Blackhawks Win

Patrick Kane scored three goals for his third career hat trick to lead the surging Chicago Blackhawks past the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Thursday night for their third straight win and eighth in nine games.
 
Kane has 23 goals to lead Chicago, which closed within three points behind first-place Minnesota in the Central Division and Western Conference.
 
Rookies Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season in his first game since Jan. 15.
 
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added two assists to extend his points scoring streak to five games and increase his output to 22 points in his past 13.
 
Jakob Chychrun, Ryan White and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes. Chychrun and Vrbata each scored for the second straight game.

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Bulls Make Swap With Thunder; Former Illini G Williams Waived By Mavericks

The Oklahoma City Thunder have added some help for Russell Westbrook acquiring Chicago Bulls forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott just before the NBA trade deadline.
Mark Bartelstein, the agent for Gibson and McDermott, confirmed the deal in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday. He said the Thunder sent Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to Chicago. The Bulls also will send a 2018 second-round pick to the Thunder.
 
Gibson adds the athleticism and experience to the front line that the Thunder lost when they traded Serge Ibaka in last year's draft. McDermott improves the Thunder's shaky outside shooting.
 
Payne was a promising backup to Westbrook but had missed much of the season with a foot injury. Morrow, primarily a 3-point shooter, lost playing time to rookie Alex Abrines this season.
 
>>Former Illini Star, Williams, Waived By Mavericks
 
The Dallas Mavericks did not trade guard Deron Williams before Thursday’s deadline, and they waived the veteran guard shortly afterward. For the Mavericks, this means more opportunities for young guards Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry. For Williams, this means he will likely have his pick of a few teams. 
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz all expressed interest in Williams via trade, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania. Presumably, they would be even more interested in adding him as a free agent.
 
LeBron James would probably throw him a welcome party, given how vocal he has been about wanting the team to add a veteran point guard. Williams can easily run the Cavs’ offense as Kyrie Irving’s backup and even share the floor with him at times. Cleveland has a couple of roster spots available, and it could potentially add both Williams and Andrew Bogut to strengthen its bench. 
 
Williams spent the first five-and-a-half seasons of his NBA career with the Jazz, and they’re arguably as talented now as they ever were then. This is the deepest team in the league, so they don’t exactly need Williams, but he would be nice insurance against an injury in the backcourt and would ensure that 21-year-old guard Dante Exum doesn’t get thrown into an uncomfortable situation in the playoffs. 
 
Atlanta is a playoff team that could use some help in the backcourt. Malcolm Delaney has had his moments as Dennis Schröder’s backup, but has struggled mightily as a shooter outside of a strong stretch in January. Williams could be a steadying influence in Mike Budenholzer’s offensive system, which hasn’t been the same this season without Al Horford and Jeff Teague.

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Wesley Bryan Leads Honda Open After Round One

Last week Wesley Bryan contended at the Genesis Open before falling back a little bit on Sunday to finish T4. He carried the momentum into Thursday with a 6-under 64 in Round 1 at the Honda. He shares the lead with Cody Gribble.
 
Bryan finished in the top 20 in strokes gained putting but in the top 10 in strokes gained in approach shots. So while he putted well, you don’t normally shoot 64 without some immense ball-striking.
 
The winner of this tournament has only cracked double digits twice since 2007 so it stands to reason that Bryan only needs to shoot something like three 69s to win. That’s easier said than done when less than half the field broke par Thursday.

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ISU, Bradley Win Wednesday

Tony Wills scored 16 points, Phil Fayne added a clinching layup, and Illinois State finished its first-ever undefeated home record with a 50-46 win over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night.
 
The win keeps Illinois State (24-5, 16-1) in a first-place tie with Wichita State for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Redbirds will attempt to tie the school record for wins (25) in the season against Northern Iowa on Saturday.
 
Fayne finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds for Illinois State.
 
Thik Bol scored 12 points to lead Southern Illinois (15-15, 8-9).
 
Illinois State held a 48-41 lead with 3:23 left, which the Salukis chipped down to two on a Mike Rodriguez layup with 1:39 to go. Fayne quickly answered with a layup on the other end, however, pushing the Redbirds' lead back to two possessions with what turned out to be the final points of the game.
 
>>Bradley Beats Missouri State
 
Luuk van Bree scored 17 points and Bradley secured its first back-to-back wins of the season with a 77-68 victory over Missouri State on Wednesday night.
 
Bradley earned a split with Missouri State and sits one game behind the Bears for sixth in the Missouri Valley standings with one game to go. The top six earn a first-round bye in the tournament which starts March 2.
 
Nate Kennell finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and JoJo McGlaston added 11 and six for Bradley (11-19, 6-11). The Braves shot 55.8 percent, won the rebound battle 31-20, and held a 20-8 advantage in assists.
 
Dequon Miller led Missouri State (16-14, 7-10) with 26 points. The Bears shot 51.1 percent clip, but committed 17 turnovers.
 
The Bears held a nine-point lead early in the second half. The Braves quickly battled back, taking the lead on a Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye 3 with 12:03 left and led the rest of the way.

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Bears Make Staff Additions

The Chicago Bears hired three assistants on Wednesday, bringing in Zach Azzanni as receivers coach, Brandon Staley as outside linebackers coach and Derius Swinton II as assistant special teams coach.
 
Azzanni, who replaces Curtis Johnson, was the University of Tennessee's wide receivers coach for the last four seasons. He previously worked at Bowling Green (2001-06), Central Michigan (2007-09), Florida (2010), Western Kentucky (2011) and Wisconsin (2012).
 
Staley has 11 years of college coaching experience at John Carroll (2013, 2015-16), James Madison (2014), Tennessee (2012), Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College (2010-11), St. Thomas (2009) and Northern Illinois (2006-08). He replaces Clint Hurtt.
 
Swinton was Chicago's assistant special teams coach in 2015 and San Francisco's special teams coordinator last season. He replaces Richard Hightower.

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Lakers Trying For Paul George

The Los Angeles Lakers are “in the process of trying to land” Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick, who also reported that the “landscape is complicated elsewhere, too, in large part because of (George’s) desire to sign with the Lakers if the Pacers experience simply doesn’t pan out.”
 
If you’re wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey right now and jumping up and down, there’s more, via The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
 
Quote - "For teams considering a trade for George, here’s the risk: As a free agent in the summer of 2018, he has considered re-signing with Indiana or joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, sources tell The Vertical.
"Teams trading for George run the risk of losing the four-time All-Star to a Lakers franchise that will have the salary-cap space to sign him in 2018. The Lakers’ hiring of Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations will be an interesting twist to George’s free-agent recruitment, given that Johnson has been something of a George family icon going back to George’s childhood in nearby Palmdale, Calif."
 
George has said publicly and privately that he wants to win a championship in Indiana, but he is not ready to commit to signing an extension this summer, even if he makes an All-NBA team and qualifies for the designated player exception. 
 
George had a taste of postseason success a few years ago, making the conference finals with the Pacers in 2013 and 2014. Since then, Indiana has almost completely turned over its roster, and it is now barely over .500. He wants to win, and he has put pressure on the front office to get him help. 
 
The Pacers are in a tough position -- they could just trade him and start over, or they could continue to make moves on the margins to try to satisfy him. USA Today reported that they have looked at Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, Sacramento Kings guard Arron Afflalo, Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe and Blazers big man Ed Davis. 

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MLB Agrees With Players Union To Automate Intentional Walk

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that there would be no significant rule changes in 2017 because of an uncooperative players  union. Perhaps he was posturing.
Hours later, it looks like there will be at least one noteworthy change -- intentional walks will now be issued by giving a sign rather than the act of throwing four wide ones. 
 
There’s no word yet on what the dugout signal will be -- probably something creative, like, say, holding up four fingers -- but this seems like a relatively small tweak that will save a minute here or there without impacting the integrity of the game. Given the trifling differences -- there were 932 intentional walks issued in 2016, or about two every five games.

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UPDATED: Dawson's Heroics Lift Monticello Past Tolono Unity

In a game heard on WEZC Wednesday night, Johnny Dawson’s jumper at the baseline as time expired lifted the top seeded Monticello Sages to a win over Tolono Unity 44-42 in Class 2A boys basketball regional semi-final action from Unity High School.

 

The Sages forced a turnover with just over a minute remaining the game, and held the basketball with just under 20-seconds left, and the Sages called a timeout to set up one final play.

Dawson held the ball at the left sideline until about 10 seconds, drove around a triple team a screen to the top of the key, then lost the ball and forced him to the baseline. After fighting through tight defense on the baseline, Dawson threw up a jumper that only touched the bottom of the net and the Sages bench and fans stormed the floor.

 

Dawson finished with 15 points and five rebounds. Calvin Fisher added ten points for the Sages and Luke Stokowski finished with eight points and a single rebound after battling foul trouble most of the game.

 

The Sages were outrebounded 24-19, outscored in the paint 36-30, and only converted two-of-nine from three.

 

The Sages did not play their finest but survived during a week when teams like St. Joseph-Ogden and Bloomington Central Catholic (top seed in GCMS Regional) lost.

 

Jonathan Decker tallied a double-double for the Rockets with 16 points, 12 in the second half, and 12 rebounds.

 

JT Wheeler added 13 points and Steven Migut scored 11 points despite battling foul trouble much of the first half.

 

The Rockets finish their season 11-13 overall. Monticello will play Friday night opposite Argenta-Oreana who downed Tuscola 49-41 Wednesday night.

 

Game time is set for 7 pm. Hear it on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Monticello will enter action at 19-5 overall.

 

Class 2A Regional Semifinal scores from Wednesday:
 
At Bismarck-Henning
 
Champaign St. Thomas More 45
Bismarck-Henning 67
 
At Farmington
 
Farmington 66
Deer-Mack 28
 
At Pana
 
Shelbyville 44
Pana 52
 
At Riverton
 
Pittsfield 60
Auburn 52
 
Warsaw 36
Williamsville 49
 
Class 1A Regional semifinal action Wednesday:
 
At Bethany
 
Central A & M 69
Okaw Valley 60
 
At Danville Schlarman
 
Chrisman 68
Arcola 50
 
Fisher 64
Danville Schlarman 35
 
At LeRoy
 
Heyworth 64
Flanagan-Cornell 48
 
Decatur LSA 63 F
LeRoy 61
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Ridgeview 52
Roanoke-Benson 28
 
Mt. Pulaski 63

 

Sangamon Valley 57
 

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Decatur St. Teresa Pulls Away from Maroa-Forsyth

Isiah Bond scored 27 of his 30 points in the second half, and the Decatur St. Teresa Bulldogs used a huge second half to pull away from Maroa-Forsyth in Class 2A Boys basketball regional semifinal action from Meridian Tuesday night.
 
Leading 23-20 at the break, the Bulldogs outscored the Trojans 20-5 in the third and the two exchanged blows in the fourth as St. T held on to move on to Friday's regional final.
 
 
Beau Branyan scored 16 points for St. Teresa and Manny Green added 13 poitns, 10 in the second half, going 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. 
 
Jaxson Nelson led the Trojans with 26 points. Ian Benner scored 13 points and Aaron Agee added 11 for the Maroa Forsyth.
 
Both teams shot the free throws very well. Maroa-Forsyth finished 12-for-14 from the line and the Bulldogs made 24-of-27.
 
St. T will go for a Regional title Friday night opposite Warrensburg-Latham who beat Meridian 52-49.
 
Class 2A Regional semifinal scores from Tuesday:
 
At Farmington
 
Olympia 70
El Paso-Gridley 36
 
At Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
 
Bloomington Central Catholic 44
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 57
 
Paxton-Buckley-Loda59
St. Joseph-Ogden 56
 
At Pana
 
Teutopolis 66
Toledo Cumberland  41
 
Class 1A Regional Semifinal Scores from Tuesday:
 
At Abingdon-Avon
 
Delavan 50
Sciota West Prairie 32
 
At Astoria
 
Mendon Unity 50
Illini Central 36
 
At Danville Schlarman
 
Fisher 73
Urbana U-High 18
 
At LeRoy
 
Decatu LSA 86
Blue Ridge 38
 
LeRoy 62
Bloomington Cornerstone Christian Academy 43
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Mt. Pulaski 73
Forsyth Decatur Christian 13
 
Sangamon Valley 58
Normal Calvary Christian Academy 42

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Sages At Regionals Tonight

The Monticello Sages open Regional play tonight where they are the top seed in their sectional. 
 
The Sages will play a third time against Tolono Unity who beat Broadlands-Heritage Monday night.
 
The Sages won both prior meetings in round-robin Okaw Valley action.
 
At 17-5 for the season, the Sages will look to advance to Friday's Regional final. 
 
Game time tonight is 6 pm from Unity High School. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Other Class 2A Regional Semifinal action tonight: 
 
At Tolono Unity
 
Argenta-Oreana 7:30pm
Tuscola
 
At Bismarck-Henning
 
Champaign St. Thomas More) 7:30pm
Bismarck-Henning
 
At Farmington
 
Farmington 7:00pm
Dee-Mack
 
At Petersburg
 
Tremont 6:00pm
Athens
 
Illini Bluffs 7:30pm
PORTA
 
At Riverton
 
Pittsfield 6:00pm
Auburn
 
Warsaw 7:30pm
Williamsville
 
Class 1A Regional semifinals:
 
At Abingdon-Avon
 
Delavan 7:30pm
Elmwood
 
At Okaw Valley
 
Central A & M 7:00pm
Okaw Valley
 
At Danville Schlarman
 
Chrisman 6:00pm
Arcola
 
Fisher 7:30pm
Danville Schlarman
 
At LeRoy
 
Heyworth 6:00pm
Flanagan-Cornell
 
Decatur LSA 7:30pm
LeRoy
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Ridgeview 6:00pm
Roanoke-Benson
 
Mt. Pulaski 7:30pm
Sangamon Valley

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Illinois Sweeps Northwestern

Malcolm Hill scored 18 points to lead Illinois to a 66-50 win over Northwestern on Tuesday night.
 
The two teams played a tight contest where the deficit didn't grow larger than four points for much of the game. But Northwestern suffered an eight-minute scoring drought in the last 10 minutes and Illinois build its lead to double digits for the first time.
 
Illinois (16-12, 6-9 Big Ten) controlled the pace for much of the game, including offensively where the Illini shot 40 percent from the field and 6 of 18 from 3-point range.
 
Leron Black had a strong presence, scoring seven of the Illini's first eight points. He finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
 
Bryant McIntosh led the way for Northwestern (20-8, 9-6) with 16 points.
 
Illinois heads back to the road for a Sunday evening game at Nebraska.

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Toews Hat Trick Leads Blackhawks Past Wild

Jonathan Toews had three goals and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat rival Minnesota 5-3 on Tuesday night for their second win over the Western Conference-leading Wild in less than two weeks.
 
Toews notched his fourth career hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:02 left to stave off a spirited rally by the Wild, who began a franchise-record eight-game homestand on Feb. 8 with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks. Toews had a goal and two assists in that one and has 37 points in 35 career games against Minnesota.
 
Chicago's captain has been chewing up almost everyone else, too, with 20 points in his last 12 games. Toews' wing men Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had the other goals, giving the Blackhawks 34 goals in their last eight games. Their first line totaled nine points.
 
Mikael Granlund's second power-play goal for the Wild brought them within 4-3, before Ryan Suter hit the crossbar with a shot that nearly tied it.

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Bears Actively Shopping Jay Cutler

In perhaps the least surprising news you’ll hear this offseason -- at least until free agency really gets going -- the Bears are looking to move on from quarterback Jay Cutler. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports that the team has actively started seeking a trade partner for the 2006 first-round pick, who began his career in Denver before getting traded to Chicago before the 2009 season.
 
Cutler, who signed a seven-year, $126.7 million deal in 2014, still has four years left on his contract, but a divorce between quarterback and club has been a long time coming, and there’s no way he sees that money. However, that doesn’t mean he can be traded, no questions asked.
 
Cutler played in just five games last season because of injury, but in 2015, he ranked ninth in value per play among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders, which was better than Matthew Stafford and league MVP Cam Newton. But that was the anomaly for Cutler, who regularly put up replacement-level numbers during his Chicago career.
 
Also not helping: reports last November that the Bears’ locker room had given up on Cutler, though Kyle Long said in January that he “really enjoyed playing with Jay.”
 
Long added: “He’s a great guy. I think people are clueless about football and a lot of people want to act like they know what they’re talking about, and we let them do that. Jay just continues to be a great teammate. So I’ve really enjoyed playing with Jay. He’s a good friend of mine.”
 
However his teammates feel about him, Cutler will almost certainly be somewhere else in the coming months.

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Clinton Maroons Fall to Mt. Zion

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Mt. Zion Braves by a score of 72-54 on Tuesday night. The Maroons were led by senior Peyton McCubbin with 14 points. Senior Noah Griffin was named the Country Financial representative Stephan York Maroons Player of the Game. Griffin added 9 points for the Maroons.

 

For Mt. Zion, they were led by Nate Ewing with 21 points.

 

With the loss the Maroons fall to 10-14 overall and 2-6 in Central Illinois Conference action. Mt. Zion improves to 18-9 on the season and 8-2 in conference play.

 

Tune in Monday, February 27, as the Maroons take on Taylorville in Taylorville for regionals. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Maroa-Forsyth Drops Cerro Gordo-Bement

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans used big first and third quarter runs to hold on and beat Cerro Gordo-Bement Monday night, 56-45, in Class 2A boy basketball regional action from Meridian High School.
The Trojans jumped out to a 14-4 first quarter lead and led 44-30 after the third quarter then held on for the victory in the fourth quarter. 
 
Hayden Mitchell paced Maroa-Forsyth with 17 points while Ian Benner added ten points. Jaren Bretz, Tanner Hetz, and Jaxson Nelson each contributed with nine points.
 
The Trojans return to action tonight for Regional semi-final action when they take on Decatur St. Teresa at Meridian High School at 6 pm.
 
Class 2A Regional quarterfinal scores from Monday:
 
At Farmington
 
El Paso-Gridley 58
Eureka 48
 
Dee-Mack 52
Knoxville 37
 
At Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
 
G.C.M.S 57
Tri-Valley 44
 
At Pana
 
Toledo Cumberland 61
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 32
 
Pana 45
Sullivan 32
 
At Petersburg
 
Athens 62
Midwest Central 54
 
PORTA 55
Havana 37
 
At Riverton
 
Auburn 56
Virden North Mac 53
 
Williamsville 48
Riverton 27
 
At Tolono Unity
 
Tolono Unity 58
Broadlands Heritage 36
 
Tuscola 47
Georgetown-Ridge Farm 36
 
Class 1A Regional Quarterfinal scores Monday:
 
At Astoria
 
Illini Central 60
Augusta Southeastern 43
 
At Okaw Valley
 
Bethany Okaw Valley 51
Edinburg 39
 
At Danville Schlarman
 
Champaign Judah Christian 52
Arcola 56
 
At LeRoy
 
Flanagan-Cornell 48
Lexington 32
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Roanoke-Benson 61
DeLand-Weldon 40
 
Class 1A Regional matchups tonight:
 
At Abingdon-Avon (Quarterfinal)
 
Delavan 6:00pm
West Prairie
 
At Astoria (Semifinal)
 
Mendon Unity 7:00pm
Illini Central
 
At Danville Schlarman (Quarterfinal)
 
Fisher 6:00pm
Urbana U-High
 
At LeRoy (Quarterfinal)
 
Decatur LSA 6:00pm
Blue Ridge
 
LeRoy 7:30pm
Bloomington Cornerstone Christian Academy
 
At Mt. Pulaski (Quartefinal)
 
Mt. Pulaski 6:00pm
Decatur Christian
 
Sangamon Valley 7:30pm
Normal Calvary Christian Academy
 
At Peoria Quest Charter Academy (Quarterfinal)
 
Hartsburg-Emden 7:30pm
Peoria Christian
 
Class 2A Regional Semifinal action tonight:
 
At Farmington
 
Olympia 7:00pm
El Paso-Gridley
 
At Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
 
Bloomington Central Catholic 6:00pm
G.C.M.S
 
Paxton-Buckley-Loda 7:30pm
St. Joseph-Ogden
 
At Meridian
 
Warrensburg-Latham 7:30pm
Meridian
 
At Pana
 
Teutopolis 7:00pm
Toledo Cumberland

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Panthers Quiet Surging Blues

Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
 
Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip - their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.
Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.
 
The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.
 
Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row.
 
St. Louis dominated the offensive action in the first period, outshooting Florida 12-8. The Panthers then outshot the Blues 25-15 the rest of the way.
 
St. Louis remains third in the Central Division, three points ahead of Nashville. The Blues don't play again until visiting Chicago on Sunday.

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Duke Makes Top 10 Return

After losing to Texas Tech and Kansas, Baylor dropped to No. 9 after being ranked No. 4 last week in the latest AP Top 25 poll released Monday.
 
Duke jumped two spots and is back in the top 10 at No. 10.
 
Kentucky moved up two positions to No. 11. At the top of the poll, Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs remained at No. 1 with yet another perfect week. The Zags are now 28-0, dominating the competition with double-digit wins in each of the past 20 games, and close out the regular season schedule this week a trip to San Diego and a home game against BYU. So not only has Gonzaga been No. 1 since Week 13 on Jan. 30, but it appears primed to stay there until the madness of March begins. 
 
Virginia continued its slide down the rankings. The Cavaliers opened ACC play 7-2 and near the top of the league standings, building its case for an outside shot at a No. 1 seed in one of the toughest leagues in America.
 
Then February happened. 
 
After taking four losses over the past five games in league play capped by a 24-point beatdown by the Tar Heels on Saturday, Tony Bennett’s team has fallen three games back from first place in the ACC. The once surging Cavaliers, who made a brief stay in the top 10, have taken a slide in the polls.
 
Virginia fell from No. 14 to No. 18.

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Maroons Sent To Taylorville for Regional Play

The Class 3A and 4A postseason pairings were announced Friday afternoon and the Clinton Maroons boys basketball team has been assigned to the Taylorville Regional.
 
The Maroons will take on th hosts of the Regional at 7 pm a week from today, February 27.
 
The winner moves on to take on the top-seed of the Effingham Sectional, Springfield Southeast, Tuesday February 28 at 7 pm. 
 
With Central Illinois Conference play in the books and Regional play opening for the rest of the conference members, and the Maroons finishing 2-5 in conference, they will play two non-conference games this week to wrap up their regular season. 
 
Clinton will travel to Mt. Zion Tuesday. You can hear the game live on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.
 
Friday, they wrap up the regular season at Prairie Central. 
 
The Maroons are 10-13 overall on the season.

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Unity Drops Maroa-Forsyth in Regular Season Finale

Makenzie Heyen scored 16 points to lead three Unity Rocket scorers in double-figures as Unity ended the regular season on a winning note with a 70-37 victory over Maroa-Forsyth in non-conference boys basketball action Saturday night.
 
Heyen scored all 16 points in the second half, including 11 in the fourth quarter. JT Wheeler added 14 point with nine points in the first quarter and Steven Migut chipped in with 11 points for the Trojans.
 
Jaxson Nelson led the Trojans with ten points. Mitchell Hayden added eight points and Daanish Mahmood and Jaren Bretz each chipped in with six points.
 
The Trojans head to the Meridian Regional tonight to take on Cerro Gordo-Bement while Unity stays home for their Regional opener tonight against Broadlands-Heritage. 
 
Class 1A Regional quarterfinal games tonight:
 
At Astoria
 
Illini Central 6:00pm
Augusta Southeastern
 
At Bethany (Okaw Valley)
Bethany-Okaw Valley 7:30pm
Edinburg
 
At Danville (Schlarman)
 
Champaign Judah Christian 7:00pm
Arcola
 
At LeRoy
 
Flanagan-Cornell 7:00pm
Lexington
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Roanoke-Benson 7:00pm
DeLand-Weldon
 
At Peoria Quest Charter Academy
 
Peoria Heights 7:00pm
Brimfield
 
Class 2A Regional Quarterfinal action tonight:
 
At Farmington
 
El Paso-Gridley 6:00pm
Eureka
 
Dee-Mack 7:30pm
Knoxville
 
At Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
 
G.C.M.S 7:00pm
Tri-Valley
 
At Pana (H.S.)
 
Toledo Cumberland 6:00pm
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond
 
Pana 7:30pm
Sullivan
 
At Petersburg (PORTA)
 
Athens 6:00pm
Midwest Central
 
PORTA 7:30pm
Havana
 
At Riverton
 
Auburn 6:00pm
Virden North Mac
 
Williamsville 7:30pm
Riverton
 
At Tolono Unity
 
Unity 6:00pm
Broadlands Heritage
 
Tuscola 7:30pm
Georgetown-Ridge Farm

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ISU Holds On For Win Against Loyola; Illinois Holds Off Iowa

Deontae Hawkins scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, including a late go-ahead free throw, and Illinois State held off Loyola of Chicago 65-63 on Sunday to win its fourth straight.
 
The Redbirds missed three straight shots, and the Ramblers one, before Hawkins was fouled by Milton Doyle and hit two free throws with three seconds left. Ben Richardson's 3 at the buzzer rimmed out.
 
The Redbirds extended a seven-point halftime lead to 11, but the Ramblers closed to 45-40 on Aundre Jackson's layup, tied it at 55 on Doyle's layup, then led 58-57 on Donte Ingram's 3 with 4:53 left. MiKyle McIntosh's back-to-back 3s put the Redbirds back on top, but Doyle's jumper tied it at 63 with 2:04 to go.
 
McIntosh scored 13 points, Paris Lee hit three 3-pointers and made nine assists, and the Redbirds (23-5, 15-1 Missouri Valley) used 18 assists to score 25 of 53 field goals.
 
Doyle scored 17 for the Ramblers (17-12, 7-9).
 
>>Illinois Stops Iowa
 
Malcom Hill scored 21 points and hauled down eight rebounds and Illinois held on for a 70-66 win over Iowa on Saturday. The Illini took the lead in the final minutes on a Hill layup and fended off several Iowa chances late to win their second true road game of the season.
Michael Finke, Jalen Coleman-Lands and Te'Jon Lucas each scored 12 points for the Illini (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten).
 
Lucas blocked Jordan Bohannon's go-ahead layup attempt in the final two minutes to protect Illinois' 62-61 lead, and then Coleman-Lands knocked down a corner 3-pointer with 1:32 left.
 
Peter Jok had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Iowa (14-13, 6-8). The Hawkeyes have lost three straight.
 
Iowa had plenty of chances late. The Hawkeyes missed five of their six shots in the final 1:45 and had a nearly seven-minute stretch without a field goal earlier in the second half.
 
Tyler Cook had 14 points and Bohannon added 11 for Iowa.
 
Illinois returns home on Tuesday to face in-state rival Northwestern, which the Illini knocked off earlier this month for their first road win of the season.

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Blackhawks Blast Sabres

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist in his annual homecoming, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.
 
Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews broke it open with second-period goals for Chicago, which won for the sixth time in seven games. Ryan Hartman and Artem Anisimov also scored, helping the Blackhawks bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Saturday.
 
Evander Kane scored for Buffalo in its final game before its five-day bye. The Sabres were trying for their first four-game win streak since December 2014.
 
Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots for Buffalo.

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NBA ALL STAR GAME: West Jolts East

Anthony Davis scored a record 52 points and led the Western Conference past the Eastern Conference, 192-182 on Sunday night. He made 26 of 39 shots, scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and became the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2011 to win MVP honors on his home floor.
 
Davis was the star of stars in a game where the teams combined for more points than in any other All-Star contest. It came on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo had more dunks - 12 - than his name has consonants and LeBron James became the first player to eclipse 300 points in an All-Star career.
 
Being linked to Wilt Chamberlain, who had 42 points in the 1962 game, only made it more special, Davis said.
 
He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes - which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.
 
Not this time. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, thanks to his West teammates deferring to their host time and again.
 
Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West.
 
Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East. James scored 23 - including a 3-pointer from the midcourt logo - while Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving added 22 points and 14 assists.
 
Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East. Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16.
 
Los Angeles will host the All-Star game next year for a record sixth time.

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DJ Wins Genesis Open, Vaults To No. 1 in World

Dustin Johnson came into the 2017 Genesis Open with an incredibly distinctive record at Riviera Country Club. He had finished in the top five at this tournament five times without having ever hoisted the trophy. That’s difficult to do, and Johnson proved on Sunday that a sixth was impossible.
 
Johnson finished at 17 under overall and took the tournament on Sunday by five strokes over Thomas Pieters in a marathon day Riviera on Sunday that saw the leaders play 36 holes from sunrise to sunset.
 
Johnson fired a 64 in an early Round 3 as play got pushed to Sunday morning for the leaders because of nasty weather earlier in the week. He all but put the tournament away as he took a six-stroke lead into the afternoon round. After touching 20 under through eight holes on the front nine of his final round, Johnson could have tossed all his clubs in a pond at Riviera Country Club and used a putter the rest of the way. 
 
He made as many bogeys in the final four holes (2) as he made in the first 68, but the tournament was never in doubt. The check was already in the bag. The trophy already on his plane. PGA Tour win No. 13 was neatly tucked away as the PGA Tour wrapped up its west coast swing.
 
It was a big key all week. He finished No. 1 in the field in strokes gained off the tee and No. 3 in putting.
 
Johnson now joins Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers since 1960 who have won at least one golf tournament in each of their first 10 seasons on the PGA Tour from the time they turned pro. 
 
With the victory, Johnson also became just the 20th golfer to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He is just the sixth American to do so. 
 
Jordan Spieth (T22) finished 72-71 instead and fell way out of contention. That’s his first finish outside the top 21 since the 2016 Open Championship.
 
Jason Day (T65) could not get it going this week. He fired rounds of 70-70-75-71 and relinquished his No. 1 world ranking to Johnson. He needed to finish T3 or higher with a Johnson win, and he did not even come close. Day has had a little up and down to his game since the year started (two top 12s, a missed cut and this T65).
 
Justin Rose (T4) swing looks on point right now. He was No. 2 in the field in strokes gained off the tee, but just 40th in approach shots. The worrisome part for competitors is that he was top 10 in strokes gained putting. If he does that with any consistency throughout the rest of the season, he could win 2-3 times. Riviera would have been a nice feather in his cap of wins on crazy-good courses, but nobody was beating Johnson this weekend.
 
Adam Scott (T11) had a solid showing in his first 2017 outing. Scott was built for tracks like Riviera, and he did not disappoint. The Australian did not have a score at or above par all week. Strangely, he too finished top 10 in putting with so-so approaches. This really could be a harbinger for big Florida swings from him and Rose.

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PORTA Roll Maroa-Forsyth

PORTA held Maroa-Forsyth to one second quarter field goal and outscored the Trojans 28-7 to pull away in a 74-46 in Sangamo Conference boys basketball action Friday night at PORTA.

 

The Trojans led 15-13 after the first quarter but trailed 43-20 at the break and could not overcome the slow second quarter.

 

Daanish Mahmood scored nine of his team high 12 points in the first quarter and Jaxson Nelson added eight points for the Trojans.

 

Max Muller led the Bluejays with 23 points.

 

The Trojans will wrap up the regular season Saturday at Unity High School.

 

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Sages Hold On For Win Over St. Joe-Ogden

In a game heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com Friday night, Calvin Fisher scored a career high 27 points and the Monticello Sages wrapped up the regular season with a big win over St. Joseph-Ogden, 50-46 from Monticello High School.

 

The Sages faced their largest deficit, 35-27 with 3:21 to play in the third quarter and outscored the Spartans 23-11 the rest of the way using lockdown defense.

 

Fisher scored 16 points in the second half, including 11 in the third quarter with a three just before time expired to give Monticello a 39-38 lead.

 

Isiah Florey and Luke Stokowski each added eight points. Florey grabbed five rebounds while Stokowski grabbed four boards.

 

The Sages were outrebounded 25-20.

 

Monticello shot 12-for-15 from the floor in the second half and shot all ten of their free throw attempts in the second half, sinking six.

 

The Sages held Spartans star Brandon Trimble to 14 points and Kolten Taylor added 12.

 

St. Joe-Ogden ends their regular season, 18-9 and 3-5 in the Okaw Valley Conference.

 

Monticello ends the regular season 18-5 and 5-3 in the Okaw.

 

The Sages will play at Regionals Wednesday against the winner of Monday’s game between Broadlands-Heritage and Unity. Wednesday’s game time is set for 6 pm. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Clinton Maroons Defeat Sullivan

The Clinton Maroons defeated the Sullivan Redskins by a final score of 66-54 on Senior Night. The Maroons led 21-9 in the 4th. Junior Seth Westfall led the Maroons with a total of 18 points.
Junior Austin Rauch also chipped in with a total of 14 points, scoring 12 in the 4th. Rauch was also recognized as the Stephen York Maroons Player of the Game. 
 
The Sullivan Redskins were led by Senior Bryce Farris with a total of 20 points. Junior Isaiah Plank also chipped in with a total of 13 points.
 
With the win the Clinton Maroons improve to 9-13, and the Sullivan Redskins fall to 2-21.
 
Tune in next Tuesday as the Clinton Maroons take on Mt. Zion. You can hear the big game live on The Big 1520Am/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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UPDATED: Winter Advances to Title Tilt; Two Clinton Wrestlers Advance At State Meet

Two Clinton High School wrestlers are still in contention at the IHSA State Wrestling meet in Champaign.
 
Logan Winter will go for the state title in the 182-pound class Saturday night after his victory tonight.
 
Luke Shobe is in the quarterfinals of the wrestleback round in his weight class.  He'll wrestle again Saturday morning between 9am and 10am.  If Shobe wins his match tomorrow morning, he'll be guaranteed a medal (as high as 3rd, no lower than 6th). If he loses Saturday morning, he is eliminated.
 
Four other Clinton wrestlers advanced to the state tournament at the University of Illinois' State Farm Center.  They were:  Christian Reynolds,  Kolby Winter,  Micah Downs, and  Kyle Hammer.

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Maroons At Home For Senior Night

It's senior night at Clinton High School tonight when the Maroons boys basketball squad concluded Central Illinois Conference action against Sullivan.
 
The Maroons are off a 64-53 loss to Central A&M Saturday night. 
 
Despite a strong showing in the CIC tournament at Sullivan, the Maroons have just one conference victory and are 1-5 in CIC play.
 
Sullivan is winless in CIC play and are 2-21 overall. The Maroons are 9-13 overall.
 
Hear tonight's action on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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GBB: Slow Start Dooms Monticello at Section Final

The Monticello Lady Sages did not reach double figures in scoring until the third quarter and Bloomington Central Catholic won the Champaign St. Thomas More Sectional Thursay night 52-32.
The Lady Saints were led by Sarah Brady with 13 poitns. Charlie Sartoris added ten points.
 
Rachael Lockmiller and Tatum McCall each scored ten points to lead Monticello who ended their season at 18-5 overall.
 
BCC will take on Teutopolis at the Champaign Supersectional Monday night at 7 pm at Parkland College.
 
Class 1A Sectional Finals from Thursday
 
At Lexington
Decatur St. Teresa 45
Heyworth 50

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Senior Night at Monticello High School

The Monticello Sages boys basketball squad will conclude their regular season tonight when they play host to St. Joseph-Ogden at 7:30 pm.
It will be senior night and a rematch of a 63-51 loss at St. Joe in January. The Sages enter play tonight at 17-5 overall and are 4-3 in the Okaw Valley conference.
 
The Spartans are 18-8 overall and 3-4 in the Okaw.
 
Gametime tonight is set for 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Illini Baseball Opens 2017 Campaign Today

The Illinois baseball team opens its 2017 season in Beaumont, Texas, against Milwaukee and Lamar this weekend. 
 
The Illini are scheduled to play each opponent twice during the Lamar Cardinal Classic with one game Friday, two Saturday and the finale Sunday.
 
Illinois will start three sophomores and one freshman on the mound during the four-game weekend hosted at Lamar. Sophomore right-hander Luke Shilling will get the ball on opening day in his first collegiate start, followed by redshirt-sophomore Quinten Sefcik, sophomore Cole Bellair and freshman Ty Weber.
 
Pat McInerney, who returns to the Illini after hitting .301 with a team-leading seven home runs in 2016. McInerney is the key to Illinois' offense that is returning 66% of its hits, 82% of its homers and 73% of its RBIs from a year ago.
 
This weekend is the first of 13 straight road games for Illinois, which is followed by 13 straight home games March 14-April 2. 

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Illinois State Opens 2017 Baseball Season Today

The Illinois State baseball team opens the 2017 season Friday at the Riverview Inn Governors Challenge, hosted by Austin Peay, in Clarksville, Tennessee, when it takes on Missouri Valley Conference foe Indiana State in a nonconference tilt.
 
The Redbirds will also face host Austin Peay on Saturday and Youngstown State on Sunday. All three games are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CT starts.
 
Illinois State returns to the field after posting a 17-37 overall record one year ago. Head coach Bo Durkac returns for his third season at the helm and welcomes back 19 returners and 17 newcomers. Included in the group of returners is sophomore Owen Miller, who led the team in several offensive categories a year ago to earn Freshman All-America honors from a pair of national outlets.
 
Also returning to the team are three pitchers who Durkac expects to serve as his starters in this weekend's games, in right-handers Jack Landwehr, David Meade and Mitch Weis.
 
Illinois State's games at the Governors Challenge will be the first of 21-straight contests at either away or neutral sites for the Redbirds, who won't play their first home game until March 28, when they welcome Saint Louis to Duffy Bass Field.

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Bulls Win; Pacers Lose To Close Out NBA First Half

Jimmy Butler made two free throws with 0.9 seconds left to lift the Chicago Bulls to a 104-103 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.
 
Butler's clutch foul shots capped a memorable duel with fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the NBA's final game before the break. Butler and Thomas had 29 points and seven assists each.
 
Butler was touched on the right elbow by Marcus Smart on a turnaround jumper at the final horn, drawing a foul. Butler nodded his head up and down as an incredulous Smart danced up the court in disbelief.
 
Butler calmly drained each free throw, and Al Horford air-balled a baseline jumper on the Celtics' last shot, giving Chicago (28-29) consecutive wins against Eastern Conference powers Toronto and Boston (37-20).
 
>>Wizards Top Pacers
 
Otto Porter Jr. made six 3-pointers, finished with 25 points and eight rebounds, and the Washington Wizards won their fourth straight, a 111-98 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.
The Wizards made nine 3-pointers and led by as many as 19 points in the first half. The Pacers turned the ball over eight times in the first half, resulting in 15 points for the Wizards. Washington led the entire game.
 
Markieff Morris scored 21 points, Bradley Beal finished with 19 and John Wall added 20 points and 12 assists for the Wizards.
 
Washington (34-21) is 18-5 since the beginning of January. The Wizards' starters outscored Indiana's 97-59.
 
Myles Turner finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for Indiana. Paul George scored 17 points, and Jeff Teague had six points, six rebounds and five assists for Indiana (29-28).

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Blues Rally Past Canucks

Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen scored third-period power-play goals to lift the streaking Blues to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
 
Magnus Paajarvi and Jori Lehtera also scored, and Kevin Shattenkirk had three assists for the Blues, who won their sixth straight game. Jake Allen made 18 saves.
 
St. Louis improved to 7-1 since Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock, which is the best start for a coach in Blues history.
 
Bo Horvat, Henrik Sedin and Brandon Sutter scored for the Canucks, who dropped their third game out of their last four. Jacob Markstrom made 17 saves.
 
Allen made one save in the third period after his losing his mask. A buckle on Allen's helmet came undone behind the play, and the goalie removed it because he couldn't see. 
 
Tarasenko gave the Blues a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal 58 seconds into the third period. It was the Blues' first goal with the man advantage in four games.
 
Steen's power-play goal five minutes into the period made it 4-2. It came on the second man-advantage of a double-minor given to Sedin for high-sticking.
 
Steen had an assist on Tarasenko's goal. He had four goals and four assists and is a plus-4 since Yeo took over.
 
The Blues travel to Buffalo on Saturday.

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Pair of Clinton Football Stars Make College Commitments

Alec Cooley and Dalton Whitted have committed to play college football at Monmouth College this fall.
 
Off a record setting career at Clinton High School, the Maroons all-time leading rusher, Cooley, says he really connected with the coaching staff and wanted to be a part of the winning tradition they have.
 
 
Whitted, who played both sides of the ball for the Maroons says Monmouth will likely shift him to defense. He notes, their scheme might be something new for him to learn but says they are committed to helping him learn.
 
 
Cooley and Whitted were recruited together by Monmouth, but when the process started, they didn't have their sites set on going to the same school. Whitted says it worked out well for them.
 
 
Whitted plans to study kinesiology while Cooley plans to get degrees in business management and sports management. 
 
Monticello High School senior Nathan Graham also committed this week to play at Monmouth College. Graham helped the Sages football program to a semi-final appearance in the Class 3A football playoffs this past fall. 

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Lady Sages Go For Section Title Tonight

The Monticello Lady Sages will go for a Section title tonight when they meet Bloomington Central Catholic at 7 pm at Champaign St. Thomas More.
 
Off a 50-41 victory Tuesday night over Fithian-Oakwood, this year's seniors are trying for something they've not been able to achieve in their four year: a trip to the elite eight.
 
Monticello has won four straight regional titles, but the elusive sectional title has evaided the Lady Sages. 
 
The 18-4 Lady Sages have not faced the Lady Saints this year.
 
Tonight's winner meets the winner of tonight's Newton Section title game, Newton/Teutopolis, Monday night at 7 pm at Parkland College for a trip to Redbird Arena in Normal.
 
Class 1A Sectional final matchups tonight:
 
At Lexington
 
Decatur St. Teresa 7:00pm
Heyworth

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NFL Veteran Joining Illinois Football Coaching Staff

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has hired former NFL cornerback Donnie Abraham as a defensive assistant coach.
 
Abraham was defensive coordinator at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida from 2015-16. He will work primarily with the safeties at Illinois.
 
Smith said Abraham was a "great player" during his NFL career and picked up experience coaching high school football in Florida. He said Abraham will be helpful in implementing the staff's defensive philosophies.
 
Abraham played nine seasons in the NFL, including six in Tampa Bay when Lovie Smith was linebackers coach and Illini defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson was a Pro Bowl linebacker.
 
Abraham spent three seasons with the New York Jets before retiring from the NFL in 2004.

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ISU Edges Missouri State; Bradley Loses

Deontae Hawkins scored 19 points and put his team on top for good as Illinois State edged Missouri State 67-66 on Wednesday night.
Tony Wills and DJ Clayton added 12 points apiece for the Redbirds (22-5, 14-1 MVC) who remain tied with Wichita State for first in the Missouri Valley Conference.
 
Missouri State took a four-point intermission advantage to 45-37 early in the second half before a dunk and a 3-pointer by MiKyle McIntosh and a 3 by Hawkins helped put the Redbirds on top 47-45 with 11:38 to go. A flurry of six 3-pointers followed as the teams battled to a tie at 60 with 5:07 remaining. Hawkins hit a jumper and a layup back-to-back to break the Redbirds into a 67-62 lead with 1:46 left and they held on for the win.
 
Alize Johnson scored 17 points and Jarrid Rhodes 16 for the Bears (15-13, 6-9). Missouri State has lost four straight.
 
>>Northern Iowa Holds Off Bradley
 
Jeremy Morgan and Bennett Koch each scored 18 points and Northern Iowa held off fast-closing Bradley 64-61 on Wednesday night.
Northern Iowa led by 10 with five minutes left, but Bradley pulled within two after a dunk by Donte Thomas with 2:17 to go and despite Northern Iowa missing all three of its final shots, Koch sank 3 of 4 free throws to hold on for the win.
 
Jordan Ashton added 11 points for Northern Iowa (14-12, 9-6 Missouri Valley Conference) which avenged a January loss to Bradley, has won nine of its last 10 and is seeking to become the first MVC school since 1924-25 to start 0-5 in conference and finish above .500.
 
Bradley, which has lost three straight, trimmed its deficit to 61-59 on Thomas' dunk but committed turnovers on its next two possessions and the Braves managed only two Darrell Brown free throws in the last two-plus minutes. Bradley still had a chance, but a potential tying 3-pointer missed as time expired.
 
JoJo McGlaston led Bradley (9-19, 4-11) with 15 points and Nate Kennell added 13.

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Cavs Topple Pacers

LeBron James scored 31 points, Kyrie Irving added 26, Kyle Korver made six 3-pointers and the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled into the All-Star break with their seventh win in eight games, beating the Indiana Pacers 113-104 on Wednesday night.
Irving and Korver combined to make four 3s in the first 2:50 of the fourth quarter - Korver finished with 22 points and became the seventh player with 2,000 career 3s - as the NBA champions pulled away and improved to 7-1 in February following a drama-and-distraction filled January.
 
James and Irving are headed to New Orleans for Sunday's All-Star game.
 
Glenn Robinson III scored 17 for Indiana, which lost its fifth straight. Pacers All-Star Paul George scored just 13 and missed 12 straight shots after the first quarter. George ended his drought by making a 3-pointer with 5:15 left.
 

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Blues Blank Red Wings

Carter Hutton made 25 saves for his second straight shutout and fourth in eight games, and the Blues beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Ivan Barbashev scored 2:06 into the game and Jaden Schwartz had an empty-net goal in the final seconds for the Blues, who have won a season-high five straight games. They are 6-1 since Mike Yeo replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock. 
 
Detroit has dropped five straight games for the second time in less than a month, matching its season-long losing streak. The franchise looks like it will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 1990, barring a remarkable turnaround from the last-place team in the Eastern Conference over the final 20-plus games.
 
St. Louis hosts Vancouver on Thursday night.

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Cubs' Schwarber To Resume Catching Activities

Last year, when Kyle Schwarber tore two knee ligaments in an outfield collision in the second game of the season, it seemed his days as a catcher were over. It was rather miraculous when he made it back in time for the World Series, though even then he was limited to DH duty.
Schwarber, who is now nine months out from knee surgery, has been cleared by doctors to resume catching. The Cubs confirmed the news Wednesday morning.
 
Despite the medical clearance, the Cubs don’t figure to use Schwarber much behind the plate during the regular season. Manager Joe Maddon confirmed earlier this week that Willson Contreras will be the starting catcher and Miguel Montero the backup. Schwarber would be, at best, the emergency third catcher.
 
Even before the knee injury, there weren’t many folks who expected Schwarber to remain behind the plate long-term. He wasn’t particularly good defensively. Schwarber was always a bat-first guy. The Cubs would have lived with the shaky defense in exchange for the big bat.
 
>>Arrieta Hoping For Extension
 
Jake Arrieta is hopeful of receiving a contract extension with the Chicago Cubs before he hits free agency after this season, yet he also realizes this could be his final year with the club if talks don't materialize.
 
The ace right-hander and 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner landed a one-year deal for $15,637,500 last month. As the reigning World Series champions geared up for the first pitchers and catchers workout, Arrieta insisted Wednesday that his future isn't going to be something he allows to be a distraction at the start of spring training.
 
Arrieta says, "I don't want to see that time come to an end, my time as a Cub."
 
He came to the Cubs in a trade from Baltimore in 2013 and helped them end a 108-year championship drought.

 

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Lady Sages Advance to Sectional Championship

Rachael Lockmiller and Zanna Myers each scored 12 points apiece and the Monticello Lady Sages used a strong defensive effort to put away Fithian Oakwood 50-41 from the Champaign St. Thomas More Sectional Tuesday night in girls Class 2A sectional action. 
The Lady Sages jumped out to an early 14-2 lead and withstood a late rally from Fithian Oakwood to advance to the Sectional final Thursday night at 7 pm.
 
Rylee Dowers scored a game high 16 for Oakwood and Katelyn Young added 12.
 
Emma Reeder chipped in with nine for the Lady Sages who are now 18-4 overall for the season.
 
They'll take on Bloomington Central Catholic Thursday, who defeated Clifton Central 56-52.
 
Class 1A sectional scores:
 
At Lexington
 
Cissna Park 33
Decatur St. Teresa 50
 
Heyworth 48
Danville Schlarman 47
 
Class 3A Regional scores from Tuesday:
 
At Paris
 
Charleston 77
Decatur Eisenhower 42
 
Paris 52
Mt. Zion 40
 
At Peoria (H.S.)
 
Morton 62
Peoria Manual 31
 
Peoria Richwoods 62
Metamora 32
 
At Urbana (H.S.)
 
Mattoon 62
Urbana 28
 
Mahomet-Seymour 43
Champaign Central 59
 
At Washington
 
Normal U-High 49
Washington 39
 
Peoria Notre Dame 65
Bloomington 53
 
Class 4A Regional Scores:
 
At Champaign Centennial
 
Bradley-Bourbonnais 60
Normal West 44
 
Normal Community 64
Danville 45

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St. Joseph-Ogden Too Much For Maroa-Forsyth

The high powered St. Joseph-Ogden offense was too much for the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans as the Spartans rolled to a 72-53 victory in non-conference boys basketball action Tuesday night from St. Joseph.
 
Brandon Trimble scored a game-high 24 points and Drayke Lannert added 13 points on four three point baskets. Jack Cook chipped in with ten points for the Spartans.
 
The Trojans opened up a 21-11 first quarter lead, but the Spartans stormed back to outscore Maroa-Forsyth 39-16 over the next two quarters.
 
Daanish Mahmood led a balanced scoring attack for Maroa-Forsyth with 19 points, scoring 12 points in the first quarter. Ian Bonner scored 14 points and Aaron Agee added 11 points.
 
The Spartans return to action Friday night at Monticello High School to wrap up the regular season. 
 
The Trojans are at PORTA Friday and wrap up the regular season Saturday at Tolono Unity.

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Cardinals Top Prospect Reyes Likely Needs TJS

Here's some potentially troubling news regarding the Cardinals and gifted rookie right-hander Alex Reyes: Reyes will undergo an MRI on his throwing arm, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold adds that Reyes reported some soreness in his elbow and that the organization is concerned.
Word came down later Tuesday that Reyes will likely need Tommy John surgery. He is heading for a second opinion, understandably, and the team has not confirmed the news.
 
Reyes pitched to a 1.57 ERA in 12 games last season, five of which were starts, and he did so at the age of 21. He's an exceptionally hard thrower who can hit triple digits with his fastball, and Baseball Prospectus recently named Reyes the game's top overall prospect.
 
Reyes was likely ticketed for the Cardinal rotation in 2017. Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake and Lance Lynn (who himself is returning from Tommy John surgery) are locks to be part of the starting five. If Reyes is unable to join them, then St. Louis would likely turn to Michael Wacha to be the fifth starter.

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Bulls Beat Raptors

Doug McDermott scored 20 points, All-Star Jimmy Butler had 19 points and 12 assists in his return to the lineup, and the Chicago Bulls continued their mastery over the Toronto Raptors in a 105-94 victory on Tuesday night.
Taj Gibson had 14 points and Rajon Rondo added 12 to help the Bulls beat the Raptors for the 11th straight time. Toronto's last win in the series was Dec. 31, 2013.
 
Chicago led by as many as 23 points and never trailed in the final three quarters to snap a three-game skid.
 
Kyle Lowry scored 22 points to lead the Raptors, who lost their third straight and fell one-half game behind idle Atlanta for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan was limited to 18 points - 10 below his season average. He was whistled for his second technical found in the final minute and ejected from the game.

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Sages Upend St. Thomas More

Luke Stokowski and Calvin Fisher each recorded double-doubles as the Monticello Sages used an 18-4 third quarter to open up a big second half lead en rout to a 63-43 win over Champaign St. Thomas More at Monticello High School in Okaw Valley Conference boys basketball action Tuesday night.

Calvin Fisher scored a game high 20 points and grabbed ten rebounds while Stokowski scored 16 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, seven offensive, as the Sages dominated the glass, 36-20 and scored 14 second chance points.

 

Jarron Roy and Isiah Florey each had nine points. Florey had five assists and three rebounds as well.

 

The Sabers were led by Albion Francis, who scored 15 points and Nick Fruehling added 13 points.

 

The Sabers shot just 32% while Monticello scored at a 62.5% clip.

 

The Sages improve to 17-5 overall and are 4-3 in Okaw Valley play.

 

The Sabers drop to 10-15 overall and 2-5 in conference.

 

Monticello wraps up the regular season Friday night at Monticello High School with senior night, hosting St. Joseph-Ogden at 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

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Spurs Beat Pacers

Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs clinched their NBA-record 20th consecutive winning season with a 110-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
 
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 of his 19 points during the final 6 1/2 minutes as the Spurs improved to 42-13 in the season following Tim Duncan's retirement. They have had a winning record every season since 1997-98, when Duncan was a rookie, and broke a tie with the Utah Jazz, who had 19 straight winning seasons from 1985-2004.
 
Paul George scored 27 points and Myles Turner had 22 for the Pacers, who have lost four straight - three on their home court.
 
George's 3-pointer with 21 seconds left cut it to 107-104, but the Spurs closed it out at the free-throw line to bounce back from their loss in New York on Sunday.
 
The Pacers will try to avoid a sixth consecutive loss at Cleveland on Wednesday.

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Monticello Girls Basketball At Sectionals Tonight

The Monticello Lady Sages senior class will embark on something they've not been able to do in four at Monticello High School: Win Sectionals.
 
The Lady Sages wrapped up their fourth straight Regional title last Thursday night from Argenta Oreana High School in dominating fashion, with a 55-15 win over Unity.
 
The Lady Sages allowed a total of 26 points in the Argenta-Oreana Regional and will try to duplicate that tonight when they head to the Champaign St. Thomas More Sectional and face off against Fithian-Oakwood at 7:30 pm.
 
Despite four straight Regional titles, the Lady Sages have not been able to get that elusive Sectional championship.
 
The winner of tonight's ballgame takes on the winner of Clifton Central and Bloomington Central Catholic Thursday night at 7 pm.
 
Class 2A Sectional semifinal scores from Monday:
 
At Newton
 
Teutopolis 53
Tuscola 42
 
Class 2A Sectional semifinal matchups for Monday:
 
At Lexington
 
Cissna Park 6:00pm
Decatur St. Teresa
 
Heyworth 7:30pm
Danville Schlarman

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Duke Climbs in Latest AP Poll

Duke made a big jump and Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs are No. 1 for the third straight week in the AP Top 25 poll released Monday.
 
The Zags jumped their tallest hurdle of the conference slate yet with a 10-point road win over Saint Mary's on Saturday. Barring a major upset in the weeks leading up to Selection Sunday, Gonzaga's chances of finishing the regular season undefeated are looking more likely than ever.
 
Even with its incredible run this season, the NCAA selection committee handed the Bulldogs a No. 1 seed in the West Region in Saturday's top-16 reveal -- the fourth overall No. 1 seed. Should it finish up the regular season and conference tournament before March Madness a perfect 33-0, that fourth overall No. 1 seed very well could improve.
 
As for No. 2 Villanova, named as the No. 1 overall seed by the selection committee on Saturday, it passed a similar test this weekend. The reigning national champion won on the road against a legitimate tournament team in Xavier -- doing so by 16 points and are looking good to win the regular season Big East title.
Perhaps the most intriguing league race in the country, though, is shaping up in the ACC. North Carolina lost to rival Duke which dropped the Tar Heels two spots in the poll to No. 10. Duke jumped from No. 18 last week to No. 12.
 
Also Florida State fell to Notre Dame and Virginia fell to Virginia Tech in overtime in the past week. Right now it's North Carolina who holds a half-game lead in the standings -- and still the second highest rating in the AP poll behind Louisville. Four teams -- Florida State, Virginia, Duke, and Louisville -- are all within striking distance and all sit in the top 20 of the poll. There are 6 ACC teams in the top 25 this week.

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Cubs, Red Sox Tabbed World Series Favorites By Oddsmakers

Pitchers and catchers will soon be pitching and catching under the Arizona and Florida sun, and that means it's past time to start thinking about the 2017 season.
 
To that end, let's have a look at some World Series odds as we get set for the return of baseball. Courtesy of Bovada.lv (@BovadaLV on Twitter) come the following pre-season numbers on the 2017 Fall Classic.
 
The reigning champs, the Chicago Cubs, are co-favorites with the Red Sox, who won the AL East last season and added Chris Sale over the winter. The AL-champion Indians, meantime, check in at third. 
 
If you're looking for a play in long-shot territory, the Rockies and Pirates, each at 40-1, merit some consideration. The Angels at 75-1 are also attractive.
 
The Cardinals are 22-to-1 odds to win the World Series after an offseason which included adding centerfielder Dexter Fowler from Chicago.
 
The Dodgers and Nationals are both 10-to-1 odds to win the Fall Classic.

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UPDATED: Lady Maroons Fall to Lincoln in Regional Game

The Lady Maroons fell to the Lincoln Railsplitters by a score of 60-23 on Monday night in girls Class 3A Regional quarter-final action from Taylorville.
 
The Maroons were led by Junior Alyssa Saulsberry with two rebounds and one steal. Sophomore Sydnee Underwood chipped in with three steals.
 
The Railsplitters were led by Junior Morgan Lolling with two rebounds, eight steals and one block. 
 
The loss marks the end of the season for the Lady Maroons.
 
Lincoln advances to play Litchfield Wednesday.
 
Class 3A Regional scores from Monday:
 
At Paris
 
Decatur Eisenhower 68
Decatur MacArthur 66
 
At Peoria
 
Canton 52
Peoria Manual 55
 
Limestone55
Macomb 26
 
At Peoria Richwoods
 
Metamora 54
Illinois Valley Central 42
 
At Taylorville
 
Springfield Southeast 57
Taylorville 54
 
At Washington
 
Washington 46
East Peoria 39
 
Class 4A Regional Quarterfinal action from Monday:
 
At Champaign Centennial
 
Normal West 72
Champaign Centennial 46

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Monticello Rolls Decatur St. Teresa

Calvin Fisher and Luke Stokowski were a two-man wrecking crew for three quarters and th Monticello Sages held on late for a 54-41 non-conference boys basketball win Saturday night from Decatur St. Teresa High School.
 
Fisher scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, Luke Stokowski scored 11 of his 17 in the first half to help Monticello open up a 31-16 advantage at the intermission, then Isiah Florey scored six of his ten points in the fourth quarter to help the Sages hold off a surging Bulldogs offense late.
 
Isiah Bond scored 12 points in the final period to lead St. T with 19 points, as the Bulldogs shot ust 34-percent from the floor.
 
For the second straight game, the Sages shot 55-percent, including Fisher who made his first four three-point attempts and finished 4-for-5 beyond the arc.
 
The Sages outrebounded the Bulldogs, 27-22 with 14 second chance points on 10 offensive rebounds. 
 
The Sages are 16-5 overall on the season.
 
They resume play this week hosting Champaign St. Thomas More Tuesday and finish the regular season Friday at home hosting St. Joe-Ogden.
 
Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Slow Start Dooms Clinton At Central A&M

The Clinton Maroons could not over come a slow start Saturday at Central A&M High School and fell 64-53 in Central Illinois Conference boys basketball action.
Trailing 31-21 at the half, the Maroons could not mount a comeback in the second half despite getting within six after three quarters and dropped to 1-5 in CIC play and are 9-13 overall.
 
Peyton McCubbin led three scorers in double-figures with 17. Austin Rauch added 12 points and Seth Westfall chipped in with ten.
 
The Marons are back in action Friday night when they host Sullivan at 7:30 pm. 
 
Hear all the action on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Timberwolves Top Bulls

Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 22 to help the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the severely short-handed Chicago Bulls 117-89 on Sunday.
Ricky Rubio had 17 points, 11 assists and six rebounds and Minnesota shot 54 percent to help coach Tom Thibodeau sweep the season series against his former team. Gorgui Dieng added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
 
Doug McDermott scored 16 points and made four 3-pointers for the Bulls, who were missing Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Nikola Mirotic and Paul Zipser with injuries. The Bulls turned the ball over 18 times, were outrebounded 46-35 and were outscored 56-38 in the paint.

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ISU Rolls Bradley; Penn State Beats Illinois

Paris Lee scored 14 points, Deontae Hawkins added 13 and Illinois State jumped out early and cruised to a 64-50 victory over Bradley on Saturday night.
The Redbirds (21-5, 13-1 Missouri Valley) have won two straight since an 86-45 loss at Wichita State on Feb. 4, and pulled a half-game ahead of the Shockers atop the conference standings. Bradley (9-18, 4-10) has lost eight of its last nine games.
 
Phil Fayne chipped in 11 points for Illinois State.
 
The Redbirds started the game on a 13-1 run, led 32-15 at halftime and had a double-digit lead the rest of the way. The Braves shot just 6 of 25 (24 percent) from the field, including 1 of 10 from long range in the first half.
 
Jayden Hodgson and JoJo McGlaston scored 11 points apiece to lead Bradley, which pulled to 58-48 with 2:37 left but didn't get closer.
 
>>Penn State Rolls Illinois
 
Penn State picked up their first win in Champaign in eight years when they beat Illinois 83-70 Saturday.
Payton Banks tied his career-high with 24 points and Penn State won its third straight against the Illini for the first time since the series started in 1990.
 
Malcolm Hill led the way for Illinois (14-12, 4-9 Big Ten) with 14 points.
 
Illinois finished with 14 turnovers, including two in the first four possessions of the game.
 
Illinois has a week to plan for its Saturday matchup at Iowa.

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Spieth Wins At Pebble Beach

Jordan Spieth took a page out of the old Tiger Woods playbook: Crush the field Thursday through Saturday and make them weep on Sunday. Spieth hit fairways and greens like a robot on Sunday, and he forced a field that trailed him by six to come touch him.
Spieth shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday to finish at 19 under on the week and round out his ninth career PGA Tour victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He beat runner-up Kelly Kraft by four.
 
Spieth had 13 one-putts on Saturday and gained over four strokes on the rest of the field on the greens on the weekend alone.
 
After a 70-72-69-33 start, Phil Mickelson could not have ejected any harder down the stretch. Lefty shot a 44 on the back nine on Sunday that included a double and quadruple bogey for a 77 overall on Sunday. He ended up finishing last out of all 65 golfers that made the Saturday cut. He confirmed what we all believe about Mickelson. He won't always win, and he won't always play well. But he'll always be interesting.
 
Dustin Johnson had maybe the quietest third-place finish he has ever had. He actually out-played Spieth on the weekend (10 under to 9 under), but Spieth had already built a commanding enough lead that it didn't matter.
 
Jason Day co-led the field in birdies with 23, but a disastrous 75 on Saturday was his ultimate undoing. Still, the rest of it was impressive.

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Clinton Maroons Defeat Meridian

The Clinton Maroons defeated the Meridian Hawks by a score of 72-66 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by senior Peyton McCubbin with 22 points. Junior Seth Westfall added 15 points and junior Austin Rauch also chipped in with 14.

 

The Hawks were led by Cameron Getz with 15 points and Nate Durbin with 10 points.

 

With the win the Maroons improve to 9-12 overall and 1-4 in the CIC. Meridian falls to 10-15 on the season and 1-5 in conference action.

 

Tune in Friday, February 17, as the Maroons take on Sullivan. You can hear the game live on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, and on the WHOW app.

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Sages Earn Top Seed in Monticello Sectional, Unity Regional

The Monticello Sages boys basketball squad is the number one seed in the Monticello Class 2A Sectional and will begin Regional play in Tolono on February 20 with a first round bye.

 

The Sages, at 16-6 overall for the season, will head to the Unity Regional where they will play the winner of a Monday, February 20 matchup between Tolono Unity and Broadlands-Heritage (6 pm).

 

On the other side of the bracket, Argenta-Oreana earned a four-seed in the Monticello Sectional and will take on the winner of the second matchup from February 20, between Tuscola and Georgetown-Ridge Farm (7:30 pm) from Unity High School.

 

The Unity Regional final matchup is set for Friday, February 24 at 7:30 pm.

 

Hear each Monticello postseason matchup on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

 

Class 2A regional quarter-final pairings:

 

At Pana

 

#8 Toledo Cumberland

#10 Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond

 

#5 Pana

#12 Sullivan

 

At GCMS

 

#6 Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley

#9 Tri-Valley

 

At Meridian

 

#9 Maroa-Forsyth

#10 Cerro Gordo-Bement

 

At Farmington

 

#7 El Paso-Gridley

#11 Eurkea

 

#6 Dee-Mack

#12 Knoxville

 

Class 1A Regional Quarter-final pairings:

 

At Astoria

 

#9 Illini Central

#12 Augusta Southeastern

 

At Abingdon-Avon

 

#3 Delavan

#14 Sciota West Prairie

 

At Peoria Quest Charter Academy

 

#6 Hartsburg-Emden

#11 Peoria Christian

 

At LeRoy

 

#6 Flanagan-Cornell

#7 Lexington

 

#3 Decatur Lutheran

#12 Blue Ridge

 

#5 LeRoy

#9 Bloomington Cornerstone Christian Academy

 

At Mt. Pulaski

 

#10 Roanoke-Benson

#11 DeLand-Weldon

 

#4 Mt. Pulaski

#14 Decatur Christian

 

#8 Sangamon Valley

#13 Normal Calvary Christian Academy

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Blues Keep Rolling With Overtime Win in Toronto

Vladimir Tarasenko strode through the neutral zone, dipped around a Toronto forward, deked out another and fired a shot past Frederik Andersen for another victory for the surging St. Louis Blues.
The Blues improved to 4-1-0 under new coach Mike Yeo, beating the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night. St. Louis has allowed only six goals in five games under Yeo - including one in the last three outings - with goaltending from Jake Allen primarily taking a big leap forward.
 
Allen stopped 31 shots against the Leafs after posting a 30-save shutout two nights earlier.
 
Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis. Morgan Rielly scored for Toronto, and Andersen made 38 saves.

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Duke Surges Past North Carolina; UCLA Rallies Past Oregon

Grayson Allen scored 25 points, Jayson Tatum added all 19 of his in the second half and the Blue Devils beat No. 8 North Carolina 86-78 on Thursday night.
Luke Kennard added 20 points and Tatum had a team-best nine rebounds to help the Blue Devils (19-5, 7-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their fourth straight.
 
Justin Jackson scored 21 points and Joel Berry II finished with 15 for the Tar Heels (21-5, 9-3), who were just 10 of 18 from the free throw line - 8 of 15 in the second half - in dropping into a first-place tie with Florida State.
 
This renewal of one of college basketball's fiercest rivalries lived up to its pedigree, with 17 lead changes, nine ties and neither team leading by more than eight points.
 
>>UCLA Rallies Past Oregon
 
Aaron Holiday gave UCLA its first lead on a 3-pointer with 4 minutes remaining in the game and the 10th-ranked Bruins rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit to beat No. 5 Oregon 82-79 on Thursday night.
 
Holiday and star freshman Lonzo Ball scored 15 points each, combining to score UCLA's final seven points. Ball had 11 rebounds to help his team control the boards, 43-35. The Bruins (22-3, 9-3 Pac-12) moved into a third-place tie with idle California in the league standings.
 
Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey scored 19 points each for the second-place Ducks (21-4, 10-2). Dorsey missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 23 seconds left.
 
The Bruins closed with a furious rush, battling for rebounds after not getting back to defend early in the game. Holiday's go-ahead basket was part of a 33-15 run to end the game.
 
Starting with UCLA, the Ducks play five of their final seven regular-season games on the road.
 
The Bruins play five of their final seven games at home, where their only loss has been to Arizona.
 
Oregon visits Southern California on Saturday while UCLA hosts last-place Oregon State on Sunday.

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Lamb, Noh, Dahman Hold Off Spieth At First Day From Pebble Beach

Rick Lamb, Seung-Yul Noh and Joel Dahmen (three relative unknowns) share the lead after all three shot 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill, which is one of the three courses being used this week. Right on their heels is two-time major winner and the current No. 6 golfer in the world Jordan Spieth.
Spieth was 3 under at the time the tournament was suspended for weather with just two holes remaining on his round at Monterrey Peninsula. He made five birdies and two bogeys in the first round which qualified as an elite performance on a day when just 36-of-156 golfers found themselves under par.
 
Spieth's best finish at this event is a T4 in 2014. He also had a T7 in 2015. He's looking for his first win on the PGA Tour since he took the Dean & DeLuca Invitational last May.
 
Spieth will play the first three days with musician Jake Owen as well as Dustin Johnson and his partner Wayne Gretzky. Johnson is 1 under and T22 after Round 1.
 
No. 1 golfer in the world Jason Day finished at 2 under on his round at Monterrey Peninsula.
 
On Thursday, rain and wind pelted the west coast as scores skyrocketed and players took cover. Play resumes at 10:30 a.m. ET today.

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Thunder Upset Defending Champs

Russell Westbrook scored 29 points and had his 26th triple-double of the season to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-109 on Thursday night.
Westbrook added 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the 63rd triple-double of his career.
 
Victor Oladipo scored 23 points and Steven Adams had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Thunder, who now can focus on their showdown with former teammate Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
 
Kyrie Irving scored 28 points, LeBron James had 18 and Kevin Love added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won four straight. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said after Wednesday's win at Indiana that he was considering resting the three All-Stars, but they all started.

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UPDATED: Lady Sages Diffuse Lady Rockets For 4th Straight Regional Title

Rachael Lockmiller scored 20 of her game high 24 points in the second half the Monticello Lady Sages clamped down defensively on the Unity Lady Rockets to win their fourth straight Regional title 55-15 Thursday night at Argenta-Oreana High School.
 
Lockmiller called it a total team effort and felt their defense worked very well together.
 
 
The Lady Sages held the Lady Rockets without a field goal for over 23 minutes and without a point for 18 minutes.
 
The Lady Rockets scored on a free throw with no time on the clock at the end of the first quarter, making the score 12-11 and didn’t score again until the 6:10 mark of the fourth quarter and then got a field goal for the first time since the final 1:30 of the first quarter with 55 seconds left in the game.
 
Unity did not score in the second or third quarters and outscored the Lady Rockets 43-4 in the final three quarters. 
 
Head Coach Dave Beery says he was extremely impressed with his team's defense.
 
 
Zanna Myers scored 12 points for the Lady Sages and Tatum McCall added eight points. Myers says she just tooke what the defense gave her tonight and got some shots to fall.
 
 

 

The Lady Sages will take on Fithian Oakwood Tuesday night from the Champaign St. Thomas More sectional at 7:30 pm.
 

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Girls Basketball Regional Finals Preview

Tonight, girls basketball squads across the area will look to advance to sectionals next week when Regional final games open tonight.
 
Class 2A:
 
At Argenta-Oreana
 
Monticello 7:00pm
Tolono Unity
 
At Athens
 
Illini West) 7:00pm
Havana
 
At Auburn
 
Hillsboro 7:00pm
Auburn
 
At Clifton Central
 
Paxton-Buckley-Loda 7:00pm
Clifton Central
 
At El Paso-Gridley
 
Fieldcrest) 7:00pm
Peoria Christian
At Illini Bluffs
 
Eureka 7:00pm
Tremont
 
At Olympia
 
Bloomington Central Catholic 7:00pm
Champaign St. Thomas More
 
At Sullivan
 
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 7:00pm
Tuscola
 
Class 1A
 
At Armstrong
 
Colfax Ridgeview 7:00pm
Cissna Park
 
At Bethany Okaw Valley
 
Central A & M 7:00pm
Bethany Okaw Valley
 
At LeRoy
 
Decatur St. Teresa 7:00pm
Fisher

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Bulls, Pacers Lose

Kevin Durant responded from his worst game since joining the Warriors with 22 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, and Golden State beat the Chicago Bulls 123-92 Wednesday night for a 138th straight regular-season game without consecutive defeats.
 
Klay Thompson scored 28 points with six 3-pointers playing on his 27th birthday, Stephen Curry added 13 points and six rebounds and the Warriors had all five starters score in double figures for the fourth time.
 
Golden State hasn't lost consecutive regular-season games since April 5 and 7, 2015, at San Antonio and New Orleans, during its championship season.
 
This was the Warriors' eighth win following a loss this season and 17th in a row overall since those dates in '15.
 
Robin Lopez had 17 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the undermanned Bulls playing back in the Bay Area where he attended Stanford.
 
>>Cavs Top Pacers
 
Kyle Korver scored a season-high 29 points and LeBron James gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a second-half energy boost, lifting the defending champs over the Indiana Pacers 132-117 on Wednesday night.
 
Cleveland has won the first three games on its four-game road trip and six of its last seven overall.
 
James had 25 points, six rebounds and nine assists and Korver hit 8 of 9 3-pointers. Kyrie Irving had 29 points.
 
C.J. Miles scored 23 points to lead the Pacers, who ended a season-best seven-game winning streak. Jeff Teague had 22 points and 14 assists.
 
Indiana led most of the first half and still had a 63-57 edge at halftime.
 
James scored 16 points in the second half while Cleveland rallied. The Cavs went on a 14-2 run in the third quarter to lead 78-72, extended the margin to 14 at the end of three and never let the Pacers seriously challenge again.
 
Cleveland, which struggled to make shots early, hit 61.9 percent from the field in the second half.
 
Indiana, meanwhile, shot just 34.8 percent in the third quarter when it scored 18 points.
 
Paul George finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Pacers.

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Indiana State Edges Bradley

Matt Van Scyoc scored 19 points and Emondre Rickman's jumper with 28 seconds to play lifted Indiana State to a 56-54 win over Bradley on Wednesday night.
 
Bradley called timeout with 23 seconds to go and Donte Thomas missed his jumper with nine seconds remaining. Everett Clemons secured the rebound for Indiana State (9-16, 3-10 Missouri Valley) and passed to Laquarious Page, but Thomas stole the ball and dished to JoJo McGlaston whose last second 3-point heave was off the mark.
 
Thomas made a pair of free throws with 1:43 left to put Bradley up 54-51. Van Scyoc buried a 3 21 seconds later before Rickman's game winner.
 
Bradley (9-17, 4-9) led 38-27 at halftime but scored just 16 points after the break and finished the game on 17-for-55 shooting (31 percent). The Braves also shot just 14 for 28 from the free throw line.
 
Brenton Scott scored 11 points for the Sycamores.
 
Thomas led Bradley with 13 points and Darrell Brown had 11.

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Toew's Overtime Goal Sends Blackhawks Past Wild

Jonathan Toews scored a power-play goal 3:09 into overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks over the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Wednesday night.
 
Ryan Suter was called for holding midway through the overtime, and with the man advantage, Toews slipped a rebound between the skates of goalie Darcy Kuemper.
 
Toews also had two assists, and Richard Panik had a goal and an assist. Corey Crawford stopped 35 of 38 shots as the Blackhawks snapped an eight-game regular-season losing streak against Minnesota.
 
Nino Niederreiter had two assists for the Wild, and Kuemper had 28 saves.
 
Minnesota's Erik Haula scored with 3:03 left in the third period to tie it at 3. Defenseman Marco Scandella carried the puck from behind his own blue line deep into the Chicago zone, then feathered a backhanded pass across the goalmouth, where Haula was waiting to tip it past Crawford.

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Major League Baseball To Test Wild Extra Innings Rule

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has time and again prioritized speeding up the pace of games and, by extension, shortening those same games. To that end comes a radical idea with regard to games that go into extra innings. Here's the scoop from Yahoo's Jeff Passan:
Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game's orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports.
 
Specifically, MLB will try out this system -- i.e., putting a runner in scoring position to start every extra frame -- in rookie ball this season. It's similar to what's already in place for the World Baseball Classic since 2009.

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Day, Johnson Looking To Bounce Back At Pebble Beach

The best views in all of golf are upon us this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The celebrities will be out in full force (they always are), but the best players in the world are as well with four of the top 10 in the world in action .
 
Participants this week include Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith, Jason Day, Justin Rose, and Phill Mickelson, who are the top five odds-makers pick to win this weekend. 
 
After missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago, the No. 1 player (Day) and No. 4 player (Johnson) in the world will try to rebound. Their combined success here is pretty stunning: Two wins (both from Johnson) and seven other top 10s (not including Johnson's top 10 at the 2010 U.S. Open).
 
Lefty is the all-time money leader at this event, but he's not the all-time wins leader. With four, he trails Mark O'Meara by one and is tied with Sam Snead. He could have had No. 5 last year, but he still has not won since the summer of 2013. 
 
Nine of the 12 winners on the PGA Tour this season have been under 3, with five of those wins have come from Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama (combined age 47), neither of whom are playing this week, but it will be interesting to see if that streak can continue at Pebble.
 
Vaughn Taylor won last year's event. 

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Athens Edges Maroa-Forsyth

Drayton Davis scored 16 points to lead three Athens Warriors players in double-figures as they took down Maroa-Forsyth 60-53 in Sangamo Conference boys basketball action Tuesday night from Athens High School.
 
Davis scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in the second half. Devin Richardson added 13 points and Nick Hannder chipped in with 12 points.
 
Jaxson Nelson led the Trojans with 21 points and Tanner Herz added 10 points.

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High School Girls Basketball Postseason Scores

Class 2A Girls basketball regional semi-final scores from Tuesday:
 
At Argenta-Oreana
 
Monticello 51
Warrensburg-Latham11
Tolono Unity 66
Maroa-Forsyth 48
 
At Clifton Central
 
Iroquois West 36
Paxton-Buckley-Loda41
 
St. Joseph-Ogden 39
Clifton Central 45
 
At El Paso-Gridley
 
Fieldcrest 30
El Paso-Gridley 24
 
Peoria Christian 53
Flanagan-Cornell 47
 
Class 1A Girls Basketball Regional Semi-Final Scores:
 
At Armstrong
 
Ridgeview 57
Milford 38
 
Cissna Park 49
Armstrong 38
 
At LeRoy
 
Decatur St. Teresa 43
Lexington 30
 
Fisher 51
LeRoy 47

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Illinois Downs Northwestern

Malcolm Hill scored 14 points and Illinois beat Northwestern 68-61 on Tuesday night.
 
Te'Jon Lucas, Maverick Morgan and Michael Finke each had 11 points, while Hill added nine rebounds for Illinois (14-11, 4-8 Big Ten).
 
Bryant McIntosh led Northwestern (18-6, 7-4) with 21 points, but he committed an uncharacteristic six turnovers compared and made four assists. Vic Law had 16 points and nine rebounds.
 
Tied at 28 at halftime, no team enjoyed more than a six-point lead in the back-and-forth second half until the game's final moments. Lucas scored a layup with 1:37 remaining to put Illinois ahead 63-61, and Michael Finke added to the lead with a jumper at 1:09.
 
Following Law's 3-pointer at 3:31, Northwestern missed its next three field goals and committed four turnovers. The Wildcats' 33.9 field goal percentage Tuesday was a season-worst.

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Cubs Rizzo Reaches Out To Student Beaten At Chicago School

Children at a suburban Chicago school are wearing Cubbie blue in support of a classmate who was severely beaten and Cubs star Anthony Rizzo is inviting the boy to Wrigley Field when he gets better.
 
Rizzo tweeted his invitation to 12-year-old Henry Sembdner to watch batting practice and a game, saying he'd heard the 7th-grader was a Cubs fan.
 
The attack happened last Friday at Kenyon Woods Middle School in South Elgin. Authorities say another student attacked after Henry bumped into him. He suffered facial fractures and other injuries. The boy remains hospitalized but school officials say his condition is improving and he's breathing on his own after doctors removed a breathing tube.
 
Police say their investigation is continuing to determine if the other boy should face criminal charges.

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Illinois State Clobbers Drake

Paris Lee scored 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting, Keyshawn Evans scored 16 points and Illinois State drubbed Drake 82-53 on Tuesday night.
 
Illinois State (20-5, 12-1 Missouri Valley) rebounded from Saturday's 86-45 defeat against Wichita State and moved a half-game up of the Shockers (21-4, 11-1) for first place in the conference. Deontae Hawkins added 15 points for the Redbirds.
 
Illinois State led 37-34 at halftime, and just after intermission, Ore Arogundade made a 3 to bring Drake within 42-41. But the Redbirds took control with a 16-4 run, with nine points coming from Lee, and never looked back.
 
The Redbirds shot 69.2 percent (18 for 26) in the second half, including 4 for 8 from 3-point range. Drake (7-18, 5-8) shot 18.2 percent (6 for 33) from the floor and 3 for 15 from 3-point range.
 
Billy Wampler scored 12 points and was the only player in double figures for the Bulldogs.

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Blues Blast Senators

Jake Allen made 30 saves, Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and St. Louis beat the Ottawa Senators 6-0 on Tuesday night.
 
Magnus Paajarvi, Patrik Berglund, Alexander Steen and Ivan Barbashev also scored for the Blues (27-22-5), who have won three of four. Paul Stastny and David Perron added two assists apiece.
 
St. Louis shut out Philadelphia 2-0 on Monday night behind Carter Hutton's 26 saves, but Yeo opted for Allen against the Senators and he responded with his second shutout of the season.
 
Much of the crowd headed for the exits after St. Louis made it 4-0 midway through the third on Steen's 11th of the season off his own rebound after a Mike Hoffman giveaway. Minutes later Tarasenko scored his second and Barbashev made it 6-0 on yet another giveaway.
 
St. Louis jumped in front with two goals in the second. Paajarvi beat Hammond for his second of the season at 1:51, and Tarasenko used a great pass from Paul Stastny to make it 2-0 at 6:46.
 
Berglund jumped on a rebound for an early power-play goal in the third. The Senators challenged the play, arguing the Blues were offside, but the review was inconclusive.
 
The Blues visit Toronto on Thursday night.

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Monticello Beats Unity

Calvin Fisher scored ten of 18 points in the second quarter as the Monticello Sages opened up a 30-16 halftime lead, then pushed it to 22 in the third quarter as they topped Unity 64-35 Tuesday night in Okaw Valley Conference boys basketball action from Tolono.

 

Fisher also grabbed nine rebounds.

 

Johnny Dawson scored 14 points. Luke Stokowski added 11 points and Ben Singleton came off the bench and contributed 11 points for Monticello, who snapped a two game, conference skid and evened their conference record at 3-3 and got back to ten games over .500 at 15-5 overall.

 

A group effort on defense frustrated Unity’s star junior, JT Wheeler, as they held him to 12 points. Jonathan Decker added 11 points for the Rockets.

 

After getting outrebounded in the first half, Monticello outrebounded Unity 17-7 for a 33-24 advantage for the game.

 

The Sages turned 16 Unity turnovers into 16 points and had 14 second chance points on 13 offensive rebounds.

 

Unity drops to 8-11 on the season and 1-6 in Okaw Valley conference action.

 

The Sages return to action Saturday evening when they travel to Central Illinois Conference leading Decatur St. Teresa for a 6 pm tip.

 

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

 

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Clinton Maroons fall to Warrensburg-Latham

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Warrensburg Cardinals by a final score of 49-43.
 
Senior Peyton McCubbin led the Maroons with a total of 16 points. McCubbin was recognized as the Stephen York Maroons Player of the Game. Junior Austin Baker also chipped in with a total of 11 points.
 
The Warrensburg Cardinals were led by Senior Alex Coers with a total of 12 points. Senior Andrew Butts also chipped in with a total of 10 points.
 
With the loss the Maroons fall to 7-12 and the Cardinals improve to 17-5.
 
Tune in Febuary 17th as the Clinton Maroons take on Sullivan. You can hear the big game live on The Big 1520AM/92.3FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

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Illini QB Lunt Thinking Pros After Senior Bowl Nod

Rochester High School turned Illini quarterback Wes Lunt isn't ready to give up on pro football dreams after all. 
 
Lunt's college career has had its share of disappointments and injuries, not only at the University of Illinois, but at Oklahoma State University, where he started for a time as a true freshman. 
 
He thought his football playing days were drawing to a close last fall but that all changed when a college football all star game came calling.
 
 
Lunt is in San Diego training for the NFL Draft or free agent opportunities. Some sportswriters say he helped his stock the most at the East West Shrine Game.

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Maroons Host Warrensburg-Latham

Coming off their third place finish at the Central Illinois Conference Tournament in Sullivan last week, the Clinton Maroons return to CIC action tonight when they host the Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals.
 
The Maroons upset the Cardinals last Saturday, January 28, 54-39 when the Cardinals came into action as the tournament's second seed.
 
Tonight, the Maroons look to duplicate their performance and conintue to build on a 2-1 week in the CIC tournament with wins over the Cardinals and Tuscola. 
 
Despite those two wins in CIC tournament action last week, they do not count towards their overall conference record, so currently the Maroons sit at 0-3 in conference play and 8-11 overall.
 
The Cardinals are a half-game back of Decatur St. Teresa in the conference standings, one back in the win column, as both teams are undefeated in conference play.
 
Warrensburg-Latham enters play 16-5 overall. 
 
Tonight's action from Clinton High School gets underway at 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Girls Basketball Postseason Kicks Off

It's basketball postseason time in Illinois as the Class A, AA girls basketball postseason opened last night with Regional play.
 
In 1A quarterfinal action Monday:
 
At LeRoy
Champaign Judah Christian 33
Lexington 46
 
LeRoy 61
Urbana U-High 24
 
At Mt. Pulaski
 
Normal Calvary Christian Academy 45
Decatur Christian 35
 
At Springfield Lutheran
 
Illini Central 66
Springfield Calvary 33
 
Class 2A quarterfinal action Monday:
 
At Argenta-Oreana
 
Warrensburg-Latham 50
Cerro Gordo 27
 
Maroa-Forsyth 67
Argenta-Oreana 55
 
At Clifton Central
Paxton-Buckley-Loda 38
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 31
 
At El Paso (E.-Gridley
 
El Paso-Gridley 44
Dee-Mack 27
 
Flanagan-Cornell 52
Henry-Senachwine 17
 
At Olympia
 
Olympia 33
Tri-Valley 36
 
At Sullivan
 
Villa Grove 45
Meridian 34
 
Sullivan 48
Shelbyville15

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Sages Travel To Unity

The Monticello Sages will look to break a two-game slide when they hit the road tonight to take on Okaw Valley Conference rival Tolono Unity. 
 
Off two losses last week for the Sages, they will look to right the ship tonight against the Rockets, whom they beat back on January 28, 58-45.
 
The Sages enter play tonight 14-5 on the season and 2-3 in Okaw action. 
 
Regional pairings will be announced Friday for boys 2A postseason action, which will likely send the Sages back to Tolono in two weeks. 
 
Monticello gets a break in Okaw Valley play this Saturday when they head to Decatur St. Teresa. 
 
The Sages are in the midst of playing four games on the road over a five game stretch. They'll return home for their final two games next week, when St. Joseph-Ogden and Champaign St. Thomas More come to town.
 
Hear tonight's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com starting at approximately 7:15 pm.

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Bulls, Pacers Win

Dwyane Wade scored 31 points, including the final seven for Chicago to help the Bulls hold off the Sacramento Kings 112-107 on Monday night.
After the Bulls squandered a 27-point lead in the second half, Wade hit a tiebreaking 20-footer to put them ahead for good, 109-107, with 13 seconds left. Then he stole the inbounds pass following a timeout and went the length of the court for a dunk to make it a four-point lead.
 
Wade added a free throw with a second to play following the second technical foul of the night on a furious DeMarcus Cousins, who thought he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Cousins was ejected after picking up his 16th technical of the season, a total that triggers an automatic one-game suspension.
 
Michael Carter-Williams had 21 points for the Bulls, and Robin Lopez scored 17. Jerian Grant added 13 points as Chicago won its second straight and third in four games.
 
>>Pacers Hold Off Thunder
 
Paul George scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and rallied the Indiana Pacers from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 93-90 for their seventh straight win.
 
Indiana's winning streak is its longest in nearly two years, and it has held four straight opponents under 100 points. Along the way, the Pacers have won four straight at home and have beaten James Harden and Russell Westbrook with defense. Westbrook was limited to two assists in the final two quarters Monday.
 
George, meanwhile, scored 15 points in the second half and helped the Pacers break out of their first-half shooting funk. And when the defense ramped it up in the second half, the weary Thunder broke down.
 
Westbrook had an inefficient 27 points, a season-high 18 rebounds and nine assists. He shot 10 of 27 from the field and 4 of 10 on 3-pointers, including two missed 3s in the final 7.6 seconds when he could have forced overtime.
 
Indiana led 91-82 with 4:48 to go, but the Thunder scored eight straight and had a chance to take the lead with 1:39 to play. But Westbrook missed a layup, Steven Adams missed a tip and George answered with an 18-footer. Westbrook then missed his final pair of 3-point attempts.
 
Jeff Teague scored 17 points for Indiana.
 
The Pacers will wait to see if LeBron James suits up for the division-leading Cavs on Wednesday night. James did not play in his last two games in Indianapolis.

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Blues Blank Flyers

The St. Louis Blues kicked off a big five-game trip with a solid performance in Philadelphia as Carter Hutton had 26 saves, Kenny Agostino scored his first goal in almost three years and the Blues beat the Flyers 2-0 on Monday night.
 
Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis, which won for the second time in three games after coach Mike Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 1, following a 1-5-0 stretch. Hutton, who allowed 13 goals in his three previous appearances, posted his first shutout since Jan. 24 and No. 3 on the season.
 
Michal Neuvirth made 14 stops for Philadelphia, which was coming off a 1-0 overtime loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. It has dropped three of four overall.
 
The Blues won despite being held to a season-low 16 shots. It was just the third time this season they have been held to fewer than 20 shots.
 
The 24-year-old Agostino was recalled from the minors when the team announced Sunday that forward Robby Fabbri will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Agostino was leading the AHL with 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) in 48 games.
 
He scored on a breakaway 2:10 into the third period, beating Neuvirth under the crossbar to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. It was his first NHL goal since April 4, 2014, as a rookie with the Calgary Flames.
 
The Blues visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

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College Basketball Polls: Oregon Rises, Kentucky Drops

There's a big shakeup in the AP Top 25 rankings for the second successive week.
 
Last week, seven of the top 10 teams suffered losses, leading to undefeated Gonzaga jumping from No. 5 to the No. 1 spot.
 
On Saturday, a record was tied when six top-10 teams went down in one day.
 
Gonzaga retained their top ranking with 59 first place votes. Villanova received six first place votes and is ranked second, followed by Kansas Louisville, and Oregon, up from 13th last week.
 
Baylor, Wisconsin (up from tenth a week ago), North Carolina, Arizona and UCLA round out the top 10.
 
Kentucky dropped from 8th to 15th in this week's poll, while Purdue shot up seven spots, from 23rd to 16th this week.
 
Xavier at 24 and SMU at 25 entered the polls this week. 
 
For the second straight week, we had chaos in the top 10 of the coaches poll. 
Six top-10 teams lost on the same day. Yet the polls still have not brought in any new members. The biggest jump this week is for Oregon, which is up seven spots after sweeping Arizona and Arizona State.
 
Kentucky was one of three teams falling six spots. The Wildcats dropped from from No. 6 to No. 12 after losing to Florida 88-66. Butler, which lost at home to Creighton in its only game of the week, dropped from 15th to 21st.
 
Notre Dame slipped from No. 18 to No. 24 after losing to Duke and North Carolina and is on a four-game losing streak.

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Patriots Win Super Bowl With Epic Comeback

Tom Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports history highlighted by a Julian Edelman catch that was almost beyond belief. The New England Patriots pulled themselves out of a 25-point hole against the Atlanta Falcons to a 34-28 win for New England's fifth NFL championship. It was the first Super Bowl decided in overtime.
 
The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White's 2-yard touchdown run in overtime after winning the coin toss. White scored three touchdowns and a 2-pointer.
 
Brady guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defense for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.
 
Brady finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards, also a record, and two touchdowns.
 
The Patriots won the coin toss for overtime, and by then it was no contest. Brady completed six passes against an overmatched Falcons secondary. A pass interference call took the ball to the 2, and White scooted to his right and barely over the goal line.
 
White had 14 receptions for 110 yards, but Brady hit seven different receivers.
 
Before New England could catch its breath, Ryan had the Falcons up 14-0. Using the no-huddle attack to perfection, he threw for 51 yards on a 52-yard drive, hitting Hooper with a pinpoint pass in the left side of the end zone.

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Minnesota Downs Illinois; Wichita State Throttles Illinois State; Bradley Wins

Reggie Lynch scored 15 points to lead Minnesota to a 68-59 win over Illinois on Saturday to end a five-game losing streak.
 
Akeem Springs added 14 points and Nate Mason and Amir Coffey had 13 apiece for the Golden Gophers (16-7, 4-6 Big Ten)
 
Minnesota scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 42-35 lead for good. Mason's jumper made it 54-44 at the 12:29 mark.
 
Coffey had two free throws with a minute left to put the lead at 10. Kipper Nichols hit a 3-pointer for the Illini with 33 seconds left but that was their only basket in the last seven shots.
 
Nichols led the way for Illinois (13-11, 3-8 Big Ten) with a career-high 16 points. Malcolm Hill added 13 points and four rebounds.
 
>>Wichita Routs ISU
 
Conner Frankamp scored 18 points and Shaquille Morris had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Wichita State put a beat down on Illinois State in an 86-45 win on Saturday night as the Shockers drew even atop the Missouri Valley Conference standing.
Illinois State beat Wichita State 76-62 on Jan. 14 and entered Saturday's game with a one-game lead in conference.
 
Wichita State led 35-22 at halftime and used a 19-2 run to start the second half pushing the lead to 30 points in less than six minutes. Wichita State (21-4, 11-1) shot 8 for 9 from the floor during that span.
 
The Shockers shot 57 percent from the floor (30 for 53) to 33 percent (18 for 54) for Illinois State (19-5, 11-1). The Redbirds were a paltry 4 for 22 from behind the 3-point line and didn't have one player in double-figure scoring.
 
Markis McDuffie added 16 points for Wichita State and Zach Brown chipped in 10.
 
Phil Fayne led the Redbirds with nine points.
 
>>Bradley Drops Drake
 
Darrell Brown had 20 points and Donte Thomas added 19 with nine rebounds as Bradley held off a late charge to beat Drake 79-72 on Saturday to halt a six-game losing streak.
Bradley sprinted to a 41-23 halftime advantage and was up 62-47 midway through the second period. The Bulldogs had a 6-0 run late, capped by a T.J. Thomas dunk, to close to 69-63. Thomas added two free throws later to cut the margin to 70-65 with 2:36 remaining. Graham Woodward drilled a 3-pointer to close to 77-72 with 24 seconds left.
 
Brown made 14 of 15 free throw attempts. JoJo McGlaston added 11 points and Koch Bar chipped in 10 for Bradley (9-16, 4-8 Missouri Valley). Jayden Hodgson had a career-best seven assists.
 
Drake, which started the season 1-12, is 6-7 in its last 13 games.
 
T.J. Thomas led the Bulldogs (7-17, 5-7) with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

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Blues Lose F Fabri For Season

St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri will miss the rest of the season with a left knee injury.
The team announced Sunday that Fabbri is out with an ACL injury. St. Louis recalled Magnus Paajarvi and Kenny Agostino from Chicago of the American Hockey League.
 
Fabbri was checked into the boards by Pittsburgh's Carter Rowney during the first period Saturday night and went to the ice. Fabbri put no pressure on his left leg as he left.
 
The long-term injury is another blow to the Blues, who have lost six of their past eight games and fired coach Ken Hitchcock last week. The 21-year-old Fabbri had 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 51 games this season.

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Matsuyama Wins Waste Management Phoenix Open

Hideki Matsuyama has played the Waste Management Phoenix Open four times in his career -- each of the last four years. In that span, he now has two wins and two top-five finishes. 
 
Matsuyama took down Webb Simpson in a four-hole playoff with a birdie on the final hole, and he now has half as many trophies as golfers who have beaten him at TPC Scottsdale.
 
After a thrilling 18 holes of regulation that saw both golfers get to 17 under (Simpson shot a 64, Matsuyama a 66), neither golfer could get anything going in the playoff. Six drama-filled pars between them in the first three holes as both players left birdie putts for the win short. Then, on the fourth playoff hole (the drivable 17th on the course), Simpson caught a bad break.
 
He banged a drive onto the green but it rolled to the back right. The pin was on the back left. The green had a curved posterior, though, and Simpson did not have a straight line to putt. He might have been better off chipping over the sand and back edge of the green rather than putting. Instead he left himself a lengthy birdie putt with Matsuyama already staring at a 12-foot birdie of his own.
 
That left the door open for Matsuyama's second-straight Phoenix Open win. He found the bottom of the cup, and he knew it even before it fell. For somebody who has struggled with the flat stick over the course of his career, Matsuyama was a picture of perfection in the playoff. He hit a tough five-footer for par on the hole before and looked anything but unconfident.
 
The duo actually had eerily similar days. Both played bogey free. Both made birdie at No. 15 in regulation. Both made eagle at the par-5 third hole. It was a great show on a day when some monstrous names went low.
 
With the win, Matsuyama has passed Shigeki Maruyama with the most wins by any Japanese player in PGA Tour history. 
 
Phil Mickelson (T16) faded coming home with a 40 on Sunday after getting within striking distance of the lead early in the day. 
 
Jordan Spieth (T9) really got it going on Friday as he went out in 31 and looked destined for something in the low 60s. But two bogeys and a double coming in took him out of contention for good despite a solid 67-67 weekend. Spieth has reached the point of his career where if he finishes outside the top 10, it's more of an eyebrow-raiser than if he wins.
 
Rickie Fowler (T4) closed like this was the 2015 Players Championship all over again. 
 
This year in Phoenix he played the final six in a thrilling 4 under and notched his second-straight top-five finish. It was good to see him mix it up on the weekend after a ho-hum start to 2017.

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Rantoul Downs Monticello in Overtime

Kevin Williams and missed free throws were too much for the Monticello Sages as Rantoul held on to beat Monticello 69-65 in overtime Friday night from Monticello High School in Okaw Valley Conference boys basketball action.

 

The Eagles led by 13 in the first half, but Monticello battled back in the second half to take a lead, only to have Rantoul force overtime.

Williams, the 6-foot-6 senior led Rantoul with 35 points and 15 rebounds despite fouling out late in overtime.

 

Additionally the Sages shot just 13-for-35 from the free throw line for the game.

 

The Eagles turned the ball over 24 times Friday, leading to 24 Monticello points.

 

Rantoul dominated Monticello on the boards 46-27.

 

Calvin Fisher led Monticello with 24 points. Isiah Florey finished with 21 points.

 

Ben Singleton dished out eight assists and pulled down six rebounds.

 

Rantoul improved to 5-0 in the Okaw Valley and 17-6 overall.

 

The Sages are now 2-3 in the Okaw Valley and 14-5 on the season and have lost two straight.

 

They head to Tolono Unity Tuesday night for a 7:30 pm start time.

 

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

 

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Maroons Secure Third in CIC Tournament

The Clinton Maroons defeated the Tuscola Warriors with a score of 46-39 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by Senior Noah Griffin with 14 points. The Player of the Tournament, Junior Seth Westfall, added to the score with 11 points.
 
The Warriors were led by Junior Tyler Meinhold with 15 points and Senior Ray Kerkhoff with 13 points.
 
With the win the Maroons secure third place in the CIC Tournament. Tune in Tuesday as the Maroons take on Warrensburg. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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HS BBALL: Maroons & Sages In Action Tonight

>>Maroons Go For Third Place at CIC Tournament
 
The Clinton Maroons will go for third place tonight at the Central Illinois Conference boys basketball tournament from Sullivan High School when they meet up with Tuscola.
 
The Warriors were defeated by the tournament's top-seed, Decatur St. Teresa Tuesday night. 
 
The Maroons, who were coming off an upset of the second seed in the tournament, Warrensburg-Latham, the Maroons fell to Shelbyville Tuesday night.
 
Shelbville and Decatur St. Teres will play for the tournament title at 7:30 pm. 
 
Game time tonight between Clinton and Tuscola from Sullivan is 6 pm. Hear all the action on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 
 
>>Sages Host Rantoul
 
The top team in the Okaw Valley is up next for the Monticello Sages when they welcome Rantoul to Monticello High School.
 
The Eagles enter action 6-0 in Okaw Valley play and are 16-6 overall. 
 
Rantoul beat Monticello 49-45 back on January 6th in Rantoul.
 
The Sages lost for the first time since that matchup Tuesday at St. Joseph-Ogden, 63-51.
 
The Sages are 14-4 overall and 2-2 in the Okaw Valley conference.

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NHL: Blackhawks & Blues Win

>>Kane, Blackhawks beat Coyotes 4-3 to snap 3-game skid
 
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, Duncan Keith added two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 on Thursday night to stop a three-game slide.
 
Chicago led twice by three goals but gave up three in the second period and had to hold on. Ryan Hartman, Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin also scored for the Blackhawks.
 
Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for Arizona.
 
The Blackhawks scored twice in 72 seconds during the first period, their first goal coming 15 seconds into a power play. Kane's left-handed shot pinged off the crossbar and down into the cage at 8:44 of the period.
 
Hartman made it 2-0 at the 9:56 mark, his long shot zipping through several players in front of the net and past Arizona goalie Mike Smith.
 
>>Stastny, Allen lead Blues to 5-1 win over Maple Leafs
 
Paul Stastny scored twice abd Jake Allen stopped 26 shots for his first victory in more than a month to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
 
Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen and Colton Parayko also scored for St. Louis, which had lost five of its previous six.
 
Mike Yeo won in his first game as Blues coach, a day after he replaced the fired Ken Hitchcock.
 
Mitchell Marner scored for Toronto, which fell to 1-3 on its season-high six-game road trip.

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NFL: Falcons, Patriots Meet For Super Bowl

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are at home in Houston, where they won Super Bowl XXXVIII, and accustomed to the NFL's biggest stage.
 
The Atlanta Falcons are in their second Super Bowl and strive to secure the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history on Sunday in Super Bowl LI.
 
The Falcons, in head coach Dan Quinn's second year, rode the NFL's highest-scoring offense (33.8 points per game) to the top of the NFC. The trophy on the line Sunday is the hardware that matters, but Atlanta's achievements already include offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan being named assistant coach of the year and Matt Ryan as offensive player of the year. The MVP award is handed out Saturday night, and Ryan is expected to win that award.
 
Quinn's defense was 27th in the NFL in points allowed and starts four rookies, which could be viewed as blood in the water for Brady, who is one win from setting the modern-day record with five Super Bowl wins.
 
In 12 games this season, Brady was sacked just 15 times and had a TD-to-INT ratio of 28-12. Against Atlanta, a defense built on speed, the Patriots could install an extra offensive lineman or tight end and play power football to force the Falcons to adjust.

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NBA: 2/2 Scoreboard

>>NBA from 2/2
LAL 108
WAS 116
 
ATL 113
HOU 108
 
PHI 86
SA 102
 
GS 133
LAC 120

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CBB: EIU Wins; UIC Loses; Top 25 Scores

>>McReynolds leads Eastern Illinois to overtime win
 
Demetrius McReynolds scored 22 points and Eastern Illinois defeated Tennessee State 77-67 in overtime on Thursday night.
 
Muusa Dama added 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds with Montell Goodwin adding 11 points and six assists and Terrell Lewis 11 points and four assists.
 
The Panthers (11-12, 3-7 Ohio Valley) made 10 of 22 3-pointers and scored 30 points off 18 Tennessee State turnovers in winning their second straight after a five-game losing streak.
 
Wayne Martin scored 16 points, Delano Spencer 13 and Tahjere McCall 11 for the Tigers (13-10, 4-6), who have dropped five of six.
 
The Panthers trailed by 13 in the second half when McReynolds made three consecutive 3-pointers to start a 14-0 run. McReynolds' bucket with 47 seconds left was the final basket of regulation with the score 61-all.
 
After the teams traded 3-pointers in overtime, McReynolds scored the first five points in an 11-0 run.
 
>>Green Bay seals it at the line over UIC in 84-80 win
 
Warren Jones scored 18 points and Kenneth Lowe had 16 points and Green Bay held off Illinois-Chicago 84-80 from the free throw line making its final eight attempts on Thursday night.
 
The Flames closed to within two points twice in the last 30 seconds, 80-78 after a jumper by Dominique Matthews and 82-80 after K.J. Santos dunk. But both times the Phoenix thwarted the Flames' momentum by sinking free throws.
 
Khalil Small went 4 for 4 shooting from the line and Jamar Hurdle and Warren Jones each went 2 for 2 in the last minute. Green Bay (14-9, 8-3 Horizon League) for the game shot 22 for 29 from the free throw line while Illinois-Chicago (11-12, 4-6) was 7 for 9.
 
Tevin Findlay and Small each scored 10 points and Small was perfect on all eight of his free throws.
 
Matthews finished with 22 points, Santos had 17 and Godwin Boahen had 13 for the Flames.
 
MIZZOU 54
24 FLA 93
 
5 ARIZ 71
OREG ST 54
 
18 ST MARY'S 74
PACIFIC 70
 
ARIZ ST 70
13 OREG 71
 
1 GONZAG 85
BYU 75

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MLB: Cardinals, RHP Martinez agree to $51M extension

The St. Louis Cardinals and right-hander Carlos Martinez have agreed to a $51 million, five-year contract extension that buys out his arbitration years and includes two team options, according a person direct knowledge of the deal.
 
The person spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because terms have not been released.
 
The contract breaks the record for a pitcher reaching arbitration for the first time. The Indians signed Corey Kluber to a $38.5 million, five-year deal in 2015.
 
The 25-year-old Martinez made 31 starts a year ago, posting a 3.04 ERA and assuming the role of staff ace. That lowered his career ERA to 3.32 over parts of four seasons in St. Louis.
 
Pitcher Michael Wacha is the Cardinals' only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible player.

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Maroa-Forsyth Edges Riverton

Daanish Mahmood carried the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans with 22 points as they downed Riverton 47-46 in Sangamo Conference boys basketball action Wednesday night from Riverton.
 
Mahmood was the only Trojans player to reach double-figures, as Ian Bonner scored nine points and Jaxon Nelson added eight points. 
 
Jordan Merry paced the Hawks with 15 points and Spencer Yoggerst added 14 points.

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Illinois State Tops Northern Iowa; Bradley Falls To Southern Illinois

Paris Lee scored 18 points as Missouri Valley Conference leader Illinois State notched its 12th-straight win, beating Northern Iowa 57-51 on Wednesday night.
Lee was 6 of 15 from the floor for the Redbirds (19-4, 11-0 MVC). Phil Fayne added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Deontae Hawkins had 11 points and nine rebounds.
 
Lee made two 3-pointers, a layup, and a pair of free throws late in the first half to give the Redbirds a 21-12 lead with 3:19 to play in the period. They had a 23-19 edge at intermission.
 
Fayne contributed six points to an 8-0 surge midway through the second that put Illinois State up 38-28 with 7:42 left. Northern Iowa closed it to 55-51 with 14 seconds to go but Lee drained two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to finish the scoring.
 
Jeremy Morgan led the Panthers (10-12, 5-6) with 12 points.
 
>>Southern Illinois Beats Bradley
 
Mike Rodriguez scored 15 points and lead all five Southern Illinois starters in double-figure and the Salukis handed Bradley a 20-point Missouri Valley Conference loss 85-65 on Wednesday night.
The Salukis led by 10 points with less than two minutes left in the first half but Bradley rallied to trail by six, 36-30, at intermission.
 
Thik Bol hit a jumper and dunked and Sean Lloyd got to the basket for a layup and Southern Illinois needed just 90 seconds to push its advantage to a dozen points, 42-30.
 
Rodriguez hit 4 of 9 from the field, including 2 of 3 from distance, and dished out six assists to lead the Salukis (13-11, 6-5). Bol had 14 points and six boards.
 
Darrell Brown and JoJo McGlaston each scored 14 points to lead Bradley (8-16, 3-8) and Jayden Hodgson added another 11 points.
 

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Illini Football Signs 23, 10 From Illinois

Illinois coach Lovie Smith signed 10 in-state players in his 23-man recruiting class Wednesday, the most from the Land of Lincoln since 2008. For fans who have watched some of the best homegrown talent migrate to other Big Ten schools, that is a victory in itself.
 
Smith filled his greatest need, which was to replace five seniors on the defensive line - including all four starters.
Chicago Catholic League offensive player of the year Ricky Smalling from Brother Rice High in Oak Lawn is a four-star wide receiver prospect, making him the Illini's highest-rated player at that position in a decade. His early verbal commitment was celebrated by fans who want to believe Smith is on the right track.
 
DT Kendrick Green of Peoria surprised some when he picked Illinois over Iowa in December.
 
DE Deon Pate of Jacksonville, Florida, came into the fold on Monday. He flipped from Appalachian State after visiting Champaign last weekend.
 
Smalling and Carmoni Green are likely to see immediate playing time in a receiving corps that returns 2016 leader Malik Turner and the promising Mike Dudek, who has missed two seasons with ACL tears. 
 
Junior college transfer Dwayne Lawson, who started his career at Virginia Tech, was expected to challenge Jeff George Jr. at quarterback, but Lawson's signing has been delayed because of a grades issue.

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Cubs Trade For Former Rockies Top Prospect

The Chicago Cubs have acquired Eddie Butler from the Colorado Rockies for James Farris in a swap of right-handed pitchers.
As part of Wednesday's trade, the teams exchanged international bonus money slots for the signing period that starts July 2, with the Cubs getting No. 74 and the Rockies No. 28.
 
Butler was designated for assignment Saturday after going 6-16 with a 6.50 ERA in 36 career games with the Rockies. The 25-year-old was the 46th overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft.
 
Farris split time last season between Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee. He was picked by the Cubs in the ninth round in 2014.
 
The 24-year-old is 4-13 with a 2.91 ERA during three minor league seasons. He has 38 walks and 151 strikeouts.

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Cardinals, Ace Martinez Near Extension

The Cardinals and ace right-hander Carlos Martinez have less than a week before they head to arbitration. However, before that comes to pass, a long-term contract extension is likely, as Fox's Ken Rosenthal reports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports adds that the Cardinals are expected to announce Friday that Martinez has been signed to a five-year, $51 million extension. Such a deal would buy out two of Martinez's free-agent years.
 
Martinez, 25, is coming off a 2016 season in which he pitched to a 3.04 ERA and 2.49 K/BB ratio in 195 1/3 innings. Along the way, he registered a ground-ball percentage of 56.4. For his career, he owns an ERA+ of 118 across parts of four big-league seasons.
 
Now that Adam Wainwright has moved into his decline phase, Martinez has emerged as the undisputed ace of the St. Louis rotation. This deal reflects that reality.

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Bulls, Pacers Win

Jimmy Butler scored 28 points to help the Chicago Bulls rout the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-100 on Wednesday night.
Dwyane Wade had 18 points and seven assists for the Bulls, who shot 60 percent from the field overall and 68 percent in the second half.
 
Russell Westbrook had 28 points and eight assists and Jerami Grant scored a season-high 15 points for the Thunder, who lost their third straight overall and had their five-game home winning streak snapped.
 
It took until the fourth quarter for someone other than Westbrook to reach 10 points for the Thunder. Oklahoma City shot just 38 percent from the field and made 10 of 37 3-pointers.
 
>>Pacers Down Magic
 
CJ Miles score 14 of his team-high 16 points after halftime and lead the Pacers over Orlando 98-88.
 
Plagued by foul trouble in the first half, Miles converted 4 of 5 3-pointers during the final two quarters to help the Pacers extend their winning streak to four. Miles was inserted into the starting lineup ahead of Glenn Robinson III five games ago.
 
The win was significant because it came on a night when star player Paul George was off his game. After scoring 30 or more points in each of the Pacers last four games, George had just eight points (one point in the second half), while shooting just 3 of 14 from field and committing five turnovers.
 
The Pacers got big contributions from a variety of places to offset George's off night. Robinson came off the bench to score 14 points, while Young had 12 points and Teague added 13 points and nine assists.
 
Orlando was led by Serge Ibaka's 20 points. It shot just 40 percent from the field while Indiana converted 48 percent from the floor and 45 percent from 3-point range.
 
Indiana continues its road trip with a stop in Brooklyn to take on the last place Nets on Friday night.

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Phoenix Open Starts Today

Tiger Woods has jetted over to Dubai. Rory McIlroy is still nursing an injury. Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are taking a breather after missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open last week. But Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas highlight a terrific field in one of the wildest weeks of the golf season at the Phoenix Open.
 
Jordan Spieth leads the field at 8-to-1 odds to win, followed by last year's Phoenix Open champion, Hideki Matsuyama, with 10-to-1 odds.
 
Thomas comes in with 11-to-1 odds this weekend while 2013 Phoenix Open winner, Phil Mickelson, begins the weekend with 25-to-1 odds and Bubba Watson enters with 28-to-1 odds. 
 
Fan favorite Rickie Fowler starts with 33-to-1 odds. 
 
It's the best friends show in Phoenix. Thomas clipped Spieth twice in Hawaii, and both of them took the last two weeks off.

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Sages Fall To St. Joseph-Ogden

The Monticello Sages could not keep up with the St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans Tuesday night in Okaw Valley play, dropping a 63-51 decision on the road in league play.
 
Both teams shot over 50-percent for the game, however, the 16-8 turnover differential was ultimately the demise of the Sages, especially in the second half. 
 
Brandon Tremble scored 30 points to lead the Spartans. Tremble was 11-for-11 at the free throw line and 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
 
Jordan Brooks scored 15 points for St. Joseph-Ogden, who improves to 2-2 in Okaw Valley action.
 
Calvin Fisher led the Sages with 24 points while Johnny Dawson scored 11 points. 
 
The Sages drop to 2-2 in Okaw Valley play and fall to 14-4 overall.
 
They welcome league leading Rantoul to Monticello High School Friday night at 7:30 pm.
 
Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Illini Comeback Falls Short Against Wisconsin

Ethan Happ scored 14 points and led the way in No. 10 Wisconsin's 57-43 rout over Illinois on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) started the game with a 16-2 run and never trailed.
 
Much of the hot start came from the open 3-pointers Illinois allowed Wisconsin's players to take - the Badgers shot 7 of 23 from 3-point range in the game.
 
The Badgers big men dominated the game in the post, out-rebounding Illinois 45-36, including 19-6 on the offensive boards.
 
Nigel Hayes scored 11 points and added eight rebounds for Wisconsin.
 
Malcolm Hill and Maverick Morgan both had 10 points for Illinois (13-10, 3-7).

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Illini RB Transfering To Vanderbilt

Running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn says he is transferring from Illinois to Vanderbilt.
 
Vaughn tweeted Tuesday he was planning to continue his career at Vanderbilt. Although the account is unverified, Illinois athletic department spokesman Derek Neal confirmed it belongs to Vaughn.
 
Vaughn rushed for 301 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries at Illinois this past season. He rushed for a team-leading 723 yards and six touchdowns on 157 carries as a freshman in 2015.
 
He started five games in 2015 and three in 2016.
 
The move allows the graduate of Pearl-Cohn High School in Nashville, Tennessee, to return to his hometown. In his announcement, Vaughn said that "I am very blessed to have this opportunity to return to the place where it all began."
 

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Blackhawks, Blues Lose

Tomas Hertl scored the game-winner with 2:03 remaining in regulation after Patrick Marleau scored his 499th career goal, helping the San Jose Sharks win for the seventh time in eight games, 3-1 over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
Hertl, who missed 32 games with a knee injury, got his first goal since Oct. 27 when he knocked in the rebound of Brent Burns' shot to help the Sharks match last year's home win total of 18 in the first game back from the All-Star break.
 
Joe Pavelski added an empty-netter to cap a night that nearly included a milestone for Marleau. He had an apparent goal wiped off by an offside call on replay before scoring No. 499 in the second period.
 
Martin Jones made 24 saves.
 
Dennis Rasmussen scored for the Blackhawks, who have lost three straight games. Corey Crawford made 26 saves.
 
>>Jets Top Blues
 
Jacob Trouba scored in the third on an unusual play, and the Jets beat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Tuesday night.
 
Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler each had a goal and two assists as Winnipeg improved to 12-4-1 within the Central Division and 3-0 against St. Louis. Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored, and Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves.
 
Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues, who lost their fourth straight on home ice. Jake Allen made 19 saves.
 
Winnipeg opened a 4-2 lead on Trouba's fourth of the season 3:33 into the third. Trouba initially fanned on the shot but the puck went off of Pietrangelo's skate and into the net.
 
The ricochet on Trouba's goal was another tough break for Allen, who made his first start since being pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots on Jan. 19. He was replaced in each of his previous three starts, allowing 10 goals on 36 shots during that span.
 
Allen received sarcastic cheers from the crowd of 19,483 for routine saves throughout the game.
 
The Blues host Toronto on Thursday.

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Soldier Field To Host Soccer All-Star Game

Chicago's Soldier Field will host this year's Major League Soccer All-Star game, the league announced Tuesday.
The match on Aug. 2 will feature the MLS All-Stars against an international team that has not been named yet. The Chicago Fire, who play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, will host the event.
 
It is the first time in six years that the game will not be played at an MLS home venue. The 2010 All-Star game was played at Houston's Reliant Stadium.
 
MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Fire owner Andrew Hauptman and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended a press conference Tuesday announcing the game.
 
The Fire, embarking on its 20th year, previously hosted the All-Star game at Toyota Park against Chelsea in 2006. Fire Coach Veljko Paunovic will manage the MLS All-Stars.

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