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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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