Local Sports

PBL Basketball Coach Excited to Join Illini Prairie Conference

The courtship between Paxton-Buckley-Loda and the Illini Prairie Conference has been going on for many years and when the opportunity first came up, basketball coach Adam Schonauer saw a great opportunity for the Ford County school district.

 

Coach Schonauer was not as vocal about taking advantage of the invitation to the Illini Prairie the first time around as he was early in his tenure, but this time, he spoke up and pushed hard for the school to be apart of the league that stretches from the Champaign area, to Bloomington and up north of Peoria.

 

 

PBL already has a number of Illini Prairie Conference teams on their schedule. Coach Schonauer says there's a natural, budding rivalry with Monticello forming, Rantoul is a natural fit on their schedule being just up the highway and they fit in Tolono Unity and St. Joe-Ogden.

 

 

Schonauer has grown up around good basketball with roots in Lincoln, playing under Hall of Fame Coach Neil Alexander and has adopted many of the Lincoln basketball styles at PBL.

 

 

Schonauer's PBL team this year lost in a sectional championship to Joliet Catholic. He feels playing in a league like the Illini Prairie Conference will help prepare for battles like they had with Joliet Catholic down the road. 

 

The conference switch for the Panthers begins with the 2021-2022 school year.

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Heyworth Schools AD Concerned for Future of Spring Sports Season

Everyone in the education world is wading through uncharted waters as learning will now begin to take place from home and a spring sports season seems almost unlikely after Sunday's order from the federal government to extend social distancing guidelines to the end of April.

 

For first time athletic director Derek Logue in Heyworth, he has looked to his peers in the area and the Heart of Illinois Conference for guidance during this time and even they are telling him, this is uncharted territory for them as well.

 

 

Trying to stay optimistic before the weekend's extension of social distancing guidelines from the Federal Government, Logue was concerned then because of the continued developments of the coronavirus outbreak across the country. 

 

 

Last week the IHSA indicated their continued optimism to have a spring schedule but with the month of April likely wiped for any sort of sports activities, the future of a spring sports season seems even more uncertain.

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Former Cardinals CF Jim Edmondsd Has Pneumonia, Waiting on Coronavirus Test Results

Former All-Star outfielder Jim Edmonds announced on his Instagram page that he went to the hospital to be tested for the coronavirus after displaying some symptoms.

 

The 49-year-old Edmonds sent a video update Saturday night on his Instagram Story saying he was back home after testing positive for pneumonia for the first time in his life, but was awaiting results of tests for the coronavirus.

 

Earlier Saturday, Edmonds posted a photo of himself in a hospital room with a facemask covering his nose and mouth.

 

He said he was feeling “super sick” and added that he wasn’t “taking any chances because it’s so hard to get tested by the rules of the CDC.”

 

Edmonds played 17 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals. He won eight Gold Glove awards, and finished with a .284 career batting average with 393 home runs and 1,199 RBIs. Edmonds also helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006. He also played for the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds late in his career before retiring in 2011.

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Clinton High School Girls Track Stars Sign National Letters of Intent

Each year across the country student-athletes commit to continuing their passion for athletics while pursuing their college degree.  This was the case earlier this month when 4 female student-athletes decided to celebrate their decision together at Clinton High School and to anyone’s knowledge is the first time in CHS history where 4 athletes from the same spring sport sign to run track in college.  Olivia Earle, Aryn Scott, Tori Burke and Payne Turney have been planning this event for a while and finally got the opportunity to have their signing ceremony in front of their friends, family, teachers, and coaches.  The ladies wanted to sign together as a family because the girls track & field team is just that… “family.”

 

Olivia Earl is one of the most positive and joyful athletes to be on the girls track team.  She is a positive influence and encourager with her teammates, coaches and her competition.  Olivia has worked very hard through some injuries over her high school career to accomplish a 2019 CIC Girls Conference Championship and was a 2019 IHSA State Qualifier in the pole vault.  Olivia continues to sharpen her skills in the pole vault through her strength and conditioning, practices, and faith.  Olivia’s positive influence, determination, faith, and strength will help her make her way at Olivet Nazarene University while studying to be an elementary teacher and participating in Track and Field.  Nothing but big bars ahead for Olivia Earl!

 

Aryn Scott is a very positive, coachable, and a hard worker which are attributes that will contribute to her collegiate years ahead at Greenville College.  Aryn is always willing to race whatever distance the team needed and that is one of many attributes that makes her so successful.  In 2019 Aryn placed 3rd at the CIC Conference Championships in the 3200m run and was a key runner in the 4X800 IHSA State Relay!  With Aryns confidence, faith, determination and beliefs she will be a strong member of the Greenville College Cross Country and Track & Field team while pursuing a degree in Dermatology.  Nothing but big strides ahead for Ayrn Scott.

 

Tori Burke is a hard worker both on the track and off the track.  T-Burke’s commitment and ability to recognize what is takes to be successful has shown in her success as an athlete.  Tori is a valued leader of the track and field team and is a great roll model for underclassmen.  Tori is always working on technique to help her in the blocks.  Tori achieved the 2018 CIC Conference Champion Title in the 100m and was a 2019 IHSA State Qualifier among other accomplishments.  Tori’s faith, work ethic, and leadership skills will help her make her way at Illinois Wesleyan University while studying to be a nurse and participating in Track and Field. Nothing but fast strides ahead of Tori Burke.

 

Payne Turney is a natural born leader and leads by faith and examples in everything she does.  She displays great sportsmanship, a positive attitude, and is ALWAYS very humble.  Both on and off the track Payne finds ways to be her best, but in a way to stay humble.  Payne is committed to pushing herself into races and events to challenge her inner self and she does that will so much success.  Payne holds the most records of any athlete in Clinton Girls Track History. She holds every record, indoor or outdoor, F/S or varsity, from the 800m run to the 3200m run.  She has qualified multiple times for the IHSA state meet and indoor top times for the 800, 1600, and 3200m run.  Her best finish came in 2019 when she became Clinton’s first EVER Girls State Track and Field Champion in the 800 m.  Payne is undoubtedly committed to doing what it takes to be the best and she will flourish at Purdue University majoring in Biochemistry while competing on the cross country and track and field team.  Nothing but big strides ahead for Payne Turney.

 

All four of these female track and field athletes have played instrumental rolls in the Back to Back to Back CIC Conference Championships.   Tim Burke mentioned that “The girls track and field program has undoubtedly the most supportive teammates and coaching staff I have ever witnessed.  Thank you for the past 4-year lesson in what teamwork is all about!”    All four of these student-athletes are successful in the classroom as well as an athlete and that allows for the underclassmen to look to these 4 for guidance, leadership, and support.  “This is a great testimony of hard work does pays off.  

 

I am blown away by the girls and how they’ve bought into what an excellent coaching staff has put into place.  Every one of these college programs is getting the best young lady for their teams” says Ryan Sosamon.  The Clinton Girls Track and Field Program is coached by Rachel Lyons, Leann Sosamon, Ken Lovett, and Darren Moser.  All four of these coaches not only coach, but they too lead by faith, teach life lessons, and promote a family atmosphere.

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Clinton High School AD Taking Things Day By Day

Encouraged there has not been an outright cancellation of the spring sports season, Clinton High School Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says he is simply going a day at a time right now.

 

Koeppel is not getting ahead of himself worrying about if there will be a spring sports season or not and remains optimistic the IHSA continues to take a wait-and-see approach as well.

 

 

When the news came down about the coronavirus outbreak suspending the sports season, Koeppel believes it wasn't that much of a surprise to his coaches or athletes as most had been tracking the situation via social media.

 

 

According to Koeppel, Clinton School facilities are closed at this time and they continue to follow the lead of the state leaders. He hopes they can soon get their athletes back together to get something out of the spring sports season.

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On Scheduled Opening Day, MLB and Players Agree to Coronavirus Hiatus Pay Scale

Players agreed to a deal with Major League Baseball that would preserve service time in the event this season is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic but left open details of what a configured schedule would look like.

 

As part of the agreement approved by the union Thursday night, players will not challenge the loss of their salaries if no games are played.

 

Management will advance $170 million in salary payments over two stages, and that money does not have to be returned if the season is canceled. Player salaries this year are expected to total roughly $4 billion.

 

Management was given the right to cut the amateur draft in both 2020 and 2021 and to freeze the values of signing bonus money at 2019 levels.

 

Teams are set to approve the roughly 17-page agreement Friday, the person said.

 

Opening day was to have been Thursday but was pushed back to mid-May at the earliest because of the virus outbreak. The spring training schedule was cut short on March 12 because on the pandemic, and it remains unclear when and if baseball can resume.

 

Both sides agreed to make a “good faith effort” to schedule as many games as possible this year, subject to government rules, travel, player health, and economic feasibility.

 

Seven-inning games for doubleheaders have not been given much discussion but also have not been ruled out.

 

Players considered service time the key, and older players were willing to give up money to keep younger colleagues on track for big-money contracts next offseason.

 

If there are no games this year, anyone currently on a 40-man roster, 60-day injured list or an outright assignment to the minor leagues with a major league contract would receive 2020 service time equaling what the player accrued in 2019. If a partial season is played, service time would be the equivalent of what the player would have received over a full schedule.

 

Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, George Springer, and JT Realmuto would be eligible for free agency, even if no games are played. The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Betts from Boston just before spring training with the assumption they would have the 2018 AL MVP for one season.

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IHSA Still Optimistic Spring Sports Season Could Happen

The IHSA is not ruling out the possibility of a partial spring sports season as nationwide efforts are intensifying to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Craig Anderson is the Executive Director of the IHSA and tells Regional Radio News he does not have all the answers but his staff and their board of directors want to see a spring sports season happen but that will depend on when students return to class.

 

 

An option on the table at the moment is pushing the postseason back into the summer months. Anderson indicates this plan is based on what they know about a mid-to-late April of school resuming. 

 

 

There is fear the remainder of the school year could be shut down and Anderson says if officials are advising against students gathering in classrooms then they will not advocate for athletes to gather. He says an announcement of that nature would likely negate any possibility of having a spring sports season. 

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Clinton High School Girls Track Team Ready for Whatever Future Holds

Unlike most other spring sports, the track and field seasons begin well in advance of the first week of March and so when the IHSA hit the pause button on the spring sports season and the 'OFF' button on the winter sports season, the track and field teams of Illinois were left wondering if they would get to resume their campaigns rather than get them started.

 

For the highly ranked and highly successful Clinton High School girls track program, the defense of their three-straight Central Illinois Conference titles was put on hold after a very positive start. Co-head coach Leann Sosoman calls this year's group "special".

 

 

The possibility of their season being put on hold was on the radar of Sosoman and her coaches and they wanted to emphasize to their athletes to continue to compete like it was going to be their last meet.

 

 

Among the many positives for the team right before their final practice was being able to watch four of their senior athletes sign National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic careers in college. Sosoman says the four girls are great people both on the track and in the classroom.

 

 

While the competitive lessons are not being taught right now, Sosoman says this is a great opportunity for them to give their athletes lessons in life and how to deal with the adversity they are being presented with this season.

 

 

While the season may not be a complete wash, Sososam says they are mourning the loss of opportunities for their seniors but hope they can get back on the track and bring home more hardware from their Sectional meet.

 

Sosoman is trying to remain positive and is encouraged the IHSA is optimistic there will be a shortened version of their spring season. 

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IHSA Still Not Canceling Spring Sports Season

The possibility of Illinois athletes being able to compete in a shortened spring sports season is not out of the question.

 

In an update to high school coaches and administrators Wednesday, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson says quote - "we continue to support the possibility of our member schools completing both regular- and post-season spring sports seasons. The date schools are allowed to return to [classes] will determine the length of the spring sports season and the potential of an IHSA State Series."

 

He says their staff and Board of Directors will follow the recommendations of the Governor and state health officials.

 

He added quote - "We are considering an extension of the spring sports season limitation to provide more participation opportunities for students. This may include movement of the post-season timelines and State Series."

 

A timeline for how long they will athletes to practice before the resumption of any season is not yet been determined but they are working with their advisory committee on that scenario. 

 

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of schools in Illinois in mid-March with the decree from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, which meant the postponement of the spring sports season and the IHSA in early March canceled the conclusion of some of their winter sports season, including the high school boys basketball state finals. 

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Mets SP Syndergaard to Have Tommy John Surgery

Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard became the latest big-name pitcher to need Tommy John surgery, joining the Yankees’ Luis Severino and Boston’s Chris Sale.

New York said Tuesday that Syndergaard needs reconstruction of his ulnar collateral ligament and will miss the season that’s been put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak. Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek will operate on the right-hander on Thursday.

Syndergaard, the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the major leagues last season, received a second opinion from Los Angeles Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Altchek operated Feb. 25 on the right-handed Severino. The Red Sox said last Thursday that Sale, their hard-throwing left-handed ace, will have Tommy John surgery.

 

Since Major League Baseball announced on March 12 that opening day will be delayed because of the virus, San Francisco right-hander Tyler Beede and San Diego right-handed reliever Andrés Muñoz also were told they needed the reconstruction procedure.

 

Openers have been pushed back until mid-May at the earliest. Tommy John surgery usually requires a recuperation period of 12-18 months.

 

Nicknamed Thor, Syndergaard was projected as the No. 2 starter in a strong rotation behind two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. New York has for now sufficient starters to make up for Syndergaard’s absence, with Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha, Rick Porcello and Steven Matz.

 

Syndergaard turns 28 in August and currently is eligible to become a free agent after the 2021 season. He agreed in January to a $9.7 million, one-year contract.

 

Syndergaard was acquired in the December 2012 trade that sent NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto. An All-Star in 2016 when he went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA, Syndergaard has an ERA that has climbed to 2.97 in 2017, 3.05 in 2018 and 4.28 last year, when he was 10-8 in 32 starts.

 

He averaged 98.1 mph for his four-seam fastball last season, tops among qualified pitchers and just ahead of Gerrit Cole (97.4) and deGrom (97.2).

 

Syndergaard made three spring training starts, the last on March 8. He pitched a total of eight innings and allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks.

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Illini Prairie Conference Approves Paxton-Buckley-Loda As Latest Member

The Illini Prairie Conference will become an 11-team conference starting in the 2021-2022 school year thanks to the approval of adding Paxton-Buckley-Loda to the expansive league.

 

Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman is excited about the addition of PBL. He indicates it has been somewhat a while in the making.

 

 

The addition of PBL will keep schools from having to find a ninth football game on their schedule as Champaign St. Thomas More is now going to 8-man football. Dr. Zimmerman indicates not only will they help fill out of the football schedules but they will continue to add strength to a strong league.

 

 

Monticello is still seeking a game for their week three matchup this coming football season and Dr. Zimmerman notes it is looking like the Sages could be traveling to Door County, Wisconsin. 

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Green Bay Packers Helping Local Community Through Coronavirus Crisis

The Green Bay Packers are establishing funds that will provide $1.5 million to assist efforts to respond to the coronavirus in Brown County, Wisconsin - which includes Green Bay - and the Milwaukee area.

 

The $1 million Packers Give Back COVID-19 Community Relief Fund is directed toward Brown County and is being established through the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. Packers Give Back also is directing $500,000 to support initiatives in the Milwaukee area.

 

Packers officials said the organization will consult with the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and community partners in Milwaukee to evaluate the needs in each area and determine where the funds will be directed.

 

Packers Give Back already donated $30,000 last week to benefit the Brown County United Way’s emergency response fund for those impacted by COVID-19. Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy and his wife Laura have donated $240,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in Green Bay and Door County, Wisconsin.

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Olympics Move Closer to Postponement

IOC members, national Olympic committees and athletes were all racing toward the same conclusion Monday: The Tokyo Olympics are not going to take place this summer.

 

Craig Reedie, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press that everyone can see where things are headed, with the coronavirus pandemic spreading and Olympic hopefuls around the world unable to train.

 

Earlier in the day, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today that he had reached the same conclusion about the games, which are scheduled to start July 24. A tweet put out by the newspaper read: “The 2020 Summer Olympics Have Been Postponed Over Coronavirus Concerns.”

 

The IOC said no decision had been made, and Reedie was quick to acknowledge that he was speaking only for himself and not because of any insight provided to him by IOC president Thomas Bach, who will guide the final decision. Pound did not return a message left by AP. Earlier in the day, after Pound’s pronouncement, an IOC spokesman said, “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC (executive board) from Sunday.”

 

Athletes also grew louder in their request for postponement. A track group called The Athletics Association joined another athlete group, Global Athlete, in pressing the IOC to act.

 

The track group is led by two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the U.S., who said more than 4,000 track and field athletes responded to a survey, and 87% said their training had been adversely affected by the coronavirus.

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High School Administrators Continue to Wonder If There Will Be A Spring Sports Season

Governor JB Pritzker extended his closure of schools to April 8 last week, furthering the question - Will there be a spring high school sports season?

 

Administrators and coaches are hoping the situation around the coronavirus outbreak the nation and the state will soon resolve itself so their teams can get back to practices and begin their competitive seasons but decisions like those are left up to state and federal leadership according to Maroa-Forsyth High School athletic director, Phil Applebee.

 

 

The Class of 2020 may not get to fulfill the potential of their senior season and while that certainly tugs at the hearts of administrators and coaches, Applebee says the bigger concern right now is keeping everyone safe.

 

 

Applebee says Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer is sending out information to his administration and community almost daily. Applebee hopes to salvage some of this season and make whatever they get of a season the best possible for everyone. 

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Monticello Schools Hoping Spring Sports Season Can Be Salvaged

A two-week cancellation of school could only be the beginning for many communities as the fight against the spread of the coronavirus continues. 

 

For Monticello Schools Athletic Director Dan Sheehan, it is unfortunate for the student-athletes for their district that have put themselves in a position to be successful but may not get the chance to see how far they can go.

 

 

Sheehan is very concerned the spring sports season may not happen but in the event a ban on schools is lifted, they would still need a few weeks for practices and then schedules would have to be adjusted.

 

 

Seniors are the first group your heart aches for according to Sheehan. When the ban on groups of ten or more is lifted, he hopes to have teams be able to take their team pictures and believes it will be a story to tell in the future.

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Illinois Finishes Season As No. 21 in AP Poll

The Kansas Jayhawks will finish atop the final Top 25 from The Associated Press.

 

The regular-season Big 12 champions, who were 28-3 when the season abruptly ended after the first day of the conference tournament last week, received 63 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel in balloting released Wednesday. That easily outdistanced No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 3 Dayton, each of which received a first-place vote.

 

Illinois finished ranked 21st after not getting to compete in the Big Ten Tournament and then likely the NCAA tournament. 

 

Gonzaga (31-2) finished second after beating Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference finals, one of a handful of league tournaments that were completed. But the Bulldogs will be left to wonder whether another dominant team from coach Mark Few would have finally delivered the school a national championship.

 

Dayton (29-2) was third behind behind breakout stars Jalen Crutcher and Obi Toppin.

 

Florida State (26-5) was fourth in the final poll, easily the best finish ever for the Seminoles, while Baylor (26-4) rounded out the top five after spending a longer stretch at No. 1 than any other team during a topsy-turvy season.

 

No. 11 Duke finished outside the top 10 for only the second time since 2007, while Maryland, Oregon, Louisville and Seton Hall came next.

 

The rest of the Top 25 included reigning national champion Virginia at No. 16, followed by Wisconsin, BYU, Ohio State and Auburn. The final five in the poll were Illinois, Houston, Butler, West Virginia and Iowa.

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Jaguars to Trade QB Foles to Bears

A person familiar with the trade says the Jaguars have agreed to send quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for a compensatory fourth-round draft pick, No. 140 overall.

 

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because trades can’t become official until after the league year begins Wednesday afternoon.

 

The Jaguars are dumping Foles a little more than a year after giving the 2018 Super Bowl MVP a four-year, $88 million contract that included a whopping $50.125 million guaranteed.

 

The Bears are getting a veteran starter to compete with Mitchell Trubisky, who struggled in his third season.

 

The Bears were hoping he would take a big step last season — his second in coach Matt Nagy’s system — but that did not happen. His yards (3,138), completion rate (63.2 percent), touchdowns (17) and rating (83) all dropped from the previous year.

 

Foles, meanwhile, completed 77 of 117 passes for 736 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in four games last season. He also ran four times for 23 yards and lost two fumbles.

 

He was the most coveted free-agent quarterback on the market in 2019 after leading Philadelphia to four playoff victories over two seasons, including the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960. He earned 2018 Super Bowl MVP honors and a season later made himself the league’s top QB commodity.

 

Foles is due to make $15.125 million in 2020 and would have counted $21.837 million against Jacksonville’s salary cap. Dealing him will still be costly for the Jaguars — they will take on $18.75 million in dead money this fall — but it will free up about $35 million over the next two years.

 

Jacksonville saves a little more than $3 million in 2020 by trading him.

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WEZC 95.9 To Air Monticello "Best Of" Sports Broadcast Starting This Saturday

WEZC 95.9 FM, the Voice of the Monticello Sages Sports Broadcasts, will begin airing a weekly "Best Of" Monticello Sports Broadcast on Saturday afternoons at 12:30, starting this Saturday, March 22.

 

With Monticello Schools on hiatus until further notice, WEZC decided to provide Monticello sports listeners an opportunity to hear some of the greatest games and plays that the Sages' football, boys and girls basketball teams had this school year.

 

These "Best Of" Monticello Sports Broadcasts, will be heard on WEZC at 95-point-9 FM across Central Illinois, as well as streamed by clicking the "WEZC Live" icon at dewittdailynews-dot-com.

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Monticello Baseball Coach Telling His Players 'Control What You Can Control'

The future of the spring sports season is up in the air at this point as the country shifts its focus to preventing the spread of the fo coronavirus and kids are not in school at this time.

 

As baseball squads get the itch to take advantage of days like Tuesday, sunny and nice enough to be outside, the wait will go on. Monticello baseball coach Chris Jones is telling his players, control what you can control.

 

 

Kids are not allowed to get together in groups or player-led workouts, so Coach Jones is encouraging his players to get any sort of work they can.

 

 

Upon any resumption of the spring sports season, WEZC will announce an updated broadcast schedule to follow the Sages this season. Some coaches have become optimistic the season could be salvaged as the IHSA reaffirmed March 30 remains the target date to resume sports activities but other administrators believe the shutdown of schools could linger for several more weeks. 

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Lincoln High School Guards Named To All-Apollo First Team

Lincoln High School senior guards Kaeden Froebe and Kamren Whiteman have been named to the Apollo Conference first-team all-conference Monday.

 

The seniors led the Railsplitters to a season-shortened 32-2 record and Lincoln was set to take on Springfield Lanphier for a Sectional title last Friday night.

 

Mahomet-Seymour senior Grant Coleman, Jase Bergschneider from Taylorville and Parker Wolfe from Effingham were also first-team selections. 

 

Lincoln senior Will Ewald and junior Dylan Singleton were second-team selections. 

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Packers Sign LB Kirksey

inebacker Christian Kirksey has agreed to terms on a deal with the Green Bay Packers less than a week after the Cleveland Browns released him.

 

Kirksey’s agent, Brian Mackler, confirmed that Kirksey would be signing with the Packers but didn’t disclose terms. NFL Network first reported the deal and said Kirksey would be getting a two-year, $16 million contract. Free agency opens Wednesday.

 

Kirksey, 27, played six seasons with Cleveland, where he collected 148 tackles in 2016 and 138 more in 2017 before struggling with injuries the last two years.

 

After not missing any games in his first four seasons, Kirksey played just nine games in 2018 due to a hamstring injury. He appeared in only two games last season before going on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.

 

He collected 484 tackles, 11 ½ sacks, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries in six seasons with Cleveland. The Browns released him Tuesday.

 

His move to Green Bay enables Kirsksey to reunite with Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who was the Browns’ head coach from 2014-15.

 

The move enables the Packers to address one of their biggest needs heading into free agency. Inside linebacker had shaped up as a major concern after the Packers gave up 285 yards rushing in a 37-20 NFC championship game loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

 

That need would become more critical if free-agent linebacker Blake Martinez leaves Green Bay after leading the Packers in tackles the last three seasons.

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Maroa-Forsyth Baseball Coach Concerned Spring Season Could Be In Jeopardy

Spring sports coaches in central Illinois along with their athletes will be at home unable to practice or play in games for the foreseeable future as the coronavirus outbreak and the prevention of its spread takes precedent right now.

 

Maroa-Forsyth baseball coach Sean Martin feels there is legitimate concern he may never be able to take his team out to the field again this spring for games, much less practice.

 

 

The Trojans were 16-3 in a challenging spring last year, but for reason much less serious given our current climate, because of weather. Coach Martin says this is a situation unlike any other we've ever seen.

 

 

Last Friday was the last practice for the Trojans before Athletic Director Phil Applebee informed the students during practice their season was going to be suspended as schools across the state were mandated to close down for two weeks.

 

The Trojans have had games against Meridian, Argenta-Oreana, GCMS, Mt. Zion, Riverton,  and Okaw Valley so far based on Governor Pritzker's closure of schools but that is likely not to be the end of the cancellations as President Trump is recommending to not have gatherings of more than 10 people for the next two weeks.

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Kentucky Derby Postponed Until September

The Kentucky Derby is being postponed from May to September because of growing concern about the coronavirus pandemic, according to a published report.

 

Citing unidentified sources close to the race, the Courier-Journal of Louisville said Churchill Downs will postpone the Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5, marking the first time in 75 years that the race won’t be run on the first Saturday in May.

 

A formal announcement will be made Tuesday.

 

The last time the Derby wasn’t held on the first Saturday in May was in 1945, when the federal government issued a ban on horse racing because of World War II. The ban was lifted on May 8, and the Derby was held on June 9. The only other year the Derby wasn’t held in May was in 1901, when it was raced on April 29.

 

The Derby is the latest major sporting event to be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, joining the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments and the Masters golf tournament. Professional basketball, baseball and hockey leagues also have suspended their seasons.

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NASCAR Suspends Season to May

NASCAR has suspended its season until May as part of the CDC’s recommendation to postpone gatherings for the next eight weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The decision came after at least two Monday conference calls between the sanctioning body and its team owners. It affects seven total races — Atlanta and Homestead had already been postponed.

The series plans to return to the track at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia on May 9.

 

NASCAR first said it would run last weekend and this coming weekend without spectators, but reversed course Friday and postponed the races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR had not addressed anything beyond Homestead until Monday’s announcement.

 

IndyCar and Formula One both canceled last weekend’s season-opening races, IndyCar has suspended the season through the end of April and F1 said upcoming races in Bahrain, Vietnam and China are postponed.

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway early Monday issued a statement acknowledging the CDC guideline against gatherings, is planning for all contingencies but also is prepared to run its events in May. The Indy 500, scheduled for May 24, typically draws more than 300,000 fans.

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Lincoln High School Baseball Awaits News on Status of Their Season

With schools closed for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Illinois high school sports programs will await the resumption of school in hopes that will allow them to resume their season which is on hold.

 

Lincoln High School baseball coach Auggie Casson was telling his players to keep their minds clear and play each rep like it is their last.

 

 

Coach Casson and other central Illinois coaches are of the belief once school resumes they will be able to resume practicing and playing. In the meantime, he has given his players a workout routine to follow but wants them to make sure their e-learning opportunities are taken care of first. 

 

Games canceled so far for Lincoln baseball was their season opener Saturday against Warrensburg-Latham, that game obviously would have been snowed out. Other games canceled include a scheduled game today (Monday) against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, then a Saturday game against Eureka and Monday, March 30 against Monticello. 

 

Further games could be canceled if Illinois Governor JB Pritzker extends the closure of schools in Illinois.

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CDCs Latest Guidance Could Mean No Sports for Much Longer

The already-delayed professional sports seasons in North America could be on hiatus for significantly longer than first planned after federal officials said Sunday that they recommend all in-person events involving 50 people or more be called off for the next eight weeks.

 

That’s twice as long as the 30-day shutdowns that the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer decided to put into place last week in response to the global coronavirus pandemic that has already made a deep impact on the U.S. financial markets and has been blamed for at least 64 deaths in this country.

 

Major League Baseball also was going with what essentially was a 30-day shutdown after canceling the rest of spring training and pushing back the start of regular season play for two weeks; opening day was to have been March 26.

 

But new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday night seem to suggest that sports in this country could for all intents and purposes be gone until May, if not later.

 

“CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers ... cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing.”

The eight-week window easily exceeds what would have been the remainder of the NBA and NHL regular seasons, plus would cover about the first 25% of the MLB season — or roughly 40 games per team. It would also cast serious doubt on the ability to hold other major U.S. sporting events as planned, such as the Kentucky Derby in early May.

 

The NBA was already bracing to play games without fans in arenas, something that would have started late last week had a player -- Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz -- not tested positive for the virus, COVID-19. Utah teammate Donovan Mitchell and Detroit’s Christian Wood have tested positive since, but Gobert’s diagnosis was enough for the league to say that it was suspending play.

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NFL and Players Approve New Labor Deal

By a close vote, with some 500 union members not participating, NFL players approved a new labor agreement with the league. It features a 17-game regular season, higher salaries, increased roster sizes and larger pensions for current and former players.

 

The deal, which runs through the 2030 season, was accepted by the 32 team owners last month. The NFL Players Association’s membership spent the last week voting on the 439-page document after its executive board narrowly rejected it by a 6-5 vote, and the player representatives voted 17-14 in favor, with one abstention.

 

Clearly, there was some strong player opposition to this collective bargaining agreement, though. Many stars, including Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Todd Gurley, spoke out against it. The total vote, among the nearly 2,500 union members who participated, was 1,019-959.

Ratification required a simple majority — results were announced Sunday — and there could be lasting resentment among union members, given how close the vote was.

 

Almost immediately, players were urging unity, particularly in the face of the criticism from within their ranks about approving the deal.

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, not surprisingly, praised the players’ acceptance of the new CBA.

 

After discussions with the union during the day, the NFL sent a memo to all teams Sunday night that the league will open the 2020 NFL business season on Wednesday, as scheduled, with free agency and trades. A delay had been considered a possibility is given league restrictions on travel as a safeguard against the new coronavirus.

 

There was no immediate word on timing and potential format changes for the draft, scheduled for Las Vegas from April 23-25, something that was also expected to be discussed by the NFL and NFLPA.

 

A 17-game schedule won’t happen before the 2021 season. The mechanics for an uneven number of games — neutral sites or which teams get nine home games — will be worked out in the interim.

The gains the players make in the new agreement in sharing “a bigger portion of the growing pie,” according to outgoing NFLPA President Eric Winston, swayed the vote.

 

The new deal includes a reduction of the preseason, initially from four games to three. More time off during training camps and upgraded pensions, with the addition of groups of previous players not included in past agreements.

 

Adding two playoff teams was not part of the bargaining process, but the owners were able to do so without union approval. That will occur this season, with only the top team in each conference getting a wild-card bye.

 

With labor peace for the rest of the decade, the NFL now will turn to negotiating new deals with its broadcast partners. Results of that, including digital media, should, as Winston mentioned, substantially grow the financial pie.

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Clinton Schools Suspend Spring Sports Season

Yesterday Governor JB Pritzker announced a school closure until March 31 and in conjunction with that announcement, Clinton Schools announced a suspension of their athletic sports seasons.

 

Matt Koeppel announced all events and practices are canceled until students return to school and no one should be on campus during this closure. 

 

It is unknown at this time how this will impact scheduling for the various sports.

 

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Monticello Schools Announce Coronavirus Cancellations

Monticello schools are making adjustments in the wake of caution surrounding the Coronavirus.  

 

In a release Friday, Monticello officials announced the district has canceled all school travel, competitions, field trips, overnight teacher conferences, school visitors, and community gatherings in Monticello Schools from March 14th through Saturday, April 5th, in an effort to minimize risk.

 

Outside only practices for school athletics are allowed at this time for Monticello teams.  All Monticello school buildings will be closed to everyone March 14th thru 22nd for cleaning.  A decision on an extension of these cancellations will be made at a later time.  

 

Monticello officials encourage residents to continue to monitor media outlets for any changes.  The district will continue to consult with local health departments moving forward.

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Central A&Ms Heaton Named All-State For Second Year

Central A&M 6-foot-5 senior Connor Heaton was named a Class 1A first-team all-state selection for the second year in a row in high school boys basketball. 

 

The senior led the Raiders to their second straight state tournament appearance, unfortunately, he and the Raiders won't get the chance to play for a state title thanks to the efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has halted play of sports across the country.

 

The rest of the first-team all-state:

 

Coltin Quagliano, Kewanee Wethersfield (6-0, Jr., G) 78
Cooper Larsen, Indian Creek (6-4, Sr., F) 61
Taaj Davis, Aurora Christian (6-1, Sr., PG) 59
Blake McKay, Woodlawn (6-3, Sr., G) 51

 

CLASS 1A SECOND TEAM

 

Trent Glidewell, Goreville (6-5, Sr., C/F) 46 points
Kendale Anderson, Chicago Leo (6-7, Sr., F/C) 43
Isaiah Brown, Peoria Quest (6-6, Sr., F) 43
Luke Braman, Roanoke-Benson (6-8, Jr., F) 41
Jaccob Dust, Effingham St. Anthony (6-7, Sr., C) 40*
Javonnie Moore, Madison (6-1, Sr., G) 40*
AJ Smith, Metro-East Lutheran (6-6, Jr., F) 40*

 

Heaton's teammate, Griffin Andricks, a 6-6, Sr. wan an honorable mention. Other local athletes to receive honorable mention honors included:

 

Noah Jackson, Champaign Judah Christian (6-4, Sr., G)

 

Tuscola sophomore Jalen Quinn was named a first-team all-state selection in the Class 2A boys basketball all-state team. 

 

Other first-team selections in Class 2A:

 

Devon House, Sterling Newman (6-7, Sr., PF) 86 points
Demarius Splunge, Chicago Orr (6-6, Sr., F) 70
Drew Reifsteck, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (5-10, Sr., G) 63
Drake Hammel, West Hancock (6-5, Sr., G/F) 44

 

Normal U-High's Alex Wood was named a second-team selection. He tied with Kavon Russell of Kewanee and Marcus Hill of Rockford Christian for first-team honors.

 

Local athletes to receive honorable mention in Class 2A:

 

Jack Weber, El Paso-Gridley (6-6, Sr., F) 
Trey Bazzell, Fairbury Prairie Central (6-3, Jr., G)
Trey VanWinkle, Paxton-Buckley-Loda (6-1, Sr., G)
Ryan Weir, Pontiac (6-3, Sr., F)
Holt Geltmaker, Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central (6-2, Jr., G)

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IHSA Cancels This Weekend's Class 1A/2A State Tournament, Rest of 3A/4A Tournament

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on March 12, 2020, that it has canceled its remaining winter State Series postseason tournaments, which include Boys Basketball, Scholastic Bowl, Drama & Group Interpretation, Music, Debate and Journalism, over concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Lincoln High School was set to take on Springfield Lanphier tonight for a Section championship but a return to Carver Arena and another State Finals appearance under coach Neil Alexander will not be a possibility for the Railsplitters, who were ranked sixth in Class 3A. 

 

Central A&M High School qualified for their second straight State Finals appearance but a chance to redeem a semifinal loss to Cissna Park will not happen. 

 

In a released statement Thursday, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said quote - "The Board considered suspending the events, but after deliberate discussion, did not believe that was a realistic option within the timeline. We feel for everyone who has been impacted, but must put the health and safety of all involved ahead of these events.”

 

The IHSA has not made any decisions related to spring sports tournaments at this time.

Anderson added quote -  “It is too early to make any decisions regarding IHSA spring state final tournaments. We respect the NCAA’s decision to cancel its spring championships, but also recognize that the exposure and travel by our high school teams are not as expansive as collegiate teams."

 

Regional Radio News will be reaching out to high school administrators and spring sports coaches in the days ahead to follow up on this story.

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Illinois Cancels Spring Sports Season, Illinois State Suspends Spring Sports for 30 Days

The University of Illinois supports decisions by the Big Ten Conference and NCAA in canceling all remaining winter and spring athletic competitions through the end of the current academic year.

 

A moratorium has been placed on all recruiting, both on and off-campus. In addition, Illinois programs will not conduct practices until further notice. The DIA will be communicating directly with student-athletes in the coming days about their academic and athletic obligations for the remainder of the semester.

 

Future announcements will be made regarding special events and other non-athletic activities sponsored by DIA.

 

These decisions are based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events and gatherings do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of participating in such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.

 

 

 

In accordance with action taken by the Missouri Valley Conference on Thursday, Illinois State Athletics spring sports contests have been suspended through March 30, effective immediately.

This does not apply to individuals currently participating in NCAA sanctioned competition. In addition, Illinois State teams currently on the road competing over spring break will be allowed to participate in scheduled contests if the host institution does not cancel the event. Those teams will return at regularly-scheduled times and adhere to all department policies moving forward.

 

Additional details regarding future spring competitions will be provided at a later date.

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Clinton YMCA Swim Team Headed to YMCA Swimming Championships

The Clinton Community YMCA Otters will be competing this weekend in the 2019-2020 Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championships, which will be held in St. John, Indiana, at Lake Central High School. 


Over a thousand kids from 43 YMCA swim teams across central and northern Illinois will be competing for the chance to be named the top swimmers in the state.  The teams are divided into 2 categories, large or small, depending on the number of athletes on the team. 

 

The Clinton Community YMCA Otters will be a part of the small team competition along with 22 other teams.  In 2019, the Otters brought home 1st Place Small Team Division, 1st Place Boys Division, and 3rd Place Girls Division. 

 

Since September swimmers have been training in all four competitive strokes.  Which are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.  In addition to the individual strokes, swimmers can also participate in the individual medley (IM), where they compete with all four individual strokes and 2 different relays (Medley or Freestyle).  Athletes spend on average two to three times a week in the pool trying to improve their swimming skills.

 

Illinois YMCA sets qualifying times for the state meet at the beginning of the season, so there are qualifying times for girls and boys in each event in each age group. The times are based on the previous state swim meet times.

 

This year the Otters have competed in 17 swim meets/invitationals, Junior District Championships, and District Championships.  The team has done very well in every meet including several top team awards at invitationals.   After working hard since September, 31 swimmers have earned the honor to represent the Clinton Community YMCA Otters swim team this weekend (March 13 -15) at the State Championships. The 31 qualifiers include 17 relay teams and 11 individual swimmers competing in 37 individual events.

 

The otters are coached by Head Coach Tracy Karr along with her assistant coaches Bonnie Taylor, Whitney Ferguson, Dan Bugner, and Sandy Bruner.  These coaches have dedicated countless hours in and out of the pool to prepare these swimmers for these types of championships.  The Clinton YMCA is very lucky to have these coaches dedicated to the youth and this community.

 

The individuals and relay teams that will be competing at the Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championships are:

 

Lincoln Adams
Boys 12&U 100 Breast
Boys 12&U 200 Free
Boys 12&U 50 Breast
Boys 12&U 50 Free
Boys 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 12&U 200 IM
Boys 12&U 100 Free
Boys 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Sarah Anderson


Girls 21&U 400 Free Relay
Girls 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 21&U 400 Medley Relay

 

Charlie Ball


Girls 21&U 400 Free Relay

 

Kiefer Bass


Boys 10&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 10&U 200 Free Relay

 

Brody Beck


Boys 10&U 100 IM
Boys 10&U 50 Free
Boys 10&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 10&U 200 IM
Boys 10&U 50 Back
Boys 10&U 50 Fly
Boys 10&U 200 Free Relay

 

Jack Betsworth


Boys 8&U 100 Medley Relay
Boys 8&U 100 Free Relay

 

Adam Clodfelter


Boys 8&U 100 Medley Relay
Boys 8&U 100 Free Relay

 

Jamie Clodfelter


Girls 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Tyler Costa


Boys 14&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 14&U 200 Free Relay

 

Aliyah Ellison


Girls 21&U 400 Free Relay
Girls 14&U 100 Breast
Girls 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 21&U 400 Medley Relay

 

Andrew Ellison


Boys 21&U 400 Free Relay
Boys 21&U 100 Fly
Boys 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 400 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 200 Free Relay

 

Dane Fought


Boys 8&U 25 Breast
Boys 8&U 100 IM
Boys 8&U 25 Free
Boys 8&U 100 Medley Relay
Boys 8&U 50 Free
Boys 8&U 25 Fly
Boys 8&U 100 Free Relay

 

Alaric Fulton


Boys 14&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 14&U 200 Free Relay

 

Garin Gibson


Boys 10&U 200 Free
Boys 10&U 50 Breast
Boys 10&U 50 Free
Boys 10&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 10&U 200 IM
Boys 10&U 100 Free
Boys 10&U 200 Free Relay

 

Oliver Goar


Boys 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Ozzie Goar


Girls 10&U 50 Breast
Girls 10&U 50 Fly

 

Carter Gray


Boys 10&U 200 Free
Boys 10&U 100 IM
Boys 10&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 10&U 200 IM
Boys 10&U 100 Free
Boys 10&U 50 Fly
Boys 10&U 200 Free Relay

 

Kate Hillard


Girls 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Charlie Johnson


Boys 14&U 50 Free
Boys 14&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 400 Medley Relay
Boys 14&U 200 Free Relay

 

McKegan Morgan


Girls 12&U 50 Fly
Girls 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Abi Moser


Girls 12&U 200 Medley Relay


Drew Moser


Boys 14&U 500 Free
Boys 21&U 400 Free Relay
Boys 14&U 200 Free
Boys 14&U 100 Fly
Boys 14&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 400 Medley Relay
Boys 14&U 200 IM
Boys 14&U 100 Free
Boys 14&U 100 Back
Boys 14&U 200 Free Relay

 

Charlie Patton


Boys 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Owen Patton


Boys 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Shelby Smith


Girls 12&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 12&U 200 Free Relay

 

Kahle Trimble


Boys 8&U 100 Medley Relay
Boys 8&U 100 Free Relay

 

Kaine Trimble


Boys 21&U 400 Free Relay
Boys 21&U 200 Medley Relay 
Boys 21&U 400 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 200 Free Relay

 

Payne Turney


Girls 21&U 400 Free Relay
Girls 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 21&U 400 Medley Relay

 

Jessica West


Girls 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Girls 21&U 400 Medley Relay

 

Nathan Zenger


Boys 21&U 400 Free Relay
Boys 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 200 Free Relay

 

Nicholas Zenger


Boys 21&U 200 Medley Relay
Boys 21&U 200 Free Relay

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High School Boys Basketball Postseason Scores

Class 3A Section semifinal action

 

At Lincoln

 

Lincoln 60

Decatur MacArthur 41

 

At Mt. Vernon

 

Chatham-Glenwood 45

Carbondale 39

 

At Peoria Bradley

 

Rock Island 57

Peoria Manual 75

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First NBA Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus, NBA Suspends Season

The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.

 

Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert. 

 

The test result, the NBA said, was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off time for the Utah at Oklahoma City game on Wednesday night was called off. Players were on the floor for warmups and tip-off was moments away when they were told to return to their locker rooms. About 30 minutes later, fans were told the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

 

Those circumstances were the league’s worst-case scenario for now — a player testing positive. A second person who spoke to AP said the league expects the shutdown to last a minimum of two weeks, but cautioned that the timeframe is very fluid.

 

The shutdown is the latest major development in a season filled with unspeakably hard challenges. The league lost as much as $400 million in revenue after a rift with China was started in October when Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted out support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern died in January, the same month that soon-to-be Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash.

 

And now, a pandemic — which could also cost the league hundreds of millions in lost revenue, depending on how long it lasts.

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Cardinals Goldschmidt Slowed By Sore Elbow

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will be out for several more games because of a sore right elbow.

 

Goldschmidt’s throwing was limited by the Cardinals during the start of spring training, and he made his first two exhibition starts as a designated hitter. The slugger hasn’t played since Sunday.

 

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Wednesday that he expected the 32-year-old Goldschmidt to miss a couple more games.

 

The six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is hitting .300 with two homers in 20 spring training at-bats.

 

Goldschmidt hit .260 with 34 homers and 97 RBIs last year for the NL Central champions after the Cardinals acquired him in an offseason trade with Arizona. His batting average was more than 30 points below his career average.

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NCAA Tournament to Be Played In Front of Empty Arenas

The NCAA basketball tournaments are on — for now — though the buzzer-beaters, upsets and all the other shining moments will take place in mostly empty arenas.

 

Trying to avoid spreading the new coronavirus that has become a global pandemic, the NCAA on Wednesday decided the men’s and women’s Division I tournament games will be off-limits to the general public. The major college conferences followed the NCAA’s lead, one by one announcing their league tournaments would go on the rest of the week with restricted fan access.

 

The NCAA’s plan is to conduct both tournaments, which begin next week, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance.

 

NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NCAA wants to move the men’s Final Four on April 4 and 6 from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to a smaller arena in the area. The NCAA also will consider using smaller venues for second-week regional sites currently set to be played at the Toyota Center in Houston, Madison Square Garden in New York, Staples Center in Los Angeles and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

 

The 68-team field for the men’s basketball tournament is scheduled to be announced Sunday and the 64-team women’s tournament field is to be unveiled Monday. Games begin Tuesday and Wednesday on the men’s side in Dayton, Ohio, where earlier in the day the governor said he would issue an order to restrict spectator access to indoor sporting events.

 

The National Association of Basketball Coaches canceled its convention Wednesday night, which was scheduled to be held in Atlanta during Final Four weekend.

 

There are eight first- and second-round sites for the men’s tournament, scheduled to be played March 19-22. Locations include Cleveland; Spokane, Washington; Albany, New York; Sacramento, California; and Omaha, Nebraska.

 

The women’s tournament first- and second-round games begin March 21 and will be played at 16 sites. The second-week regionals will be played in Dallas; Greenville, South Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Final Four will be held at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans where the NBA’s Pelicans play on April 3 and 5.

 

Emmert said because of the outbreak the situation remains fluid.

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Blackhawks Blast Sharks

Patrick Kane scored twice, Alex DeBrincat had three assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 6-2 on Wednesday night.

 

Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad, Alex Nylander and rookie Dominik Kubalik also scored as the Blackhawks handed the Sharks their ninth loss in their last 12 games. Jonathan Toews had two assists, and Corey Crawford made 34 saves in his 10th straight start.

 

Chicago had two power-play goals in the middle frame against the NHL's best penalty-killing team, stopping a 0-for-14 drought with the man advantage. The sliding Sharks entered with an 86.4% kill rate.

 

But even after Chicago's uptempo win, postgame talk centered on the coronavirus and its possible impact on the remainder of the NHL season.

 

Evander Kane and Timo Meier each had a goal and assist for San Jose in the opener of a four-game trip. Aaron Dell blocked 39 shots.

 

San Jose's Joe Thornton skated in his 1,636th NHL game, moving ahead of Scott Stevens for ninth on the league's all-time list. The 40-year-old forward picked up an assist.

 

Two Blackhawks prospects, defenseman Nicolas Beaudin and forward Brandon Hagel, made their NHL debuts after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL.

 

Beaudin was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft.

 

San Jose led 1-0 after an uptempo first period. The Sharks outshot Chicago 15-14 and both goalies were tested.

 

Evander Kane opened the scoring during a 5-on-3 power play at 10:49. Stationed in the slot, he deflected Thornton's feed from the right circle past Crawford high on the stick side.

 

Chicago outskated San Jose in the second and outshot the Sharks 17-10 while taking a 3-1 lead.

 

The Blackhawks host Ottawa on Friday night.

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Blues Double Up Blackhawks

Alex Pietrangelo scored two goals, Jake Allen made 36 saves and the St. Louis Blues defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Wednesday night.

 

This was the game that was rescheduled after Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac episode 12:10 into the first period on Feb. 11. It started with the score tied 1-1, as it was at the time of the postponement, after goals by Anaheim's Adam Henrique and St. Louis' Ivan Barbashev carried over.

 

Pietrangelo put the Blues on top 2-1 with 3:52 remaining in the first on the power play. The St. Louis captain fired a one-timer from the blue line. He then had an empty-net goal with a minute left in the game for his 16th goal of the season.

 

St. Louis has won nine of its last 11 and lead the Western Conference with 94 points. Allen has won his last four starts with a 1.23 goals against average and 95.3% save percentage.

 

Zach Sanford scored the go-ahead goal with 2:47 remaining in the second period. He made it 3-2 when he pounced on a rebound after Ducks' goaltender Anthony Stolarz made a pad save on Ryan O'Reilly's wrist shot. The Blues were also aided by an extra skater due to a delayed penalty.

 

Henrique finished with a goal and an assist for Anaheim - which had a four-game points streak snapped - while Jani Hakanpaa had his first NHL goal. Stolarz, who was making his first NHL start of the season, stopped 33 shots.

 

Hakanpaa evened it with 6:32 remaining in the second with a wrist shot from the slot that got past Allen while he was being screened.

 

The Blues host the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

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High School Boys Basketball Postseason Scores, Matchups

Class 1A Supersectional scores

 

At Carbondale SIU

 

Central A & M 64

Goreville 71

 

At Normal ISU

 

Roanoke-Benson 45

Chicago Fenger 43

 

Class 2A Supersectional scores

 

At DeKalb NIU

 

Elmhurst Timothy Christian 59

Fieldcrest 43

 

At Springfield UIS

 

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 59

Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin 56

 

Class 3A Sectional Semifinal scores

 

At Lincoln

 

Springfield Lanphier 46

Urbana 44

 

Class 4A Sectional Semifinal scores

 

At Pekin

 

Normal Community 47

Normal West 62

 

Class 3A Sectional semifinal matchups tonight

 

At Lincoln

 

Lincoln 7:00pm

Decatur MacArthur

 

At Peoria Bradley

 

Rock Island 7:00pm

Peoria Manual

 

At Mt. Vernon

 

Chatham-Glenwood 7:00pm

Carbondale

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Illinois State Outlasts Florida A&M

Illinois State (7-8) exploded for four runs on five hits in the tenth inning of an 8-4 victory at Florida A&M Tuesday evening in Tallahassee, Florida.

 

Illinois State scored four runs on five hits in the tenth inning to take an 8-4 lead. Braedon Blackford, Aidan Huggins and Jordan Libman all had run-scoring hits in the frame.

 

The Redbirds scored four runs in the second inning, including a three-run home run by Ryan Cermak to left field.

 

Florida A&M responded with three runs on two hits in the third inning to make it 4-3. William Brooks tied the game in the eighth inning with an RBI single.

 

Cermak led ISU with three RBIs, finishing 2-for-4. Jake McCaw finished 2-for-5 with a run batted in and two scored. Huggins finished 2-for-5 and Libman was 1-for-5 with two RBIs.

 

Derek Salata pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the win. Brady Huffman, Jackson Bronke, Michael Sebby and Colin Wyman pitched multiple innings for ISU.

 

The Redbirds will remain in Tallahassee for a 5 p.m. CT battle Wednesday at No. 15 Florida State.

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Bulls Drop Cavs

Coby White scored 20 points to help offset a career-high nine turnovers in his first NBA start, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-103 on Tuesday night.

 

The Bulls won their 22nd game to match their total from last season, though they didn't think it would take this long. They expected to make a bigger jump sooner in the Eastern Conference.

 

One bright spot lately is White, the No. 7 overall draft pick. The rookie turned in his ninth straight game with at least 19 points.

 

Wendell Carter Jr. chipped in with 17 points. Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine and Otto Porter Jr. each scored 15. Shaquille Harrison grabbed 10 rebounds.

 

The Bulls outrebounded the Cavaliers 46-35 and made 12 3-pointers in holding off the Eastern Conference's last-place team. And they won for just the third time in 16 games, even though leading scorer Zach LaVine missed his fifth in a row because of a strained left quadriceps.

 

The Cavaliers announced a multiyear extension for coach J.B. Bickerstaff on Tuesday, then fell to 5-6 since he took over following John Beilein's resignation 54 games into his first season.

 

Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 26 points, giving him 25 or more in seven of the past eight games. But he also had five turnovers - two in the final 1:11.

 

Andre Drummond scored 21, though he also gave the ball away six times. Kevin Love added 17 points despite making just 2 of 13 3-pointers. Larry Nance Jr. scored 16. But the Cavaliers came up short after winning tight games against Denver and San Antonio over the weekend.

 

Tied at 83 early in the fourth quarter, Porter drove for a three-point play to start an 11-2 run that made it 94-85 with 6:54 remaining.

 

Porter also hit a 3 to bump the lead to 97-87 before Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova buried two of his own. Chicago's Thaddeus Young answered with a 3 to make it a seven-point game.

 

The Cavaliers hung in, with Love hitting from beyond the arc to cut it to 103-101 with 1:26 left. Carter then hit two free throws for Chicago.

 

The Bulls called their final two timeouts with 52 seconds remaining - to avoid an eight-second violation and then advance the ball to halfcourt, Boylen said - only to commit a turnover.

 

That led to a tip-in for Drummond. A soaring Harrison then rebounded a miss by White and hit two free throws with 13.2 seconds left to boost the Bulls' lead to 107-103.

 

The Bulls visit Orlando in Thursday.

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Celtics Get By Pacers

Marcus Smart’s leaning bank shot in the final minute gave the Celtics the lead after the team blew a 19-point advantage and Boston then held on for a 114-111 victory Tuesday night over the Indiana Pacers to clinch a playoff spot for a sixth consecutive year.

 

Jayson Tatum scored 30 points for Boston, which snapped a 1-4 skid and is third in the Eastern Conference, while Gordon Hayward added 27 points, 10 boards and five assists in his home state.

 

Smart put the Celtics ahead for good at 111-109 with 49.7 seconds left by scoring in the lane over Domantis Sabonis, who led Indiana with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

 

Smart made two free throws with seven seconds to go for a three-point edge, and Justin Holiday missed badly on a contested 3-pointer as time expired.

 

Victor Oladipo finished with a season-high 27 points to power a stunning comeback for the Pacers, who fell into an 85-66 hole late in the third quarter.

 

T.J. Warren, who finished with 22 points, hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to complete Indiana’s furious rally and tie the score at 104 with three minutes to play.

 

Sabonis’ spin move and score on Daniel Theis pushed the Pacers in front 107-104, but the struggling Celtics proved up to the challenge of recovering.

 

Boston shot 44% from the field and did just enough from 3-point range (13 makes) and the foul line (19 of 22 accuracy) to hold off the Pacers, who shot 50%.

 

Boston led 30-22 after the first quarter and 59-50 at halftime. It was 94-80 entering the fourth.

 

Indiana will enjoy three days off before a Saturday game at Philadelphia.

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Illinois' Dosunmu First Team All Big Ten, Kockburn Freshman of the Year

Iowa center Luka Garza is the Big Ten Player of the Year after emerging as one of the nation’s best players this season, while Wisconsin’s Greg Gard took Coach of the Year honors in voting announced Monday.

 

Garza, Maryland’s Jalen Smith, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston and Penn State’s Lamar Stevens were first-team, all-conference picks by both the media and coaches. Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu was chosen by the media, and Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. was selected by the coaches.

 

Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman was selected Defensive Player of the Year. Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins took Sixth Man of the Year honors, and Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn was chosen Freshman of the Year.

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High School Boys Basketball Matchups

Class 1A and 2A high school boys basketball teams will punch their tickets to Carver Arena this weekend while Class 3A and 4A boys basketball teams are looking to advance to the Sweet 16.

 

Class 1A Supersectional matchups

 

At Carbondale SIU

 

Central A & M 6:00pm

Goreville

 

At Normal ISU

 

Roanoke-Benson 7:00pm

Chicago Fenger

 

Class 2A Supersectional matchup

 

At Springfield UIS

 

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 7:00pm

Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin

 

At DeKalb NIU

 

Elmhurst Timothy Christian 7:30pm

Fieldcrest

 

Class 3A Sectional semifinal matchups

 

At Lincoln

 

Springfield Lanphier 7:00pm

Urbana

 

At Peoria Bradley 

 

Peoria Notre Dame 7:00pm

Geneseo

 

Class 4A Sectional semifinal matchups

 

At Pekin

 

Normal Community 7:00pm

Normal West

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Panthers Get By Blues

Brett Connolly scored early in the third period and Chris Driedger stopped 26 shots, leading the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

 

Mike Hoffman also scored for Florida and Aleksi Saarela assisted on both Panthers goals, the first assists of his career. He has played in nine regular-season games for the Panthers.

 

Driedger made his third consecutive start after being held out of the lineup for almost two months with a lower-body injury. He is 2-0-1.

 

Colton Parayko scored for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington recorded 32 saves for the Blues and fell to 6-2 in his last eight starts.

 

Florida moved within one point of the idle Carolina Hurricanes for the final playoff spot in the East.

 

The Blues entered the game in first place in the Central Division, two points ahead of Colorado, which played late at Los Angeles. St. Louis ended a five-game home winning streak and fell to 9-2 in its last 11 games.

 

This game was originally scheduled to played Tuesday but was moved up to accommodate the rescheduling of the Blues’ game against the Anaheim Ducks, which was postponed last month after Jay Bouwmeester had a cardiac episode. 

 

The Blues will play at Anaheim on Wednesday.

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Illini Up in Latest AP Poll, Steady in Coaches Poll

Kansas maintained its grip on the No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, while fourth-ranked Florida State has its highest ranking in nearly five decades.

 

The Jayhawks received all 65 first-place votes Monday to remain at the top for a third straight week and fourth overall this season, with the past two weeks coming as the unanimous choice ahead of Gonzaga and Dayton.

 

The Big Ten had a national-best six ranked teams, including No. 21 Illinois and No. 25 Iowa. 

 

Creighton jumped four spots to No. 7 after claiming a share of the Big East regular-season title, followed by Kentucky and Michigan State — which rejoined the top 10 for the first time since early January after going from preseason No. 1 to unranked.

 

Duke, one of a record-tying seven teams to spend time at No. 1 this season, rounded out the top 10.

 

Voters in college basketball's Coaches Poll rewarded Villanova for claiming a share of the Big East title by elevating the Wildcats to No. 8 in the new poll released on Monday. Villanova rose four spots in the poll from No. 12 after beating Seton Hall and Georgetown to close the regular season.

 

The Wildcats even jumped Creighton, who came in at No. 9 in this week's poll. Villanova, Creighton and Seton Hall shared the Big East title. By contrast, Creighton is No. 7 in this week's AP Top 25 poll and Villanova is 11th. Otherwise, the AP voters and coaches were in agreement about who are the top teams in college basketball as Selection Sunday approaches.

 

Coaches Poll voters mirrored the AP voters by keeping Kansas, Gonzaga and Dayton as their top three while elevating Florida State to No. 4 after the Seminoles clinched the outright ACC title.

 

Baylor and San Diego State came in at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively in both polls.

 

Though still behind Villanova, Creighton did receive a nice bump in the Coaches Poll, rising five spots to No. 9 after winning at Seton Hall on Saturday. 

 

Illinois remained ranked 22nd after an early week loss to Ohio State and then a Sunday win over Iowa. 

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Clinton High School Senior Signs to Bowl at Lincoln College

Track. Swimming. Basketball. Baseball. Football. Wrestling. And now bowling is among national letter of intent signings that student-athletes at Clinton High School have signed for.

 

Clinton High School senior Ethan Aughenbaugh signed a letter of intent to bowl at Lincoln College. He looks forward to pursuing his passion for bowling while getting an education.

 

 

Aughenbaugh has been bowling since he was a kid and says finding himself in a collegiate setting with a scholarship is about competing in tournaments and making connections. 

 

 

Aughenbaugh is a weekend on-air personality for WHOW and Regional Radio News. He also participates in track and field and 4-H among many other extra-curricular activities. 

 

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Bradley Wins Second Straight Missouri Valley Tournament

Darrell Brown scored 21 points and Elijah Childs added 17 to lead fourth-seeded Bradley to its 10th NCAA Tournament with an 80-66 win over seventh-seeded Valparaiso in the MVC championship game.

 

Ja'Shon Henry scored 16 points for the Braves, Nate Kennell chipped in with 14 points and Ville Tahvanainen added 10.

 

Javon Freeman-Liberty paced Valparaiso with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

 

Bradley (23-11) claimed its fourth MVC title and became the ninth team in history to defend its tournament crown.

 

Brown hit on six of 14 shots including a 4 of 6 effort from 3-point range. He kick-started a 38-18 run over the final 12 minutes and 2 seconds with a jumper that the game 49-all. His 3-pointer later in the run pushed the lead to 62-52. He also added nine assists.

 

Valparaiso (19-16) led 48-42 before the Braves took charge.

 

Bradley rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to beat Northern Iowa 57-54 in last year's MVC final.

 

The six-point hole on Sunday was nothing for the Braves, who have played well down the stretch over the past month.

 

Tahvanainen hit a big 3-pointer to cap off a 7-0 run that put the Braves ahead for good 56-51.

 

Valparaiso used a 9-2 blitz over the last 3:37 of the first half to take a 38-36 lead into the break.

 

The Braves were a 15th-seed in last year's NCAA Tournament and lost to Michigan State 76-65 in the opening round.

 

Bradley's 23 victories is the most since the 1993-94 team went 23-8 under coach Jim Molinari.

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Illinois Secures Double-Bye With Win Over Iowa Sunday

Ayo Dosunmu scored 17 points to lead No. 23 Illinois past No. 18 Iowa 78-76 on Sunday, securing the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament for the Illini.

 

Andres Feliz scored 14 points, Kofi Cockburn had 12 and Kipper Nichols added 10 for Illinois (21-10, 13-7 Big Ten).

 

Luka Garza scored 28 points for Iowa (20-11, 11-9), which finished in a four-way tie for fifth in the Big Ten and will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament. Joe Toussaint scored 14 and Connor McCaffery added 10.

 

Illinois built a 17-point lead late in the game, using a 12-2 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. But that lead evaporated to two points in the final seconds and it took Cockburn blocking a shot by Garza under the basket at the buzzer to seal the win.

 

Cockburn was a big presence for Illinois, scoring nine points in the first 10 minutes. Defensively, the Illini had problems getting stops early and Iowa’s Garza took command both in the paint and from the perimeter.

 

Emotions ran high throughout the game. With less than two minutes left in an entertaining first half, a scrum erupted that resulted in technical fouls for Illinois’ Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams and Iowa’s McCaffery and CJ Fredrick.

 

The score was tied at 41-41 at the half.

 

The No. 4 seed gives Illinois another day of rest and will play on Friday 1:30 pm Central Time. The Illini got a double-bye in the tournament, while Iowa will have to start a day earlier.

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Illinois Takes Weekend Series at Elon

Garrett Acton collected his 25th career save to break Illinois' all-time career record and help the Illini baseball team secure an 8-7 win at Elon to take the series, 2-1. Acton completed a six-out save after Elon made it a one-run game on a grand slam in the eighth inning.

 

Illinois (8-5) did not think it would have to use Acton in the series finale after building an 8-2 lead through seven innings. Branden Comia, Garrett McGowan, and Kellen Sarver all had two hits and Sarver had three RBIs, as the Illini were on cruise control to the late innings. 

 

Elon (7-9), which had only three hits, got its big lift on Jack Roberts' no-doubt grand slam in the eighth inning. Illinois walked the bases loaded, then made an error, to put the Phoenix in position to close the gap. The homer forced Illinois to go to its All-American closer Acton, who finished the job.

 

Acton allowed only one base runner, on a walk, and struck out two to get his sixth save of the season in six attempts. Last season, Acton led the nation with 19 saves, setting Illinois and Big Ten single-season records. 

 

Aidan Maldonado (1-2) earned the win by allowing two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings. He struggled with command early, walking five, but settled in to retire eight of the last nine batters he faced. 

 

Illinois had its third straight winning weekend and seventh win in the last nine games. The Illini will look to make it four straight next weekend in a three-game series at Southern Illinois.

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Pacers Roll Mavs

Domantas Sabonis had 20 points and 17 rebounds, and Victor Oladipo scored the game’s final six points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-109 on Sunday night.

 

Despite leading for most of the game, the Pacers were down 109-104 with 3:14 to play - but held the Mavericks scoreless the rest of the way.

 

Oladipo gave Indiana the lead for good when he hit a pull-up 17-footer with 38.3 seconds to play, then added two free throws with 13.7 seconds left. Luka Doncic missed two long 3s on Dallas' final possession and the Pacers rebounded the ball as time expired.

 

Oladipo is in just his 12th game back after missing a full year of action due to a ruptured quadriceps tendon in his right leg. Coach Nate McMillan is managing his minutes and checked Oladipo back in with six minutes to play and the Pacers trailing by two.

 

Doncic scored 36 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 of his 30 in the second half. But Dallas suffered from a short roster – only 10 players dressed due to injuries and illness – and an off-night from Porzingis, who shot 3 for 17 and scored only nine points.

 

Dallas took its first lead of the game at 94-93 with 9:33 to play when Justin Jackson hit a 3.

Sabonis' double-double was his 50th of the season, breaking Troy Murphy's franchise record set in 2008-09.

 

Myles Turner, who played high school basketball at nearby Euless Trinity and one year at the University of Texas, scored 16 points. T.J. Warren also had 16 but fouled out with 3:14 to play after Doncic drew the last of three fouls on the Pacers defender over a 12-second span.

 

Jackson scored 11 points, the only Dallas player in double figures besides Doncic and Hardaway.

 

The Pacers host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

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Louisiana-Monroe Takes Weekend Series With ISU

The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (9-2) hit four solo home runs en route to a 4-2 series-deciding victory over Illinois State (3-7) Sunday afternoon.

 

A single by Aidan Huggins in the third inning drove in Braedon Blackford to give the Redbirds an early 1-0 lead. 

 

The Warhawks responded with three solo home runs off of Sean Sinisko in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 advantage. Mason Holt added a solo home run of his own in the fifth inning to make it 4-1.

 

Tyson Hays hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to make it 4-2.

 

Jordan Libman doubled for ISU en-route to a 2-for-2 afternoon. Sinisko finished 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits with no walks or strikeouts.

 

The Redbirds will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on Arkansas at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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Blues Blank Blackhawks

Jake Allen stopped 29 shots for his second shutout and the St. Louis Blues blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Sunday night for their ninth win in 10 games.

 

Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Pietrangelo scored for Central Division-leading St. Louis, which killed four Chicago power plays as it rebounded from a 4-2 home loss to lowly New Jersey on Friday. Jaden Schwartz had two assists.

 

Allen was tested only in spurts in his 21st career shutout and his second this season over Chicago. The Blues swept their season series from the Blackhawks for the first time since St. Louis entered the NHL in 1967-68. For 2019-20, the Blues won won all four game and outscored Chicago 16-8.

 

Corey Crawford had 24 saves in his ninth straight start as Chicago lost its second straight following a four-game winning streak. The Blackhawks' power play hasn't connected in its last 14 chances.

Both teams had a handful of prime chances in the scoreless first period.

 

After Allen stopped Patrick Kane and Alex Nylander about 8 minutes in, Drake Caggiula sent a backhander off the left post.

 

Crawford sprawled to thwart Mackenzie MacEachern on an initial shot from the left circle then a rebound about 8 minutes left in the period.

 

Bortuzzo gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 6:41 of the second to cap a flurry around the Chicago net. It was just his second goal of the season and first in two months.

 

After Crawford stopped Schwartz's wraparound from the right side, the rebound trickled into the slot. Brayden Schenn swatted the puck to the left side, where Bortuzzo pitch-forked it over Crawford's shoulder from a sharp angle.

 

Dylan Strome's shot glanced off the crown of Allen's mask midway through the period. Allen went to the bench briefly, had his mask tweaked and returned to the crease.

 

Kane skated in alone on Allen with 13:50 left, but Allen came up with a nifty left pad save.

 

Oskar Sundqvist elbowed Blackhawks defenseman Adam Boqvist in the head along the boards with 5:01 left in the second to set up Chicago's fourth power play. It also led to fracas that fueled a free-swinging fight between Caggiula and Vince Dunn.

 

Boqvist didn't return after the hit and is under concussion protocol. Caggiula suffered a right hand injury in his altercation.

 

The Blues killed the advantage, then Allen stopped Alex DeBrincat point-blank in the final seconds of the period.

 

Pietranglo gave the Blues some breathing room when he made it 2-0 at 5:37 of the third. After Nylander turned over the puck in the Chicago zone, Pietrangelo swept a shot past Crawford from the left side after taking Schwartz's cross-ice feed.

 

Allen came through with several close in saves in the final minutes after Crawford was pulled for an extra attacker.

 

Sundqvist was closing in on empty-net goals with 90 seconds left, but DeBrincat skated from behind to hook his stick.

 

The Blues host Florida on Monday.

 

The Blackhawks host San Jose on Wednesday.

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Nets Hold Off Bulls

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris each added 23 and Brooklyn beat the Chicago Bulls 110-107 on Sunday, a day after the Nets parted ways with coach Kenny Atkinson.

 

DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen each added 11 points, and Jordan had 11 rebounds.

 

Otto Porter Jr. led the Bulls with 23 points. Coby White added 21, Thaddeus Young had 17, and Lauri Markkanen 16.

 

The Nets led 58-50 at halftime. LeVert led Brooklyn with 16 points, Harris had 15 in 14 minutes, and Dinwiddie added 12.

 

yan Arcidiacono (right achilles) and G-F Zach LaVine (strained left quadricep) did not plays, and coach Jim Boylen suggested before the game G-F Chandler Hutichison could miss the remainder of the season because of a right shoulder injury. Hutchinson has not played since Feb. 11. 

 

Chicago was 12 of 34 on 3s, and 39 of 92 overall from the field.

 

The Bulls host Cleveland on Tuesday night.

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Hatton Wins First PGA Event at Bay Hill

Tyrell Hatton won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill with clutch play amid high stress, closing with seven straight pars for a 2-over 74 and a one-shot victory over Marc Leishman.

 

The 8-iron out of ankle-deep rough over the water to a front pin on No. 13. Par saves from off the back of the green on the 14th and 15th holes because the greens were so brittle they wouldn’t hold anything. The best of all was his 5-iron to 25 feet on the par-3 17th for another par, a satisfying score on this day.

 

Bay Hill served up the most demanding test this side of a major, and Hatton kept it together down the stretch Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory, and his fifth worldwide.

 

Hatton finished at 4-under 284, one of only four players who beat par for the week, the fewest at Bay Hill since 1980. So severe was the course that Matt Fitzpatrick closed with a 69 and was the only player to break 70 on the weekend.

 

Rory McIlroy, one shot behind going into the final round, had a 76 for his highest closing round since a 76 in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. He was done in by a double bogey on the par-5 sixth when his 90-yard bunker shot went over the green and against the rocks framing the lake, and another double bogey on the ninth when his tee shot went out-of-bounds left onto the practice range.

 

He still tied for fifth, his eighth consecutive top 5 worldwide dating to late September.

 

Sungjae Im, trying to become the first player since David Duval in 1997 to win his first two PGA Tour titles in consecutive weeks, was there with a chance until he came up shockingly short and into the water on the 13th for a double bogey.

 

The scoring average Sunday was 75.06, the toughest final round at Bay Hill since 1983. Hatton’s 284 was the highest score to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational since it began in 1979.

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Boys Basketball Postseason Matchups

Class 1A Sectional Championship Matchups Tonight

 

At Casey-Westfield

 

Central A & M 7:00pm

Effingham St. Anthony

 

At Danville Schlarman

 

Roanoke-Benson 7:00pm

Ridgeview

 

At Lewistown

 

Athens 7:00pm

Peoria Christian

 

Class 2A Sectional Championship Matchups Tonight

 

At Beardstown

 

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 7:00pm

Petersburg PORTA

 

At Pontiac

 

Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin 7:00pm

Joliet Catholic

 

Class 3A Regional Championship Matchups Tonight

 

At Bloomington

 

Lincoln 7:00pm

Danville 

 

At Galesburg

 

Galesburg 7:00pm

Peoria Manual

 

At Mattoon

 

Springfield Lanphier 7:00pm

Decatur Eisenhower

 

At Metamora

 

Peoria Notre Dame 7:00pm

Metamora

 

At Rantoul

 

Mahomet-Seymour 7:00pm

Urbana

 

At Springfield

 

Decatur MacArthur 7:00pm

Springfield 

 

At Taylorville

 

Chatham-Glenwood 7:00pm

Jacksonville

 

Class 4A Regional Championship Matchups Tonight

 

At Bradley-Bourbonnais

 

Normal Community 7:00pm

Yorkville

 

At Moline

 

East Moline United 7:00pm

Normal West

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Ohio State Rallies Past Illinois

Former Illinois prospect EJ Liddell slammed in a dunk that gave the Buckeyes the lead for good on the way to tying a career high with 17 points and pulling down a career-best 11 rebounds as No. 19 Ohio State pulled away for a 71-63 win over No. 23 Illinois on Thursday.

 

Liddell also played a career-high 26 minutes with junior forward Kyle Young out with an ankle injury.

Kaleb Wesson, Andre’s younger brother, had 15 of his team-leading 19 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (21-9, 11-8 Big Ten), who have won four in a row and nine of their last 11. They are playing well at a critical time, with a road matchup against No. 16 Michigan State looming this weekend and the Big Ten tournament beginning Wednesday in Indianapolis.

 

Ayo Dosunmu had 21 points and five assists to pace Illinois (20-10, 12-7), which saw its conference championship hopes fade a bit more after starting the day a half-game behind leaders Maryland, Wisconsin and Michigan State. Still, the Illini are poised for a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.

 

Illinois led by as many as 11 in the first half and held a 37-30 lead at the break. The Buckeyes let fly with the 3-pointers in the opening frame but hit just one in seven tries.

 

With Illinois went up by seven in the second half, Ohio State chipped away and Kaleb Wesson’s fadeaway jumper tied the score at 51 with 9:30 left, part of an 11-2 run by the Buckeyes, who then built an eight-point lead.

 

After Wesson picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in a 15-second span, Illinois got within five with a steal by Dosunmu and a coast-to-coast layup by Andres Feliz. But Liddell’s shot in the paint and a couple of foul shots by Duane Washington Jr. gave the Buckeyes a 69-60 lead with 32 seconds remaining.

 

The Illini’s second-half shooting was cold and 14 turnovers didn’t help. They shot 35.7% in the second half after making more than half their shots in the first.

 

Illinois hosts Iowa in its regular-season finale on Sunday.

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Drake Gets Past Illinois State at Missouri Valley Tournament

Liam Robbins had 18 points as Drake defeated Illinois State 75-65 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tourney first round on Thursday night.

 

Anthony Murphy and Garrett Sturtz added 17 points apiece for the Bulldogs (19-13), while Jonah Jackson chipped in 15. Sturtz also had eight rebounds.

 

Keith Fisher III had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Redbirds (10-21). Antonio Reeves added 13 points. Zach Copeland had 11 points.

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Blackhawks Roll Oilers

Alex DeBrincat scored two goals, rookie Adam Boqvist had two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Thursday night.

 

It was the fourth straight victory for the Blackhawks, who climbed within four points of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

 

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago. Corey Crawford made 20 saves.

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Josh Archibald and Kailer Yamamoto had goals for Edmonton, which had its three-game winning streak ended. The Oilers remained two points behind Pacific Division leader Vegas. Leon Draisaitl had two assists, pushing his league-leading points total to 110.

 

DeBrincat got his second two-goal game in the last seven with his scores in the second period, the second of which made it 4-1.

 

Edmonton coach Dave Tippett pulled goaltender Mike Smith in favor of Mikko Koskinen. Smith allowed four goals on 21 shots, while Koskinen made 10 saves.

 

DeBrincat had given the Blackhawks a three-goal lead 4:59 into the second with a 50-foot shot that Smith never saw, thanks to an inadvertent screen by defenseman Matt Benning.

 

Kane found an opening on the short left wing and rifled the puck over a sprawled Smith for his 30th goal of the season with 5:26 left in the first.

 

The Oilers rallied in the third period with a pair of goals in 49 seconds. Archibald and Yamamoto beat Crawford from the right slot, with Yamamoto's goal - which trimmed Chicago's lead to a goal - needing confirmation from NHL replay officials.

 

Blackhawks are at Detroit on Friday night.

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Cardinals Manager to Get Married Today

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt will spend today's day off getting married.

 

The 51-year-old Shildt managed both St. Louis split-squad games on Thursday, with the wedding party attending the evening game in West Palm Beach against Washington.

 

He’ll trade the crack of bats for the clang of bells on Friday before returning to the ballpark on Saturday to manage again.

 

Shildt’s bride-to-be, Michelle Segrave, has family in South Florida, one of the reasons the couple chose the date and location.

 

Holding a ceremony during the baseball season, which can run from late March until early November, didn’t make much sense to the couple.

 

Nor did a November ceremony, a traditional wedding month for people in the baseball community, because it would force friends within the Cardinals community who tend to scatter after the conclusion of the baseball season to reconvene only a few weeks later.

 

If the impending nuptials are distracting Shildt, his players haven’t noticed.

 

Throughout spring Shildt has deflected the few questions he’s been asked about the impending ceremony. The NL Manager of the Year started having a little more fun with the situation as the big day grew closer.

 

Several members of the Cardinals’ organization are expected to attend the ceremony, but Shildt purposefully didn’t invite any players.

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Two-Time Arnold Palmer Invite Champ Matt Every Leads After Round One

Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world who hasn’t finished out of the top 10 in any tournament since September, shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday morning in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

 

Matt Every, the No. 309 player in the world whose only two PGA Tour victories in 237 starts were back-to-back at Bay Hill, played in the tough afternoon wind and was one shot better with a 65.

 

Not only was it Every’s lowest round at Bay Hill, it was 20 shots better than his last round six days ago in the Honda Classic, when he shot 85.

 

He avoided a big number early and delivered his best shot late for the best score among the early starters, when the wind only started to get strong at the end.

 

McIlroy had his sixth consecutive opening round of 68 or lower, another great start. It just didn’t feel that way early.

 

Trying to hammer an 8-iron to a back flag on his second hole of the day at No. 11, the ball landed short and left of the green and rolled into the water. He took a penalty drop, hit a pedestrian chip and escaped with a bogey by making a 10-foot putt.

 

He made three birdies and an eagle — a 3-iron from a fairway bunker to 25 feet — and was most satisfied by taking advantage of easier scoring conditions.

 

Scottie Scheffler boosted his bid for a Masters invitation with a bogey-free 67 and joined Talor Gooch two shots behind. Scheffler, the player of the year on the Korn Ferry Tour, is No. 51 in the world and needs to get in the top 50 after the Match Play at the end of the month.

 

Another Masters hopeful, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, was in the group at 68 along with Keith Mitchell and Graeme McDowell.

 

Bay Hill was plenty tough even before the wind arrived because of the thick rough framing fairways and greens that became firmer and faster under a warm Florida sun.

 

It felt that way for Phil Mickelson in the afternoon and Adam Scott in the morning. Both shot 77. Only 18 players from the 120-man field broke 70.

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IHSA Boys Basketball Postseason Scores

Class 1A Sectional Semifinal Scores

 

At Danville Schlarman

 

Salt Fork 39

Ridgeview 51

 

At Lewistown

 

Liberty 54

Peoria Christian 57

 

Class 2A Sectional Semifinal Scores

 

At Beardstown

 

Normal U-High 44

Petersburg(PORTA 47

 

At Pontiac

 

Joliet Catholic 50

Paxton-Buckley-Loda 49

 

Class 3A Regional semifinal scores Wednesday

 

At Bloomington

 

Danville 73

Bloomington 58

 

At Galesburg

 

Peoria Manual 65

Limestone 40

 

At Mattoon

 

Decatur Eisenhower 53

Mattoon 50

 

At Metamora

 

Peoria 49

Metamora 73

 

At Rantoul

 

Urbana 47

Champaign Centennial 45

 

At Springfield 

 

Springfield 71

Springfield Southeast 56

 

Class 4A Regional Semifinal scores Wednesday

 

At Moline 

 

Moline 37

Normal West 40

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Bucks Hold Off Pacers

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and the Bucks bounced back from one of their weakest performances of the season to rout the Indiana Pacers 119-100 on Wednesday night.

 

Two nights after losing 105-89 in Miami, the Bucks improved to 53-9 as they get ready for a three-game trip west that starts Friday at the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers. Milwaukee hasn’t lost back-to-back games all season.

 

Indiana had a four-game winning streak snapped as it fell into a tie with Philadelphia for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Pacers also lost guard Malcolm Brogdon to a sore left hip in the second quarter.

 

The Pacers also were without Victor Oladipo for the second straight game because of a sore right knee. Milwaukee was missing reserve guards George Hill (groin contusion) and Kyle Korver (back soreness).

 

This game marked a return to form for the NBA’s highest-scoring team.

 

After scoring at least 100 points in 83 consecutive regular-season games - the third-longest streak in NBA history - the Bucks failed to reach the century mark in a 93-85 victory at Charlotte on Sunday and their loss at Miami.

 

But they got there with time to spare Wednesday. with Eric Bledsoe hitting a 3-pointer to give the Bucks a 101-81 edge with 9:02 left.

 

Middleton had 20 points and Donte DiVincenzo matched a career-high with 19 for the Bucks. Bledsoe added 16 and Wesley Matthews had 15.

 

T.J. Warren scored 18 points and Doug McDermott had 16 for the Pacers. Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and T.J. McConnell had 14 points.

 

Milwaukee led 33-11 less than 10 minutes into the game but missed all eight of its 3-point attempts in the second quarter as its halftime advantage shrunk to 58-56.

 

In the opening minute of the third quarter, the Pacers forced the first tie since a 2-2 start. The Bucks responded a few minutes later by taking a 78-64 lead with a 15-2 run that culminated with Matthews banking in a 3-pointer.

 

The Bucks stayed in front by double digits the rest of the way and led by as much as 28.

 

Sabonis recorded his 48th double-double of the year and is one away from Troy Murphy’s record for the most by a Pacer in a single season since the franchise joined the NBA in 1976. Murphy had 49 double-doubles in 2008-09. Sabonis also had seven assists.

 

The Bucks are 13-1 against Central Division teams this season. The lone loss came Feb. 12 at Indiana, but Antetokounmpo didn’t play in that game.

 

Indiana continues its five-game trip Friday night at Chicago.

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Timberwolves Top Bulls

Malik Beasley scored 24 points and D’Angelo Russell added 19 for the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 115-108 victory against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

 

Naz Reid had his second straight double-double for Minnesota with 16 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Timberwolves to their second consecutive win. It's the first time they’ve won both games of a back-to-back this season, following Tuesday’s 139-134 victory in New Orleans.

 

Playing without leading scorer Zach LaVine, Chicago welcomed back Lauri Markkanen but couldn’t follow up Monday’s win against Dallas. Coby White led the Bulls with 26 points off the bench.

 

Chicago built a 13-point lead in the first half before Minnesota’s offense got on track in the second half. The Wolves hit five of their first six 3-pointers after halftime to take a 72-64 lead.

 

Markkanen returned after missing 15 games with a right pelvis stress reaction. He last played Jan. 22 against Minnesota. Boylen said Markkanen would be limited to 18-20 minutes. He ended up with 13 points in 21 minutes.

 

Wendell Carter Jr. played his third game back from injury and had six points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes. Otto Porter, who missed 51 games with a left foot fracture, played his second game back and was 1-of-8 shooting in 18 minutes. Boylen had said Carter and Porter were still on a minutes restriction as well.

 

The Bulls return home against Indiana on Friday.

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Packers Expected To Move On From TE Graham

The first year of the Matt LaFleur era was a success, as the Green Bay Packers finished the regular season 13-3, clinched the NFC North title and made it to the NFC Championship game. Now entering the offseason, however, the Packers will turn their attention to improving for 2020, and that includes parting ways with players who have been on the roster for several seasons. 

 

On Wednesday afternoon, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Packers are not expected to bring back tight end Jimmy Graham. Rapoport goes on to say that this move with the 33-year-old is not a surprise to anyone involved. In Graham's second season with the Packers, he caught 38 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. He never really got going in Green Bay, as he recorded 55 catches for 636 yards and two touchdowns last year. 

 

What's interesting is that Graham is not a free agent, he's still under contract for the 2020 season and has a base salary of $7.45 million according to Spotrac. Prior to the 2018 season, Graham signed a three-year, $30 million contract after spending three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.

 

Once regarded as one of the top tight ends in the NFL, Graham has yet to match some of the numbers he put up earlier in his career with the New Orleans Saints. In three seasons from 2011 to 2013, Graham recorded two 1,000-yard seasons and a combined 36 receiving touchdowns. He was traded to the Seahawks ahead of the 2015 season for center Max Unger and the Seahawks' first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.


It remains to be seen if any teams would be interested in trading for a 33-year-old tight end who is set to be one of the highest-paid at his position in 2020 -- especially considering some of the players set to hit free agency this offseason. The Packers may be forced to release him, and carry some dead cap into next year. 

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Clinton Sophomore Cyrulik Named Unanimous Girls Basketball First-Team All CIC

Clinton Sophomore Mallory Cyrulik was named a unanimous selection to the Central Illinois Conference All-Conference first team earlier this week.

 

Clinton Sophomore Kaitlyn Rauch was also an honorable mention All-Conference. Coach Josh Williams says it was great to see the two recognized for their great season's and points out Cyrulik has a chance to do something never done before in school history....

 

 

First Team (*denotes unanimous selection)

 

*Addison Newbon   Jr.  St. Teresa

*Channing Reed   Sr.  Central A&M

*Emily White   Jr.  Sullivan

Avery Still   Sr.  Sullivan

Brynn Tabeling   Jr.  Tuscola

 

Second Team

 

Addie Fyke   Sr.  St. Teresa

Trinity Wade   So.  Shelbyville

Mikayla Denton   Sr.  Central A&M

Marissa Russo   Jr.  Tuscola

Lilly Null   So.  Sullivan

Brittney Oakley   Sr.  Warrensburg-Latham

 

Honorable Mention

 

McKenna Denton   Sr.   Central A&M

Emily Johnson  Jr. Meridian

Sade’ Oladipupo   Sr.  St. Teresa

Mia Wade  Fr.  Shelbyville

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IHSA Boys Basketball Postseason Scores, Matchups

Class 1A high school boys basketball sectional semifinal scores from Tuesday

 

At Casey-Westfield

 

Central A & M 71

Altamont 56

 

At Danville Schlarman

 

Roanoke-Benson 46

Mt. Pulaski 27

 

Class 2A high school boys basketball sectional semifinal scores from Tuesday

 

At Beardstown

 

Pleasant Plains 48

Sacred Heart-Griffin 62

 

At Pontiac

 

Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin 58

Coal City 48

 

Class 3A high school boys basketball regional semifinal scores from Tuesday

 

At Bloomington

 

Lincoln 72

Morton 37

 

At Galesburg 

 

Galesburg 67

Peoria Richwoods 47

 

At Mattoon

 

Springfield Lanphier 55

Mt. Zion 30

 

At Metamora

 

Peoria Notre Dame 50

Washington 35

 

At Rantoul

 

Mahomet-Seymour 52

Champaign Central 49

 

At Springfield

 

Decatur MacArthur 57

Rochester 50

 

At Taylorville

 

Chatham Glenwood 60

Taylorville 46

 

Class 4A high school boys basketball regional semifinal action Tuesday

 

At Bradley-Bourbonnais

 

Normal Community 49

Minooka 40

 

At Moline 

 

Pekin 47

East Moline United 48

 

Class 1A high school boys baketball sectional semifinal action tonight

 

At Danville Schlarman

 

Salt Fork 7:00pm

Ridgeview

 

At Lewistown

 

Liberty 7:00pm

Peoria Christian

 

Class 2A high school boys basketball sectional semifinal action tonight

 

At Beardstown

 

Normal U-High 7:00pm

Petersburg PORTA

 

At Pontiac

 

Joliet Catholic 7:00pm

Paxton-Buckley-Loda

 

Class 3A high school boys basketball sectional semifinal action tonight

 

At Bloomington

 

Danville 7:00pm

Bloomington

 

At Galesburg 

 

Peoria Manual 7:00pm

Limestone

 

At Mattoon

 

Decatur Eisenhower 7:00pm

Mattoon

 

At Metamora

 

Peoria 7:00pm

Metamora

 

At Rantoul

 

Urbana 7:00pm

Champaign Centennial

 

At Springfield 

 

Springfield 7:00pm

Springfield Southeast

 

Class 4A high school boys basketball regional semifinal action tonight

 

At Moline

 

Moline 7:00pm

Normal West

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Illinois Outslugs Chicago State

Branden Comia had a career-high four hits and four RBIs Tuesday and Garrett Acton tied Illinois' career saves record in the Illinois baseball team's 11-8 home opening win over Chicago State. Comia was a home run away from the cycle, as the Illini won for the fifth time in the last six games.

 

Comia doubled in the first, had an RBI single in the second, doubled in the fourth, and tripled in the fifth. He extended his career-long hitting streak to seven games and his career-long reached base streak to 15 games, while increasing his season average to .429 and slugging percentage to .800.

 

Illinois (6-4) scored five times in the first two innings but let Chicago State (2-11) hang around and eventually take a 6-5 lead in the fifth inning. Comia's fifth-inning triple scored two runs as part of a four-run frame to finally put the Illini in control. 

 

Acton finished up the Illini's first midweek game of the season with his fifth save in as many appearances. His 24 career saves are tied with Tyler Jay for the most in Illinois history. 

 

Caleb Larson (1-0) picked up his second career win by throwing 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen and allowing two runs on six hits. The Illini's 'pen, with help from Grant Leader (1.0 IP, 0 R) and Ryan Kutt (1.0 IP, 1 R), combined to throw 6 1/3 innings and allow three runs. 

 

Illinois is back in action this weekend for three games Friday-Sunday at Elon.

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Illinois State Outslugs Arkansas

Multiple timely hits throughout the afternoon led Illinois State (4-7) to an 8-7 victory over No. 13 Arkansas (7-4) on Tuesday. The victory is the second win for the Redbirds over a ranked opponent this season.

 

Joe Butler got the Redbirds on the board with a three-run shot to left field in the third inning to give Illinois State a 3-0 lead.

 

RBI singles by Heston Kjerstad and Martin gave the Razorbacks their first lead at 4-3 in the fifth inning. Jake McCaw hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to score Tyson Hays and tie the game at 4-4.

Freshman Ryan Cermak laced a two-out single up the middle to score two runs in the sixth inning.

The Razorbacks added a run in the bottom half of the sixth to make it 6-5.

 

Jordan Libman plated two more runs in the eighth inning to extend the Illinois State lead to 8-5.

 

Arkansas scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but Colton Johnson got out of a jam to end the threat.

 

Connor Peplow pitched an 1 2/3, allowing a run on four hits with a strikeout to pick up the win. Colton Johnson threw a scoreless inning with three strikeouts for his first save. 

 

Butler and Cermak finished 2-for-5 with two and three RBIs, respectively. Libman finished 2-for-4. 

 

The Redbirds will travel to Jacksonville, Florida on Friday for a doubleheader beginning with a 1 p.m. matchup with Virginia Commonwealth. Illinois State will play Jacksonville in the second part of the doubleheader shortly after.

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Blues Hold Off Rangers

Brayden Schenn scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and Jordan Binnington made 25 saves as the Blues won their eighth straight with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

 

Jaden Schwartz and defenseman Colton Parayko each had a goal and an assist for St. Louis.

 

Schenn scored for the fifth consecutive game when his wraparound banked off the skate of goalie Alexandar Georgiev at 9:56. Schwartz and Parayko got assists on Schenn’s 25th of the season.

 

Schwartz sealed it with an empty-net goal, his 21st, at 19:54 as the Rangers lost their third straight.

 

Binnington won his sixth in a row for the defending champion Blues (40-17-10), who have the best record in the Western Conference and previously had winning streaks of seven and eight games this season.

 

Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring for the Rangers with a power-play goal at 12:26 of the first period, whipping the puck past Binnington for his 33rd goal while Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was off for tripping.

 

Zibanejad has goals in eight of the Rangers’ last nine games and 12 of the past 15 to take over the team lead from Artemi Panarin, who has 32 goals and 90 points. The 26-year-old Zibanejad has played in just 53 games this season and has 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in his last 19.

 

The Blues tied it on an unassisted goal at 2:35 of the second by Parayko, who beat Georgiev for his ninth of the season. Georgiev started for the fourth time in five games after veteran Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to Philadelphia, his first start since Feb. 3. Georgiev made 19 saves in his 30th start of the season.

 

The Rangers were coming off back-to-back losses to the Flyers after winning five games in a row and nine of 10 to surge into the Eastern Conference playoff race. They are four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders, who currently hold the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

 

The Rangers have a tough road ahead with Washington visiting on Thursday, then New Jersey on Saturday followed by a trip to Dallas, Colorado and Arizona.

 

The Blues improved to 7-1-4 against Metropolitan Division opponents and 13-6-4 overall against Eastern Conference teams this season. They have outscored opponents 28-13 during their winning streak.

 

Blues are at the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

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Blackhawks Blast Ducks

Dylan Strome, Alex Nylander and Patrick Kane scored on consecutive shots late in the second period, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

 

Strome scored twice and added an assist in the rout. Chicago won its third straight game while chasing a wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. Drake Caggiula and David Kampf also scored for the Blackhawks.

 

Danton Heinen and Carter Rowney scored for Anaheim, which lost for the sixth time in eight games (2-5-1).

 

The three goals in succession in 2:53 late in the second broke open a one-goal game. Strome broke to the net and deflected Kane's perfect pass by goaltender John Gibson for a 3-1 advantage at 15:29.

 

Nylander made it 4-1 with 1:53 left in the period with a backhand after a 120-foot 2-on-1 with Jonathan Toews to his right. Fifteen seconds later, Kane beat Gibson between the pads for his 29th goal of the season.

 

Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins replaced Gibson, who made 19 saves on 24 shots, with Ryan Miller for the third period. Miller made 15 saves.

 

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford was replaced by Malcolm Subban for 70 seconds in the third period after Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf caught Crawford in the head with his left knee. Crawford sat on the bench rather than go to the room designated for concussion evaluation.

 

The Blackhawks got off to a quick start. Caggiula slipped into the left slot and deflected Adam Boqvist's hard pass past goaltender Gibson for Chicago's first goal 2:07 into the game, after solid board work by Kirby Dach.

 

Chicago made it 2-0 early in the second, with Strome beating Gibson on the stick side after getting behind the Ducks defense.

 

Heinen stopped Crawford's shutout bid 4:20 into the second, capping off a sharp passing play. The Blackhawks killed off a 5-on-3 power play soon after and began to control the flow of the game.

 

Rowney beat Crawford with a mid-air deflection for Anaheim's second goal 8:26 into the third. Crawford finished with 37 saves.

 

The Blackhawks host Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

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IHSA Basketball Postseason Scores, Matchups

Class 1A high school boys basketball sectional semifinal action tonight

 

At Casey-Westfield

 

Central A & M 7:00pm

Altamont

 

At Danville Schlarman

 

Roanoke-Benson 7:00pm

Mt. Pulaski

 

Class 2A high school boys baskebtall sectional semifinal action tonight

 

At Beardstown

 

Pleasant Plains 7:00pm

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin

 

At Princeton

 

Newman Central Catholic 6:00pm

El Paso-Gridley

 

Cladd 3A high school boys basketball regional quarterfinal scores from Monday

 

At Galesburg 

 

Peoria Richwoods 64

Canton 39

 

At LaSalle-Peru

 

LaSalle-Peru 67

Dunlap 55

 

At Mattoon

 

Charleston 45

Mt. Zion 68

 

At Metamora

 

Washington 54

East Peoria 45

 

At Rantoul

 

Champaign Central 90

Rantoul 35

 

Class 3A high school boys basketball regional semifinal action tonight

 

At Bloomington

 

Lincoln 7:00pm

Morton

 

At Galesburg

 

Galesburg 7:00pm

Peoria Richwoods

 

At Mattoon

 

Springfield Lanphier 7:00pm

Mt. Zion

 

At Metamora

 

Peoria Notre Dame 7:00pm

Washington

 

At Rantoul

 

Mahomet-Seymour 7:00pm

Champaign Central

 

At Springfield 

 

Decatur MacArthur 7:00pm

Rochester

 

At Taylorville

 

Chatham Glenwood 7:00pm

Taylorville

 

Class 4A high school boys basketball regional semifinal action tonight

 

At Bradley-Bourbonnais

 

Normal Community 7:00pm

Minooka

 

At Moline

 

Pekin 7:00pm

East Moline United

 

Class 3A high school girls basketball supersectional scores

 

At Kankakee

 

New Lenox Providence Catholic 12

Morton 45

 

At Springfield

 

Springfield Lanphier 57

Highland

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Illinois Back in Top 25 Polls

The Kansas Jayhawks were the unanimous choice for the top spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll released Monday, receiving all 64 votes from the media panel.

 

Illinois moves back in to the poll at No. 23 following wins over Indiana and Northwestern this week. 

Gonzaga was No. 2, with Dayton, Baylor and San Diego State rounding out the top five. The Aztecs, No. 9 Maryland and No. 18 Iowa were the only other teams to hold their place after a week in which nine Top 25 teams lost to unranked opponents.

 

Kansas moved to No. 1 for the second time this season a week ago after knocking off previously top-ranked Baylor. The Jayhawks remained atop the poll after beating Oklahoma State and rival Kansas State.

 

Dayton has its highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in 1955-56 after stretching its winning streak to 18 games with victories over George Mason and Davidson last week.

 

No. 16 Michigan State had the week’s biggest jump, moving up eight spots following victories over Iowa and Maryland.

 

No. 8 Seton Hall has its highest ranking since reaching No. 7 in 2000-01 after moving up five spots. The Pirates beat Marquette last week.

 

No. 25 Michigan had the biggest drop among teams still in the poll, falling six spots after losing to Wisconsin and Ohio State.

 

No. 12 Duke lost five places following losses to Wake Forest and Virginia.

 

Reigning national champion Virginia returned to the poll at No. 22 after knocking off Virginia Tech and Duke.

 

No. 24 Wisconsin is ranked for the first time this season after victories against No. 25 Michigan and Minnesota.

 

West Virginia dropped out of the poll from No. 20 after losses to unranked Texas and Oklahoma.

Colorado also had a pair of losses to unranked opponents, California and Stanford, to fall out from No. 21.

 

Texas Tech had the same type of week, losing to Texas and Oklahoma, to drop out from No. 22.

 

Illinois also returned to No. 22 the Coaches Poll after their 2-0 week. The Illini and defending national champ Virgina tied at No. 22 with 79 points in the poll. 

 

Gonzaga climbed back to No. 2 in both the Coaches Poll Top 25 on Monday after a 2-0 week that included a victory over Saint Mary's. The Zags took the place of Baylor, which fell two spots in the Coaches Poll to No. 4 following a Saturday loss to TCU.

 

The coaches voted Kansas as the unanimous No. 1 just as the the AP voters did. Meanwhile, Seton Hall rose from No. 13 to No. 7 in the Coaches Poll after a win at Marquette on Saturday. Kentucky also got a nice bump from No. 9 to No. 6 after beating Auburn on Saturday to claim the SEC regular season title.

 

The most notable snub from both polls may have been UCLA. The Bruins received 54 votes in the Coaches Poll after ascending to sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 standings with a victory over Arizona on Saturday. It was the Bruins' seventh victory in a row and ninth in their last 10 games. But even at 19-11 (12-5 Pac-12), the hesitance of some voters to elevate UCLA into the poll is a reflection of the Bruins' status as an NCAA Tournament bubble team.

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Illinois Extends Underwood

Illinois rewarded basketball coach Brad Underwood for a significant jump this season with a three-year contract extension through 2026, the school announced Monday.

 

The move comes with the Illini challenging for the Big Ten Conference championship in Underwood’s third season. They are ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25, are 20-9 overall and are tied for second in conference play with Michigan State and Wisconsin at 12-6 — a game behind Maryland. Illinois went 14-18 and 12-21 in Underwood’s first two seasons.

 

Underwood signed a six-year contract in 2017 when he left Oklahoma State after leading the Cowboys to a 20-13 record and the NCAA Tournament in his lone season. He led Stephen F. Austin to an 89-14 mark and three NCAA tourney appearances from 2013-16.

 

Underwood’s extension is pending approval by the university’s Board of Trustees at its meeting on March 12. The school also announced extensions through 2022 for his assistants.

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Bulls Hold Off Mavs

Coby White scored 19 points, Otto Porter Jr. added 18 in his return from a broken left foot and the Chicago Bulls hung on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-107 Monday night when Luka Doncic's desperation heave bounced off the rim.

 

Denzel Valentine added a season-high 17 points and the Bulls won for just the second time in 12 games even though leading scorer Zach LaVine sat out with a strained left quadriceps.

 

The Bulls outscored Dallas 33-17 in the third quarter to turn a 10-point halftime deficit into an 81-75 lead, and withstood a big push in the final minute.

 

The Mavericks were trailing 107-99 when Maxi Kleber dunked with 18 seconds left. Delon Wright then got a steal and fed Dorian Finney-Smith for a 3-pointer that made it a three-point game.

 

Chicago's Thaddeus Young missed the first free throw before hitting the second with 13 seconds remaining.

 

Finney-Smith hit another 3 to make it 108-107 with three seconds left before Chicago's Wendell Carter Jr. made the second free throw after missing the first. Finney-Smith then threw a long inbound to Doncic, who barely missed from in front of the scorer's table.

 

Porter played 17 minutes and made three 3s in his first appearance since Nov. 6. Valentine surpassed his previous season high of 16 points, and White continued his strong run. The rookie is averaging more than 28 points over his past five games.

 

Tim Hardaway Jr. led Dallas with 26 points. Doncic scored 23 after sitting out Sunday's win at Minnesota because of a sprained left thumb. Finney-Smith added 18 points. But with Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry (lower back tightness) sitting out after dominating the previous day, the Mavericks lost for the second time in three games.

 

The Bulls visit Minnesota on Wednesday.

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Pacers Rally Past Spurs

Malcolm Brogdon scored 26 points, T.J. Warren added 23 and the Pacers rallied to beat the Spurs 116-111 on Monday night after blowing a 15-point lead.

 

The Pacers won their fourth straight, moving into a fifth-place tie with the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference.

 

Patty Mills scored 24 points to lead San Antonio and Trey Lyles added 20. The Spurs, who have lost eight of 11, dropped four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for eighth place in the West.

 

San Antonio trailed 84-69 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter before rallying. The Spurs went ahead 102-98 with 6:44 remaining in the game, fueled by a pair of 3-pointers each from Mills and Lonnie Walker IV and an emphatic slam by Walker.

 

Walker finished with 10 points.

 

The Pacers regained control by pounding the paint against the undersized Spurs, who were without injured big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl.

 

Domantas Sabonis had nine of his 14 points in the final quarter.

 

Indiana was without Victor Oladipo, who suffered swelling in his right knee following the team's morning shootaround. 

 

Doug McDermott had 14 points, going 4 of 5 on 3s.

 

The Pacers play at Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

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IHSA Postseason Matchups

Class 2A Sectional Semifinal action tonight

 

At Beardstown

 

Pleasant Plains 7:00pm

Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin

 

At Princeton

 

Newman Central Catholic 6:00pm

El Paso-Gridley

 

Class 3A Regional quarterfinal action tonight

 

 

At Galesburg 

Peoria Richwoods 7:00pm

Canton

 

At LaSalle-Peru

 

LaSalle-Peru 7:00pm

Dunlap

 

At Mattoon

 

Charleston 7:00pm

Mt. Zion

 

At Metamora

 

Washington 7:00pm

East Peoria

 

At Rantoul

 

Champaign Central 7:00pm

Rantoul

 

Girls basketball 3A supersection action tonight

 

At Springfield 

 

Springfield Lanphier 7:00pm

Highland

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Illini Hold Off Indiana

On Sunday, Ayo Dosunmu added another chapter to his growing legend at Illinois by scoring a game-high 17 points, including a key 3-pointer down the stretch, to lead the Illini over Indiana 67-66.

 

Dosunmu hit the 3-pointer with 1:28 left to put Illinois (20-9, 12-6 Big Ten) up 65-60. Rob Phinisee then hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 left to pull Indiana (18-11, 8-10) to within two points.

 

Following a missed Illinois free throw by Da’Monte Williams, Andres Feliz ripped the ball away from Phinisee and called a timeout for Illinois with 13 seconds left.

 

Dosunmu was fouled intentionally and hit both free throws to make the score 67-63. Phinisee hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Hoosiers to make the final score 67-66.

 

Feliz scored 15 for Illinois and Kofi Cockburn added 15 points and six blocked shots.

 

Aljami Durham led Indiana with 13 points. Trayce Jackson-Davis had 12 points and 12 rebounds, Devonte Green added 11 points and Phinisee 10.

 

It was a physical and close game from the opening tip. Indiana’s largest lead was five points, while Illinois’ was seven The Illini needed runs of 7-0 and 9-0 in the second half to pull ahead.

 

The score was tied 36-36 at the half.

 

The Illini needed the win and pulls into a tie for second place with Michigan State in the conference with two games left in the regular season.

 

Illinois travels to No. 23 Ohio State on Thursday and finishes the regular season at home against No. 18 Iowa next Sunday.

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Illinois Falls To No. 1 UCLA, Takes Two at Frisco Classic

No. 1 UCLA remained undefeated by beating the Illinois baseball team, 14-1, in Sunday's Frisco Classic championship game. 

 

The Illini entered the Frisco Classic as the only unranked team and left with a 2-1 record, including ranked wins over No. 13 Texas A&M and No. 23 Oklahoma State.

 

Illinois (5-4) held a 1-0 lead after one inning before UCLA (11-0) took control with two runs in the second inning, then 12 runs in the final four frames. Kellen Sarver drove in Illinois' only run with a two-out double over the left fielders head in the first inning to score Taylor Jackson, who led off the game with a walk and stolen base. 

 

UCLA had 17 hits and went 9-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Former first-round pick Matt McClain led the Bruins with four hits and four RBIs, while projected first-round pick Garrett Mitchell had two hits, three runs, and four RBIs. Mikey Perez scored five runs out of the No. 8-hole. 

 

Aidan Maldonado (0-2) kept Illinois in the game by allowing two runs through the first four innings before UCLA started to rally. He took the loss after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched. 

Infielder Braden Comia and catcher Jacob Campbell were named to the All-Tournament team for the weekend.

 

Illinois will regroup for its home opener on Tuesday against Chicago State at Illinois Field. The Illini travel to Elon for a three-game series next weekend.

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ISU Drops Sunday Finale, Series to Louisiana-Monroe

The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (9-2) hit four solo home runs en route to a 4-2 series-deciding victory over Illinois State (3-7) Sunday afternoon.

 

A single by Aidan Huggins in the third inning drove in Braedon Blackford to give the Redbirds an early 1-0 lead. The Warhawks responded with three solo home runs off of Sean Sinisko in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 advantage.

 

Mason Holt added a solo home run of his own in the fifth inning to make it 4-1.Tyson Hays hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to make it 4-2.

 

Jordan Libman was 2-for-2 with a double for ISU.

 

Sean Sinisko pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing four runs. Connor Peplow and Derek Salata combined to for the final 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball.

 

The Redbirds will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on Arkansas at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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Bowman Rolls to Win at Fontana

Alex Bowman raced to his second career NASCAR Cup Series victory Sunday, holding off Kyle and Kurt Busch at Fontana.

 

The win was the culmination of a tremendously encouraging weekend for Bowman, who has run 156 Cup races without extraordinary success. He is in the final year of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports.

 

But his No. 88 Chevrolet felt like the fastest car on this weathered, wide asphalt from the moment they unloaded — and Bowman decisively proved he knew what to do with it.

 

Bowman led 110 laps and managed to stay out front after the final pit stops before cruising to the checkered flag in a smooth, fairly uneventful race featuring only one caution outside of the stage breaks.

 

Defending Fontana champion Kyle Busch was 8.9 seconds behind in second place in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. His older brother Kurt was third, and Bowman teammate Chase Elliott came in fourth.

 

Six-time Fontana champion Jimmie Johnson finished seventh after running near the front for most of his final race as a full-time driver at the NASCAR track closest to his native El Cajon, California, about 100 miles away. His winless streak is at a career-worst 98 races, but he showed impressive pace before his Hendrick teammate took charge of the race.

 

Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin finished sixth after starting at the back when he changed a shock absorber before the start. Hamlin then put Kyle Larson into the wall during the first stage with a bump from behind, and Larson needed significant repairs.

 

The crew chiefs of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Preece were ejected after NASCAR found illegal body modifications on the cars, which had to drop to the rear on the pace laps.

 

Ryan Blaney is the overall points leader even after finishing 19th at Fontana. He led 54 laps and was in contention to chase down Bowman before he was forced to the pits with three laps left by a tire issue.

 

Clint Bowyer finished 23rd after starting on the pole. That’s a typical hazard at Fontana, where the cars that perform best in qualifying frequently aren’t set up to excel in the race. Bowyer is still a solid 13th in the overall points.

 

The Cup Series runs next Sunday at Phoenix Raceway in a key stop because the track is also the site of the series’ championship race Nov. 8.

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Korea's Sungjae Im Wins Honda Classic

21-year-old South Korean Sonjae Im started fast and finished stronger Sunday, winning The Honda Classic by one shot over Mackenzie Hughes and two over Tommy Fleetwood for his first victory in 50 tries on tour. 

 

But before he could be whisked back to the course to collect the trophy, Im made sure to speak out about the coronavirus and tell those in South Korea — where nearly 4,000 cases have been confirmed — that he was thinking of them.

 

Im shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday, finishing at 6 under to match the second-highest winning score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007. He was the tour’s rookie of the year last season, plus has played more tournaments and more rounds than anyone since the 2018-19 season began nearly a year and a half ago.

 

And now, he’s a winner, picking up $1.26 million this week and becoming the Honda’s 10th international champion in the last 16 seasons.

 

Im birdied four of his first five holes, then birdied two of the final four — after sticking tee shots on the tough par-3 15 and 17th holes within 8 feet both times — to finish off the victory.

 

Hughes, a Canadian who made the cut on the number Friday, shot his second consecutive 66. Playing alongside Im, he was part of some serious fireworks on the last two holes and missed a birdie putt at the par-5 finishing hole that would have gotten him into a tie for the top spot.

 

Fleetwood (71) was alone in third and is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. He started the day one shot clear of the field and started birdie-birdie to get to 7 under at that point — matching what was the low score in relation to par of the week.

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