Local Sports

Maroons fall to Hilltoppers

The Clinton Maroons fell to the Mount Pulaski 4-1 on Friday.


Mount Pulaski opened the scoring in the second inning after Carter Clark hit a sacrifice fly, scoring one run.


Josh Bass grounded out, which helped Clinton tie the game at one in the top of the third.


A single by Chance Payne gave the Hilltoppers the lead 2-1, in the bottom of the third. The Hilltoppers opened the floodgates in the bottom of the 6th inning courtesy of a home run to left field by Luke Martin, for his third on the season.

Chance Payne earned the win for Mount Pulaski. The lefty allowed two hits and one run over 6 and 2/3 innings while striking out 16 and walking 1.


Brock Wilson took the loss for Clinton. Wilson went 5 innings, surrendering two runs, on four hits while striking out seven and walking two.


Colton Walker and Brooks Cluver collected one hit each for the Maroons. Josh Bass had the one RBI.


The Maroons travel to Macon-Meridian for their next game on Tuesday.

Maroa-Forsyth run rules Taylorville

Tate Brandenburg drove in four runs on one hit to lead Maroa-Forsyth past the Taylorville Tornadoes 18-5 on Friday. In the second inning, Brandenburg hit a grand slam to left field.


Maroa-Forsyth jumped out to the lead in the top of the first inning after Mitch WIlliams doubled, scoring one run, an error scored one run, and another error scored two.


The Trojans scored eight runs on seven hits in the top of the third inning.


Kaiden Maurer doubled, scoring two, Mitch Williams singled, scoring one, Andy Munjoy doubled scoring one, Ace Giles singled scoring one, an error scored one, and Connor Kelly singled scoring one.


Colton Gatton hit a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the third for Taylorville.


Ian Reid earned the win for the Trojans on the mound. Reid gave up 10 hits and 5 runs, over five innings, striking out two and walking none. 


Isacc Repscher took the loss for Taylorville. The southpaw went two innings, surrendering eight runs on six hits, striking out two and walking two.


The Trojans accumulated 16 hits in the game. Kaiden Maurer set the tone at the top of the lineup with 4 hits in 5 at-bats. Zayn Giles, Mitch Williams, and Ace Giles each collected multiple hits for the Trojans.


Maroa-Forsyth will travel to Neoga for their next game on Saturday.

HS Baseball: Monticello Grinds to Win Over Prairie Central

It wasn't a spectacular comeback but the Monticello Sages rallied from behind to top Prairie Central 7-5 in its Illini Prairie Conference opener in high school baseball Thursday from the Wilke Complex in Monticello.


The Hawks opened up a 4-0 lead after the first inning but the Sages slowly crept back into the game with a three-run second inning, ultimately tying the game at 5-all in the fourth after Prairie Central added a run in the third.


A less-than-spectacular but effective two-run sixth inning gave the Sages the lead 7-5. Dylan Brown got on base via an error then Matt Swartz walked and Raiden Colbert bunted his way on base. 


A Carter Foran single brought home Brown and Swartz was thrown out at the plate. Koyie Williams brought home Colbert for the second run of the inning. 


Foran threw five shutout innings in relief of Jacob Long who allowed five runs on five walks. The senior southpaw struck out four and permitted two hits.


Foran struck out three and allowed three hits while issuing three walks. 


Ike Young and Eli Craft hit doubles for the Sages offense. Craft finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Foran was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Williams stayed hot in the Monticello lineup finishing 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.


Colbert scored twice for Monticello.


The Sages keep their perfect record intact at 13-0 and start the Illini Prairie Conference 1-0.


Thursday's game was the Sages' third of the week and will host GCMS Friday afternoon, its fourth game in five days. 

HS Baseball: Normal West Rolls to Win in Gulf Shores Tournament Finale

Alex Olsen went the distance and Normal West wrapped up a strong southern spring break road trip with a 9-0 win over GW-Long from the Gulf Shores Tournament in Alabama Thursday morning.


Olsen was effective in his six innings allowing only a hit on two walks with two strikeouts.


Sam DesCarpentrie doubled twice finishing 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Blake Crancer was 1-for-3 with three runs scored and stole two bases.


Sean Jenkins was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs for the Wildcats who came to Alabama winless in four tries and went 4-1 in the Gulf Shores to go to 4-5 overall. 


Normal West returns home to open Big 12 action with Urbana Monday and Wednesday of next week. 

HS Baseball: Mt Pulaski Blasts Unity Christian

Eric Cooper hit a three-run inside-the-park home run as the Mt. Pulaski Hilltoppers blasted their way to a 15-0, four-inning, run-rule win Thursday night in non-conference high school baseball action in Mt. Pulaski.


Liam Smith went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a triple. He also went three innings of shutout ball. Smith struck out seven and allowed just three hits and two walks. 


Luke Martin tripled and scored twice while reaching base three times with a pair of walks. 


Mt. Pulaski moves to 6-0 on the season with Thursday's win. They will host Clinton on Friday afternoon.

HS Baseball: Mt. Pulaski Blanks OkawValley

Landan Smith came up an out short of a complete game shutout and also helped his cause at the plate as Mt. Pulaski blanked Okaw Valley 5-0 in non-conference high school boys baseball action Wednesday in Mt. Pulaski.


Smith twirled 6 2/3 innings of one-hit ball. He struck out nine and walked three. Luke Martin got the final out of the game to finish off the shutout for the Hilltoppers.


Smith doubled in a run going 1-for-2 with an RBI. Martin, Chance Payne, and Eric Cooper drove in runs for the Hilltoppers who go to 5-0 on the season.


Mt. Pulaski hosts Unity Christian this afternoon.

HS Baseball: Monticello Powers Past Champaign Central

Koyie Williams and Ike Young hit two-run home runs in the first inning propelling Monticello past Champaign Central 14-5 in a non-conference slugfest Wednesday in Champaign.


The Sages jumped out in front 7-0 in the third inning but Central answered with three in the third and two in the fourth to trim the deficit to 8-5 but the Sages put the game out of reach with a five-run seventh.


Williams added an RBI double finishing 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Young was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Dylan Brown was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.


Brody Billedo threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Young who allowed five runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. Billedo struck out three, walked two, and permitted just one hit.


The Sages go to 12-0 on the season. They will host Prairie Central today to open Illini Prairie Conference action.

HS Baseball: Normal West Rolls in Alabama

Sam DesCarpentrie and Blake Crancer paced a big offensive effort for Normal West in a 13-1 win over Westview (TN) on Wednesday in the Gulf Shores Alabama Tournament in four innings.


Normal West scored ten runs in the first inning. esCarpentrie and Crancer each had two RBI's in the inning while Alex Olsen, Sam McCulley, Sam Beirne, and Trent Durham each drove in a run. 


DesCarpentrie finished the day with three RBI's, and McCulley and Beirne each picked up an additional RBI after the 10-run first inning. 


Sam Beirne picked up the win on the mound as he went 2 1/3 innings allowing one run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two. DesCarpentrie came on to pitch the final 1 2/3 innings allowing no runs on two hits while striking out three and walking one. 


The Wildcats are now 3-5 on the season. Normal West concludes tournament action today.

HS Softball: Blue Ridge Outlasts Oakwood

Addison Roos and Ellie Schlieper led Blue Ridge over Oakwood 7-4 in non-conference girls softball action Wednesday in Farmer City.


Roos finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Lady Knights, who overcame an early 3-0 deficit. 


Schlieper struck out 11 in seven innings. She allowed four runs, two were earned, on six hits and permitted just one walk. She was also 1-for-2 with a double.


Cassie Zimmerman finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Roos and Zimmerman each stole multiple bases for Blue Ridge who stole bases for the game.


Carsyn Stiger and Lily Summers drove in runs for the Knights. 


Blue Ridge goes to 2-5 overall. They will travel to Villa Grove on Monday for its Lincoln Prairie Conference opener. 

Illinois in First Sweet 16 Since 2005

Terrance Shannon, Jr. is a perfect 6-0 against the Iowa State Cyclones, and he will have a chance to improve that record on Thursday when Illinois and Iowa State meet in a battle of East Region teams in the Sweet 16.


All six of Shannon's previous victories vs. the second-seeded Cyclones came when he was at Texas Tech, and he averaged 10.0 points per game across those contests.


Since joining the third-seeded Fighting Illini (28-8) last season, Shannon has blossomed. He is averaging a team-high 23.3 points per game in 2023-24, most recently scoring 30 on 10-of-14 shooting in Illinois' 89-63 rout of No. 11 seed Duquesne on Saturday.


The Cyclones (29-7), who rank fourth in the country in scoring defense at 61.3 points allowed per game, beat seventh-seeded Washington State 67-56 in the second round. They got 15 points from Tamin Lipsey and 14 from Curtis Jones.


Iowa State overcame an ice-cold start in which it went 1-for-13 from the field and scored just four points through the game's first nine minutes.


Points could be hard to come by again on Thursday against a Fighting Illini defense that just held Duquesne star Dae Dae Grant to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. Grant came into the game averaging 16.7 points.


the Fighting Illini are playing past the Round of 32 for the first time since 2005, when they ended up going all the way to the national championship game and falling to North Carolina.


For Illinois, Domask backs Shannon with 16.1 points per game, while Hawkins is averaging 12.3. Quincy Guerrier pairs an average of 9.8 points with a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.


Keshon Gilbert paces Iowa State with 13.7 points per game, followed by Lipsey (12.5 ppg), Milan Momcilovic (11.2) and Curtis Jones (10.6).


Thursday marks the 15th meeting between the teams. The Illini hold an 11-3 advantage in the all-time series.


Game time tonight is just after 9 central time.

White Sox Open Season With Core Largely Gone

Chicago White Sox left-hander Garrett Crochet will make his first career start on Opening Day when the team hosts the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.


Crochet counts 72 relief appearances on the heels of that assignment, but the White Sox still are glad to have a veteran around behind the plate should Crochet need additional calming.


Catcher Martin Maldonado is one of several new faces for the White Sox, and the team will look to his presence to help a revamped starting rotation jell.


It's a rebuilding season for the White Sox, and general manager Chris Getz may entertain overtures for third baseman Yoan Moncada and outfielder/designated hitter Eloy Jimenez as the season progresses.


The White Sox avoided potentially bad news concerning center fielder Luis Robert Jr., who was hit by a pitch in the left arm during Monday's intrasquad game against Triple-A Charlotte but emerged unscathed.


Chicago will face a lefty with far more starting seasoning in Tigers ace Tarik Skubal, who also dealt with injury in 2023, was 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts to help the Tigers finish 78-84. That was good enough for second place in the American League Central, nine games behind the Minnesota Twins and 17 clear of the fourth-place White Sox.


Hear White Sox baseball again this season on WHOW.

Cardinals Open '24 Season in Los Angeles with Revamped Rotation

As the Los Angeles Dodgers get set to resume their season against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon, there is a much different air from the optimism that surrounded their opener last week in South Korea.


The Cardinals will be starting their 2024 season, while the Dodgers already have won one game and lost another against the San Diego Padres in the Seoul Series.


Before the second game could begin on March 21, news broke that new Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani was embroiled in a controversy that included financial fraud of up to a reported $4.5 million, with the money in question allegedly tied to a Southern California bookmaker.


Ohtani has denied any involvement with sports betting, with the ordeal at best providing a way for the Dodgers to rally together as a team and at worst leaving a cloud over them all season, while threatening to disrupt the club's championship aspirations.


The Dodgers added the two-way talent on a 10-year, heavily-deferred $700 million contract in the offseason, and even though he won't pitch this season after elbow surgery, his run-producing prowess adds to a lineup that includes fellow former MVPs in Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.


To fortify the pitching staff, Los Angeles acquired right-handers Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Ohtani's countryman from Japan. Yamamoto landed a 12-year, $325 million deal.


Glasnow (0-0, 3.60 ERA) is set to take the mound Thursday after mixed results in his debut in the season opener, when he gave up two runs to the Padres on two hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Glasnow has six career appearances against the Cardinals (two starts) and is 0-2 with a 2.45 ERA.


Intent on distancing themselves from a disastrous 2023 season, the Cardinals have not enjoyed the best of springs. Not only will projected ace Sonny Gray open the season on the injured list with a hamstring strain, but three outfielders will start the season on the injured list.


The Cardinals open with right-hander Miles Mikolas on the mound after he went 9-13 with a 4.78 ERA last season in 35 starts. He allowed the most hits in baseball with 226, and his 107 earned runs were the most of any pitcher that spent his entire season in the National League.


Mikolas is 1-2 with a 4.23 ERA in seven career appearances (four starts) against the Dodgers.


In the St. Louis outfield, Tommy Edman (wrist) and Lars Nootbaar (ribs) already were set to open the season on the IL. Now, Dylan Carlson also will be on the IL after a left shoulder injury Monday.


The Cardinals finished 71-91 last season. Their .438 winning percentage was their worst since a .434 mark (62-81) in 1995 and their worst in a full 162-game season since a .432 mark (70-92) in 1990.

Bulls Knock Off Pacers

DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and Nikola Vucevic added 22 with 12 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls past the Indiana Pacers 125-99 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game skid.


Coby White had 18 points to help Chicago take the season series from Indiana 3-1.

All five Chicago starters reached double digits in scoring, but this victory was about defense. The high-scoring Pacers were held under 100 points for the first time this season. Their previous low was 101 against Boston in a loss on Jan. 6.


Andrew Nembhard scored 18 points for the Pacers, who concluded a five-game trip at 3-2 and remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers were held to 40% shooting, while the Bulls shot 50% in an often sloppy game.


Chicago limited Pascal Siakam to 14 points after the two-time All-Star had scored 25 or more in four straight games and 36 and 31 in his last two, respectively.


Ayo Dosunmu scored 17 on 7-for-11 shooting, including 3 for 5 on 3-pointers. Andre Drummond added 14 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for Chicago, ninth in the East.


Bulls defensive specialist Alex Caruso, who had 12 points to hit double figures for the fourth straight game, was surprised to learn his team was the first to hold the Pacers under 100 points this season.


The Bulls took charge late in the second quarter by outscoring and outmuscling the Pacers 22-6 in the final 6:24 to build a 64-43 halftime lead. Chicago shot 55.6 %, while Indiana lagged at 35% in the first half.


Vucevic led the way with 15 points in the half and helped spark the surge with 7-for-11 shooting. Dosunmu had 11 points in the half.


Indiana scored the first seven points in the second half to start a comeback that narrowed the Bulls' lead to 71-64 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter when T.J. McConnell hit a pair of free throws. The Pacers didn’t pull closer than seven, however.


DeRozan, Drummond and Dosunmu helped thwart the Pacers with timely baskets that wrested back momentum late in the third and made it 87-74 after the quarter.


Chicago pulled away in the fourth.


Donovan said injured Zach LaVine (right foot surgery), Patrick Williams (left foot surgery) and Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery) could be in Chicago on Monday when the Bulls host Atlanta, then continue rehabbing in town with the team the rest of the season.


The Bulls are at Brooklyn on Friday.

Cubs Look to Build on Surprising 2023

The Texas Rangers will take the first step on what they hope is the long journey toward defending their World Series title on Thursday night when they open the season against the Chicago Cubs in Arlington, Texas.


Last season's path to glory saw the Rangers post a 90-72 record and a second-place finish in the American League West. They swept the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles in the first two rounds of the playoffs before outlasting the Houston Astros in seven games during the AL Championship Series. Texas capped it off by dispatching the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to win its first World Series title in franchise history.


And while the Rangers would like to become the first team to win consecutive World Series titles since the New York Yankees from 1998-2000, they know that Game 1 of the regular season holds just as much value as the 161 contests that follow.


Eovaldi, 34, hopes to pick up where he left off in 2023 when he makes his fourth career start on Opening Day. The two-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion followed a 12-5 record with a 3.63 ERA in 25 starts during the regular season by going 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA in his six outings in the playoffs.


Texas' bread and butter is its high-octane offense, and manager Bruce Bochy expects to have two key cogs in the lineup on Thursday.


World Series MVP Corey Seager has returned to action following surgery to repair a sports hernia, while All-Star third baseman Josh Jung is good to go following a calf issue.


Seager, Jung, Marcus Semien and Adolis Garcia ignited a Rangers offense that led the AL with 881 runs and tied for the league lead with 233 homers last season.


The Cubs, who missed the playoffs after finishing with an 83-79 record in 2023, will turn to left-hander Justin Steele on Thursday to make his first career start on Opening Day.


Steele, 28, posted a 16-5 record with a 3.06 ERA last season to finish fifth in the balloting for the National League's Cy Young Award. He won his lone career encounter vs. Texas on April 8, allowing one run on four hits in six innings of a 10-3 victory.


There's even more reason for optimism in the Windy City outside of Steele. The Cubs signed Cody Bellinger to a three-year, $80 million contract on the heels of his 26-homer, 97-RBI performance in 2023. They also hired former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell to serve in the same role for them this season.

HS Softball: Long Ball Leads Monticello Past Decatur St. Teresa

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Monticello hit four home runs in the first inning including back-to-back-to-back home runs, and routed Decatur St. Teresa 17-2 in four innings of non-conference high school softball action from the Wilke Complex in Monticello.


Isa Beery hit a grand slam in the first inning then Ali Weidner, Marrissa Miller, and Sadie Walsh hit consecutive home runs in the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Sages sent 14 batters to the plate in the first and scored nine runs.


St. T kept Monticello off the board in the second and got a run back in the third before the Lady Sages added four more runs in their half of the fourth inning and finished off the run-rule win with a four-run fourth inning.


Beery 3-for-3 adding a double and six RBIs to lead Monticello's offense. She was the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt Counties Player of the Game.


Miller was 3-for-4 adding a double and scoring three times for the Lady Sages. Walsh added an RBI double finishing 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs, and scored four runs. 


Cassidee Stoeffel doubled twice finishing 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs, and scored three runs for Monticello.


Cheryl Easterling paced the Lady Bulldogs' offense going 3-for-3 with a double and scored twice. Avery Harrison was 1-for-2 with an RBI and Ella Korte walked and singled in a run for St. T.


The Lady Sages go to 6-4 overall. St. T drops to 3-4.

Illinois Rolls Mizzou in Baseball Braggin' Rights Game

Illinois (11-12) brought Braggin' Rights back to Champaign with an 11-3 victory over Missouri (10-15) Tuesday night at Grizzlies Ballpark.


Jake Rons, who did not factor in the decision, delivered four innings of one-run ball and punched out seven batters without issuing a walk in the first start of his Illinois career. Korey Bunselmeyer picked up the win by tossing 2.0 innings and allowing just one run on three hits.


The offense scored double-digit runs for the second-straight contest, paced by a 1-for-4, home run, three-RBI performance from Ryan Moerman. Drake Westcott also went yard, a two-run blast, going 1-for-3 with two runs, a home run, and two RBI, and drew two walks.


Cameron Chee-Aloy went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. He has reached base safely in 20 of 21 games this season.


Coltin Quagliano went 2-for-3 with a run, double, two RBI and was hit by a pitch - he leads the Illini with 20 RBIs.


Illinois hosts Penn State for a three-game set this weekend.

Blackhawks Down Flames

Jason Dickinson scored twice, Petr Mrazek made 40 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Tuesday.


Seth Jones also scored for Chicago, and Joey Anderson had two assists. Connor Bedard, who wrapped the blade of his stick in rainbow-colored Pride tape for warmups on Pride Night, picked up his team-best 35th assist.


Blackhawks rookie Landon Slaggert had two assists for his first points in his sixth NHL game. But he was turned away by Calgary defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on a prime scoring opportunity, and then came up empty on another chance.


The horn sounded after Slaggert appeared to score in the third period, but a review showed the puck never went into the net. The 21-year-old forward smiled as he stood in front of the Chicago bench before the decision was announced by an official.


The last-place Blackhawks improved to 6-4-0 in their last 10 games. They have just 21 victories in 72 games on the season.


The Blackhawks are at Ottawa on Thursday night for the opener of a three-game trip.

Illinois State, Iowa Tuesday Matchup Canceled

The Illinois State and Iowa baseball game scheduled for Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. CT at Duffy Bass Field has been canceled due to expected inclement weather.


The Missouri Valley Conference cold weather policy requires a wind chill factor of at least 28 degrees.


Illinois State is scheduled to travel to Iowa City for a game on April 30.


The Redbirds travel to Missouri State this weekend.

HS Baseball: Monticello Drops Lincoln

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Luke Teschke struck out 13 batters across seven innings of one-run ball, Eli Craft blistered a three-run home run and Monticello rolled past Lincoln 9-1 Monday afternoon in high school baseball action from the Wilke Complex in Monticello. 


Leading 9-0 and one strike away from a no-hitter, Jarrett Evans drilled an opposite-field home run on a 1-2 pitch for the Railersplitters that broked up the Monticello senior's bid at a no-hitter and shutout.


The Illinois State commit faced two over the minimum en route and matched his season-high for strikeouts. Before Evans' home run, Teschke had not allowed a hit and had issued only a free pass sitting down the first 13 batters he faced.


Teschke struck out seven in a row at one point between the final out of the first inning and the final out of the third inning.


Branden Wurth kept the Sages bats in check most of the afternoon. He permitted a run in the first. The Lincoln senior got the first two Sages before a bloop infield base hit altered by an overpowering wind Monday dropped in on the infield turf. Craft then walked before Jacob Long hit a ground ball to first base. 


Lincoln could not get Long at first base and Teschke hustled all the way home from second base to score the game's first run.


The Sages applied more pressure in the fourth inning. With the runners at second and third and two outs, Raiden Colbert hit a humpback liner just beyond the second base bag that scored Colton Vance but Ike Young was thrown out easily at home plate trying to score on the play and Monticello went up 2-0.


The Sages broke the game open in the fifth inning sending ten batters to the plate highlighted by a Craft blistering three-run home run to left field that cut through a howling wind of consistently 25 MPH blowing right to left across the diamond.


Each Sage batter reached base on Monday. Colbert and Matt Swartz added RBIs for the Sages.


Teschke was the ServPro of Piatt DeWitt/Counties Player of the Game Monday.


The Railers drop to 2-3 on the season. Monticello goes to 11-0.


Hear more Sages sports on WEZC this afternoon when we bring you girls softball action against Decatur St. Teresa. 


The next Sages' baseball game of the week broadcast is next Thursday when they host Heyworth.

HS Baseball: Normal West Splits Double Dip in Alabama

The Normal West baseball squad split a twin bill in Alabam Monday afternoon taking home a 7-3 over Shelby County and then dropped a 7-4 decision to Gibson County out of Tennessee.


The Wildcats scored six runs in the sixth inning of the opener to break open a 3-1 game. Trent Druham doubled and drove in two for Normal West while Sam DesCarpentrie and Bradyn Whitehead each had three hits. DesCarpentrie added a pair of RBIs. 


Blake Crancer stole two bases in the opener.


Crancer would add three hits including a pair of doubles, a pair of runs and drove in a run in the second game of the day. He also stole two bases.


Normal West is 2-4 on the season. The Wildcats return to action today for a single game at 2 pm in the Gulf Shores of Alabama. 

Bulls Fall to Wizards

Jordan Poole scored 23 points and the Washington Wizards won their season-high third straight game, beating the Chicago Bulls 107-105 on Monday night.


Corey Kispert posted his first career double-double with 19 points and a personal-best 12 rebounds. Marvin Bagley III scored 16, and Richaun Holmes had 14 points and 15 rebounds. Jared Butler added a career-high 13 assists to help the Wizards - owners of the NBA’s second-worst record - get some payback for a 29-point blowout in Chicago last week.


Washington had not won more than two in a row since a six-game streak in January 2023.


DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 27 points. Coby White scored 22 as the Bulls dropped their third in a row - a loss that was as bad as any for them this season.


Ninth in the Eastern Conference, Chicago found itself staring at a 15-0 deficit. Poole scored 10 in that stretch, though he also headed to the sideline with three fouls just under five minutes into the game.


The Wizards led by 16 early in the second quarter before Chicago went ahead in the third. Washington was up 100-93 late in the game, but the Bulls then scored six straight points and pulled within one on White’s driving layup with 2:10 remaining.


The Wizards were up by four when DeRozan drove for a layup in the closing minute. Washington’s Justin Champagnie then made one of two free throws with 31 seconds left to make it 104-101.


DeRozan drove for another layup to make it a one-point game before Kispert hit two free throws for Washington to bump the lead to 106-103 with eight seconds remaining.


The Bulls called a timeout and Butler committed a foul on the inbounds play. White sank two free throws to cut it to 106-105 with six seconds left.


Champagnie then hit one of two free throws to make it 107-105 with 5.1 seconds to go. DeRozan missed a heave at the buzzer.


Washington was without leading scorer Kyle Kuzma (sore left shoulder) for the third time in five games. Wizards guard Tyus Jones (back sprain) missed his sixth game in a row, while guard Landry Shamet (strained left calf) missed his eighth straight. Interim coach Brian Keefe said Jones appears to be further along than Shamet, though he didn't have a timetable on either player.


Bulls guard Lonzo Ball continues activities such as sprinting as he works his way back from a series of surgeries on his left knee. Chicago coach Billy Donovan indicated the next big step in Ball's recovery probably will come in the summer.


Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 14, 2022. He's had three operations since then, including a cartilage transplant in March 2023.


The Bulls host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Illinois To Tip at 10 ET/9 CT in Sweet 16 Matchup With Iowa State

The 2024 NCAA Tournament continues Thursday with four Sweet 16 games — two in the East Region in Boston, two more in the West Region in Los Angeles.


The only game on Thursday between two top-three seeds is Iowa State-Illinois. The Cyclones are the No. 2 seed in the East. The Illini are the No. 3 seed in the East. Iowa State opened a 2.5-point favorite. If the Cyclones win, they'll then be just one more victory away from advancing to the Final Four for the first time since 1944.


The winner plays Thursday's earlier game in Boston between fifth-seeded San Diego State and top-seeded UConn. That game tips at 6:39 central time with Illinois and Iowa State to follow 30 minutes later.


North Carolina vs. Alabama — a No. 1 vs. No. 4 game in the West Region inside crytpo.com Arena. The Tar Heels, led by All-American guard RJ Davis, made the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years by beating Wagner and Michigan State by double-digits. The Crimson Tide, led by All-American guard Mark Sears, made the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years by beating Charleston and Grand Canyon by double-digits.


Thursday's tip is set for 9:39 p.m. ET on CBS.

Golden Knights Walk Off Blues in Overtime

Jonathan Marchessault scored 49 seconds into overtime and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 Monday night for their third straight win.


Pavel Dorofeyev also scored and Logan Thompson stopped 30 shots to help Vegas win for the sixth time in its last eight games. The Golden Knights moved five points ahead of the Blues for the final Western Conference wild card.


Brandon Saad scored and Jordan Binnington finished with 32 saves for St. Louis, which had won two straight games and five of its last seven.


The Blues' Pavel Buchnevich was awarded a penalty shot 30 seconds into overtime after Noah Hanifin tripped him on breakaway. Thompson denied him with a glove save to keep the score deadlocked at 1-1.


Just 19 seconds later, Marchessault picked up a loose puck behind the Blues' net while William Karlsson fended off two players along the end boards, brought it out on the left side and settled it before firing his 39th goal of the season past Binnington.


The Blues host Calgary on Thursday night.

HS Baseball: Monticello Sweeps Saturday Twin Bill

Monticello picked up a pair of good victories on Saturday with a 4-1 win over New Berlin and a 2-1 win over Routt Catholic in round-robin baseball action from Monticello High School.


Hayden Romano allowed an unearned run in five innings of work in the opener. The sophomore allowed just a hit, walked two and struck out four. 


Raiden Colbert drove in two. Carter Foran finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base. Matt Swartz stole a base for Monticello as well who mustered just four hits and took advantage of four Pretzels turnovers.


In the second game, Koyie Williams struck out eight in six innings of one-run ball as the Sages topped one of 1A's top teams, Routt Catholic 2-1. 


Williams allowed six hits and a walk. The junior also drove in a run finishing 1-for-3 at the plate. Foran again finished 1-for-3 with an RBI. Jacob Long was 1-for-2 with a double. Luke Teschke and Swartz stole bases for the Monticello offense in the second game.


The Sages move to 10-0 on the season and will host Lincoln this afternoon. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. First pitch is set for 4:30 pm.

Illinois Rolls Duquesne On Way to Sweet 16

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 30 points, Marcus Domask added 22 and Illinois made fast work of its 11th-seeded opponent from the Atlantic 10 in the third-seeded Illini's 89-63 victory over Duquesne on Saturday night.


Illinois (28-8) hadn't made it through the first weekend of the tournament in eight previous appearances.


Illinois and Iowa State will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Illinois has won nine of the last 12 meetings but lost the last two, in 2018 and 2015.

William Byron Takes Home Second Win Sunday at COTA

William Bryon started from pole position and delivered a dominant drive in NASCAR’s first road course race of the season. The Hendrick Motorsports driver led 42 of 68 laps and built the big lead he needed to hold off a hard-charging run from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell over the final two laps.


Bell shaved nearly three seconds off Byron’s lead to create some late drama before Byron slammed the door over the final corners.


Byron led 23 laps of the first two stages but found himself quickly dropped to third at the start of the final stage as Ross Chastain, who won at COTA in 2022, jumped to the front.


Byron fought back to pass him with 25 laps to go and both cars pitted on the same lap. Chastain then got hung up in traffic on the re-entry and fell several cars behind.


That gave Byron the chance to open the gap he needed to keep Bell behind him at the end. Ty Gibbs, the 21-year-old grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, finished third after getting passed by Bell with three laps to go.


The series moves to short-track racing next Sunday at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia.

Bradley Falls Cincinnati in Second Round of NIT

Jizzle James had 25 points in Cincinnati's 74-57 win over Bradley on Saturday in the NIT.


Dan Skillings Jr. added 20 points and five rebounds. Simas Lukosius added 17 points for the Bearcats (20-14). 


Malevy Leons led the way for the Braves (22-11) with 16 points and six rebounds. Connor Hickman scored 14.


Cincinnati took the lead with 18:36 left in the first half and did not give it up. James led their team in scoring with 14 points in the first half to help put them up 36-28 at the break.


Cincinnati advances to play the winner of Sunday's Indiana State versus Minnesota matchup.

Mt. Pulaski defeats Williamsville

In Central Illinois High School Baseball action, the Mount Pulaski Hilltoppers cruised to a 7-3 victory over the Williamsville Bullets.


Liam Smith started the scoring off for the Hilltoppers with a first-inning home run. Other Hilltoppers to put the ball in play were Smith, Payne, Clark, and Cowan.


Chance Payne took the mound for the Hilltoppers dominating the strike zone with 15 strikeouts. Payne only gave up one run through 5 and 1/3 innings. 


The game was canceled in the sixth inning due to weather.


Mount Pulaski moves to 4-0 with the victory, with their next matchup against Illini Central on March 26th with a 4:30 opening pitch.

Clinton Lady Maroons drop rivalry game

Clinton Lady Maroons Softball could not keep up with Maroa-Forsyth and fell 16-3 in a game heard on WHOW and all of its streaming platforms.


A single by Lainey Larner put Maroa-Forsyth on the board in the top of the first.

The Maroons took the lead in the botton of the first inning after Heidi Humble Doubled, and Avery Smith hit into a fielder's choice, each scoring one run.


Maroa-Forsyth flipped the game on its head in the top of the second, scoring six runs on four hits to take a 7-2 lead. The biggest blow in the inning was a double by Kelci Kahler that drove in two.


Maroa-Forsyth scored five runs on six hits in the top of the third inning. Kahler doubled, scoring one run, Taylor Crouch doubled, scoring two, and Aubrey Stewart homered to left field, scoring two.


Ashley Armstrong led things off in the cirlce for the Lady Maroons. Armstrong allowed 16 hits and 16 runs, only nine of those earned runs over five innings, striking out seven and walking one.


Danni Hovey stepped in the circle first for Maroa-Forsyth. Hovey gave up seven hits and three runs over five innings, striking out three and walking one.

Leadoff hitter Brooke Reeves led the Maroons with two hits in two at bats. Heidi Humble, Avery Smith, and Reeves each drove in one run for the Maroons.

Heidi Humble was awarded the ServPro of Piatt and DeWitt Counties player of the game for her offensive efforts.


Maroa-Forsyth accumulated 16 hits in the game. The Kahler sisters each collected three hits for the Lady Trojans. Kelci Kahler led Maroa-Forsyth with four runs batted in going three for four on the day. Lainey Larner, Aubrey Stewart, and Peyton Torbert each collected multiple hits for Maroa-Forsyth. 


The next game for the Lady Maroons is against Sullivan on Tuesday.

Monticello Sages walk off Westville Tigers

It came down to the wire on Friday at Monticello High School, as Monticello gravved the victory in walk-off fashion, 2-1, over the Westville Tigers. The game was tied at one in the botton of the seventh when Koyie Williams singled, scoring one run.


The pitching was strong on both sides. Monticello pitchers Ike Young and Brody Billedo struck out 10, while Westville struck out four.


The Sages were the first to get on the board in the second inning when one run scored on another play.


C Steinbaugh singled, which helped Westville tie the game at one in the top of the fourth inning.


Ike Young took the job on the mound to start the game, surrending five hits and one run over five innings, striking out eight and walking three.


C Schaumberg led things off on the mound for Westville, allowing one hit and one run (zero earned) over four inings, striking out four and walking two.


Brody Billedo took over pitching responsibilites for the Sages pitching two innings of shutout ball. Billedo surrendered zero hits, striking out two and walking one.


Koyie Williams led Monticello's offense with one RBI. The infielder went 1-for-4 on the day. Eli Craft, Colbert Raiden and Williams each collected one hit for the Sages. Ike Young had two stolen bases.


The Sages move to 8-0 on the season gearing up for a game against the Routt Catholic Rockets on Saturday.

Blue Ridge Lady Knights blanked by Rantoul

The Blue Ridge Lady Knights could not keep up with Rantoul and fell 11-0 on Friday evening.


Rantoul got on the board in the bottom of the first inning after Sherrick doubled, scoring one run, Morgan Doubled, scoring two runs, and Cann homered to left field, scoring two.


Rantoul Extended their early lead with four runs in the bottom of the second thanks to home runs by Sherrick and Herbert.


Rantoul extended their early lead with two runs in the bottom of the third thanks to RBI singles by Bell and Sherrick.


Sherrick earned the win for Rantoul. The starting pitcher gave up zero hits and zero runs over five innings, striking out seven and walking one.


Ellie Schlieper took the loss for the Lady Knights. She went three innings, allowing 11 runs on 11 hits, striking out one and walking two.


Rantoul collected 11 hits in the game. Sherrick drove the middle of the lineup, leading Rantuol with four RBIs. She went 3-for-3 on the day. Bell and Herbert both collected multiple hits for Rantoul. 


Blue Ridge will travel to Armstrong for their next game on Tuesday.

HS Softball: Iroquois West Scores Late to Top Blue Ridge

Iroquois West broke a 6-all tie in the top of the 7th inning and edged past Blue Ridge 7-6 in non-conference high school girls softball in Farmer City Wednesday afternoon.

Karlee Fenton doubled and drove in two finishing 2-for-4 to lead the Lady Knights.


Addison Roos and Lily Enger scored twice while Cassie Zimmerman drove in a run for Blue Ridge.


Ellie Schlieper allowed seven runs, five were earned. She struck out six and permitted eight hits and walked one.


Blue Ridge falls to 1-3 overall and will travel to Rantoul Friday afternoon.

HS Baseball: Normal West Outslugs Limestone

Sam DesCarpentrie blasted two home runs and Normal West got in the win column with a 14-6 win over Limestone in non-conference high school boys baseball action in Normal.


DesCarpentrie drove in three runs, scored twice and walked twice for the Wildcats. Brady Hart drove in four runs going 1-for-4. Blake Crancer drove in a run and stole three bases. Jaxson Crancer hit a two-run double.


Alex Olson went 4 1/3 innings allowing five runs, three were earned, on six hits with seven strikeouts and walked three. Sam Beirne threw 1 2/3 scoreless relief and Leif Blair finished out the game allowing a run in the seventh.


Normal West goes to 1-4 overall. They head to Gulf Shores, Alabama next week for a spring break trip south. 

HS Baseball: Normal Community Outlasts Morton in Ten Innings

Reid Johnson brought in Brady Burkhart in the top of the tenth inning breaking a scoreless tie as Normal Community outlasted Morton 1-0 in a ten-inning marathon Wednesday in Morton in non-conference high school boys baseball.


Johnson was 2-for-2 off the bench with a double and RBI. Kaileb Hackman was 2-for-4 with a double for the Ironmen while Lucas Drengwitz and Sal Gura recorded doubles Wednesday.


It was a bullpen day for the Ironmen as they used five pitchers. Hackman threw 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to record the win. The senior struck out nine of the 11 batters he faced, walking one and permitted two hits. 


Ethan Eberle tossed a perfect 1 1/3 innings striking four and getting the start for Normal. 


The Ironmen are 5-0 on the season. They are going south next week for spring break. 

IHSA Looking to Extend Basketball State Finals in Bloomington, Champaign

State finals are in the books for high school boys' and girls' basketball around the state, and that means the end of a contract with host sites in Champaign and Bloomington-Normal.


However, Illinois High School Association leaders plan on exploring new contracts with the University of Illinois State Farm Center and Illinois State University's CEFCU Arena. According to I-H-S-A Executive Director Craig Anderson, the Board is amidst contract negotiations with the host sites.



The previous three-year contracts were short-term deals to fit format changes. But now, Anderson says the Board wants to explore five-year contract extensions with both Universities.


In other news, the I-H-S-A plans to explore possible implementation of a shot-clock at an upcoming board meeting.

Illinois State Outslugs Northern Illinois

Illinois State pounded out 13 hits while scoring 16 runs - tying the second most runs scored during the 2024 season - securing a 16-12 win over Northern Illinois Wednesday in Normal.


Seven different players tallied a hit during the contest, marked by Judah Morris' four RBIs including a double and home run. 


In total, five different Redbirds hit a home run on Wednesday, highlighted by junior Noah Rabin's team-leading eighth home run of 2024.


ISU scored eight runs in the first two innings. JT Sokolove and a two-run dinger by Rabin hit home runs to help the Redbirds get out front early. 


In the third inning, Greg Nichols' first home run of the season to made it a 10-2 ballgame. Morris sent a no-doubt moonshot over the left field fence that made it 12-6 in the fourth. 


Auggie Rasmussen hit a home run in the 8th inning.


Carter Monke went 3.0 innings with three strikeouts until a four-run fourth for NIU knocked him out of the game.


Northern Illinois moves to 7-14 after the loss.


After a three-game sweep at the hands of eighth-ranked Vanderbilt March 8-10, the Redbirds have won five of six to go to 10-9 overall. 


Illinois State hosts Bradley this weekend at Duffy Bass Field for its Missouri Valley Conference opener. 

Bradley Wins in First Round of NIT

Duke Deen had 18 points in Bradley's 74-62 win against Loyola Chicago on Wednesday night in the NIT.


Darius Hannah scored 17 points and added eight rebounds for the Braves (23-11). Malevy Leons had 14 points.


Braden Norris led the Ramblers (23-10) in scoring, finishing with 17 points and two steals. Dame Adelekun added 10 points and seven rebounds for Loyola Chicago. Miles Rubin also had seven points and seven rebounds.


Bradley took the lead with 18:09 left in the first half and did not give it up. Leons led his team in scoring with eight points in the first half to help put them up 36-19 at the break. Deen scored a team-high 11 points in the second half.


Bradley plays Cincinnati on Saturday.

HS Baseball: Monticello Blows By ALAH

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond scored five runs in the second inning but Monticello answered with 12 unanswered runs the rest of the way to roll to a 15-5, five-inning run-rule win in non-conference high school boys baseball action from Monticello Tuesday afternoon.


Defense in the high-scoring contest was sloppy at times as high winds on Tuesday made fly balls difficult to track. The winning run was scored on a hit-by-pitch for Monticello that brought in the winning run with the bases loaded. 


The teams combined for ten walks and five batters were hit by a pitch.


Monticello junior Ike Young connected for a two-run home run in the third inning. He finished 1-for-3. Dylan Brown was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Eli Craft was 2-for-3 with Carter Foran finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.


The Sages scored three runs in the first inning. The Knights answered with five runs in the top of the second inning. The Sages committed three errors, hit a batter and issued a free pass while allowing just two hits in the inning. Three of ALAHs five runs came with two outs.


The Sages took over from there scoring four runs in the bottom of the second. Young's first home run on the season in the third blistered through a stiff breeze blowing left-to-right on the diamond, just clearing the left field fence. 


Monticello scored four more runs in the fourth inning, capped by a Dylan Brown bases-clearing double. 


Craft was hit by a pitch twice in the game, and his second hit-by-pitch brought in the winning run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning to end it. 

ALAH drops to 1-3. 


Monticello improves to 5-0. They travel to Oakwood on Thursday.

HS Baseball: Mt. Pulaski Walks Off Nokomis

Luke Martin hit a walk-off two-run home run and Mt. Pulaski beat Nokomis 5-3 Tuesday in non-conference high school boys baseball action from Mt. Pulaski.


Martin threw five innings of two-run ball, one run was earned. He struck out six and permitted five hits and three walks. 


Liam Smith was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Carter Clark was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Tyler Cross was 1-for-3 with an RBI triple and a run scored for the Hilltoppers.


Chance Payne threw a scoreless seventh inning with three strikeouts for Mt. Pulaski.


The Hilltoppers go to 2-0 on the year and will travel to Pawnee on Thursday.

HS Baseball: East Peoria Outslugs Normal West

Blake Crancer drove in three runs but the Normal West Wildcats could not hold off East Peoria in a 13-10 slugfest Tuesday in Normal.


Curt Sosnowki drove in six runs finishing 3-for-5 with a double and home run. The senior was a triple shy of the cycle. RJ Duncheon was 2-for-4 with three RBIs for the Raiders. 


Trent Durham was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for the Wildcats who led 9-5 through three innings. Bradyn Whitehead and Brady Hart added two hits apiece for Normal West, who is still searching for its first win of the 2024 spring baseball season - going to 0-4 on the year. 


The Raiders go to 5-0 on the season. 


Normal West hosts Limestone today before they travel to Alabama for a spring break trip next week. 

HS Baseball: Maroa-Forsyth Topples Warrensburg-Latham

Maroa-Forsyth used a balanced offensive attack to top Warrensburg-Latham 11-1 in a run-rule, five-inning win Tuesday afternoon in non-conference high school boys baseball action in Forsyth.


Mitch Williams was 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs, and a run scored to pace the Trojans. Kaiden Maurer scored three times and was 1-for-3 with an RBI. 


Ace Giles drove in two from the nine-spot in the lineup. Zayn Giles and Andy Munjoy also had RBIs.


Cayden Rose went 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball starting on the mound for Trojans Tuesday. The junior struck out four, walked three, and permitted five hits. 


The Cardinals drop to 1-4 overall. 


The Trojans are 5-0 overall and will host Okaw Valley on Thursday. 

HS Softball: St. T Walks Off Blue Ridge

The Decatur St. Teresa Lady Bulldogs walked off Blue Ridge 7-6 Tuesday afternoon in non-conference girls softball action in Decatur.


The Lady Knights committed nine errors that led to just one earned run from Ellie Schlieper in circle. Schlieper struck out ten, walked two, and permitted 13 hits.


Karlee Fenton drove in four for the Lady Knights. Lily Enger was 3-for-3.

Bears Add DE Cowart

The Chicago Bears and defensive end Byron Cowart agreed to a one-year contract on Monday.


The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Cowart has played in 36 games and started 14 for New England and Indianapolis. He has 41 tackles and one sack.


The 27-year-old Cowart spent last season on Miami’s practice squad.

Bulls Top Blazers

DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and found Nikola Vucevic for a key hook shot with 9.3 seconds left, helping the Chicago Bulls edge the Portland Trail Blazers 110-107 on Monday night.


Vucevic had 22 points and nine rebounds in Chicago’s third win in four games. Ayo Dosunmu finished with 23 points and 10 assists.


Anfernee Simons scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter for Portland, but couldn’t get off a 3-point attempt from the top of the key before time expired. Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 15 rebounds in his sixth consecutive game with at least 20 points.


The Blazers lost for the seventh time in nine games.


The Bulls’ NBA-leading 24th clutch victory - a game that is within five points with under five minutes left - moved them within a game of .500 at 34-35. But they were outscored 32-21 in the final quarter.


Each team played without its second-leading scorer. Bulls guard Coby White missed his third straight game with a right hip strain, and Portland’s Jerami Grant sat out for the fourth straight contest with a right hamstring strain.


Dosunmu was 9 for 17 from the field while running the offense in White’s absence. He scored a career-high 34 points during Saturday night’s 127-98 victory over Washington.


With 3:32 left in the fourth, Simons drilled a contested 3-pointer from the left wing to put Portland up 105-104 for their first lead since the first quarter. But Simons’ potential go-ahead attempt from long distance rimmed out with 34 seconds remaining.


Vucevic’s turnaround hook shot made it 108-105 with 9.3 seconds left, and Caruso fouled Simons intentionally to put him on the free-throw line rather than allow him a chance at a tying 3 on the next possession.


The Bulls visit the Rockets in Houston on Thursday.

White Sox Tab Crochett Opening Day Starter for First Career Start

Garrett Crochet’s first career start will be one to remember.

The Chicago White Sox will hand the ball to Crochet on opening day, showing their faith in his transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. The hard-throwing Crochet has made 72 career appearances, but all have come in relief.


That will change March 28 when the White Sox host the Detroit Tigers to start the season.


The White Sox didn’t have any obvious candidates for opening day after they traded Dylan Cease to the San Diego Padres last week. The 24-year-old Crochet has made an impression this spring by striking out 12 and walking none in nine scoreless innings, though he has started in only one of his four Cactus League appearances.


Crochet, a 6-foot-6 left-hander, was selected by Chicago with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of the University of Tennessee. He missed the 2022 season while he recovered from Tommy John surgery.


For his career, he owns a 3-7 record with a 2.71 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 73 innings. Now he gets to show what he can do as a starter.

HS Baseball: Clinton Rolls Bloomington Cornerstone Christian Academy

The Clinton Maroons bats were cooking again on Saturday in an easy 19-1 win over Bloomington Cornerstone Christian Academy in non-conference high school boys baseball action in Bloomington.


Colton Walker paced the Maroons' offense going 3-for-4 with four RBIs, two stolen bases and two runs scored. Josh Bass was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Ryan Pine and Jon Smock drove in two runs for Clinton. Smock had a double and drew a walk. 


Jack Manning struck out eight in three scoreless innings. The sophomore allowed a hit and a walk. 


Since its opening-day loss to Delavan, the Maroons have rattled off three wins in a row to go to 3-1 overall. They are back home Tuesday afternoon hosting Mahomet-Seymour. 

HS Baseball: Monticello Sweeps Two in Southern Illinois

Luke Teschke hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the sixth inning of the second game of Monticello's Saturday double-dip, propelling them to a 7-2 win over Waterloo from Southern Illinois.


With Monticello down 2-0 in the sixth inning, Teschke's home run started a seven-run inning for the Sages. The senior Illinois State committ struck out 13 in six innings of two-run ball - one run was earned. Teschke allowed a hit and two walks.


Brody Billedo finished off the game with a scoreless inning of relief. 


Matt Swartz, Koyie Williams, and Raiden Colbert drove in runs in the seven-run frame as Monticello finished off a 3-0 weekend in southern Illinois.


In the first game Saturday, Monticello rolled past Murphysboro 10-0 in six innings thanks to another explosive inning. 


The Sages led 3-0 headed to the top of the sixth and scored seven runs to go up 10-0.


Carter Foran was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored for the Sages. Eli Craft was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Colton Vance was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run. 


Swartz and Williams scored twice in the first contest Saturday for Monticello. Dylan Brown, Ike Young, and Teschke added RBIs as well.


Young went five innings of shutout ball. The junior allowed two hits and walked two while striking out three. 


Monticello is 5-0 on the season and returns home to take on Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond on Tuesday afternoon. Hear Tuesday's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

HS Baseball: Maroa-Forsyth Rolls Champaign St. Thomas More

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans offense started fast Saturday and never let up as they rolled to a 19-2, five-inning win over Champaign St. Thomas More in Champaign in non-conference high school boy's baseball action Saturday.


Zayn Giles was 4-for04 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Andy Munjoy was 3-for-5 with a double, four RBIs, and a run scored. Miles Leach was 3-for-5 with a double, three RBIs, and a pair of runs scored. Connor Kelly was 1-for-3 with three RBIs, a double, and two runs scored. Kaiden Maurer was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and Mitch Williams was 2-for-3 with four runs scored. 


Tate Brandenburg, Cayden Rose, and Ace Giles also drove in runs for Maroa-Forsyth. 


Kelly struck out seven in five innings for the Trojans. He allowed two unearned runs and two hits. 


Maroa-Forsyth is 4-0 on the season. They will host Mt. Zion today.

HS Baseball: Normal Community Takes Two in Belleville

The Normal Community Ironmen had a strong showing in a showcase tournament in Belleville this weekend with a 2-0 win over Belleville East and an 11-0 win over Moline.


Brady Bengston struck out 11 in five no-hit innings. The 6-foot-6 senior allowed just a walk, facing two over the minimum. 


Riley Hendren was 2-for-4 with an RBI for Normal Community. Sal Gura drove in the other run for the Ironmen.


In its 11-1 win over Moline, Ryan Theile was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and a pair of walks. Brady Burkhart was 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and Lucas Drengwitz was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. 


Kaileb Hackman was 1-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice. Owen Cavanaugh and Dexter Niekamp each scored two runs and drove in an RBI.


Jake Branch went 3 2/3 innings, allowing a run on four hits with two walks and a strikeout. Hackman struck out five in an 1 1/3 scoreless relief.


Normal Community is 4-0 on the season and will return to action for a 4 pm game on Wednesday at Morton High School. 

HS Baseball: Normal West Falls to Lockport

Lockport gradually pulled away from Normal West for a 7-2 win on Saturday in non-conference high school boys baseball action from Normal.


The Wildcats were paced by Brady Hart who finished 2-for-3 with an RBI. 


Bradyn Whitehead and Ryder Coone stole bases for Normal West who fell to 0-3 on the season. They will host Pekin this afternoon.

Illinois Wins Big Ten Trounament, Secures Three-Seed in NCAA Tournament

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 34 points on 15-for-17 shooting from the free-throw line, helping 13th-ranked Illinois outlast Wisconsin 93-87 in Big Ten tournament championship game on Sunday.


Marcus Domask added 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Dain Dainja had nine points and seven rebounds for the Illini (26-8), who won their second conference tournament title in four years after shooting 16 of 26 in the second half. They faced a double-digit deficit in all three games.


A.J. Storr had 24 points and Chucky Hepburn added 20 points for the Badgers (22-13), who went 7 for 20 from 3-point range after going 33 for 79 over their first three games.


Shannon finished with 102 points in three games, one short of the Big Ten Tournament record, and was voted the Most Outstanding Player. Keegan Murray had 103 points for Iowa in 2022, but the Hawkeyes played four games that year on the way to the title.


After celebrating in a shower of orange-and-blue confetti and cutting down the nets at Target Center, the Illini hustled to a side room for the NCAA Tournament selection show to learn they're the No. 3 seed in the East Region, with a first-round game on Friday against Morehead State.


The defending champion Huskies earned the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, joined by Houston,Purdue and North Carolina as No. 1 seeds in a bracket that started going haywire even before the pairings were announced Sunday evening.

Bears Trade Justin Field to Steelers

he Chicago Bears traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night, clearing the way for them to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick — perhaps USC’s Caleb Williams.


The Bears received a 2025 sixth-round draft pick that could potentially become a fourth-rounder in return.


Fields figures to back up nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson, who signed a one-year deal with the Steelers on Friday. Pittsburgh also traded Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles once it added Wilson.


Fields, drafted 11th overall in 2021 by the Bears and former general manager Ryan Pace, struggled as a rookie under former coach Matt Nagy. Though he produced big plays with his legs and arms, he did not develop as a passer the way the team hoped the past two years under Poles and coach Matt Eberflus.


Fields completed 578 of 958 passes for 6,674 yards with 40 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in three seasons. He has just one 300-yard passing game in his career.


Chicago could have gotten a big haul by trading the No. 1 pick. But it’s not often the historically quarterback-challenged Bears have a chance to draft a prospect such as Williams. The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner is largely expected to be picked first overall after he threw 72 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions the past two seasons at USC after a year at Oklahoma.


The trade of Fields comes two days after the Bears acquired Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers in their second deal for a star receiver in as many years.

They dealt the No. 1 pick in 2023 to Carolina for DJ Moore last March. The Bears also got the Panthers’ first-rounder this year. And with Carolina finishing a league-worst 2-15 record, Chicago wound up with the No. 1 pick this year.

Denny Hamlin Wins Second Straight at Bristol

Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. in the final laps for his fourth victory at the famed short track.


Hamlin also won at NASCAR’s bullring last September.


This one was much different. Tire issues hampered most everyone all afternoon as only five cars finished on the lead lap — the first time that has happened in the Cup Series in 20 years. The Gibbs cars were the class of the field.


It was Hamlin’s 52nd career win and locks him into the playoffs. Brad Keselowski finished third in a Ford, Alex Bowman was fourth in a Chevrolet and Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.


The other two Gibbs cars — driven by Ty Gibbs and Christopher Bell — finished ninth and 10th, respectively.


The race was chaotic from the start, with cars burning through tires at such an alarming rate that NASCAR issued each team an extra set. That gave them 11 sets total, including the one used in qualifying.


It made for four hours of tire management that put gave control to drivers and crew chiefs. It also led to the most lead changes (54) in NASCAR’s short-track history, breaking the previous mark of 40 set in 1991 at Bristol.


NASCAR returned Bristol to “normal” for the first time in four years for the spring race. The track added red clay each of the last three years. Reviews were mixed, and as the novelty wore off, sub-par racing inside the high-banked oval overshadowed any excitement that came with the series running on dirt for the first time since 1970.


In an effort to improve the racing and make sure the track had two equal lanes, workers put down a resin-based traction compound through the turns. It was far from perfect.


Goodyear felt the need to make a rare statement during the race. Greg Stucker, the tire manufacturer’s director of racing, said a test at Bristol Motor Speedway last year was intended to find a setup that led to more tire wear.


But he called Sunday’s outcome “too drastic.”


The rubber that was supposed to leave tires and adhere to the racing grooves came off in chunks that looked like shredded cheese. Those loose pieces called “marbles” create a slippery situation around the 0.533-mile track.


Part of the culprit may have been the tracks’ decision to put down a new and different traction compound.


The series moves to its first road track of the season, with a Sunday race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. 

Blue Ridge softball drops game to Salt Fork

In non-conference action Friday night, Blue Ridge faced off against Salt Fork in a softball match up.


The bats were hot for the Salt Fork Storm. The Storm started the game off strong against the Blue Ridge Lady Knights by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. 


The Lady Knights responded with one run across in the bottom of the first inning. 


Ellie Schlieper took the mound in a rough outing for the Blue Ridge Lady Knights. Pitching all six innings Schlieper gave up 18 runs off of 18 hits.


Cassie Zimmerman was hot for the Lady Knights going 2-4 at the plate toting 3 RBI's and one run scored.


The Blue Ridge Lady Knights play next at Armstrong-Potomac on Monday.

Pine Hits Grand Slam in Maroons Victory

In a game Friday night at Evans Field, Clinton defeated Lexington by a score of 11-1 after six innings of play.


The bats were hot the majority of the game for the Maroons putting the ball into play twelve times, and sending eleven of those home for a run.


Jaxson Goodrich took starting pitching duties for the Lexington Minutemen. The Maroons capitalized on his performance on the mound, scoring ten runs to the tune of ten hits.


Offense was shared by the whole team for the maroons, all but one player hitting the ball into play.


Ryan Pine went 3-3 with 5 RBI's, four of those courtesy of a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning.


Mason Walker went 2-3 at the plate with a double and one RBI.


Brooks Cluver took the mound for the Maroons working with a pitch count limit. Cluver pitched the first two innings of play giving up four hits and one earned run to one strikeout and one walk.


Mason Walker took over pitching responsibilities for the Maroons finishing out the game, pitching three innings, giving up two walks, but striking out five.


The Maroons face off against Cornerstone Christian Academy on Saturday March 16, with a scheduled 11:00AM first pitch.


The next home game for the Maroons is against Mahomet-Seymour with first pitch coming at 4:30pm.

HS Baseball: Monticello Rolls Anna-Jonesboro

Luke Teschke homered and drove in four runs, Ike Young drove in four runs and Monticello broke out the bats in its first spring break game in southern Illinois with a 17-5 win over Anna-Jonesboro Friday afternoon.


Teschke was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, four runs scored, and a stolen base in addition to the home run. Ike Young was 1-for-4 with four RBIs, a triple, and a run scored. Eli Craft and Jacob Long hit doubles each finishing 2-for-4. Matt Swartz and Koyie Williams drove in runs for the Sages offense.


Long started on the mound for the Sages going 2 2/3 innings. The senior southpaw allowed three runs, two were earned, on four three hits with three walks and five strikeouts. 


Carter Foran closed out the win going 4 1/3 innings allowing two runs, one was earned, on two hits and four strikeouts to one walk.


The Sages are 3-0 on the year. They will battle Murphysboro and Waterloo on Saturday.

HS Softball: Monticello Blanks ALAH

In a game heard on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Lady Sages pulled away late and blanked Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 10-0 Friday afternoon in non-conference high school girl's softball action from Monticello.


Leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Monticello sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs highlighted by Lynnsee Trybom and Ali Weidner to go up 5-0.


Monticello tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning when Trybom doubled in a run and ended the game with three runs in the sixth inning, capped by Isabella Beery's run-scoring single that ended the game on the 10-run rule.


Cassidee Stoeffel pitched six shutout innings allowing four hits and struck out four to zero walks. 


Marrissa Miller was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and scored twice. Trybom finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and a double. Beery finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.


Stoeffel's efforts in circle earned her the ServPro of Piatt/DeWitt Counties Player of the Game Friday.


Monticello goes to 1-2 on the season. ALAH drops to 1-2.


The Lady Sages return to action Saturday morning taking on Fisher. 


Hear Monticello sports on WEZC again next week with boys baseball on Tuesday hosting ALAH. First pitch is 4:30 pm.


Hear girl's softball action on WEZC next Tuesday, March 26 when the Lady Sages host Decatur St. Teresa.

HS Baseball: Normal Community Tops Metamora

Normal Community used a four-run third inning to top Metamora 7-1 in non-conference high school baseball action Thursday in Normal.


Despite rain through the early part of the morning and scattered rain in the afternoon, Thursday's game was able to be played.


In a scoreless game, the Ironmen put four runs on the board in the third inning. Ryan Theile was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs for Normal.


Lucas Drengwitz doubled in a run off the bench for the Ironmen. Riley Hendren was 1-for-2 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk.


Kaileb Hackman and Gavin Borne had RBIs for Normal.


Four pitchers combined to limit Metamora to one run. Luke Klunke got the start went three shutout innings allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out two. Lucas Beaty struck out five in two scoreless innings of relief while Reid Johnson closed out the win allowing a run on three hits, a walk, and struck out three.


Normal is 2-0 on the season. The Ironmen are in action Saturday for a twin bill Belleville taking on Moline at 12:15 and then Belleville at 2:30 pm.

Bears Trade for WR Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen - the Los Angeles Chargers longest-tenured player - was traded to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick.


Allen is going into the final season of a four-year extension he signed in 2020. The veteran wide receiver declined to take a pay cut or restructure his contract.


Allen’s salary cap number for the upcoming season is $34.7 million, including a $5 million roster bonus due on Sunday. He restructured his contract last season, with most of his base salary converted to a roster bonus to give the Chargers more flexibility.


The Bears went 7-10 in their third straight losing season and haven’t finished above .500 since going 12-4 to capture the NFC North championship in 2018. But they sent a strong signal that they’re ready to start winning with their second trade for a star receiver in as many years.


They acquired DJ Moore from Carolina for the No. 1 pick in 2023. He set career highs with 96 receptions, 1,364 yards and eight touchdowns.


Allen is one piece of what has been a busy offseason retailoring the offense. Shane Waldron was hired as offensive coordinator while running back D’Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett were added in free agency.


Allen has spent his entire 11-year career with the Chargers. He is second in franchise history in receptions (904) and receiving yards (10,530).


Since entering the league in 2013, Allen is third in receptions, sixth in yards and tied for 10th in receiving touchdowns with 59.


Allen was leading the NFL in receptions through Week 14 last season, but he missed the final four games due to an ankle injury. He finished sixth with 108 receptions and 11th in yards with 1,243.


The question now is who will be throwing to Allen and Moore? The Bears have to decide if they’ll stick with Justin Fields or take Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick.


Fields, drafted 11th overall in 2021 by the Bears under former general manager Ryan Pace, struggled as a rookie with former coach Matt Nagy. He has not developed as a passer the way the team hoped the past two years under coach Matt Eberflus and GM Ryan Poles.


Allen has eclipsed 100 catches five times in his career, one of six players in league history to accomplish that feat.


By adding a fourth-round pick (No. 110 overall) from the Bears, the Chargers will have nine draft picks in next month’s NFL draft.

Clippers Down Bulls

Paul George made six 3-pointers and scored 28 points, Kawhi Leonard added 27 and Los Angeles beat the Chicago Bulls 126-111 on Thursday night.


Los Angeles regrouped after a 20-point lead late in the third quarter dwindled to eight in the fourth and stopped a two-game skid, beating Chicago for the second time in six days. Both teams were missing key players with the Clippers’ James Harden (strained left shoulder) and the Bulls’ Coby White (sore right hip) sidelined. But with George and Leonard leading the way, the Clippers had enough to come away with the win.


George made 11 of 12 from the field and was one shy of a season-high in making 6 of 7 3's. The Clippers were 20 of 40 from beyond the arc.


George also had seven assists and just one turnover, with the Bulls double-teaming him and Leonard.


Norman Powell scored 18 points. Bones Hyland added 17 points and a career-high 11 assists while matching a personal best with four steals for the Clippers, who are fourth in the Western Conference.


DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 21 points after scoring a season-high 46 in Wednesday’s overtime win at Indiana. The Bulls have lost three of four.


Nikola Vucevic scored 19 for Chicago. Alex Caruso made five 3s and finished with 17 points after scoring a season-high 23 the previous night, and Andre Drummond scored 15.


The Bulls host Washington on Saturday.

NASCAR Heads to World's Fast Half-Mile

Bell surged into the lead and pulled away for the victory at Phoenix after Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. was forced to pit for tires and fuel.


The NASCAR trucks and cup series return to Bristol Motor Speedway as the spring race returns to its roots on the concrete after having been used as a dirt track the last three years.


Bell started fourth and won on the dirt last year at Bristol. He led the final 41 laps and gave Toyota its first victory of the year in the top series following three consecutive wins by Chevrolet. He’s the fourth different winner in as many races this year and the eighth different winner in the last eight races at the track. 


Chris Buescher finished second, Ty Gibbs was third for his career-best finish, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five. 


JGR cars led 230 of the 312 laps with Denny Hamlin out front for 68, Ty Gibbs for 57, Truex for 55 and Bell for 50.


Practice and qualifying is at 4 pm on Saturday afternoon with race time at 2:30 pm on Sunday.


Rajah Caruth became the third Black driver to win in one of NASCAR’s three national series, winning after starting on the pole at Las Vegas in last week's Craftsman Truck Series race.


Caruth joined Hall of Famer Wendell Scott and Bubba Wallace as Black drivers to win in one of NASCAR’s top three series. He led 38 laps and finished 0.851 seconds ahead of Tyler Ankrum. 


It was the second consecutive victory for Spire Motorsports, formerly owned by Kyle Busch, who won the previous race at Atlanta. 


Ty Majeski led a race-high 40 of the 134 laps and swept the first two stages, but penalties cost him and Daytona winner Nick Sanchez.


Practice and qualifying is on Saturday at 2 pm and race time is on Saturday at 7 pm.


Chandler Smith moved to the lead after a blown tire cost Justin Allgaier a big lead and got a huge jump on an overtime restart to hold off Jesse Love and Sheldon Creed at Phoenix, giving Toyota its second straight victory in the series. The XFinity Series returns for next week's race at COTA in Austin, Texas. 

HS Baseball: Clinton Doubles Up Heyworth

In a game heard on WHOW and at dewittdailynews.com, Preston Curtis got Clinton out of a tough spot in the fifth inning and preserved a 4-2 Maroons win over Heyworth in non-conference baseball action from Evans Field at Clinton High School Wednesday afternoon.


With the Maroons up 4-2, Curtis came on in relief of starting pitcher Brock Wilson with runners on first and second, and one out. Curtis hit the first batter he faced to load the bases then struck out the two to get out of the jam. 


Curtis got through the next two innings to close out the win and Clinton picked up its first win of the season.


Josh Bass drove in two runs with a double, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk. Jack Manning and Mason Walker had RBIs for Clinton. Brooks Cluver was 1-for-3 with an infield single.


Mason Walker and Colton Walker each made highlight-reel diving catches in the outfield Wednesday. Colton Walker's diving catch in the seventh inning closed out the win for the Maroons.


It was Heyworth's season opener as the Hornets fell to 0-1 overall.


Clinton is 1-1 on the season and takes on Lexington on Friday afternoon.

HS Softball: Clinton Rolls Cerro Gordo-Bement

Clinton broke out the bats again Wednesday and rolled to a 16-0 win over Cerro Gordo-Bement in non-conference high school softball action Wednesday in Cerro Gordo.


Heidi Humble and Avery Smith drove in two runs apiece for the Lady Maroons. Brooke Reeves was 2-for-3 with three runs scored at the top of the Clinton lineup. Ashley Armstrong was 3-for-4 with a run scored and two runs batted in for Clinton.


The Lady Maroons did not strike out in the contest on Wednesday.


They go to 2-0 on the season. Clinton travels to Lexington on Friday.

HS Baseball: Monticello Blanks Villa Grove

Monticello scored nine runs over the final three frames and ran away from Villa Grove 13-1 in non-conference high school boys baseball action from Villa Grove Wednesday.


Hayden Romano threw four innings of one-run ball for the Sages. The sophomore struck out six, walked two, and permitted two hits. 


Matt Swartz and Dylan Brown combined for three shutout innings to preserve the win for Monticello.


Jacob Long paced the Sages' offense going 2-for-5 with a double and four RBIs. Carter Foran, Colton Vance, and Luke Tehschke drove in two runs apiece for Monticello. Brian Wittgren, Eli Craft, and Teschke all hit doubles for Monticello. 


Leading 4-1 going to the fifth inning, Monticello added two runs in the fifth to increase its lead to 6-1. The Sages would add four runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh. 


Monticello goes to 2-0 on the season. The Sages travel south for its annual spring break trip to southern Illinois this weekend starting with Anna-Jonesboro on Friday and Murphysboro on Saturday. 

HS Baseball: Maroa-Forsyth Blanks Tuscola

Zayn Giles paced a balanced Maroa-Forsyth offensive attack on Wednesday as the Trojans rolled Tuscola 10-0 in six innings in high school baseball action in Forsyth.


Giles was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Mitch Williams was 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI while Cayden Rose drove in two runs with a double going 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Trojans. Andy Munjoy was 1-for-4 with an RBI double. 


Tate Bradenburg struck out eight in four scoreless innings on the mound for the Trojans. Munjoy struck out four and walked two in two scoreless, hitless innings to close out the win. 


Maroa-Forsyth is 3-0 on the season. The Trojans host Argenta-Oreana this afternoon. 

HS Baseball: Mt. Pulaski Topples North Mac

Mt. Pulaski's offense picked up where it left off the last several seasons and rolled to a season-opening 16-0, five-inning win over North Mac on Wednesday in non-conference baseball action in Virden.


Liam Smith paced the Hilltoppers offense going 2-for-2 with a double, four runs scored, and a run driven in. Luke Martin finished 1-for-3 with a double and two runs batted in. Chance Payne was 2-for-3 with a triple and four RBIs. 


Payne started on the mound for the Hilltoppers going 2 1/3 innings allowing three runs, two were earned, on two hits, issued four walks, and struck out five.


Landon Smith and Eric Cooper combined for the final 2 2/3 innings of shutout ball to close out the win. 


The Hilltoppers are 1-0 on the season. They will host Central A&M on Monday of next week. 

HS Baseball: Normal Community Rolls in Season Opener

Ryan Theile hit a three-run home run and three Normal Community pitchers combined for one-run, one-hit ball as the Ironmen rolled Pekin 12-1 in five innings of the Ironmen's season opener Wednesday in high school baseball action in Pekin.


Josh Eisfelder had a two-run pinch-hit double and Reid Johnson had a two-run, pinch-hit base hit off the bench for Normal. 


Owen Cavanaugh was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI for the Ironmen while Brady Burkhart was 2-for-3 with a run scored and run batted in. 


Brady Bengsten went two innings of one-hit, shutout ball on the mound. The senior struck out six in two innings of work. Parker Michels struck out five in two perfect innings of relief to close out the win for Normal Community. 


The Ironmen are 1-0 on the season and host Metamora today at 4:30 pm.

HS Baseball: Rochester Doubles Up Normal West

Rochester doubled up Normal West 10-5 in the Wildcats season-opener in high school baseball action from Rochester Wednesday afternoon. 


Trent Durham paced the Wildcats' offense going 2-for-3 with a run driven in and a run scored. 


Bradyn Whitehead doubled and scored twice while Blake Crancer, Sean Jenkins, and Jaxson Crancer each drove in runs for Normal West. 


The Wildcats fall to 0-1 on the season. Normal West looks to get in the win column when they visit Troy-Triad on Friday. 

Illinois State Rolls Indiana

Auggie Rasmussen hit two home runs in Illinois State baseball's 16-6 seven-inning win over Indiana on Wednesday at Bart Kaufman Field.


Rasmussen's pair of blasts plated five of nine runs for Illinois State in the 2nd inning as the Redbirds (6-8 overall) pounded out 15 hits.


Judah Morris tallied three hits, four RBIs, and two runs while Daniel Pacella had two hits with three RBIs and two runs scored.


Morris cleared the bases for the Redbirds with an RBI double as he came around to score a few pitches later, making it 14-0.


 JT Sokolove tallied the fourth home run of the afternoon, sending one out to the Indiana bullpen.


Illinois State is scheduled to play Friday-Sunday at UT Martin.

HS Baseball: Maroa-Forsyth Rolls Meridian

Ace Giles hit a home run, and Cayden Rose struck out nine in five scoreless innings as Maroa-Forsyth rolled to a 16-0 win over Meridian Tuesday in non-conference high school baseball action from Meridian.


Giles finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs, four runs scored, and doubled in addition to his home run. Kaiden Maurer reached base four times going 2-for-2 with three RBIs, two runs scored and two walks.


Ryne Sheppard drove in three and Rose, Tate Bradenburg, and Zayn Giles added a pair of RBIs for the Trojans.


Rose finished the run-rule shortened game going five innings with nine strikeouts, allowing three hits and a walk. 


The Trojans go to 2-0 on the season. They will host Tuscola today.

HS Baseball: Mt.Pulaski Rolls Into Spring Baseball Season Ready to Meet Expectations

When the Mt. Pulaski Hilltoppers baseball team made the state finals in the spring of 2021, they found out it is very difficult to return to that place - no matter how good your team is.


Coach Joel Washko has built a very strong baseball program in Mt. Pulaski and like many programs that have earned their way to Peoria for the state finals, no matter how good your team is, it is incredibly difficult to return. This spring his team is looking very strong and eager to build on its recent success.



While a strong group of seniors graduates out of the program, Coach Washko likes what he has coming back this year.



According to Coach Washko, things start with his senior Landon Smith who he says does a little bit of everything and is one of the better players to come through their program in a couple of years.



Mt. Pulaski opens the season today when they visit North Mac.

Indiana State Rallies Past Illinois

Illinois (5-10) led by as many as five in the but would let its lead slip late as they fell to Indiana State (12-3) 7-6 Tuesday at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Indiana. 


Cooper Omans, who did not factor in the decision, tossed his first quality start of season, allowing one run, unearned, on three hits over 6.0 innings, racking up a career-high 10 strikeouts.


Camden Janik and Brody Harding both went yard, launching solo and three-run blasts, respectively. Coltin Quagliano turned in a three-hit performance and Vytas Valincius tallied two RBI in the contest.


Coltin Quagliano went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a double and Janik finished 2-for-4 with a run, home run and RBI.


Brody Harding went 1-for-4 with a run, home run and three RBI extending his hitting streak to six games.


Cooper Omans went six innings allowing 3 hits and an unearned run. He issued a pair of walks and struck out ten.


The Illini host Southern Indiana for a three game series this weekend.

Bears Sign TE Everett

The Chicago Bears and former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract that guarantees $6.1 million.


The Bears also added help in the secondary, agreeing to a two-year deal with safety Jonathan Owens, agent Sunny Shah told NFL Network. Owens is married to Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time.


Everett has 284 receptions for 2,833 yards and 19 touchdowns over seven seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Chargers. He caught 51 passes for 411 yards and three scores for the Chargers last season.


Everett gives the Bears a productive No. 2 tight end behind Cole Kmet, who’s coming off his best season. Kmet set career highs in receptions (73) and yards (719) and caught six touchdowns after agreeing in July to a four-year, $50 million contract extension through 2027.


Everett worked with new Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron with the Rams from 2017 to 2020 and with Seattle in 2021.


Owens, a product of Division II Missouri Western, spent last season in Green Bay after playing his first four years in Houston. He started 11 of the 17 games he played in with the Packers, broke up three passes and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown.


Owens posted a bear emoji with a down arrow on X. He and Biles also thanked the Packers and their fans. In a series of tweets, Biles mentioned her love of Chicago as well as pizza and hot dogs. She also mentioned being able to fly nonstop to see her husband.

The Bears have been busy the past week. They agreed to a four-year, $76 million contract extension with Pro Bowl cornerback Jaylon Johnson that guarantees him $54.4 million. They also added running back D’Andre Swift and veteran safety Kevin Byard while agreeing to a one-year extension with long snapper Patrick  Scales.


Chicago finished 7-10 last season. The Bears have the No. 1 and No. 9 overall picks in the draft next month.

Packers Sign DB McKinney, RB Jacobs; Release OT Bachtiari

The Green Bay Packers got off to a busy start in free agency, agreeing to deals with running back Josh Jacobs and safety Xavier McKinney, and releasing two longtime stalwarts.


McKinney agreed to a $68 million, four-year deal.


Green Bay traditionally has not been an aggressive team in free agency, but made big moves on the first day of the negotiating window to get two of the top players at their positions on the open market and cutting ties with running back Aaron Jones and left tackle David Bakhtiari.


Jacobs was a first-round pick by the Raiders in 2019 and was given the franchise tag last season. He agreed to a re-worked deal with Las Vegas that ultimately gave him an extra $1.3 million in 2023 but never was able to reach a long-term deal with the Raiders.


Jacobs is coming off a down year, having rushed for a career-low 805 yards and six TDs in 13 games for the Raiders.


But the 26-year-old Jacobs was an All-Pro in 2022 when he led the NFL with 1,653 yards and 2,053 yards from scrimmage.


In five seasons with the Raiders, Jacobs ranked third in franchise history with 5,545 yards rushing and 46 TDs. He also had 197 catches for 1,448 yards.


Jacobs will join an offense led by emerging quarterback Jordan Love, who had a strong first season as starter, and a deep group of young pass catchers featuring Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, Dontayvion Wicks, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. All of those players, including Jacobs, are 26 or younger.


The 24-year-old McKinney was also one of the younger players on the market and will be a needed upgrade in the secondary for Green Bay. He had three interceptions and 11 passes defensed for the New York Giants last season and was one of the more versatile safeties available.


The Packers released longtime running back Jones after adding Jacobs. The 30-year-old Jones was due a base salary of $11.1 million in the final year of a contract that was reworked before last season. The Packers will take a dead cap hit of $12.4 million for releasing Jones.


Former All-Pro offensive tackle Bakhtiari’s time with the Packers also is over after 11 seasons, the past three of which were severely limited by injuries.


Bakhtiari had a $40 million cap hit and a base salary of $20.2 million for 2024. Releasing him saves the Packers more than $20 million under the cap.


Bakhtiari has played a total of 13 games since the 2021 season while dealing with an injured left knee that has required five surgeries. His only appearance last year came in a season-opening victory at Chicago.

Blackhawks Blast Ducks

Connor Bedard had a goal and four assists to set his single-game high in points, Philipp Kurashev scored twice and had two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 7-2 on Tuesday night.


Ryan Donato, Seth Jones, MacKenzie Entwistle and Tyler Johnson also scored for Chicago, which has won two straight games for just the second time this season.


Brett Leason scored both goals for the Ducks, who dropped their third straight.


Bedard, the top overall pick in last year’s draft and a leading candidate for rookie of the year, got his fifth point when he assisted on Johnson’s power-play goal midway through the third period. The 18-year-old Bedard has eight points in two games and 10 in the last four.


Chicago hosts Los Angeles on Friday.

HS Baseball: Delavan Knocks Off Clinton

Clinton bats were slow to get going and fell to Delavan 4-3 in non-conference season-opening boys baseball action Monday from Clinton High School. 


The Maroons struck out 14 times and its pitchers issued eight walks.


Josh Bass paced the Clinton offense going 2-for-4 with a triple. Colton Walker was 2-for-4 with an RBI.


Brock Wilson, Brooks Cluver, and Jack Manning each recorded hits for Clinton.


Mason Walker's senior baseball season started slow on the mound for the Maroons. He issued five walks in an inning and two-thirds. The southpaw struck out five and allowed two runs on three hits. 


Preston Curtis struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for Clinton. 


The Maroons drop to 0-1. They will look to rebound when they host Lexington at Evans Field on Wednesday afternoon. Hear the action on WHOW and all its digital platforms. 

HS Softball: Clinton Blows By Decatur Eisenhower

The Clinton Lady Maroons softball team opened its 2024 spring softball season explosively as they rolled to a 24-0 win over Decatur Eisenhower Monday afternoon in non-conference play from Decatur.


Ashley Armstrong struck out ten in four scoreless, hitless innings. She also tripled at the plate.


Brooke Reeves and Heidi Humble added doubles for the Lady Maroons. Reeves also stole a base. 


Clinton is 1-0 on the softball season. They travel to Cerro Gordo on Wednesday to take on Cerro Gordo-Bement.

HS Baseball: Lincoln Looking to Take Step Forward This Spring

The Lincoln Railsplitters baseball team reached a Regional championship in 2023, falling short to a Mahomet-Seymour baseball squad that featured a top draft pick in last year's baseball draft.


It was a tough draw and now Coach Auggie Casson says his is hungry to get back to that Regional championship game and go even further this year.



Six players will be playing at the next level on this year's Railsplitters squad and Coach Casson says each one will be a key contributor to this year's team. He also notes they have some pretty exciting young players coming through the program.



Coach Casson is a defense and pitching-first coach and really likes the pitching staff he has this year. He calls this the deepest team he's had in his time at Lincoln High School.



Lincoln opens its season today hosting Bloomington. The Railers start the season with a busy week but beautiful weather should allow them to get all their games in. They host Tri-Valley on Wednesday and travel to Olympia on Saturday. 

HS Softball: Blue Ridge Walks Off Donovan

Cassie Zimmerman had the game-ending single and Blue Ridge walked off Donovan 4-3 in thrilling season-opening, non-conference softball action from Farmer City Monday.

Zimmerman paced the Lady Knights offense going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI hits and stole a base.


Addison Roose finished 2-for-4 with a run scored while Carsyn Stiger, Karlee Fenton, and Ellie Hayward each recorded hits for the Blue Ridge. 


Ellie Schlieper was sharp in circle for the Lady Knights. The junior struck out ten in seven innings allowing seven hits and three runs, two were earned.


The Lady Knights go to 1-0 on the season. They travel to Normal Calvary Christian Academy on Thursday.

Bears Sign RB Swift

The Chicago Bears and Pro Bowl running back D’Andre Swift have agreed to a three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Monday.


The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because free agents can’t officially sign with new teams until Wednesday. The deal is reportedly worth $24 million, with $15.3 million guaranteed.


Acquired by Philadelphia in a draft-day trade with Detroit last year, the 25-year-old Swift had his best season in 2023. He ran for a career-high 1,049 yards and five touchdowns and made his first Pro Bowl.


Swift spent his first three seasons in Detroit and has carried 593 times for 2,729 yards and 23 touchdown runs in his career. He has caught 195 passes for 1,412 yards and eight scores. Swift joins Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson in Chicago’s backfield.


The Bears have been busy the past week. They agreed to a four-year, $76 million contract extension with Pro Bowl cornerback Jaylon Johnson that guarantees him $54.4 million and signed veteran safety Kevin Byard to a two-year contract.


Chicago finished 7-10 last season. The Bears have the No. 1 and No. 9 overall picks in the draft next month.

Mavs Roll Bulls

Luka Doncic had 27 points, recording another triple-double but doing so without scoring 30 for the first time in seven games, and the Dallas Mavericks rolled over the Chicago Bulls 127-92 on Monday night.


Doncic finished with 14 assists and 12 rebounds but exited the blowout midway through the fourth quarter to end his NBA-record streak of 30-point triple-doubles at six.


Doncic set the tone as Dallas outscored Chicago by 28 in the first quarter. The Mavericks gave up a season-low in points while handing the Bulls their most lopsided loss.


Dereck Lively II scored 22, and Gafford finished with 20 points. The two were a combined 20 of 21, making them the first pair to score 20 or more points apiece while combining to shoot 95% or better since New York's Nate Robinson and Wilson Chandler at Memphis on Nov. 12, 2008.


The Mavericks were about 55% from the field.


Onuralp Bitim led Chicago with 17 points. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic each scored 13, and the Bulls gave up 60 points in the paint in losing their second in a row.


The Bulls visit Indiana on Wednesday.

HS Baseball: Monticello Wallops LeRoy

In a game heard on WEZC and online and at dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages hit three home runs and wallopped LeRoy 26-0 in four innings Monday afternoon in season-opening high school boys baseball action from Monticello.


Matt Swartz hit a two-run home run that highlighted a 12-run first inning.


Koyie Williams hit a two-run home run in a nine-run second inning and Colton Vance blasted a grand slam that capped a seven-run third inning.


The Sages led 19-0 after two and a half innings and the game could have concluded with the three-inning, 15-run rule but the two sides elected to play another inning.


Luke Teschke pitched two scoreless, hitless innings. The Illinois State commit struck out six and walked one. Brody Bellido finished the last two frames allowing no runs on one hit with no walks issued and three strikeouts.


Carter Foran finished 3-for-6 for Monticello with a pair of RBIs, a pair of runs scored and a triple.


Swartz finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs, two runs scored, a double and walk in addition to the two-run home run.


Teschke was 1-for-2 with a double, three runs and a walk.


Jacob Long was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.


Eli Craft was hit by two pitches and had an RBI single. Ike Young finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, a double, and three runs scored. 


Dylan Brown was 2-for-2 with three RBIs.


Braden Loy hit a double for LeRoy.


The Panthers drop to 0-1. Monticello is 1-0.


The Sages take on Villa Grove on Wednesday. 

HS Baseball: Maroa-Forsyth Blanks Shelbyville

Connor Kelly pitched five scoreless innings and Maroa-Forsyth picked up a season-opening win over Shelbyville 5-0 in non-conference high school boy's baseball action Monday in Forsyth.


Kelly struck out five while allowing just a hit and a walk in his season-opening start. 


Andy Munjoy and Tate Bradenburg brought in runs with doubles. Kaiden Maurer stole two bases finishing 1-fo-3 with a walk at the top of the Trojans order. 


Munjoy was 1-for-3 with an RBI and Bradenburg finished 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.


Ace Giles was 1-for-3 for Maroa-Forsyth.


Ian Reid closed out the win for the Trojans with two scoreless innings. He walked one, struck out two and allowed a hit. 


Maroa-Forsyth is 1-0 on the season and will travel to Meridian on Tuesday. 

HS Baseball: Clinton Opens Season Today

This year's senior class of Clinton High School boys athletes has had a very successful sports school year and as they shift to the spring baseball season, they hope to take a step forward under a first-year head coach.


Nate Ennis steps in to take the reigns of the Maroons baseball program long guided by John Hickman who retired at the end of last year. Coach Ennis knows he inherits a group that has had a lot of success this season in other sports and is hungry and eager to create that same buzz this spring.



Like the other two headline sports in at Clinton High School, senior Mason Walker leads the way for Clinton. He'll hit towards the top of the order. He'll pitch. He'll play in the outfield and is the sparkplug for this team.



Coach Ennis is also very confident in his lineup. He admits he is still trying to figure out how to structure his defense - a good problem to have and hopes to see a lot of guys get at-bats this spring.



According to Coach Ennis, those who come out for a ballgame at Evans Field at Clinton High School will notice a new look to the field. The field has had artificial turf put in at home plage which looks almost unnoticeable when you see the new, darker dirt on the infield.



Clinton opens the baseball season this afternoon hosting Delavan at 4:30 pm. Coach Ennis has quite the opening day ceremony planned and hopes the community takes advantage of the nice weather and comes out to support the Maroons this week. 


They'll resume play at home Wednesday taking on Heyworth at 4:30 pm. Hear Wednesday's action on WHOW and all its digital platforms. 


The Maroons play at home Friday hosting Lexington before hitting the road for the first time Saturday morning at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Bloomington.


Get a full list of the WHOW Clinton baseball and softball broadcast schedule today at the 'SPORTS' tab at the top of the homepage at dewittdailynews.com.

HS Baseball: Monticello Hoping for Exciting Season

The buzz is palpable as the Monticello Sages open the 2024 spring baseball season today.


The Sages have had a lot of success in recent years and as the new season arrives this afternoon, Monticello has its sites set on big things this year. Veteran Coach Chris Jones says things start on the mound this year with ISU baseball-commit Luke Teschke anchoring a strong pitching rotation.



The Sages will be playing on an all-new turf baseball field this spring and Coach Jones believes that has put his program a little ahead of schedule - especially considering the weather has been ideal to start the spring sports season.



Monticello also has a very strong junior class and there will be several players that will have more asked of them this year. 


Monticello opens its 2024 spring baseball season this afternoon hosting LeRoy. Hear today's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 


Get the full broadcast schedule for the Monticello spring sports season at the 'SPORTS' tab at the top of the homepage at dewittdailynews.com.

Illinois Holds Off Iowa

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 25 points, Quincy Guerrier had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 12 Illinois beat Iowa 73-61 on Sunday.


The Illini (23-8, 14-6 Big Ten) built a big early lead, then pulled away late in the second half after letting the Hawkeyes (18-13, 10-10) get within 59-53 with 6:58 left. Illinois, which finished three games behind Big Ten champion Purdue, will be the No. 2 seed in this week’s Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis.


The Illini were coming off a 77-71 home loss to Purdue on Tuesday, and coach Brad Underwood said his team “kind of practiced angry for a couple of days” afterward.


The Illini led by 21 points before Iowa went on a 14-2 run, getting within 33-25 with 3:27 to play and trailing 39-29 at halftime.


The Hawkeyes continued to cut into the Illinois lead in the second half, getting within 51-47 with 11:15 to play. But the Illini scored six points in 70 seconds to get the lead back to double digits and kept control from there.


Shannon had 18 points in the first half and finished 10 of 19 from the field, hitting three 3-pointers.


Payton Sandfort led Iowa with 23 points, 19 in the second half. Josh Dix had 13 points.


Illinois held Iowa to just 35.4% shooting for the game.


Marcus Domask added 11 points for the Illini.


Illinois opens Big Ten Tournament play on Friday against either Iowa or Ohio State.

Illinois State Swept By No. 9 Vanderbilt

The Illinois State baseball team fell in the series finale at Vanderbilt by a 4-0 scoreline Sunday at Hawkins Field completing the weekend sweep for the Commodores. 


Illinois State saw five Redbirds record a hit as the 'Birds drop to 5-8 overall.


Devin Futrell threw a complete game shutout for no. 9 Vanderbilt, as the Commodores improve to 14-3 overall in 2024.


Tanner Perry got the Sunday start, going 4.2 innings with 6 strikeouts and Joe Husak provided 3.1 innings of relief with two strikeouts Sunday.


Judah Morris recorded the lone extra-base hit for ISU with a double in the seventh. 


Illinois State is scheduled to travel to face Indiana in a midweek contest on Wednesday. 

Illinois Baseball Swept By No. 8 Tennessee

Illinois (5-9) battled throughout in Sunday's series finale at No. 8 Tennessee (16-1), but ultimately fell 8-3 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. 


Jake Swartz took no decision in the start for the Illini, allowing just two runs on three hits over 5.0 innings, striking out two.


Ryan Moerman went deep for the third time this season in the second while Camden Janik went 2-for-4 with a run and a walk.


The Volunteers broke the game wide open with a five-run seventh and would eventually hand the Illini the 8-3 defeat.


Janik led Illinois going 2-for-4 with a run and a walk while every Fighting Illini starter reached base safely in the loss.


Illinois heads to Terre Haute, Ind., to face Indiana State in midweek action on Tuesday.

Christopher Bell Wins First Race of 2024

Christopher Bell took the lead with 41 laps to go and never looked back to cruise to his first win of the season in the Shriners Children's 500 at Phoenix Raceway. 


Bell's win is the seventh of his Cup career and the first of the season for not only Toyota but also a first win by a non-Chevrolet Cup driver early in the 2024 season.


Despite strategy shaking up the running order considerably over the final stage of the race -- and despite lining up 20th on the final restart -- Bell was easily able to make his way through traffic over a long run, with his drive to the front finally reaching its zenith when Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. came to pit road under green. Bell then drove away from the rest of the field, winning by more than five seconds over runner-up Chris Buescher.


Bell led a total of 50 laps on the day, with all of his laps led coming at essential times. In addition to the laps he led on his way to victory, Bell was also able to take the lead late in Stage 2 to pick up his first stage win of the season, giving him an additional playoff point to add to the five he earned by winning.


Bell's win also marked a weekend sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing, as the company also won Friday night's ARCA Menards Series race with William Sawalich and Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race with Chandler Smith.


Well behind Christopher Bell at the checkered flag, a dramatic fight for the last spot in the top five ended up playing out between the defending Cup champion and the driver who entered Phoenix as the most recent winner at the track. Ryan Blaney prevailed over Ross Chastain with a last-lap pass in Turn 4, beating him narrowly at the finish line to give him his sixth-straight top-five at Phoenix.


Despite winning two of the first three races to start the season, Sunday was a highly dissatisfying one for Hendrick Motorsports. Kyle Larson was the only Hendrick driver to finish inside the top 15 in 14th, and William Byron, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman would all end up finishing together in a cluster from 18th-20th. 


They at least fared better than the Richard Childress Racing cars, which struggled throughout the weekend and were both involved in crashes on Sunday with Kyle Busch finishing one lap down in 22nd and Austin Dillon finishing many laps down in 32nd.


The spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway returns to concrete, and the NASCAR Cup Series heads back east to the hills of Tennessee and Thunder Valley for the Food City 500 next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Bears Sign All-Pro DB Byard

The Chicago Bears added Kevin Byard to their secondary on Sunday, agreeing to a two-year contract with the veteran safety.


The 30-year-old Byard played for Tennessee and Philadelphia last season, finishing with 122 tackles and one interception in 16 starts.


Chicago also re-signed long snapper Patrick Scales to a one-year deal, pending a physical. He is going into his ninth season with the Bears.


Byard was selected by Tennessee in the third round of the 2016 draft. He was a first team All-Pro in 2017 and 2021 with the Titans. The Philadelphia native was traded to the Eagles in October.


The Bears had an opening at safety after they released Eddie Jackson last month.


Byard has 121 starts in 130 regular-season games. He has 28 interceptions, 66 passes defensed, four sacks, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

Blackhawks Blast Coyotes

Colin Blackwell got his first career hat trick and Connor Bedard had two goals and an assist, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night.


It was Chicago's highest-scoring game of the season. The last-place Blackhawks improved to 3-13-3 in their last 19 games, including a 5-2 win at the Coyotes on Tuesday.


Blackwell completed his hat trick with an empty-netter with 2:36 left. He tried to set up Bedard for the rookie's first three-goal game on a 2-on-1 midway through the third period, but Bedard fired wide.


Bedard leads NHL rookies with 19 goals and 46 points in 51 games. The 18-year-old center had no goals and four assists in his previous eight games.


The No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NHL draft attempted 15 shots during Saturday night’s 4-1 loss at Washington, but only four were on net.


Seth Jones had a career-high four assists for Chicago, and Ryan Donato had a goal and an assist. Tyler Johnson also scored.


Arvid Soderblom made 32 saves for Chicago. Connor Ingram stopped 34 shots for Arizona.


The Blackhawks host Anaheim on Tuesday.

Bradley throttles UIC

 Connor Hickman scored 20 points to lead third-seeded Bradley to a 74-47 win over 11th-seeded UIC in the Missouri Valley Conference quarterfinals on Friday night.


The Braves will face second-seed Drake in the second of two semifinals Saturday.

Hickman had five rebounds for the Braves (22-10). Darius Hannah added 11 points while shooting 5 of 9 from the field while he also had seven rebounds and four blocks. Demarion Burch had 10 points and shot 4 of 5 from the field and 2 of 4 from the free-throw line.


The Flames (12-21) were led by Nathan Ojukwu, who posted 10 points. Toby Okani added nine points and three steals for UIC. Isaiah Rivera also had nine points.

Bradley took the lead with 13:31 left in the first half and did not give it up. Malevy Leons led their team in scoring with nine points in the first half to help put them up 27-25 at the break. Bradley pulled away with a 16-1 run in the second half to extend a two-point lead to 17 points. They outscored UIC by 25 points in the final half, as Hickman led the way with a team-high 14 second-half points.

HS BBBall: Clinton's Walker Named Third Team All-State

Clinton High School senior boy's basketball star Mason Walker was named an IHSA All-State third-team selection Friday evening.


Walker helped steer a Maroons basketball turnaround that resulted in back-to-back 20-win campaigns and a Central Illinois Conference regular season title this year. 


Additionally, he was part of a rare feat while a varsity basketball player at Clinton. Along with Walker, Brooks Cluver, and Dawson Graves were one-thousand-point scorers for the Maroons, who fell in a Regional championship this year to Peoria Manual. 


Clinton finished 28-5 overall and 5-0 in the CIC this past season and finished 24-8 during the 2022-23 basketball season. 


Joining Walker on the third team all-state was St. Joseph-Ogden senior Tanner Jacob, Tolono Unity senior Henry Thomas, and Prairie Central senior Tyler Curl. 


Monticello's Trey Welter was named an all-state honorable mention as well. 


The high school boy's basketball season wraps up this weekend with the state finals in Champaign at the State Farm Center. 

HS Softball: Clinton For Progress This Spring

The Clinton Lady Maroons softball team is under a new head coach and he inherits a group that wants to get better.


Coach Shane Little comes to Clinton by way of Lexington where he coaches girl's basketball and has experience coaching softball in the summer. He likes the group he has inherited and believes they want to get better.



Coach Little has two very strong pitchers for this year and has been impressed with them early on in the practice season.


Coach Little calls his Lady Maroons squad very good at putting the ball in play and very fast. He looks forward to being aggressive with this group.



The Lady Maroons open its season Monday at Decatur Eisenhower. Clinton plays three road games next week, including a game at Coach Little's Lexington High School where he is the girl's basketball coach.


Clinton opens its home slate next Saturday morning hosting Heyworth. 

IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals

Class 2A State Semifinals


At Champaign (State Farm Center)


Williamsville 56 F

Chicago (Phillips) 60


At Champaign (State Farm Center)




Williamsville 48 F

Byron 62


CLASS 3A State Semi Finals


At Champaign (State Farm Center)


Chicago Mt. Carmel 9:30am

Mt. Zion



Chicago (DePaul College Prep) 11:15


Peoria (Richwoods)


Class 4A State Semifinals 


At Champaign (State Farm Center)


Palatine 2:00pm

Normal Community

HS Softball: Monticello Looking to Take Step Forward This Spring

The Monticello softball program is looking for a big step forward this spring.

The Sages return every player from last year's team and Coach Lauren Klein is excited with the returning standouts she had from last year.



Coach Klein has been very encouraged by the way the spring has started for her team. She explains with the nice weather and a nice, new all-turf field, her team has been outside a lot so far.



Coach Klein calls her team a fun group to be around and credits their desire to compete and win. She is excited for the hard work her team has put in to show up on the field this spring and hopefully lead to some excitement.


The Lady Sages open the season at LeRoy Monday and then at Villa Grove on Wednesday before its home opener on Friday against Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond.


Hear Friday's action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Evansville upset Illinois State in first round of MVC Tournament

 Ben Humrichous scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and his personal 8-2 run in the final eight minutes secured Evansville's wire-to-wire, 59-53 upset win over Illinois State in the first-round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Thursday night.


Evansville came into the tournament having lost its final seven games of the regular season and is the 10th tournament seed. The Purple Aces advance to face second-seeded Drake (25-6) in a second-round game Friday.


Evansville scored the first five points of the game and held a 25-21 lead at the break. Illinois State got within three points on a 3 by Johnny Kinziger with 11:10 left that made it 37-34. Chuck Bailey III scored at the basket to make it 39-34 and Humrichous hit two 3-pointers sandwiched around a pair of free throws during an 8-2 run that put the put the Purple Aces up by 11, 47-36 with 6:44 left.


Humrichous hit 4 of 16 from the field, including 3 of 12 from long range, and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line to lead Evansville (16-16). Yacine Toumi added 10 points and eight boards.


Myles Foster scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Illinois State (15-17). Kinziger added 12 points and nine rebounds and Malachi Poindexter added 10 points.

UIC outlasts Southern Illinois 84-82 in OT in Missouri Valley Conference Tournament opener

Isaiah Rivera scored eight of his 28 points in the second overtime as 11th-seeded UIC upset sixth-seeded Southern Illinois 84-82 on Thursday in a first-round game in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.


UIC advances to face the tournament's No. 3 seed, Bradley in a quarterfinal Friday.

Rivera added nine rebounds and five assists for the Flames (12-20). Ethan Pickett scored 16 points, going 7 of 11 (1 for 4 from 3-point range). Christian Jones had 15 points and shot 6 of 15 from the field and 2 for 3 from the line.


Xavier Johnson led the way for the Salukis (19-13) with 27 points, seven assists and two steals. Trent Brown added 16 points for Southern Illinois. AJ Ferguson also had 12 points and 14 rebounds.


UIC entered halftime up 41-27. Pickett paced the team in scoring in the first half with 11 points. Jaden Brownell scored six second-half points and Jones hit the game-tying layup with six seconds left in the second half to send the game to overtime. Rivera finished 3 of 4 from the field on the way to his eight points in double.

Bears extend Pro Bowl Cornerback

The Chicago Bears and Pro Bowl cornerback Jaylon Johnson agreed Thursday to a four-year, $76 million contract that guarantees him $54.4 million.


The move comes two days after the Bears placed the franchise tag on Johnson. He would have been due $19.8 million in 2024 had he not agreed to the extension prior to the July 15 deadline. He had said he wanted to remain with the Bears.


Johnson, who turns 25 in April, had four interceptions and returned one for a touchdown last season after picking off one pass in his first three years. He had 10 passes defensed and forced one fumble and was selected second-team All-Pro.


The Bears’ defense ranked 12th in the NFL despite struggling in the early going. Chicago was 25th against the pass.


Johnson probably helped his bargaining position as the season went on with four interceptions in his final 10 games. He had one pick in his first 43 games.


Chicago finished 7-10 last season. The Bears have the No. 1 and No. 9 overall picks in the draft next month.

NASCAR Cup Series travels to Avondale, Arizona

Kyle Larson’s victory was the third straight for Chevrolet to start the season and the second for Hendrick Motorsports as the series stays on the west coast, for Sunday's race at Phoenix Raceway.


 Larson swept all three stages and won at Las Vegas.


 It also was Larson’s second in a row at Las Vegas and the third win of his career there. Tyler Reddick was second, followed by Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and Ty Gibbs. Chastain won the season finale at Phoenix last season, while Blaney won his first series championship.


Last year William Byron won after starting third.


Practice is 4:00 this afternoon, qualifying is 1:00 this Saturday, and race time is 2:30 Sunday.


John Hunter Nemechek led five times for a race-high 99 laps for his 10th win in the Xfinity Series. They stay west for this weekend's race at Phoenix Raceway.


His victory in a Toyota is the lone non-Chevrolet win in the three national series thus far through nine races. Cole Custer was second, followed by Chandler Smith — who led 74 laps — and Austin Hill. Hill and Smith have finished in the top five in all three races this year.


Last year Sammy Smith won after starting 11th.


Practice and qualifying are at 11:30 on Saturday, and race time is 3:30 pm on Saturday.

The Craftsman Truck Series is off until they travel to Bristol next weekend.

Maroon Madness Returns This Weekend

The Clinton Athletic Booster Club is bringing back its biggest fundraiser this weekend.


'Maroon Madness' was not only one of the Clinton Athletic Booster Club's biggest fundraisers, it was one of the community's most popular fundraisers. Heather Wise is the new President of the Booster Club and says they are excited to have it back.



Many components of the evening will look very similar to events before COVID. Wise explains the excitement of the reverse raffle will be happening throughout the night along with the live auction.



The Booster Club was able to assist the baseball program in getting turf installed in its batting cages at the baseball field. Wise says they help any high school programs with needs the school budget cannot cover.



If you're interested in being involved in the Athletic Booster Club, Wise says they always welcome new members and she hopes you'll stop by the high school library and points anyone interested in attending to learn more to follow them on Facebook for the specific meeting dates and times.



As of Wednesday afternoon, the event had just a few tickets left and Wise reminds a ticket gets you admission for four people. To inquire if there are any tickets still available, reach out to the Booster Club on its Facebook page. 

Cardinals Offseason Signing Fights Injury

Might be time to add St. Louis to the list after All-Star Sonny Gray exited his start against Washington on Monday in the second inning with right hamstring tightness.


Gray had a 1-1 count against Nick Senzel when he called timeout and promptly left the game. The right-hander, who finished runner-up to Yankee ace Gerrit Cole in AL Cy Young voting last year while playing for Minnesota, allowed one hit with a strikeout in 1 2/3 innings against the Nationals.


Gray was scheduled to have an MRI later Monday and declined to speak to reporters after his departure. The 34-year-old, who signed a $75 million, three-year deal with St. Louis in November, is slated to be St. Louis’ opening day starter.

DeMar DeRozan scores 29, Bulls edge Jazz 119-117

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, including the go-ahead basket with a minute left, to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 119-117 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.


Coby White scored 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, and had six assists for the Bulls, who survived a late comeback to beat Utah for the fourth straight time. Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and 12 rebounds.


John Collins led Utah with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Collin Sexton had 24 points and seven assists. Brice Sensabaugh added a career-high 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in his first NBA start.


Utah trailed almost the entire time for the first three quarters, but Chicago never led by more than 12 points during that stretch and left room for the Jazz to rally in the fourth. They stayed close by outscoring the Bulls 22-8 in second chance points.

Utah scored four straight baskets, bookended by 3-pointers from Sexton, for a 114-112 lead with 1:59 left.


DeRozan converted a 3-point play a minute later to put the Bulls back in front.

Sexton and Jordan Clarkson both missed potential winning 3-pointers in the final seconds.


The Jazz had a chance at a winning basket after technical fouls on Torrey Craig and Bulls assistant coach Chris Fleming, along with Collins, following a brief scuffle near the Chicago bench. It allowed Clarkson to tie the game on a free throw with nine seconds left.


DeRozan stepped to the line and ultimately secured the win with a pair of free throws on the other end.


White made back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute of the first quarter, sparking a 13-2 run extending into the second quarter that gave Chicago a 40-29 lead.


Utah chipped away at the deficit and cut it to 57-54 on a pair of free throws from Clarkson. Vucevic and DeRozan countered with back-to-back 3-pointers to keep the Jazz from drawing closer before halftime.


The Bulls made 13 3-pointers in the first half.


Five straight baskets, highlighted by 3-pointers from White and Alex Caruso, helped Chicago extend its lead to 78-68 five minutes into the third quarter.

It seemed like the Bulls were on the verge of pulling away for good, but the Jazz never let it happen.


Chicago visits Golden State on Thursday night.

HS Baseball: Maroa-Forsyth Looking to Continue Recent String of Success

The Maroa-Forsyth Trojans boys baseball team is quickly building a reputation football isn't the only sport that is perennially a force on the Illinois athletic scene.


After a state finals run in 2022, the Trojans encore performance was another Regional championship in 2023. Coach Sean Martin says coming into this year, they are going to have to see guys step up in certain positions.



Coach Martin indicates of the players they have returning, they have some very solid players that will lead his team.



The Trojans have experienced a great deal of success in the last three years with a trio of Regional championships and a state finals run, Coach Martin attributes a lot of the success to kids who love baseball and enjoy coming to the diamond every day.



Coach Martin credits the makeup of his team and the way they want each other to succeed. He says it is a dream scenario for a coach to be able to have a group of players like that.


The Trojans will open the baseball season next Monday hosting Shelbyville. Maroa-Forsyth plays its varsity baseball games in Forsyth Park. 

Blackhawks Win Tuesday

Nick Foligno scored one of Chicago's four power-play goals, and the Blackhawks ended a 22-game road losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night.


Chicago, the NHL’s worst team on the power play, went 4 for 5 with the man advantage - one on a 5-on-3 - for its first road win since Nov. 9 at Tampa Bay.


Seth Jones had two goals for the Blackhawks, including an empty-netter with 28 seconds remaining. Arvid Soderblom stopped 37 shots.


Jason Dickinson and Philipp Kurashev also scored for Chicago, which had dropped seven in a row overall. Tyler Johnson had three assists, and Connor Bedard added two.


Nick Bjugstad and Michael Carcone scored for Arizona, and Connor Ingram had 27 saves.


The Coyotes had some momentum on their side, returning to Mullett Arena after two straight road wins.


Arizona watched it dissipate in the desert air with a parade to the penalty box. The Coyotes' penalty-killers nor Ingram were up for the challenge, matching the most power-play goals allowed since the franchise moved from Winnipeg in 1996.


The Blackhawks did little right in the first game of a back-to-back, losing 5-0 at Colorado on Monday.


The Coyotes made the mistakes early in Tuesday's game.


Already on the penalty kill, Arizona was whistled for having too many men on the ice, giving the Blackhawks nearly 90 seconds with a two-man advantage. Jones took advantage right before the first penalty expired, scoring from the left circle on a shot that deflected off Coyotes defenseman Troy Stecher's stick.


Bjugstad tied it early in the second period, beating Soderblom from the right circle on an odd-man rush.


Then the Coyotes made another mistake. Liam O'Brien was called for tripping less than a minute later and Foligno converted on the power play by redirecting a pass from Bedard.


Carcone tied it again midway through the period, scoring from a tight angle after the puck bounced hard off the backboards.


Another Coyotes penalty, another Chicago goal.


Dickinson got it, redirecting a pass from Kevin Korchinski after Arizona's J.J. Moser was sent off for a delay of game. Kurashev made 4-2 late in the second period on yet another power play, blasting a slap shot past Ingram.


The Blackhawks are at Washington on Friday.

Purdue Holds Off Illinois

Zach Edey had 28 points and eight rebounds as No. 3 Purdue rallied in the second half to beat No. 12 Illinois 77-71 on Tuesday night, becoming the first team in 17 years to win consecutive outright Big Ten regular-season championships.


Fletcher Loyer added 16 points for the Boilermakers (27-3, 16-3), who had already clinched at least a share of their second straight conference title with Saturday night's victory over Michigan State.


The previous Big Ten team to win back-to-back outright regular-season crowns was Ohio State in 2006 and 2007.


Braden Smith had 13 points and six assists for Purdue, which improved to 7-0 against ranked opponents this season. Mason Gillis scored 10 off the bench.


Loyer hit a 3-pointer with 3:08 left that put Purdue ahead for good, 67-66. That started a personal seven-point run that gave the Boilermakers a 71-66 lead with 1:27 to go.


Purdue outscored Illinois 43-31 in the second half and shot 8 of 10 on 3s.


Marcus Domask led second-place Illinois (22-8, 13-6) with 20 points. Coleman Hawkins had 13 points and nine rebounds.


Quincy Guerrier scored 12 for the Fighting Illini, but Terrence Shannon Jr. had a season-low 11 points on 3-for-13 shooting - including 0 of 4 from 3-point range.

Illinois failed to score at least 80 points for the first time in nine games


Illinois plays at Iowa on Sunday.

Islanders Double Up Blues

Bo Horvat scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the New York Islanders won their fourth straight game, 4-2 over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.


Kyle Palmieri, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal also scored for the Islanders who moved within four points of the Philadelphia Flyers for the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, which would guarantee them a spot in the playoffs.


Ilya Sorokin finished with 19 saves and improved to 5-1 since the 6-5 overtime loss to the Rangers in the Stadium Series game at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 18.


Horvat broke a 2-2 tie with an incredible individual effort as he moved around Blues defenseman Nick Leddy, corralled his own rebound and buried a wraparound to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead 55 seconds into the third period.


Barzal added an empty-net goal in the final minute.


Alexey Toropchenko and Jordan Kyrou scored for the Blues, who had won their last two games. Rookie goaltender Joel Hofer made 29 saves.


Toropchenko fired a wrist shot past Sorokin for his 11th goal of the season at 1:21 of the second period to open the scoring.


St. Louis doubled its advantage when Brandon Saad stole a puck from Horvat and slid it over to Kyrou for an easy tap-in.


The Blues visit the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Monticello's Welter Named All Illini Prairie Conference First Team

Monticello senior Trey Welter was one of four seniors to be named unanimous first-team All Illini Prairie on Monday.


Welter led Sages to a 15-15 record in the 2023-24 basketball season. He was the team's leading scorer. 


Riley Weber from Pontiac, Tanner Jacob from St. Joseph-Ogden, and Henry Thomas from Tolono Unity were also unanimous first-team selections. 


Pontiac's Kerr Bauman and Prairie Central's Tyler Curl were first-team selections.

Normal Community Looking for Big Year on Baseball Diamond

It's been an exciting year at Normal Community High School and the boys baseball team is hoping to add to the excitement this spring.


The boys' basketball team punched its ticket to the State Farm Center in Champaign Monday for the State Finals and baseball coach Ryan Short says he's got an exciting baseball squad that made some noise last year with almost each impact player returning this year.



Coach Short says his team's success starts with its starting pitching and they have two high-level top-of-rotation starters they can rely on to give them good outings nearly every time they take the ball.



Normal Community also brings back everybody on the infield and its backstop. Coach Short is very excited about the depth of his offense this year.



Coach Short calls standout Ironmen athlete Dexter Niekamp one of the most decorated athletes to ever play at Normal Community and says Niekamp plays on the basketball team and credits his commitment to each sport he plays and anticipates him jumping right into baseball next week when he comes out to play.



]Coach Short notes, other than Niekamp, they do not have any baseball players that play basketball so they have had everyone at practice the first few days of the practice season. He adds it has been interesting to juggle baseball and basketball the last few weeks but the excitement has made it worth it. 


Normal Community opens the baseball season next Thursday hosting Metamora.

Normal West Looking for Bounce Back Spring in '24

Normal West baseball took its lumps in the spring of 2023 but a motivated group is ready for a rebound this year.


Coach Chris Hawkins explains despite the first losing season of his nearly 20-year tenure at Normal West, it was a very enjoyable season and he has seen a lot of positive things from his team as they prepare for the upcoming baseball season.



According to Coach Hawkins, each returning All-Big 12 Conference senior brings something unique to the table and has liked the leadership they are providing early on this season.



High school baseball often comes down to pitching and having a good stable of quality arms. Coach Hawkins says ten of his 14 varsity players this year can pitch and has a junior class that will see a lot of players getting innings at the JV level - something he is excited about.


Coach Hawkins calls a year like last year, winning or learning. He points out they play a tough schedule each year to get ready for the postseason where each team makes the postseason and anything can happen.


Normal West opens the season next Wednesday at Rochester. The Wildcats will spend its spring break playing at a tournament in Shelby County, Alabama.

Illinois Wins Sunday, Takes Two of Three in South Carolina

Illinois baseball (5-6) secured a winning weekend at the First Pitch Invitational with a 12-6 win over Michigan State (4-7) in a non-conference matchup at Fluor Field today.


Drake Westcott powered the offense today, going 1-for-4 with a run, home run, three RBI and a walk. Asher Bradd, Coltin Quagliano and Brody Harding all had two hits in the ballgame and all nine starters recorded at least one hit.


Cooper Omans earned his second win in as many appearances, working 2.2 innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and striking out three. Jake Swartz took no decision in the start, allowing three runs, two earned, over 4.1 innings, punching out three. The Fighting Illini pitching staff issued just one free pass in the contest and totaled six strikeouts.


Swartz retired the first six batters he faced and retired nine of the first 10 batters overall, yielding just one hit. 


Quagliano finised 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI. He has recorded at least one hit in 10 of 11 games this season and has back-to-back multi-hit games.


Bradd went 2-for-5 with a run scored in his first multi-hit game of the season.


Westcott went 1-for-4 with a run, a home run, three RBI, and a walk.


Hejza scored four runs.


Every Illinois starter reached base safely in the win. 


Illinois fell to Florida State 13-7 and topped Western Michigan 8-6 in extra innings on Saturday.


Illinois baseball heads to Knoxville, Tenn., where they will face the No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers in a three-game set at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. 

Valpo Edges Illinois State

Cooper Schwieger had 28 points in Valparaiso's 75-72 win against Illinois State on Sunday.


Schwieger had five rebounds and his two free throws with 12 seconds left sealed the win for the Beacons (7-24, 3-17 Missouri Valley Conference). Isaiah Stafford scored 20 points and added eight rebounds. The win snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Beacons.


Kendall Lewis finished with 17 points and nine rebounds for the Redbirds (15-16, 9-11). Malachi Poindexter added 17 points, five assists and two steals. In addition, Myles Foster finished with 15 points.


Schwieger put up 13 points in the first half for Valparaiso, who led 44-31 at the break. Schwieger scored 15 points down the stretch in the second half to help lead Valparaiso to a three-point victory.


It's off to the Missouri Valley Conference tournament this weekend. The Redbirds take on Evansville on Thursday at 6 pm. 

Illinois State Sweeps Arkansas-Pine Bluff Over Weekend

Illinois State baseball posted their first sweep since 2022 as the Redbirds defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 13-3, at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex on Sunday.


Six players had hits for Illinois State (5-5), led by junior Noah Rabin, who smacked a home run for the second straight game, tallying four RBIs, and a run scored. Sophomore Luke Lawrence went 3-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored.


Sophomore Thomas Harper got the Sunday start, going 3.0 innings against the Golden Lions (6-5) with eight strikeouts. Junior Joe Husak impressed out of the Redbird pen once again, firing four scoreless innings as he picked up the win.


Rabin's grand slam to gave ISU a 4-3 lead and Daniel Pacella added an RBI double down the right field line, pushing the margin to 5-3 in the fifth. 


Lawrence made it 13-3 in the 9th with an RBI triple as scoring Luke Stulga and Daniel Contreras.


Illinois State is scheduled to travel to nationally-ranked Vanderbilt from March 8-10 for a three-game series.

Drake Tops Bradley

Tucker DeVries scored 29 points and Drake beat Bradley 74-66 on Sunday night.


DeVries added six rebounds and four steals for the Bulldogs (25-6, 16-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Kevin Overton made two 3-pointers and scored 13. Colby Garland had 10 points.


Malevy Leons led the Braves (21-10, 13-7) with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Duke Deen added 13 points and Darius Hannah scored 10.


The Braves will take on the winner of Thursday's Illinois-Chicago/Southern Illinois first-round Missouri Valley Conference tournament game Friday night at 8:30 pm.

Kyle Larson Wins at Las Vegas

Kyle Larson won for the third time in his career at Las Vegas, where in 2021 he got his first win driving for Rick Hendrick following a nearly yearlong suspension in 2020. Larson also won in the No. 5 Chevy at Las Vegas last October in the playoffs.


Larson held off Tyler Reddick for his 24th career Cup victory. In a Toyota for 23XI Racing, Reddick chased Larson for the final several laps but could never find enough room to make a move for the pass. Larson’s margin of victory was 0.441 seconds over Reddick.


Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season and opened the year with William Byron winning the Daytona 500.


Chevrolet also has wins this year by Byron in the Daytona 500 and Daniel Suarez last week at Atlanta for Trackhouse Racing. Chevrolet has won eight of nine national series races to open the year.


Ford and Toyota are both using new cars this year.


Reigning NASCAR champion Ryan Blaney was third for Team Penske in a Ford, followed by Trackhouse driver Ross Chastain, Ty Gibbs in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing and Las Vegas native Noah Gragson was sixth in his best finish since joining Stewart-Haas Racing.


Martin Truex Jr. for JGR was seventh, followed by teammate Denny Hamlin, Penske driver and pole-sitter Joey Logano and Byron. Suarez, last week’s winner, was 11th


Larson swept all three stages and led 181 of the 267 laps. The win made Larson the Cup Series points leader with an eight-point cushion over Blaney.


NASCAR goes next week to Phoenix Raceway, where Byron is the defending race winner. Chastain won in November on the day Blaney won his first Cup title.

Blue Ridge Senior Signs NLI To Water Ski at Florida Southern

A Blue Ridge student is heading to college in Flordia to water ski.


Blue Ridge senior Ty Meeker loves the beach and the water and says Flordia Southern was the perfect fit for the next step for his water skiing career and his professional ambitions.



Meeker explains his dad's love of the sport and growing up around water skiing started his love for the sport 



Since Meeker has taken up water skiing his talents have led him to many distinguished events and accomplishments 



Meeker is a part of the soccer and basketball teams at Blue Ridge. He is also a member of the CEO program and is the student council president. He explains how he can do all that and pursue water skiing.


Meeker indicates nationals this year will be held in Lakeland, Flordia and you can watch through the  YouTube channel,  Water Broadcasting Company. 

HS BBall Postseason Action Today

Class 1A Sectional championship action tonight


At Salt Fork


Heyworth 7:00pm



At Effingham St. Anthony


Arcola 6:00pm

Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran


Class 2A Sectional championship action tonight


At Shelbyville


St. Joseph-Ogden 7:00pm



Class 3A Sectional championship action tonight


At Lincoln


Decatur MacArthur 7:00pm

Mt. Zion


At Pontiac


Metamora 7:00pm

Peoria Richwoods


Class 4A Sectional championship action tonight


At Pekin


Quincy 7:00pm

Normal Community


High school girls Class 3A State semifinal action today


At Normal CEFCU Arena


Chatham-Glenwood 9:30am

Hinsdale South


Lombard-Montini 11:15am


NASCAR Shifts to Las Vegas This Weekend

Daniel Suarez narrowly edged Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch in the closest finish in Atlanta history for his second career victory in the top series.


The winning margin — 0.003 seconds — is the third-closest since 1993 when electronic scoring was implemented. Now NASCAR moves across the country to Las Vegas Motorspeedway for the third race of the season.


The victory came in career start No. 253 for Suarez, whose other win came in June 2022 at Sonoma. The race featured 10 cautions and an Atlanta-record 48 lead changes. Todd Gilliland led 58 laps; the third-year driver had led a combined 11 laps in his first two seasons. He finished 26th.


Daytona 500 winner William Byron won after starting second at last year's spring race in Vegas. 


Practice and qualifying is at 1 pm Saturday. Race time is 2:30 pm on Sunday.


Austin Hill won his second straight race to open the season, surging to the lead on an overtime restart when teammate Jesse Love ran out of gas at Atlanta.


Hill enters the XFinity Series race at Las Vegas as the defending winner from last spring's race. 


Hill became the first driver since Tony Stewart in 2008 to win the first two Xfinity races of the season. Hill has won three of the last four Xfinity Series races at Atlanta and is halfway to his wins total in 33 races last season. 


Love started on the pole, becoming the first driver to win the pole in his first two career starts, led 157 laps and finished 12th. Georgia native Chandler Smith finished second and New Zealander Shane Van Gisbergen was third.


Practice and qualifying is tonight at 5:30 pm with race time Saturday at 4 pm. 


Kyle Busch moved to the lead when Grant Enfinger had tire problems with six laps to go and won in the Craftsman Truck Series for the seventh time at Atlanta.


The victory was Busch’s 65th in the truck series, extending his own record, and 230th across NASCAR’s three national series. ... Busch drove for Spire Motorsports, who he sold his truck team to late last year, and will race four more times for the team this season. 


Ty Majeski was second, followed by Corey Heim, Taylor Gray, and Nick Sanchez, who won the season-opener at Daytona.


Busch won the pole in Vegas and rode to the win last spring. 


Practice and qualifying is at 3:30 pm this afternoon. Race time is 8 pm tonight. 

Avalanche Blank Blackhawks

Nathan MacKinnon scored with 2:28 left for his 100th point this season, and the Avalanche rolled to a 5-0 victory over the lowly Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.


Zach Parise had two goals and an assist as Colorado earned its second straight win. Ross Colton and Devon Toews also scored, and Justus Annunen made 24 saves in his first career shutout in nine NHL appearances.


MacKinnon scored his 36th goal when he sent a wrist shot between Petr Mrazek’s legs. He also picked up his 64th assist on Colton’s goal in the second period.


The 28-year-old MacKinnon, one of the front-runners for NHL MVP, became the first player in Avalanche history with consecutive seasons with at least 100 points. He had 42 goals and 69 assists in 71 games last year.


Last-place Chicago dropped to 5-20-4 in its last 29 games. Mrazek made 29 saves for the Blackhawks, who were shut out for the eighth time this season.

Avalanch Blank Blackhawks

The Blackhawks host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.


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