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The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

#1 Parkersburg South 81     Lewis County 59

#5 Robert C. Byrd 63     #3 Fairmont Senior 52

#8 Notre Dame 68     #9 Tucker County 66


►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Sectional Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

Calhoun County 61     Doddridge County 49

Grafton 72     Philip Barbour 55

Harman 55     South Harrison 41

#6 Lincoln 66     Liberty 33

Grafton 72     Philip Barbour 55

Valley Wetzel 56     Tyler Consolidated 46


►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Sectional Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

St. Marys 79     #10 Trinity 74 (OT)



The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)


No. 4 West Liberty 95, Wheeling Jesuit 92 | Final Stats

Indiana Faithfull hit a pair of free throws with 7.6 seconds left to snap a 92-92 deadlock and lift No. 4 West Liberty to a 94-92 revenge win against Wheeling Jesuit in a mutual regular-season finaleon Saturdayat the McDonough Center.
The hosts shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in the first half with Ben Siefert draining a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the half to send WJU into the locker room with a 57-42 halftime lead. WJU remained in front, 87-78, with four minutes to go, but would not hit another shot from the field. This allowed the Hilltoppers to rally and eventually Faithfull’s game-winning free throws.

Seger Bonifant scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half – including a 3-for-3 showing from the 3-point arc to lead WLU (25-2, 20-2). Devin Hoehn added 18 points, C.J. Hester weighed in with 14 points and seven rebounds while Joe Lococo tossed in 11 points.

JustinFritts paced Wheeling Jesuit (19-9, 14-8) with 21 points – 18 of them in the first half – and Moseh finished with 19 points. Haywood Highsmith had 14 points and 11 rebounds while Kyle Ritz and Eric Siefert each scored 13 points.


Fairmont State 64, Shepherd 60 | Final Stats

Nick Harney scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Fairmont State to a 64-60 win over Shepherd on Saturday at the Butcher Center.

Fairmont State improves to 19-9, 16-6, whileShepherd falls to 14-14, 9-13 in MEC play.

Caleb Davis added 13 points for the Falcons, while Jamel Morris tossed in 12.

Ryan McTavish led the Rams with 14 points, while guard Austin Cunningham had 13 points and four assists.Morgan McDonald and Naim Muhammad each had nine points.


Glenville State 75, West Virginia Wesleyan 49 | Final Stats

Glenville State raced past West Virginia Wesleyan, 75-49, on Saturday afternoon at the Waco Center.

Reggie Williams led the Pioneers (18-10, 14-8) with 14 points, and Donte Morales chipped in 13 and Sedric Nady finished with 10.

The Bobcats (11-17, 9-13) were paced by 12 points and seven rebounds from Tanner McGrew. Austin Shell added 11 points and seven rebounds.


Charleston 87, West Virginia State 71 | Final Stats

The University of Charleston picked up an 87-71 win over West Virginia State in the final game of the Eddie King Gymnasium.

The Golden Eagles (19-9, 14-8) also earned a first-round bye in next week’s MEC Tournament. WVSU dropped to 6-24 and 6-16 in the league.

Octavius Green led the way for UC with 19 points, and Vincent Dillard and Tino DiTrapano each netted 12.

WVSU was led by 19 points from Damion Harris and 17 from Markee Mazyck.


Notre Dame 109, Urbana 98 | Final Stats

Notre Dame’s Oliver Megins hit a three-pointer as time expired to force overtime and help the Falcons to a 109-98 win over Urbana on Saturday afternoon at Murphy Gymnasium.

NDC (15-13, 11) outscored the Blue Knights (6-22, 3-19) by a 17-6 margin in the extra session to earn the victory.

Tyree Gaiter scored 27 points to go with 11 assists to lead Notre Dame. Will Vorhees added 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Lawrence DeArmond finished with 20.

Urbana’s Myles Busby led all scorers with 31 points to go with 12 rebounds, and Carlas Jackson scored 27 points.


Concord 74, UVa-Wise 50 | Final Stats

Concord had four players finish in double figures on Saturday to defeat UVa-Wise 74-59 in the Prior Center.

The Mountain Lions (20-8, 15-7) were led by Mike Boyd who finished with a team-high 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Aaron Miller added 16 points and six rebounds, Rob Reed finished with 14 points and Jametrius Wade added 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Matt Dayled the way for the Cavaliers (2-23, 1-21) finishing with a game-high 22 points and six rebounds.Philip Owens IIadded with 19 points and five assists.


►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)


Shepherd 82, Fairmont State 75 | Final Stats

Shepherd erased a 14-point second half deficit with a 25-7 run over nine minutes to help it to an 82-75 win over Fairmont State and a share of the Mountain East Conference championship.

The Rams (20-8, 17-5)were led by seniors Gabby Flinchum who scored a team-high 21 points and Rachel Johnson who contributed 17.Morgan Arden tossed in 12 points and added four assists. Briana Vaden had 11 points, while Cara Mason added 10 points, six rebounds, and a game-high five assists.

The win gave Shepherd just their fourth 20-win season in program history after registering just four a season ago. The Rams are the No. 2 seed in next week’s MEC Tournament.

Fairmont State (21-7, 15-7) was led by Emily Lohr had a game-high 24 points to lead the Falcons. Hailey Garrett added 21 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.


West Liberty 60, Wheeling Jesuit 48 | Final Stats

West Liberty clinched a share of the Mountain East title with a 60-48 win over rival Wheeling Jesuit on Saturday.

With the win, the Hilltoppers (20-8, 17-5) earn the top seed in next week’s MEC Tournament by virtue of tiebreakers. Wheeling Jesuit (18-8, 15-7) saw its eight-game winning streak snapped.

Kailee Howe led WLU with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kierra Simpson had 12 points to go with 13 rebounds, and Hillary Southworth had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.

WJU was led by 12 points from Jaila Bryant and 10 more off the bench from Jaana Motton.


Charleston 71, West Virginia State 60 | Final Stats

Charleston earned a piece of the Mountain East Conference title with a 71-60 win over West Virginia State on Saturday afternoon at Eddie King Gymnasium.

UC (22-6, 17-5) had to rally from a six-point halftime deficit to claim the victory. The Golden Eagles were led by 20 points from Nichole Perry, and Kiara Johnson had 20 rebounds and 17 points in the win. Monet Saunders chipped in 15 points.

WVSU (8-19, 6-16) was paced by Deyahnna Styles who scored 21 points, pulled down six rebounds and handed out eight assists. Alexus Hobbs contributed 13 points for the Yellow Jackets.


Notre Dame 88, Urbana 77 | Final Stats

Martha Nagbe and Kelsey Miller each scored 20 points to help Notre Dame pull away from Urbana, 88-77, on Saturday afternoon at Murphy Gymnasium.

Lexi Hassing scored 11 and Molly Ritz finished with 10 in the victory for NDC (17-11, 13-9).

Kennedy Boggs scored 15, Stefanie Davis scored 14 and Brittany Atkinson added 12 for the Blue Knights (1-27, 1-21).


Glenville State 104, West Virginia Wesleyan 55 | Final Stats

Glenville State forced 27 turnovers to help it to 104-55 win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at the Waco Center.

Five players reached double figures for the Pioneers (14-12, 12-10), led by 25 from Kayla Tibbs. Keyanna Tate scored 16 points, Briana Smythe had 14, Julie Bishop netted 12 and Tayana Stewart finished with 10. GSC shot 52 percent from the floor in the win.

Alexa Mortenson paced WVWC (4-22, 3-19) with 17 points and Mari Steward added 11.


Concord 65, UVa-Wise 48 | Final Stats

Concord used an 11-0 run to break a 34-34 tie mid-way through the second half to post a 65-48 win over UVa-Wise at the Prior Center Saturday.The win secured the eighth seed in next week’s Mountain East Conference Tournament for the Mountain Lions and secured a season-series sweep of the Cavaliers.

With the win, Concord improved to 8-19 overall and 8-14 in the league. UVa-Wise fell to 9-19 overall and 8-14 in conference play.

Concord’s Kylie Molisee finished the game 6-of-9 from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds as she tied teammate Melea Smith for game-high point honors with 14. Jacqueline Kestner also registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Danielle Catron added 10 points and seven boards off the bench.

Taylor Sandidgewas the only Cavalier to finish in double figures as she went 5-6 from the free throw line to score 10 points.SeniorKatie Jo Dockeryposted nine points, seven rebounds, and three assists in her final home game.


►  Men’s Basketball Tournament Field Set

The seedings and pairings for the Mountain East Conference men’s basketball tournament have been set after the final day of regular season play today.

Regular season champion West Liberty, along with Fairmont State, Concord and Glenville State earn the top-four seeds, respectively, and a first-round bye. Glenville State (fifth), Wheeling Jesuit (sixth), Notre Dame (seventh) and Shepherd (eighth) will have a first round home game on Tuesday evening. West Virginia Wesleyan is seeded ninth, West Virginia State is 10th, Urbana is 11th and UVa-Wise is 12th.

MEC Tournament Seeds
1. West Liberty (25-2, 20-2)
2. Fairmont State (19-9, 16-6)
3. Concord (20-8, 15-7)
4. Charleston (19-9, 14-8)
5. Glenville State (18-10, 14-8)
6. Wheeling Jesuit (19-9, 14-8)
7. Notre Dame (15-13, 11-11)
8. Shepherd (14-14, 9-13)
9. West Virginia Wesleyan (11-17, 9-13)
10. West Virginia State (6-24, 6-16)
11. Urbana (6-22, 3-19)
12. UVa-Wise (2-25, 1-21)

First Round Games (Tuesday, March 03)
#12 UVa-Wise at #5 Glenville State, 7:30 PM
#11 Urbana at #6 Wheeling Jesuit, 7 PM
#10 West Virginia State at Notre Dame, 7:30 PM
#9 West Virginia Wesleyan at Shepherd, 7 PM


►  Women’s Basketball Tournament Field Set

The seedings and pairings for the 2015 Mountain East Conference Tournament have been finalized after the conclusion of today’s action.

Three teams split the regular season championship with West Liberty, Shepherd and Charleston tying atop the standings with identical 17-5 records. The Hilltoppers earned the top seed via tiebreakers, with Shepherd seeded second and Charleston seeded third. Wheeling Jesuit earned the fourth and final first-round by earning the tiebreaker over Fairmont State.

After FSU in fifth, Notre Dame finished sixth, Glenville State was seventh and Concord earned the right to the the final first-round home game by claiming the No. 8 seed. UVa-Wise is seeded ninth, West Virginia State is 10th, West Virginia Wesleyan is 11th and Urbana is 12th.

The first round games will be played on Tuesday, March 03.

MEC Tournament Seeds
1. West Liberty (20-8, 17-5)
2. Shepherd (20-8, 17-5)
3. Charleston (22-6, 17-5)
4. Wheeling Jesuit (18-8, 15-7)
5. Fairmont State (21-7, 15-7)
6. Notre Dame (17-11, 13-9)
7. Glenville State (14-12, 12-10)
8. Concord (8-19, 8-14)
9. UVa-Wise (9-19, 8-14)
10. West Virginia State (8-19, 6-16)
11. West Virginia Wesleyan (4-22, 3-19)
12. Urbana (1-27, 2-21)

MEC First Round Games
#12 Urbana at #5 Fairmont State, 5 PM
#11 West Virginia Wesleyan at #6 Notre Dame, 5:30 PM
#10 West Virginia State at #7 Glenville State, 5:30 PM
#9 UVa-Wise at #8 Concord, 7 PM



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Baylor cruises past West Virginia in top-20 matchup

Taurean Prince scored 20 points off the bench and Rico Gathers recorded a double-double as Baylor won handily, 78-66, and never trailed in a top-20 matchup against injury-depleted West Virginia.

The 19th-ranked Bears (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) have won four in a row, including consecutive wins over ranked opponents for the first time in school history. They were in control from start to finish Saturday and only committed eight turnovers—nearly 13 less than West Virginia’s opponents coming in.

Gathers totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Royce O’Neale chipped in with 18 points and seven assists in the convincing victory.

West Virginia was without leading scorer Juwan Staten due to a knee injury and lost starting guard Gary Browne three minutes into the game when his ankle was rolled up on during a loose ball scrum.

Jevon Carter led the 20th-ranked Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) with 25 points.

Both teams trail Big-12 leading Kansas by 1 1/2 games with two left in the regular season. West Virginia plays at Kansas on Tuesday.

The Bears shot a blistering 65.4% from the field in a lopsided first half. They scored nine of the game’s first 11 points, led by as many as 19 and brought a 45-29 cushion into the break.

West Virginia committed nine turnovers in the first half, the last leading to Gathers’ rim-rattling windmill dunk that ignited the home crowd.

The Mountaineers cleaned up their mistakes in the second half, and Baylor cooled off considerably. Still, the deficit never dipped below nine, and Baylor pulled away for good with an 11-3 run. Prince and O’Neale both hit 3- pointers during the string, and the lead grew to 20 down the stretch.

Game Notes

Baylor upended No. 12 Iowa State on Wednesday ... Carter was making his first career start ... The Mountaineers have beaten Baylor just once in seven meetings, including an 87-69 loss in Morgantown earlier this month ... Baylor outscored West Virginia at the foul line 22-8 ... Baylor shot 33% from the field in the second half ... West Virginia shot 40.3% overall.



<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)


Final Score: (1) Kentucky 84, (18) Arkansas 67

Andrew Harrison and Trey Lyles each scored 18 points and No. 1 Kentucky stayed unbeaten with a 84-67 dismantling of 18th- ranked Arkansas. Lyles shot 8-for-10 from the floor, while Harrison converted all eight of his free throws tries for Kentucky (29-0, 16-0 SEC), which is three wins shy of matching the longest win streak in program history. The Wildcats won 32 straight from 1953 to 1955. Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively off the bench, and Willie Cauley- Stein finished with seven points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Arkansas (23-6, 12-4) got 17 points and nine rebounds from Michael Qualls and 15 points from Bobby Portis, but lost its three-game win streak in this series.


Final Score: (2) Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57

Malcolm Brogdon had 19 points and eight rebounds as No. 2 Virginia defeated Virginia Tech 69-57 on Saturday afternoon. Darion Atkins posted 16 points and six rebounds, while Anthony Gill added 16 points and five boards for the Cavaliers (27-1, 15-1 ACC), who have won eight straight and are a win away from clinching their first ever back-to- back outright ACC titles. Point guard London Perrantes, who tallied 11 points and six assists, returned from a brief one-game absence for Virginia following a scary collision with Brogdon against Florida State on Sunday. Adam Smith netted 19 points to lead the Hokies (10-19, 2-14).


Final Score: BYU 73, (3) Gonzaga 70

Kyle Collinsworth finished with 20 points and eight rebounds as BYU pulled off a memorable upset over third-ranked Gonzaga for a 73-70 win on Saturday. Gonzaga suffered just its second loss of the season and had three lengthy winning streaks come to an end. The Bulldogs entered the game with a school-record 22 straight wins, the nation’s longest home winning streak at 41 games in a row and 22 consecutive conference victories. Skyler Halford scored 14 points, while Chase Fischer and Tyler Haws netted 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Cougars (23-8, 13-5 WCC), who won their first game over a team ranked third or higher since a win over No. 2 UCLA on Nov. 27, 1981. Byron Wesley paced Gonzaga (29-2. 17-1) with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Domantas Sabonis scored 12 with eight boards in the loss.


Final Score: (4) Duke 73, Syracuse 54

Justise Winslow and Duke kept on rolling, with the freshman forward pouring in a season-best 23 points to lead the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to a 73-54 triumph over Syracuse. Duke (26-3, 13-3 ACC) also turned in a strong effort on defense in posting its ninth consecutive win and keeping its ACC regular-season title hopes alive. The Blue Devils held the Orange to 30.6 percent shooting, including a 3-of-20 performance from 3-point range, and forced 15 turnovers. Winslow has averaged 16.6 points and 8.9 rebounds over Duke’s run. Syracuse (18-11, 9-7) failed to build on the momentum gained from Tuesday’s 65-60 win over No. 9 Notre Dame, largely due to its offensive woes and inability to contain Winslow or Jahlil Okafor, who contributed 13 points and 14 rebounds to the rout. Quinn Cook added 17 points for Duke. Tyler Roberson’s 16 points and nine boards paced the Orange, with Trevor Cooney and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively.


Final Score: (6) Villanova 78, Xavier 66

Dylan Ennis posted 16 points, five rebounds and five assists and No. 6 Villanova went into Cintas Center and knocked off Xavier 78-66 to win its 10th straight game. Ryan Arcidiacono had 15 points and Kris Jenkins went 4-for-7 from distance for 14 for Villanova (27-2, 14-2 Big East), which wrapped up the Big East regular- season crown with Saturday’s win. The Wildcats had already earned a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, which will take place from March 11-14. Jalen Reynolds made all six of his shots to lead Xavier with 15 points, and Trevon Bluiett netted 12. Dee Davis tallied seven points, nine assists and six rebounds in the setback. Xavier (18-12, 8-9) had won nine of its last 11 games at home against ranked opponents.


Final Score: (7) Arizona 63, (13) Utah 57

Kaleb Tarczewski had 13 points and six rebounds to lead No. 7 Arizona to a 63-57 victory over 13th-ranked Utah on Saturday. Stanley Johnson posted 12 points and 11 rebounds and Gabe York added 12 points for the Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12), who claimed a share of the Pac-12 title with the victory. Delon Wright scored 17 points with five rebounds and Jordan Loveridge added 10 points and six boards for the Utes (22-6, 12-4), who have lost two of their last three games.


Final Score: (8) Kansas 69, Texas 64

Perry Ellis boosted his claim for Big 12 Player of the Year with another dominant performance, as No. 8 Kansas held off Texas 69-64 to remain unbeaten at home. Ellis tallied 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Jayhawks (23-6, 12-4 Big 12), who improved to 14-0 at Allen Fieldhouse this season. It was Ellis’ third straight 20-point game. Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and sealed the win with a pair of late free throws. Frank Mason III added 12 points. The Longhorns (17-12, 6-10) were projected to challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title, but uneven offensive performances have contributed to them dropping four straight games and eight of 11.


Final Score: (11) Wichita State 74, (10) Northern Iowa 60

Ron Baker had 17 points, Fred VanVleet scored 13 and Wichita State won a showdown with Northern Iowa on Saturday to capture the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title for the second year in a row. Darius Carter, Tekele Cotton and Evan Wessel added 11 points each the No. 11 Shockers led by as much as 18 in a 74-60 win over the 10th- ranked Panthers to extended their home winning streak to 32 games. Wichita State will again be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which starts Thursday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. It was the first time in 50 years that the Shockers won back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference regular-season titles.


Final Score: Kansas State 70, (12) Iowa State 69

Wesley Iwundu scored four of his 11 points in the final 43 seconds, including a dunk off a stolen inbounds pass that gave Kansas State a dramatic 70-69 win over No. 12 Iowa State on Saturday. Down 12 with under 10 minutes remaining, Kansas State took the lead with a 20-6 run that was punctuated by Iwundu’s block on Georges Niang, which led to a layup at the other end for the sophomore forward. Later, Iwundu jumped Georges Niang’s pass on the Kansas State side of the court and broke to the basket to dunk with 16 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats the lead. After a foul stopped play at the other end, Naz Long airballed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Iowa State.

Final Score: (14) Maryland 66, Michigan 56

College Park, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Melo Trimble posted 19 points and five assists as 14th-ranked Maryland beat Michigan 66-56 on Saturday afternoon. Dez Wells chipped in 13 points and six rebounds on Senior Day, helping the Terrapins complete a perfect home record in conference play for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Jake Layman scored 10 points for Maryland (24-5, 12-4 Big Ten), while former Wolverine Evan Smotrycz grabbed nine rebounds. The Terrapins notched their fifth straight win and closed to within 1 1/2 games of first-place Wisconsin in the Big Ten standings with two to play. Spike Albrecht and Zak Irvin each had 15 points for the Wolverines (14-14, 7-9), who have dropped six of their last seven games.


Final Score: (15) North Carolina 73, Miami-Florida 64

Brice Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds as No. 15 North Carolina pulled away late to defeat Miami-Florida 73-64 on Saturday afternoon. Marcus Paige netted 15 points, while J.P. Tokoto added 10 points and 10 boards for the Tar Heels (20-9, 10-6 ACC), who had dropped five of their last seven games coming in. Sheldon McClellan and Ivan Cruz Uceda poured in 11 points apiece for Miami (18-11, 8-8), which had won three of its last four games prior to Saturday.


Final Score: (16) Oklahoma 67, TCU 60

Buddy Hield scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds to help No. 16 Oklahoma come back to beat TCU 67-60 on Saturday. TaShawn Thomas scored six of his 15 points in a crucial 8-1 surge that gave the Sooners (20-8, 11-5 Big 12) the lead for good. Oklahoma got 10 points apiece from Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins. The Horned Frogs (17-12, 4-12) scored just nine points in the final 10 minutes as Oklahoma pulled ahead. Kyan Anderson and Trey Zeigler each scored 16 to lead TCU.


Final Score: (17) Louisville 81, Florida State 59

Wayne Blackshear scored 18 points and No. 17 Louisville rolled to an 81-59 win over Florida State on Saturday to cap a tumultous week. Montrezl Harrell added 16 points and Anton Gill scored 14 for the Cardinals (23-6, 11-5 ACC), who have won three in a row, the last two while dealing with the situation surrounding Chris Jones. Jones, the talented senior guard who was dismissed from the team last Sunday, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of felony rape and sodomy in a case involving the alleged assault of two women last weekend. The Cardinals shot over 48 percent in the first half to lead by 10 at the break and went up by as much as 26 points in the second half. Quentin Snider added 11 points in the win and Terry Rozier scored 10. Montay Brandon scored 13 points to lead Florida State (15-15, 7-10), which has lost three in a row. The Seminoles got 12 points each from Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Devon Bookert and 11 from Boris Bojanovsky. It was the first meeting between the teams since Florida State beat Louisville 76-69 in the Metro Conference title game on March 9, 1992. The teams were both members of the Metro Conference from 1976-91. Louisville joined the ACC this season.


Final Score: (19) Baylor 78, (20) West Virginia 66

Taurean Prince scored 20 points off the bench and Rico Gathers recorded a double-double as Baylor won handily, 78-66, and never trailed in a top-20 matchup against injury-depleted West Virginia. The 19th-ranked Bears (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) have won four in a row, including consecutive wins over ranked opponents for the first time in school history. They were in control from start to finish Saturday and only committed eight turnovers—nearly 13 less than West Virginia’s opponents coming in. Gathers totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Royce O’Neale chipped in with 18 points and seven assists in the convincing victory. West Virginia was without leading scorer Juwan Staten due to a knee injury and lost starting guard Gary Browne three minutes into the game when his ankle was rolled up on during a loose ball scrum. Jevon Carter led the 20th-ranked Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) with 25 points.


Final Score: Dayton 59, (22) VCU 55

Dayton received 19 points from Jordan Sibert and held on down the stretch to earn a 59-55 victory over 22nd-ranked VCU in an Atlantic 10 clash with major ramifications. The win, the Flyers’ fifth in six games, enabled Dayton (22-6, 12-4 A-10) to keep a share of first place in the tight conference race with two to go in the regular season. The Flyers entered Saturday’s matchup in a four-way tie with VCU, Davidson and Rhode Island for the A-10’s top spot. Dayton will host Rhode Island, which downed La Salle earlier in the day, on Tuesday. VCU (21-8, 11-5), meanwhile, continued its recent downward spiral. The Rams owned a comfortable lead atop the A-10 in late January after getting off to a 7-0 start, but have since gone 4-5 in league play. Kendall Pollard added 16 points and six rebounds for the Flyers, but fouled out with under five minutes remaining and the Rams began to draw closer after trailing 51-45 at the time of the disqualification.


Final Score: (23) Butler 67, DePaul 53

Kellen Dunham scored 24 points and No. 23 Butler continued its push for the second seed in the Big East tournament with a 67-53 victory over reeling DePaul. Roosevelt Jones had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs (21-8, 11-5 Big East), who hold a one-game lead over Georgetown for the conference’s No. 2 seed. Kameron Woods posted 14 points and six rebounds for a Butler team that pulled away in the second half with a 26-3 run. Jamee Crockett was the lone player to reach double figures in scoring for DePaul, finishing with 20 points. The Blue Demons (12-18, 6-11) suffered a season high-tying sixth consecutive defeat.


Final Score: Boise State 56, (24) San Diego State 46

Derrick Marks had 18 points and five rebounds as Boise State took a 56-46 win over No. 24 San Diego State in a critical Mountain West Conference matchup. James Webb III scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Broncos (22-7, 12-4), who have won four straight to move into a tie with San Diego State for first place in the conference. Winston Shepard had 16 points while J.J. O’Brien added eight points for the Aztecs (22-7, 12-4), who had a school-record 29-game home winning streak snapped.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)


Final Score: Washington 99, Detroit 95

John Wall had 22 points and six assists as the Washington Wizards snapped their six-game losing streak following a 99-95 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Nene posted 21 points and seven rebounds, while Marcin Gortat added 16 points and 17 boards for the Wizards, who led by as many as 21 in the third quarter before holding the Pistons off down the stretch. Greg Monroe tallied 21 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Dinwiddie supplied 20 points and eight helpers for Detroit, which has lost three in a row.


Final Score: Atlanta 93, Miami 91

Paul Millsap scored 22 points, Dennis Schroder added 16 with 10 assists and the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks downed the Miami Heat 93-91 on Saturday night. The Hawks, who are already on the brink of clinching a postseason berth, nearly squandered an 18- point lead but pulled away for their fourth straight victory. Though they committed 20 turnovers, they forced 23 and limited Miami to 39.5 percent shooting. Kent Bazemore and John Jenkins tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively, for an Atlanta squad playing without regulars Al Horford (personal), Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Pero Antic—the last three all getting the night off on the second of a back-to-back. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 22 points, while Hassan Whiteside pulled down 24 rebounds and scored 14 points in the club’s second straight loss.


Final Score: New York 103, Toronto 98

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half, Andrea Bargnani had 19 and the New York Knicks beat the Toronto Raptors 103-98 on Saturday. Alexey Shved tallied 15 points with five assists off the bench for New York, winners in two straight following an eight-game slide. Louis Williams scored 22 points to lead the Raptors, who have lost a season-high five straight games. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 and eight rebounds in defeat. Toronto was without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who was given the night off to rest. He is considered day- to-day.


Final Score: Memphis 101, Minnesota 97

Marc Gasol had 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-97 on Saturday night. Mike Conley netted 17 points, Jeff Green added 13 and Zach Randolph pulled down 11 boards for the Grizzlies, who blew a 15-point third quarter lead, but Conley bailed them out with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left. Andrew Wiggins poured in 25 points for Minnesota, which has dropped three of its last four games.


Final Score: Brooklyn 104, Dallas 94

Deron Williams scored 12 of his 25 points in the third quarter to lead the Brooklyn Nets past the Dallas Mavericks, 104-94, on Saturday. Williams went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and pulled down six rebounds for the Nets, who have won four straight in Dallas. Thaddeus Young tallied 16 points and eight rebounds. Joe Johnson contributed 15 points and eight boards for Brooklyn, which went 3-5 on its eight-game road trip. Mason Plumlee and Jarrett Jack each scored 14 points, with Plumlee also pulling down 10 boards. Dirk Nowitzki ended with 20 points and six rebounds for the Mavericks, who have lost two in a row. Devin Harris added 14 points and Al- Farouq Aminu and Monta Ellis had 12 points apiece.


Final Score: San Antonio 101, Phoenix 74

The Phoenix Suns, not the San Antonio Spurs, looked like they were the ones finishing up a nine-game road trip on Saturday. Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Spurs took the listless Suns to the woodshed in a lopsided 101-74 victory. The Suns set a franchise low for scoring in a half (24) and were on pace for record lows in points and shooting percentage before San Antonio took its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. They shot 29.8 percent overall. The Spurs led by 34 after three, and their regulars were given well-deserved rest in closing out an otherwise disappointing 4-5 road trip in winning fashion. Marcus Morris scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for the Suns, who failed to build off an emotional overtime victory over the Thunder on Thursday.


Final Score: Utah 82, Milwaukee 75

Trey Burke had 23 points and six assists as the Utah Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks by an 82-75 margin on Saturday. Burke went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc for the Jazz, who have won 13 in a row against Milwaukee in Salt Lake City. Derrick Favors added 16 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Khris Middleton ended with 18 points and six rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost four of five. Michael Carter-Williams contributed 16 points and four steals.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  White Sox ace Sale out with broken foot

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale is expected to miss three weeks with a broken foot that could affect his availability for Opening Day.

Sale suffered an avulsion fracture on the lateral side of his right foot in an accident at home on Friday, the White Sox announced Saturday.

The left-hander underwent X-rays Saturday morning at Banner Estrella hospital near the team’s spring training facility in Glendale.

His status for Opening Day will be clearer once the swelling in his foot goes down and further tests are performed, the White Sox said.

They begin the season April 6 in Kansas City.

Sale, 25, had a 2.17 ERA in 26 starts last season with a 12-4 record and 208 strikeouts in 174 innings. He ranked fifth in the majors with a 0.97 WHIP and finished third in voting for the AL Cy Young Award.

He went on the disabled list for the first time in his career on April 22 with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm, missing a month.

Sale is 44-29 with a 2.76 ERA in 165 career games for the White Sox, including 85 starts. He has been a starter for the past three seasons after pitching out of the bullpen from 2010-11.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)


Final Score: Florida 5, Buffalo 3

Jaromir Jagr got all the headlines prior to his Panthers debut, but it was Brandon Pirri starring for Florida on Saturday after missing the previous nine games with an upper-body injury. In just 83 seconds, Pirri scored a pair of power play goals to get Florida on track to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Florida also received goals from Nick Bjugstad, Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie while Jagr was scoreless with three shots on goal. Roberto Luongo was not busy and made 11 saves to help the Panthers improve to 1-1-0 on their seven-game homestand. The Sabres lost their first two-game winning streak in 2015 despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead with first-period goals from Cody Hodgson and Andrej Meszaros. Torrey Mitchell also lit the lamp for Buffalo. Michal Neuvirth allowed four Panthers goals but made 42 saves in the setback.


Final Score: Detroit 4, Nashville 3

Tomas Tatar and Alexey Marchenko each scored third-period goals to rally the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 win over Nashville and deal the Predators their first home losing streak of the season. Drew Miller added a goal and an assist and Jonas Gustavsson came up with 37 saves to help the Red Wings prevail against a Nashville team that owns the NHL’s best home record at 26-5-1. The Predators were coming off a 4-2 setback to Minnesota Thursday at Bridgestone Arena, however, and Saturday’s result marked the first time this season the Western Conference leaders have dropped back-to-back games in regulation. Pekka Rinne stopped just 21-of-25 shots in this one, failing to protect a 3-2 lead he was given on consecutive second-period goals from Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher and Shea Weber.


Final Score: Carolina 5, NY Islanders 3

A four-goal second period boosted the Carolina Hurricanes in their 5-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Jay McClement scored two goals for his first multi-goal game since a 2010 hat trick, Brad Malone tallied a goal and an assist, and Justin Faulk and Michal Jordan also scored in Carolina’s third straight win. Cam Ward made 21 saves in the victory. The Islanders lost a two-game winning streak after Chad Johnson allowed all five Carolina goals on 41 shots. Michael Grabner, Nikolay Kulemin and John Tavares scored New York’s goals.


Final Score: New Jersey 2, Columbus 0

Cory Schneider made 33 saves and Andy Greene netted the deciding goal in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Schneider backstopped the Devils to their fifth win in seven games by posting his second shutout in six days, having turned aside 38 chances in Monday’s 3-0 triumph over Arizona. Travis Zajac added an empty-net score in the final minute that sealed the Blue Jackets’ fifth loss in a row. Curtis McElhinney stopped 17-of-18 shots for Columbus.


Final Score: Boston 4, Arizona 1

Tuukka Rask stopped 31 shots to lead the Boston Bruins in a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand all scored for the Bruins, who have won three of four following a six-game losing streak. Martin Erat had the only goal of the game for the Coyotes, who have lost nine in a row. Mike Smith was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 20 shots, while Louis Domingue turned aside all 14 shots he faced.


Final Score: Montreal 4, Toronto 0

Carey Price turned in another solid performance between the pipes as he posted his sixth shutout of the season in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Price made 30 saves and improved to 10-0-1 over his last 11 starts, last losing in regulation on Feb. 3 against Buffalo. He leads the NHL with 36 wins. David Desharnais scored twice, while Manny Malhotra and Tomas Plekanec and also lit the lamp in Montreal’s fourth straight win. Jonathan Bernier allowed three goals on 22 shots for the Maple Leafs, who had their two-game winning streak came to an end.


Final Score: Philadelphia 4, NY Rangers 2

In his first start since Feb. 8, Steve Mason made 34 saves to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday. Mason made 16 of those saves in the third period to end Philadelphia’s two-game losing streak and stay firmly in the playoff race. Matt Read, Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds scored goals for the Flyers, and the winner came early in the third period when Michael Del Zotto scored short- handed. The Rangers lost their 10-game point streak despite goals from J.T. Miller and John Moore. Cam Talbot made 30 saves in the loss.


Final Score: Minnesota 3, Colorado 1

Devan Dubnyk stopped 33 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Justin Fontaine and Erik Haula had a goal and an assist, while Jason Pominville also scored for the Wild, who have won five of their last six. Maxime Talbot had the only goal of the game for the Avalanche, who had won three of four coming into the game. Semyon Varlamov allowed all three goals on 32 shots in defeat.


Final Score: St. Louis 2, Edmonton 1

Paul Stastny scored the game-winning goal with 5:40 left in regulation to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Stastny also assisted on Dmitrij Jaskin’s marker and Brian Elliott made 21 saves for the Blues, who were coming off a 2-1 shootout win over Winnipeg on Thursday. Justin Schultz supplied Edmonton’s lone goal and Ben Scrivens allowed both goals on 27 shots in defeat.


Final Score: Ottawa 4, San Jose 2

Mike Hoffman scored two goals in the third period to lift the Ottawa Senators over the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, on Saturday. Mark Stone also lit the lamp in the final stanza for the Senators, who have won a season-high five straight games. Erik Karlsson also scored. Andrew Hammond made 28 saves and has now won the first five starts of his NHL career. He entered Saturday’s contest on a two-game shutout streak. Tommy Wingels and Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks, who have lost eight in a row at home. Antti Niemi stopped 27-of-30 shots.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nishikori, Ferrer to meet in Acapulco final

Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer will meet in the final of the $1.4 million Mexican Open on Saturday.

Both players won their Friday semifinal matches in three sets, as the top- seeded Nishikori outlasted fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson, and the second-seeded Ferrer pummeled qualifier Ryan Harrison after falling behind early.

Nishikori broke Anderson’s serve twice in the final set en route to a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory, moving him into uncharted territory in the ATP rankings. As it stands, the Japanese star will enter next week ranked no less than No. 4 in the world.

Anderson was last year’s runner-up in this event to Grigor Dimitrov.

Harrison, who has never reached an ATP final, won a lengthy first set but wound up dropping the final 12 games as Ferrer went on to win 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 on the hardcourts at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess.

Nishikori has won seven of the 10 all-time meetings against Ferrer, including a straight-set triumph in the round-of-16 at the Australian Open last month.

Ferrer captured three straight Acapulco titles from 2010-12 and was the runner-up to fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2013.

This year’s champion will earn $343,000.


►  Federer beats Djokovic in Dubai final

Roger Federer posted a 6-3, 7-5 victory over top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Championships on Saturday.

The second-seeded Swiss star won the tournament for the second straight year and seventh time overall.

After fighting off two set points to level the second set at 5-5, Federer broke Djokovic’s serve in the next game and then saved a break point to capture his 84th career title and second of 2015. He also won the season- opening event in Brisbane.

“I think the first set belonged to me; whereas the second set belonged to him more,“ Federer said. “He created many more opportunities. I struggled to get into his service games more frequently. It seemed like the moment I wasn’t serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me.“

The 33-year-old Federer swatted 12 aces and saved all seven break points he faced while improving to 20-17 lifetime against Djokovic.

Djokovic, 27, lost for the first time in five Dubai finals.

“I thought it was a good match,“ Djokovic said. “I thought there wasn’t much difference, a few points decided a winner.“

Federer or Djokovic have won the Dubai title 11 of the last 13 years.


►  Nadal to meet Monaco in Buenos Aires final

Rafael Nadal is a step closer to another clay court title after beating Carlos Berlocq in the semifinals of the Argentina Open on Saturday.

The top-seeded Nadal battled to a 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 win over the local favorite Berlocq and will try to win his 46th career clay court title Sunday at Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Nadal, who has 64 titles overall, will face another Argentine favorite, past Buenos Aires winner Juan Monaco.

Monaco defeated 2011 champion Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes and is chasing his ninth career title. He captured the Buenos Aires crown in 2007.

Nadal is 5-1 all-time against Monaco, with the only loss coming at the 2007 ATP Masters tournament in Cincinnati when he retired during the second set because of knee and wrist injuries.

Sunday’s winner will collect $91,050.


►  Safarova wins Qatar Open

Czech Lucie Safarova beat two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Saturday.

Safarova broke the Belarusian to begin the match and again for a 5-4 lead. She then saved a break point before serving out the opening set.

The 28-year-old Safarova offered Azarenka four break point opportunities in the second set and saved all of them. She won the first three points in the ninth game and converted on her third match point.

Safarova captured her sixth career title and first since winning the Bell Challenge in Quebec City in September 2013.

Saturday’s win marked her first in seven head-to-head meetings with Azarenka, who won this tournament in 2012 and 2013.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Harrington leads by 1 at halted Honda Classic

Padraig Harrington finished up his second round and took a 1-shot lead on Saturday before third-round play was suspended due to inclement weather.

The second round was concluded earlier Saturday morning and only a few groups were able to tee off for the third round before rain and heavy winds halted play at 12:51 PM After a lengthy delay, play was called for the day. Players are scheduled to get back out on the course at 10 AM Sunday.

Harrington, who will have to wait until Sunday to start his third round along with most of the 71 players who made the cut, fired a second-round 4-under 66 to take the outright lead at 7-under 133 through 36 holes on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa.

“I feel like I’ll have to play better or at least up to the way I played maybe my first 27 holes,“ Harrington said about what he has to do in the final two rounds. “You keep your head on, you get it up and down when you need to. It will be a tough weekend no matter what.“

The three-time major champion has five career wins on the PGA Tour, but he has not won since the 2008 PGA Championship. Harrington also won the British Open the same year.

Patrick Reed, who finished his second round on Friday, is alone in second at 6-under 134 following two straight 67s. Ian Poulter (64) and Brendan Steele (69) are tied for third at 5-under 135 through two rounds, while Luke Donald (67) sits one shot further back in fifth at minus-4.

First-round leader Jim Herman carded a 2-over 72, dropping him into a tie for sixth with Russell Knox (68). Defending champion Russell Henley (70), who had just teed off to start his third round before play was called, is tied for 38th at 3-over 143 after narrowly making the cut.

Harrington, starting his second round on the back nine, began with a pair of pars on 10 and 11 before rolling in his first birdie of the day on the par-4 12th.

Following three more pars from 13, Harrington surged as he made the turn, making three birdies in a four-hole stretch on 16, 17 and one.

Harrington tripped to his first bogey on No. 3, but he rebounded in a big way by draining three straight birdies from No. 4, vaulting him to a 3-shot lead.

That advantage quickly shrunk to just one, however, as Harrington finished bogey-bogey on eight and nine. Despite the poor finish to his round, Harrington still held the outright lead through 36 holes.

“Certainly for the first 27 holes I was really feeling very positive about my game,“ said Harrington after his second round. “I struggled coming home. That was disappointing ... Disappointed as I said about my finish, but I’m in a good place going through to the weekend.“

Steele held a 2-shot lead through four holes of his second round before play was suspended due to darkness on Friday. The 31-year-old was on fire when he finally started his round on Friday, draining four straight birdies from No. 1 to grab the lead.

When he got back underway Saturday morning, Steele began to struggle right away as he made a bogey on five. He rebounded with a birdie on six, but he then tripped to a pair of bogeys on seven and eight.

Steele made the turn with a birdie on nine, but that was his last gain of the day. Steele made eight pars on the back nine to go along with a double-bogey on 16 and he finished the day tied for third.

Poulter got off to a roaring start in his second round, making birdies on three and five. He also holed out from 116 yards for eagle on the par-4 fourth.

Poulter got to 5-under for his round with another gain on eight. Following five straight pars from nine, Poulter traded a birdie on 14 for a bogey on 15. He finished up with pars on 16 and 18 to go along with a gain on 17.

NOTES: A total of 24 players had completed at least one hole of their third rounds ... In eight events this season, Harrington has five missed cuts and he missed one secondary cut. Harrington’s best finish was a tie for 56th at last week’s Northern Trust Open ... World No. 1 Rory McIlroy missed the cut after finishing 36 holes at 7-over 147 ... The cut fell at 4-over 144. Other big names who missed the cut were Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Billy Horschel and Dustin Johnson.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Harvick wins another Xfinity Series race at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick won a Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the third year in a row after holding off his fellow Sprint Cup Series competitor and reigning Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano in the closing laps of Saturday’s Hisense 250.

Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, led 101 of 163 laps, driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. He claimed his 45th career victory in the Xfinity Series. Harvick now holds the record for most Xfinity wins at this 1.54-mile racetrack with four.

Logano started on the pole and led the first 49 laps before Harvick took over the top spot during a round of green-flag pit stops. Logano, though, pulled ahead of Harvick and reclaimed the lead on lap 127.

The third and final caution for fluid on the track late in the race set up the last round of pit stops. Harvick edged Logano out of the pits to retain the lead and then held it for the final 27 laps.

“That (final) pit stop is what won this race,“ Harvick said. “Joey probably had a little bit better of a car the second half of a run, so it really played out for us there at the end as we were able to have that short run and take off.“

On Friday, Logano and Harvick placed 1-2 in qualifying for Sunday’s 500-mile Sprint Cup race at Atlanta. But Harvick will have to start from the rear of the field in that event due to an engine change. He blew the motor in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet during Saturday’s final practice.

Logano started gaining on Harvick in the closing laps of the Xfinity race but experienced a bad vibration on his No. 22 Team Penske Ford due to a loose wheel. He wound up finishing 1.2 seconds behind Harvick.

“That was as close as anyone’s been to beating Kevin here in a long time,“ said Logano, who led a total of 59 laps. “I was starting to catch him, and then I had this huge vibration. I think the left-rear (tire) was loose. At that point, I was just trying to survive and hope the left-rear didn’t pass me. Overall, we had a fast race car, but we just came up a little bit short.“

Ty Dillon finished third, followed by Chris Buescher and Chase Elliott, the defending Xfinity champion.

Paul Menard, Brian Scott, Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith and Kyle Larson completed the top-10.

Erik Jones, substituting for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, placed 13th. Busch suffered a compound fracture of his right lower leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot during an accident in last Saturday’s Xfinity season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. He underwent surgery on his right leg in Daytona Beach, Florida and then had an operation on his left foot in North Carolina. Busch was hospitalized six days before his release on Friday. His return to racing is not known at this time.

Ryan Reed, who claimed his first career Xfinity win at Daytona, finished 16th.

Buescher and Dillon share the lead in the point standings, while Reed is eight points behind them.


►  Crafton dominant in Truck Series race at Atlanta

Two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton won at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time with a dominating performance in Saturday’s Hyundai Construction Equipment 300.

The 200-mile truck race capped off a NASCAR doubleheader at this 1.54-mile racetrack. Earlier in the day, Kevin won the 250-mile Xfinity Series event here.

Crafton, who started 15th, led 85 of 130 laps in his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota. Erik Jones, running a full-schedule in the series for Kyle Busch Motorsports this season, led 37 of the first 44 laps before Crafton passed him and took command from there.

Crafton crossed the finish line nearly nine seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Ty Dillon, for his sixth win in his 340th consecutive and career truck start. His first win at Atlanta came in his 14th attempt. The series did not compete here the previous two seasons.

Last year, Crafton became the first driver to win back-to-back championships in the 20-year history of the Truck Series.

Dillon won the last truck race at Atlanta in August 2012. He is now a regular in Xfinity.

Ben Kennedy, the pole sitter, finished third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick, who won the February 20 truck season-opener at Daytona.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Frampton keeps IBF belt with TKO of Avalos

Carl Frampton stopped challenger Chris Avalos in the fifth round to retain his IBF Super Bantamweight title in his hometown.

Frampton hit Avalos with a flurry of combinations to prompt referee Howard John Foster to halt the scheduled 12-round bout at 1:33 of the fifth.

The title defense was the first for Frampton (20-0, 14 KO) of the belt he won from Kiko Martinez with a unanimous decision in September.

Avalos (25-3) entered the fight with six straight victories, the last three by knockout, and was the IBF’s top-ranked contender.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rooney’s brace powers United past Sunderland

Wayne Rooney scored a pair of second-half goals on Saturday as Manchester United cruised to a 2-0 victory over 10-man Sunderland at Old Trafford.

With fellow striker Robin van Persie picking up an injury in last week’s loss against Swansea City, United manager Louis van Gaal deployed Radamel Falcao in the No. 9 role with captain Rooney playing in an attacking midfield spot.

Rooney found the back of the net in the 66th and 85th minutes to lift United into third place in the Premier League on 50 points, two ahead of Arsenal and five behind rivals Manchester City, both of which play on Sunday.

The Sunderland defense held firm and kept United off the score sheet in the first half, but the Red Devils broke the deadlock in the 66th minute when Falcao broke free into the penalty area and was hacked down by Sunderland defender Wes Brown, resulting in a penalty for United and a straight red card to Brown.

Rooney entered the match in a bit of a slump as he had gone eight straight contests without a goal, but confidently headed to the spot and blasted his penalty low into the left corner with pace, leaving Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon with no chance to make a save.

Rooney completed his double five minutes from time when he was in the correct spot in front of goal to smash home a rebound effort to seal an important three points for Van Gaal’s side.

For Sunderland, the defeat keeps the Black Cats in 16th place in the Premier League with 25 points, just three clear of the bottom three.

Elsewhere in the Premier League on Saturday, Crystal Palace maintained its unbeaten away record under manager Alan Pardew on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over West Ham United at Upton Park.

The Eagles opened the scoring through Glen Murray in the 41st minute and Scott Dann doubled the advantage early in the second half, while Murray added a second goal in the 63rd minute.

The Hammers pulled one back in the 76th minute through Enner Valencia after Murray was sent off for a second yellow-card offense, but the hosts were unable to salvage anything as the club’s dream of a top-four finish slipped further out of reach.

Swansea City claimed its second consecutive win in league play on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Burnley thanks to an own goal by Burnley defender Kieran Trippier.

Newcastle United rebounded from a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City last week with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at St. James’ Park. Papiss Cisse collected the only goal of the match in the 37th minute.

Peter Crouch’s tally 18 minutes from time held up as the winner to give Stoke City a 1-0 result over Hull City, while Saturday’s final fixture saw West Bromwich Albion knock off Southampton, 1-0, thanks to a goal in the second minute of play from Saido Berahino.


►  Motherwell snaps skid with win over Inverness

Motherwell put an end to a lengthy winless run in league play on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Inverness at Fir Park.

Motherwell started the day at the foot of the table in the Scottish Premier League, and while the victory keeps them in that position, some confidence from the win could allow the club to put together a run of positive form.

After a scoreless opening half, Louis Laing gave the home side the lead in the 48th minute. Edward Ofere collected an equalizer in the 76th minute, but Lionel Ainsworth netted the winner five minutes from time to give Motherwell its first win since a 1-0 result over Partick Thistle on December 27.

Also in the Scottish Premier League on Saturday, Partick Thistle claimed a 2-0 victory over Dundee United on the strength of goals from Stephen O’Donnel and a Jaroslaw Fojut own goal, while Jamie Reckord’s 67th-minute tally handed Ross County a 1-0 victory over Dundee.

Steven Thompson struck just past the hour mark to lift St. Mirren to a 1-0 win over Hamilton, while St. Johnstone and Kilmarnock played to a scoreless draw.


►  Dortmund downs Schalke in Revierderby

Borussia Dortmund’s ascent up the Bundesliga table continued on Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Schalke at Signal Iduna Park in the latest edition of the Revierderby.

It’s been a massive struggle for Jurgen Klopp’s team in league play for most of the campaign as the club has been rooted to the bottom of the table for a significant chunk of time.

But it seems Dortmund is rounding into form just in time as Saturday’s win is the club’s fourth straight to move to 10th place.

It was a tight affair until the final quarter-hour and the home side finally broke the deadlock with 12 minutes to play as Pierre Emerick Aubameyang fired it past Schalke goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther.

The hosts doubled the lead in the 79th minute through a goal from Henrik Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus wrapped up all three points with a goal four minutes from time.

With the win, Dortmund moves to within eight points of fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen for a Champions League qualification place.

Also in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Simon Rolfes’ 33rd-minute tally handed Leverkusen a 1-0 win over Freiburg at the BayArena, while Christian Gentner and Lars Stindl traded goals as Hannover and Stuttgart played to a 1-1 draw at the AWD Arena.

Salomon Kalou scored two minutes from time to lift Hertha Berlin to a 1-0 victory against Augsburg, while Kevin Volland and Eugen Polanski scored second-half goals to power Hoffenheim to a 2-0 win against Mainz.

In Saturday’s final Bundesliga fixture, Alexander Meier netted a pair of goals to lift Eintracht to a 2-1 win over Hamburg.


►  Lyon stumbles against Lille

Lyon wasted an opportunity to widen their lead atop the Ligue 1 table on Saturday as the club stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Lille at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.

Lyon entered the contest holding a two-point lead over second-place Paris Saint-Germain, but Saturday’s result opens the door for the two-time league champions to claim the top spot if they defeat Monaco on Sunday.

Things got off to a flying start for Lyon as Corentin Tolisso found the back of the net after just three minutes and took the lead into the intermission, but Lille seized control in the second half.

Idrissa Gana Gueye connected for the equalizer in the 57th minute and Marcos Lopes scored the winning tally just three minutes later.

Lyon pushed numbers forward looking to get a least a point out of the match, but an equalizer never came as Lille held on for an important three points.

The victory moves Lille into eighth place in Ligue 1 on 35 points.

Also in the French top flight on Saturday, Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 36th-minute tally held up as the winner to give Rennes a 1-0 victory over Lens, while Francois Bellugou and Gianni Bruno lifted Lorient to a 2-0 win over Bastia.

Gilles Sunu buried the winning strike in the 73rd minute to help Evian to a 2-1 result against Metz, while Max-Alain Gradel and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro traded goals as Toulouse and Saint Etienne played to a 1-1 draw.

In Saturday’s final match, Isaac Kiese Thelin and Gaetan Charbonnier swapped goals as Bordeaux and Reims finished level at 1-1.


►  Messi, Suarez lead Barca over Granada

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez found the back of the net in the second half on Saturday as Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners over Granada at Los Carmenes.

The Catalan club suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Malaga last week in La Liga play, but rebounded from that setback a few days later as Suarez netted a pair of goals to help Barcelona claim a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

Saturday’s affair against strugglers Granada caused Barcelona little trouble as Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring in the 25th minute and Suarez, the former Liverpool man, doubled the lead four minutes into the second half.

Granada pulled one back in the 53rd minute when Fran Rico dispatched a penalty kick, but Messi scored with 20 minutes to play to ensure all three points went the way of Barcelona.

The result pulls the Catalan club to within one point of rivals Real Madrid for the top spot in La Liga, while Granada remains in the relegation zone with 19 points from 25 matches played.

Also in La Liga on Saturday, Alberto Bueno powered home an impressive four goals in a span of 15 first-half minutes at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas as Rayo Vallecano rolled to a 4-2 win over Levante, while Almeria and Deportivo played to a scoreless draw.

In Saturday’s final fixture, Sergi Darder, Juanmi and Ricardo Horta all found the back of the net to lead Malaga to a 3-2 win over Getafe.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


SUNDAY, MARCH 01, 2015
National Basketball Association
LA Clippers at Chicago, 1:00 PM - ABC
Cleveland at Houston, 3:30 PM - ABC
Portland at Sacramento, 6:00 PM - CSN-Northwest, California, DSS
Philadelphia at Indiana, 6:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, FS-Indiana, DSS
Golden State at Boston, 6:00 PM - CSN-Bay, New England, DSS
Charlotte at Orlando, 6:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Florida, DSS
Oklahoma City at LA Lakers, 6:30 PM - ESPN
New Orleans at Denver, 8:00 PM - FS-New Orleans, Altitude, DSS
National Hockey League
Los Angeles at Winnipeg, 4:00 PM - FS-West, TSN3, DSS
Columbus at Pittsburgh, 5:00 PM - FS-Ohio, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Tampa Bay at Florida, 5:00 PM - SunSports, FS-Florida, DSS
Toronto at Washington, 7:00 PM - CITY, CSN-DC, DSS
Anaheim at Dallas, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
St. Louis at Vancouver, 9:30 PM - FS-Midwest, SNET-Pacific, DSS
College Basketball
SMU at Connecticut, 2:00 PM - CBS
Fairfield at Niagara, 2:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Iona at Saint Peters, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Quinnipiac at Manhattan, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Marist at Rider, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Oregon State at California, 3:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
South Florida at Houston, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Marquette at Providence, 3:30 PM - FS1
Michigan State at Wisconsin, 4:00 PM - CBS
Siena at Monmouth, 4:30 PM - ESPN3.com
Pittsburgh at Wake Forest, 6:30 PM - ESPN U
Oregon at Stanford, 7:00 PM - FS1
Purdue at Ohio State, 7:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Arizona State at Colorado, 8:30 PM - ESPN U
Washington State at UCLA, 9:30 PM - FS1
Women’s College Basketball
Texas at West Virginia, 1:00 PM - ESPN 2
Louisville at Virginia, 1:00 PM - RSN, FOX, ESPN3.com
Maryland at Northwestern, 1:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Seton Hall at Butler, 1:00 PM - Big East Digital Network
Indiana at Rutgers, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Wisconsin at Penn State, 2:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
VCU at Richmond, 2:00 PM - CBSSN
Notre Dame at NC State, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Texas A&M at LSU, 2:00 PM - ESPN U
Ole Miss at Miss State, 2:00 PM - FSN, ESPN3.com
Maine at New Hampshire, 2:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Minnesota at Iowa, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Alabama at Auburn, 3:00 PM - SEC Network+
Arkansas at Missouri, 3:00 PM - SEC Network+
Georgia at Florida, 3:00 PM - SEC Network
North Carolina at Duke, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2
Florida State at Miami-Florida, 3:00 PM - RSN, FOX, ESPN3.com
Drake at Missouri State, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Stanford at Oregon, 4:00 PM - ESPN U
Marquette at DePaul, 4:00 PM - CBSSN
Ohio State at Nebraska, 5:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Utah at Arizona, 5:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
South Carolina at Kentucky, 5:00 PM - ESPN 2
Vanderbilt at Tennessee, 5:00 PM - SEC Network
International Soccer
Valencia CF vs. Real Sociedad de Futbol, 5:55 AM - beIN Sports
Liverpool vs. Manchester City, 7:00 AM - NBCSN
FC Nantes vs. EA Guingamp, 7:55 AM - beIN Sports
Arsenal vs. Everton, 9:00 AM - NBCSN
Chelsea FC vs. Tottenham Hotspur FC, 10:55 AM - beIN Sports
Sevilla FC vs. Club Atletico de Madrid, 1:30 PM - beIN Sports
Real Madrid CF vs. Villarreal CF, 2:55 PM - beIN Sports
MASL
Oxford City vs. Dallas, 3:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Golf
LPGA - Honda LPGA Thailand, 1:00 AM - Golf Channel
EUROPEAN - Joburg Open, 5:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Honda Classic, 1:00 PM - Golf Channel
PGA - Honda Classic, 3:00 PM - NBC
Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500, 12:30 PM - FOX
Track and Field
U.S. Indoor Championships, 4:00 PM - NBCSN

Sports News   141218

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Juco defensive end Jefferson becomes WVU’s first signee for 2015

Three-star junior college defensive end Larry Jefferson signed with West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, becoming the first official member of the Mountaineers’ 2015 recruiting class.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder from Itawamba (Miss.) Community College submitted his national letter of intent with plans to enroll for spring semester. His recruitment took multiple turns as Jefferson committed to West Virginia in October, flipped to Iowa State only 11 days later, and finally recommitted to WVU on November 25.

ESPN ranks Jefferson as the No. 8 junior college defensive end and Rivals touts him as the No. 28 junior college prospect overall. He made 67 tackles in two seasons at Itawamba, including 16.5 for loss.

Jefferson also held offers from Kansas State, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, South Florida and California.

He was an all-state player at Banneker (GA) High, where he played linebacker and receiver. Jefferson also starred on the basketball team and was a sprinter in the 400- and 200-meter events. He originally was bound for Louisville in the class of 2012 before failing to qualify academically.

West Virginia is losing three of the four players who started games at defensive end this season, with Shaq Riddick, Dontrill Hyman and Brandon Golson’s eligibility expiring after the December 29 Liberty Bowl.


►  Oliver Luck leaving for post at the NCAA

Athletics director Oliver Luck plans to leave West Virginia for a newly created leadership position at the NCAA, closing a four-year chapter in which he explored new revenue channels, steered the Mountaineers into a Power 5 conference and made head coaching moves in several sports.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve my alma mater as director of athletics,” Luck said in a release. “As those who have spent time in West Virginia know, this is truly a special place. It’s been an incredible experience for me to work with some of the best administrators, faculty, coaches, staff, student-athletes, fans, media and alumni in the nation.”

A former Mountaineers quarterback who returned to West Virginia in June 2010, Luck was at one time a leading candidate for the Texas AD job that went to Steve Patterson last year. He now will become the NCAA’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs.

From his new position in Indianapolis, Luck will work with NCAA president Mark Emmert during what he called “a time of fundamental change” for the organization, whose enforcement power has been gutted by seven key staff defections within the past 18 months. The move also provides Luck an opportunity to be closer to his son Andrew, who plays quarterback for the Colts.

Luck’s tenure saw West Virginia join the Big 12 Conference in the spring of 2012, an odd geographic fit that nonetheless was a welcomed rescue from the crumbling Big East. Realignment has meant record revenue for West Virginia athletics as the school’s initiation period builds toward a complete Big 12 share.

The 54-year-old Luck served on the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee this season, a three-year appointment that means the Big 12 must choose another AD to fill his vacancy.

WVU’s Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director Keli Cunningham, a native of Petersburg, began serving as interim athletics director immediately and will do so as the search takes place.

A member of the WVU sports hall of fame, Luck had been on the job as AD barely six months in December 2010 when he rattled the football program by hiring coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen from Oklahoma State a Bill Stewart’s successor. That uncomfortable arrangement preceded Stewart’s firing the following summer.

Luck elevated basketball coach Bob Huggins to the $3-million salary club with a contract extension through 2023.

In 2012, Luck fired baseball coach Greg Van Zant after 18 seasons and brought in Randy Mazey, who twice has led West Virginia to the brink of an NCAA regional bid. Last March, Luck removed wrestling coach Craig Turnbull after 36 seasons and hired Sammy Henson.

In April, Luck announced $106 million worth of renovation projects aimed at keeping West Virginia’s facilities competitive. That package began with the new 150-seat football team room that’s soon to be completed, and will subsequently include an expansion of the concourses at Milan Puskar Stadium. The yet-to-be designed third phase would remodel parts of the WVU Coliseum.

Luck coordinated with Monongalia County officials, state legislators and developers on a tax-financed $21 million ballpark—slated to open next spring—that will serve as the new home for Mountaineers baseball and a New York-Penn rookie-league team.

He also oversaw a re-seating campaign for basketball season ticketholders aimed at rewarding more lucrative donors.

Luck also sought to boost revenue by outsourcing WVU’s third-tier media rights. That ultimately led to an $80-million, 12-year contract with IMG, though Luck made missteps along the way and was removed from the bidding process upon review by the state’s attorney general. Luck remains a defendant in an ongoing lawsuit filed by West Virginia Radio Corp. (the parent company of MetroNews) alleging fraud and collusion between the AD, West Virginia Media and IMG. Depositions are ongoing in the lawsuit.

WVU president Gordon Gee issued a statement regarding Luck’s departure:

“Oliver has a storied history with West Virginia University. From his days as an outstanding student-athlete where he led us to great victories on the gridiron, to his service as a member of our Board of Governors, to his role in advancing our athletic programs and the life of the student-athlete, he has always embodied the Mountaineer spirit of perseverance and success. Indeed, his leadership has changed the face of WVU athletics, and I thank him for his dedicated efforts.”

Luck’s start date with the NCAA is scheduled for January 15.

“We plan to move swiftly to find the best fit in a new athletic director to lead our programs, coaches and student-athletes into a new era of Mountaineer athletics,” Gee said.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Marshall heads south later this week ahead of Boca Raton Bowl

Friday is a travel day for Marshall University’s Thundering Herd (12-1) ahead of Tuesday’s matchup against Northern Illinois University’s Huskies (11-2) in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl in Florida.

“For a first year bowl game, I think Boca Raton kind of hit the jackpot with this one,” said Steve Cotton, Marshall’s play-by-play announcer.

“You have two teams that had a combined record of 23-3.”

Outside of the two playoff semifinal games, the Boca Raton Bowl is the only bowl game matching up two conference champs — Marshall won Conference USA, while NIU won the Mid-American Conference.

The Huskies will be making their seventh straight bowl appearance, but Marshall and NIU have not met in a game since 2001. NIU holds the edge in the series 4-3.

A total of 28 players on Marshall’s roster hail from the Sunshine State.

In addition to family and recruiting benefits, Cotton said Florida is a good place to be in December for weather reasons. “It looks like about 75 degrees to 80 degrees every day for a high temperature and it’s not bad to be spending a few days in Florida,” he said.

On Monday night, a Marshall pep rally will be held at 6 PM Mizner Park Amphitheater.

Kickoff for the Boca Raton Bowl is scheduled for 6 PM Tuesday at FAU Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

For more on tickets: www.herdzone.com or call 1.800.THE.HERD.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Eagles’ Cole ruled out for Saturday

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Trent Cole is having hand surgery, coach Chip Kelly announced Wednesday.

Cole has been ruled out for Saturday’s game at Washington. He reportedly fractured a bone in his hand in Sunday night’s home loss to Dallas that dropped the Eagles one game behind the Cowboys for the NFC East lead.

The 32-year-old Cole has registered 6 1/2 sacks and forced three fumbles in 14 games this season.


►  Hill, Talib, Thomas tabbed AFC’s best of the week

Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and Kansas City Chiefs punt returner De’Anthony Thomas were selected as the AFC’s top players for Week 15 of the NFL season.

Hill was named the best offensive performer after rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in the Bengals’ 30-0 win at Cleveland.

Talib earned defensive acclaim for registering eight tackles and one interception as the Broncos clinched the AFC West title with a 22-10 win at San Diego.

The special teams honor went to Thomas, who scored on an 81-yard punt return in the Chiefs’ 31-13 home win over Oakland. Thomas averaged 19.5 yards on eight punt returns.


►  Bryant, Quin, Catanzaro are NFC Players of the Week

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin and Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro were named the NFC’s best players from Week 15 of the NFL season.

Bryant earned Offensive Player of the Week honors after catching six passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 38-27 win at Philadelphia.

Quin, the Defensive Player of the Week, set up a touchdown with a 56-yard return on an interception and registered three tackles in the Lions’ 16-14 home win over Minnesota.

Catanzaro made field goals from 23, 44, 46 and 51 yards, supplying all the points in the Cardinals’ 12-6 win at St. Louis to capture the Special Teams Player of the Week award.


►  Titans and Jags close out Thursday night package

There is no flex scheduling on Thursday nights, meaning the NFL Network’s television vehicle will not exactly be going out with a bang this season.

You can look at 2014’s final “Thursday Night Football” battle between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in two ways, a tilt to decide who will end up in the AFC South cellar or an opportunity to garner a better pick in the ‘15 NFL Draft.

The Titans and Jags will square off having mustered only two wins apiece with one of Tennessee’s coming when it edged Jacksonville, 16-14, back in Music City on October 12.

Since that game, the teams have combined to lose 14 of 16 contests with the Titans dropping eight straight in Ken Whisenhunt’s first season at the helm, and the Jaguars losing six of eight behind rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.

Each team suffered its latest setback in Week 15 as Tennessee fell to the lowly New York Jets, 16-11, and Jacksonville came up short in Baltimore, 20-12.

The Jets’ Chris Ivory scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift New York to its triumph in Nashville although the Titans made it interesting and nearly pulled off another Music City Miracle on the game’s last play, lateraling numerous times before Delanie Walker came up short at the Jets’ 9-yard line.

Jake Locker made his first start for the Titans since Week 5 and likely his last with the organization as he left the game late in the second quarter with a dislocated left shoulder.

The injury-prone Locker, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 draft, started because rookie Zach Mettenberger re-injured his right shoulder the week prior. He was subsequently placed on season-ending injured reserve this week and is unlikely to return to the Titans next season.

“To me, he’s a true pro,“ Whisenhunt said. “He’s a great teammate, works hard and you obviously feel badly for Jake just from the standpoint of having to have surgery and his season being over.“

Charlie Whitehurst replaced Locker against the Jets and was 10-of-24 for 203 yards in his first action since Week 7. The veteran will start again this week and be backed up by the recently signed Jordan Palmer.

“I haven’t played as well as I wanted to this year. There’s a few plays I left out there,“ Whitehurst said. “But every time I go out there, there’s a few personal things that come out of it—It’s been fun to do it and kind of see what you’re made of.“

Tennessee’s current eight-game skid is the franchise’s longest since the 1994 Houston Oilers dropped 11 straight.

Jacksonville, meanwhile, fell in the Charm City when the Ravens’ Joe Flacco threw for 221 yards with a touchdown and the Baltimore defense kept the Jaguars out of the end zone.

Josh Scobee kicked four field goals to account for the Jags’ entire offensive output.

Bortles threw for 210 yards with an interception for the Jaguars. He was, however, also sacked eight times by a swarming Baltimore defense that limited Jacksonville to 248 total yards.

“There’s gonna be talk about how ‘Hey Jacksonville played extremely hard, very physical, came into our house and did some really good things, special teams wise two phases did really good’ but I told them we’re not into moral victories,“ Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said. “We’re into victories. We’re into victories. That’s what we’re after.“

After the beating Bortles was diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain and has been in a walking boot but the Jags are hopeful he will play on Thursday and the rookie was back at practice on a limited basis by Tuesday.

“As far as I know, it’s going to be Blake,“ Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Tuesday. “We’re going to obviously see how he practices.“

“He did better,“ Bradley added on Tuesday. “You could see him improve.“

The Titans lead their all-time series with the Jags by a 22-17 margin, including the win earlier this season when Jackie Battle rushed for a TD and kicker Ryan Succop booted three field goals.

Bortles threw for a career-high 336 yards and a touchdown in the setback but Tennessee sacked him six times and blocked a potential game-winning 55-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

‘Tis the time of year when certain teams give up and the Titans seem to be at the top of that list, failing to succeed no matter who is under center, Mettenberger, Locker or Whitehurst.

“The (injury) circumstances aren’t great, but when something like that does happen, it does give you a chance,“ Whitehurst said. “There’s no substitute for it. You get to play. You get to play in the NFL.“

The lack of a consistent competent option at the game’s most important position has hindered Tennessee all season and the Titans head into the final two games with the NFL’s 29th ranked offense, mustering just 307.9 yards per game and scoring less than 14 points per game during their current skid. The Jags are even worse, however, 31st in a 32-team league while averaging under 300 ypg at 293.8.

On paper that should make things easier for the respective defensive units but they haven’t exactly set the world on fire either as the Jags’ stop unit is ranked 28th, surrendering 372.6 ypg, and the Titans are actually a tick below at 29, allowing six yards more.

The run game has been particularly daunting for Tennessee. The Titans can’t run it, amassing under 65 yards per game over the last 2 1/2 months, and they can’t stop opponents from running it, surrendering a league-worst 139.6 ypg.

Jacksonville has a little more hope because Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, has shown signs, albeit only for brief periods. Bortles has thrown 10 touchdown passes versus 17 interceptions and has the league’s second-worst passer rating at 70.6 but he’s also under significant duress more often than not, being sacked an NFL-high 41 times since he’s taken over from Chad Henne.

The impressive skill set is visible, though, and Bortles has embraced a leadership role.

“A lot of (the sacks) are on me,“ Bortles said. “Some are on the offensive line. It’s on the whole offense. It’s football, so you better be used to getting hit.“

Bortles also seems aware that he needs to speed up his decision making.

“In college, you can run around and do more stuff, but in the NFL guys are a lot faster and stronger,“ the Central Florida product said. “So it’s a little more difficult. You want to be able to get rid of the ball and live another down, not lose yards on third down and create longer field-goal situation. Those are definitely things I’m working on.“

Whitehurst has actually been Tennessee’s most effective QB this season, compiling an 89.1 passer rating and going 1-2 as a starter with the lone triumph being against the Jags in the October game when he completed 17-of-28 passes for 233 yards.

“I feel good about Charlie and what he’s done,“ Whisenhunt said. “He started against Jacksonville the last time and played a pretty good game. He’s been a great support in the room, and we have confidence in him.“

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Neither team looks primed to much offensively but the Jags seem like the lesser of two evils here mainly because the Titans have been an abject disaster on the road, losing six straight and being outscored by an average of 34 to 16 in those games.


►  Conte is smarter than you think

It shouldn’t be news that 25-year-old men think a lot differently than 50-year-olds but Chris Conte’s recent comments sure surprised a lot of people.

The oft-injured Chicago Bears safety recently told WBBM radio in the Windy City that playing football means so much to him that he would be willing to do it even if it does take years off the end of his life.

“My life will revolve around football to some point, but I’d rather have the experience of playing and, who knows, die 10, 15 years earlier than not be able to play in the NFL and live a long life,“ he said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do with my life and I wanted to accomplish. And I pretty much set my whole life up to accomplish that goal. So I don’t really look toward my life after football because I’ll figure things out when I get there and see how I am.“

Some well-intentioned folks feel sorry for athletes like Conte, who has suffered two documented concussions this season, along with a shoulder injury, a back problem and an eye issue.

They envision a future where the best-case scenario is a crippled individual and the worst is unspeakable things like dementia, ALS or the self-inflicted ends players like Junior Seau, Andre Waters and another Bears safety, Dave Duerson, endured.

But, legislating someone’s path isn’t the domain of others, well-intentioned or not.

The great Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw correctly surmised “youth is wasted on the young,“ a nod to the fact that younger people simply don’t have the experience to make the most logical decisions at times.

Hopefully Conte does live to see the half-century mark and while there are few sure things in this world, you can rest assured that his priorities will have changed by that point. Walking a potential daughter down the aisle or seeing a grandchild grow up will become a much bigger deal than topping the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

It’s a natural evolution that nearly everyone undergoes and that’s why the NFL is in a very difficult spot when it comes to concussions and the long-term health of their alumni.

The vast majority of players toiling today understand the risks of playing the game and gladly sign up to do so every weekend. In an anonymous survey back in January, 85% of the 320 NFL players ESPN polled claimed they would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion.

The league, however, also understands that mentality will change as the years pass no matter what the players believe today.

“My reference wasn’t even to concussions, just the associated risk with football and accepting the fact that life expectancy of someone who has played in the NFL is shorter than the average person,“ Conte told ESPNChicago.com on Wednesday. “And I’m fine with trading that risk for the opportunity to play football since it’s something I have always wanted to do and a dream come true. Doing what I love outweighs risks despite injuries I have amounted this year.“

But, here’s the real kicker, Conte is probably making the right decision no matter what he or the rest of us think.

In 1994, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health published research examining death rates and risk factors for former NFL players based on all deaths that had occurred through 1991.

After following those players for an additional 16 years, NIOSH published new research in January of 2012 which found players had a much lower overall rate of death compared to men in the general U.S. population of similar age and racial mix.

NIOSH concluded that several factors explained why NFL players live longer than the average American male, including documented low levels of cigarette smoking, their body composition (more muscle mass) and high levels of fitness.

So, sometimes the young guys get it right ... even if they don’t know it.

WEEK 16 (All Times Eastern)

Tennessee (2-12) at Jacksonville (2-12) (-3), Thursday, 8:25 PM - There is no flex scheduling on Thursday nights, meaning the NFL Network’s television vehicle will not exactly be going out with a bang this season. You can look at 2014’s final “Thursday Night Football” battle between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in two ways, a tilt to decide who will end up in the AFC South cellar or an opportunity to garner a better pick in the ‘15 NFL Draft. Neither team looks primed to much offensively but the Jags seem like the lesser of two evils here mainly because the Titans have been an abject disaster on the road, losing six straight and being outscored by an average of 34-16 in those games.

Jaguars 16, Titans 13


Philadelphia (9-5) (-9) at Washington (3-11), Saturday, 4:30 PM - The Eagles are up against it after losing to Dallas on Sunday night and falling one game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East. Philadelphia’s easiest path to the playoffs now is winning out (against the Redskins and NY Giants) and hoping Dallas loses one of its two final games (vs. Indianapolis and at Washington). Chip Kelly has never lost to the Redskins (3-0), who will be going back to Robert Griffin III at QB now that Colt McCoy has been shut down for the year.

Eagles 24, Redskins 17


San Diego (8-6) at San Francisco (7-7) (-2 1/2), Saturday, 8:25 PM - The 49ers’ three-year NFC Championship Game run is officially over and the Chargers playoffs hopes are on life support in this Golden State battle. San Diego QB Philip Rivers has dominated San Francisco in the past, going 2-0 and completing 48-of-64 passes for 607 yards (303.5 per game) with five TDs and a 130.1 passer rating.

Chargers 23, 49ers 14


Atlanta (5-9) at New Orleans (6-8) (-5 1/2), Sunday, 1 PM - Somebody has to go to the playoffs from the NFC South and two of the three possible participants meet in the Superdome here. The Saints have the inside track after topping Chicago on Monday but both NOLA and the Falcons—who face the other team in the mix, Carolina, in Week 17—are in control of the division. Win out and they’re in. Sean Payton’s club has dropped four straight in the once cozy confines of the dome but Drew Brees is getting hot at the right time, passing for 375 yards and three TDs against the Bears en route to recording his NFL-record ninth consecutive 4,000-yard season (4,358).

“We know what’s in front of us,“ Falcons QB Matt Ryan said. “We know what we’ve got to do. It’s a playoff-type mentality. We’ve got to win next week. We’ve got to have the best week of practice that we’ve had this year and prepare as best we can.“

Saints 27, Falcons 20


Kansas City (8-6) at Pittsburgh (9-5) (-3), Sunday, 1 PM - The Chiefs and Steelers are in the middle of the jumbled AFC playoff picture. Kansas City is one game out of a wild-card position, trailing Pittsburgh and Baltimore with two games to play. The Steelers, meanwhile, are just one half-game behind Cincinnati in AFC North with a Week 17 matchup with the Bengals looming. With a win on Sunday, Pittsburgh will lock up a playoff berth while Kansas City needs to win out to reach the postseason.

“It’s a big week coming up,“ said Steelers cornerback William Gay. “We’ve put ourselves in a playoff mindset. Every day counts.“

Steelers 24, Chiefs 14


Cleveland (7-7) at Carolina (5-8-1) (NL), Sunday, 1 PM - The Panthers are still in the NFC South hunt after topping Tampa Bay last weekend with backup Derek Anderson at the helm. It remains to be seen if Cam Newton is able to return from two transverse process fractures in his lower back suffered in a scary car accident just over a week ago. The Browns are hoping for a better performance out of Johnny Manziel, who was dismal during his first NFL start, a 30-0 whitewash at the hands of Cincinnati.

Panthers 20, Browns 13


Detroit (10-4) (-7) at Chicago (5-9), Sunday, 1 PM - Detroit needs two consecutive road wins to take home the NFC North, this week against Chicago and Week 17 at Green Bay. The Lions have won three straight over the Bears including a Thanksgiving Day triumph when Matthew Stafford threw for 390 yards and two scores.

Lions 28, Bears 14


Baltimore (9-5) (-5) at Houston (7-7), Sunday, 1 PM - The Ravens are closing in on a playoff spot and seem to have a very desirous schedule down the stretch. Baltimore will be visiting a Houston team down to its fourth QB (either Thad Lewis or the recently returning Case Keenum) with a Week 17 tangle against Cleveland and the overmatched Johnny Manziel on deck. The Ravens are 6-1 all-time against the Texans.

Ravens 23, Texans 10


Minnesota (6-8) at Miami (7-7) (- 6 1/2), Sunday, 1 PM - The Dolphins could be playing the final two games in the Joe Philbin era while the Vikings continue to build behind rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, who will be aiming for a third straight game with a completion percentage over 70.0 and more than 300 yards passing.

Dolphins 20, Vikings 17


New England (11-3) (-10) at New York Jets (3-11), Sunday, 1 PM - The Patriots can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win here coupled with a Denver loss at Cincinnati on Monday night. New England has won nine of its past 10 this season and seven of its past eight against the Jets. In his past six games against New York Tom Brady has passed for 1,585 yards with 12 TDs and just one interception.

Patriots 24, Jets 14


Green Bay (10-4) (-10 1/2) at Tampa Bay (2-12), Sunday, 1 PM - Green Bay can clinch a playoff berth with a win and some help and can still take the NFC North by winning out thanks to a Week 17 matchup with Detroit. MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers had his worst game as a professional against Buffalo’s stout front last weekend but expect him to bounce back against Tampa Bay’s antiquated cover-2-heavy philosophy. Rodgers still leads the NFL with a 111.2 passer rating and the Packers lead the NFC in scoring with 436 points.

Packers 34, Buccaneers 20


New York Giants (5-9) at St. Louis (6-8) (-5), Sunday, 4:05 PM - The Odell Beckham, Jr. show headlines in the Gateway to the West. The spectacular rookie receiver had 12 catches for 143 yards and three TDs last week against Washington, becoming the first rookie in NFL history with 12-plus catches, 140-plus yards and three-plus TDs in a game. The Rams defense, meanwhile, has not allowed a TD in three consecutive games.

Giants 17, Rams 16


Indianapolis (10-4) at Dallas (10-4) (-3), Sunday, 4:25 PM - Dallas holds a precarious one-game lead over Philadelphia in the NFC East after topping the Eagles last weekend while Indianapolis owns the AFC South again after staying undefeated against the Texans in the Hoosier State. With a win and a Philadelphia loss this week, the Cowboys will clinch their division for the first time since 2009. Dallas can also clinch a playoff spot with a win along with losses by Green Bay and Detroit. Indy, meanwhile, won its ninth division title in the past 12 seasons and second in a row behind quarterback Andrew Luck, who is one of only two quarterbacks (Russell Wilson) in the Super Bowl era to lead their teams to at least 10 wins in each of their first three seasons.

Cowboys 28, Colts 24


Buffalo (8-6) (-5 1/2) at Oakland (2-12), Sunday, 4:25 PM - The Bills’ impressive front four takes aim at rookie Derek Carr here. Buffalo leads the NFL with 49 sacks and shut down presumptive NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers last weekend. The Bills are the only team with three players with nine-plus sacks (Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes). Carr leads all NFL freshman in passing yards (2,898) and passing TDs (18), both franchise rookie records.

Bills 20, Raiders 10


Seattle (10-4) (-8) at Arizona (11-3), Sunday 8:30 PM - The Seahawks and Cardinals will meet on Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium—the site of Super Bowl XLIX—in a key NFC West showdown. Both teams are currently in control for the division and can clinch the title by winning out. The Cards are the first team in the NFC to clinch a playoff berth but are down to their third-string QB, Ryan Lindley, after losing both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton to injury. A win here would enable Arizona to lock up the NFC West, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Seattle, however, has won seven of its past eight games, including a Week 12 win over Arizona. A victory this week would give the Seahawks the head-to-head sweep against the Cardinals and put Seattle in position to claim the division for the second year in a row.

Seahawks 17, Cardinals 6


Denver (11-3) (-3) at Cincinnati (9-4-1), Monday, 8:30 PM - Week 16 concludes on Monday night with a matchup of division leaders. The Broncos have already clinched the AFC West for a fourth straight year and can lock up a first-round bye with a win. With two weeks to play, the Bengals hold a half- game lead over both Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North with a Week 17 visit to the Steel City looming. A triumph here would clinch a playoff spot for Cincinnati and a victory with losses by both Pittsburgh and Baltimore will give the Bengals the division.

Broncos 27, Bengals 21


►  Lions place OT Waddle on IR

The Detroit Lions placed offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday.

Waddle, 23, suffered a partially torn ACL in his left knee during the Lions’ 16-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The Texas Tech product has played in 22 games (18 starts) over his two pro seasons.


►  49ers cut McDonald amid investigation

The San Francisco 49ers released Ray McDonald on Wednesday after police announced that the veteran defensive tackle is the suspect in a sexual assault investigation.

General manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers notified McDonald and his agent that his contract was terminated.

“Ray has demonstrated a pattern of poor decision-making that is no longer going to be tolerated,“ Baalke said in a statement.

According to an email from the San Jose Police Department, officers responded to a call Tuesday from a local hospital regarding a possible sexual assault victim who was receiving treatment and who said she was assaulted the previous day.

After a preliminary investigation revealed McDonald as the alleged suspect, police served a search warrant on the player’s San Jose home.

Police said McDonald has not been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

The 49ers stuck with McDonald after he was arrested in August on charges of domestic violence, which were dropped on November 10 due to insufficient evidence. The team, despite some criticism, allowed McDonald to continue playing during the investigation.

A law-enforcement source told the San Jose Mercury News the alleged victim in the sexual assault investigation is not McDonald’s fiancee, who was the reporting party in an earlier domestic violence case.

McDonald, who has spent all eight of his pro seasons with San Francisco, compiled 39 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble over 14 starts for the 49ers this season. He signed a five-year deal with the team in July 2011.


►  Jags QB Bortles on track to start

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is on track to start Thursday night’s game against Tennessee as long as he feels OK during a workout before the game, his coach said.

Bortles suffered a sprained right foot on Sunday against Baltimore but played the entire game. He was out of a walking boot on Tuesday and practiced again on a limited basis Wednesday.

Bortles is officially listed as questionable to play, but coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday the team is leaning toward him being on the field against the Titans, according to the Jaguars’ official website.

The rookie was sacked eight times on Sunday while making his 11th consecutive start for the Jaguars.

Backup Chad Henne would start against Tennessee if Bortles is ruled out. The Jaguars signed rookie quarterback Stephen Morris from the practice squad to the active roster.

Henne started the first three games of the season before being replaced by Bortles, who was the No. 3 overall pick in May’s draft.


►  Cowboys’ Murray on field for practice

Dallas Cowboys running back and the NFL’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray was on the field for Wednesday’s practice after undergoing surgery Monday on his fractured left hand.

Murray, who was listed on the injury report as not practicing because he didn’t participate in any of the team’s drills, took part in individual drills and was seen taking handoffs from Brandon Weeden. He had a plastic shell sewn into the top of his glove.

The 26-year-old was hurt late in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He ran for 81 yards with two touchdowns in the 38-27 victory, which lifted Dallas into first place in the NFC East.

Murray has 1,687 yards on the ground and also leads the league with 11 rushing touchdowns.

Joseph Randle took the first-team snaps at running back.

In addition, right tackle Doug Free and right guard Zack Martin did not practice due to ankle injuries and both players are “day-to-day.“



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Michael Crabtree: the ultimate disappointment

Now that we are entering the final two weeks of the NFL season, along with it likely being championship week for many fantasy owners, it is time to start reflecting.

There are not many players who I am more disappointed in than San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Heading into the 2014 season, Crabtree was thought to be destined for a breakout year. With his torn Achilles completely behind him, along with the headlines he made during the 2014 NFC Championship game with Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman, Crabtree had a lot to prove.

He simply did not come through.

According to Yahoo, Crabtree was the 25th-ranked wideout heading into the fantasy season, which was ahead of guys like T.Y. Hilton, Julian Edelman, Jeremy Maclin, Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders, and DeAndre Hopkins. Seeing those names who were ranked under Crabtree should make fantasy owners nauseous.

I, for one, was a major advocate of Crabtree. At 27-years-old, he was entering the prime of his career, on a team with a quarterback who can make plays, along with the fact that he would be Colin Kaepernick’s top receiver.

That of course did not pan out.

Crabtree has scored over 10 fantasy points just four times this season, and to make matters worse, he has failed to reach 100 yards in any game. He clearly has not taken the step forward that was needed as he has only 63 receptions for 652 yards and four touchdowns. Fellow wideout Anquan Boldin has assumed top-receiver duties in San Francisco (74 receptions, 920 yards, 4 TD), leaving Crabtree’s future cloudy at best.

At this moment, Crabtree is ranked as the 44th receiver in fantasy football with 89.6 points. Players like Martavis Bryant (90.7), Jarvis Landry (90.8), Eddie Royal (94.3), and Kenny Stills (95.9), who were all thought to be irrelevant entering the season, have all outscored Crabtree this season.

It is extremely frustrating when a player does not perform up to their capabilities. It is even more frustrating when fantasy owners expect certain production out of a draft pick, yet that pick does not come through. Crabtree fits that description, and could arguably go down as the biggest bust of the 2014 season.


►  The quarterback platoon

The ‘platoon’ strategy is not a tactic normally associated with football. The NFL uses terms such as running back by committee to describe a situation where more than one player is utilized and that only applies to one position.

In fantasy football, however, the ‘platoon’ system can be used successfully, particularly at quarterback.

Owners running this system will stack their team with running backs and wide receivers at the top of the draft while selecting two quality quarterbacks to play matchups with week-to-week. This strategy gives teams a strong foundation and depth at running back and wide receiver and, at the same time, allow the owner to start quarterbacks playing weaker opponents.

The key to this strategy, though, is picking the right starting quarterback each week, particularly when the championship is on the line.

So let’s analyze one classic platoon quarterback, Mark Sanchez, to see if Week 16 is indeed the week to give him the start.

Starting the season as a backup in real life, Sanchez wasn’t even a platoon or backup quarterback option in fantasy on draft day. But with Nick Foles injured, Sanchez has gotten the chance to play and has produced mixed results.

In six games as the Eagles starter, Sanchez has 1,550 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also has a rushing touchdown and two lost fumbles. In three of those six starts, Sanchez has thrown for over 300 yards, but also in three of those starts, he has at least two turnovers.

Furthermore, Sanchez produced better numbers in his first three starts versus his last three. In those first three games, Sanchez had 985 yards and five touchdowns while in the last three weeks, he had just 565 yards and four touchdowns. The matchups certainly have something to do with those numbers as the Eagles faced a very tough Seahawks defense during Sanchez’s difficult stretch. Even taking that into account, the numbers still suggest a downward trend.

Although it, of course, depends on what other quarterback owners are platooning with Sanchez, owners should not shy away from using him this weekend, especially in a 12-team league.

With the Eagles visiting the nation’s capital, Sanchez has the second- friendliest matchup of any quarterback this week. Only the Chicago Bears allow more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than Washington.

In four of the last five games, Washington has give up at least two passing touchdowns, and Washington has just five interceptions all year. Below average quarterbacks, such as Josh McCown and Shaun Hill, posted 16-plus fantasy points against Washington. Sanchez should be able to do the same or perhaps more with better weapons at his disposal.

If Sanchez can avoid turning the ball over, he is in for a good fantasy day in Washington. Generally, that is a big if for Mr. Butt Fumble, but versus a leaky secondary that is unable to make big plays, Sanchez is a low-end QB1 option for Week 16.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High School Girls Basketball Game Results (Wednesday - 12.17.14)

#9 Gilmer County 66     Roane County 46

Braxton County 56, Calhoun County 41

#1 Fairmont Senior 67     Lewis County 23

Ravenswood 56     Ritchie County 44

Buckhannon-Upshur 58     Preston 39

Elkins 65     Liberty 28

Robert C. Byrd 35     Bridgeport 34 (OT)



<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, December 17)


Final Score: (12) Ohio State 97, NC A&T 55

D’Angelo Russell scored 21 points to lead No. 12 Ohio State in a 97-55 rout of North Carolina A&T at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday. Marc Loving and Kam Williams each finished with 15 points and Shannon Scott stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, 12 assists, seven steals and four boards for the Buckeyes (9-1), who won their fourth consecutive game. Bruce Beckford had a game-high 26 points and Arturs Bremers scored 14 for the Aggies (1-11), who dropped their 11th straight contest after winning their season opener against Greensboro.


Final Score: (16) Washington 86, Grambling State 38

Shawn Kemp Jr. netted a career-high 21 points and No. 16 Washington disposed of Grambling State, 86-38, on Wednesday. Robert Upshaw continued his strong play off the bench with 15 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks for Washington (9-0), which shot 50 percent from the field in its tune-up before hosting No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday. Andrew Andrews scored 16 points and Nigel Williams-Goss flirted with a triple- double in the lopsided victory with nine points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.


Final Score: Cincinnati 71, (19) San Diego State 62 (OT)

Farad Cobb’s rainbow left wing 3-pointer hit nothing but net, finally putting a Cincinnati player in double figures. That came with 2:26 left in overtime. Cobb finished with 12 points and the Bearcats defeated No. 19 San Diego State 71-62 on Wednesday night. Cincinnati wound up having three players reach double digits. Troy Caupain posted 12 points, four assists and four rebounds, while Gary Clark added 10 points and five boards for the Bearcats (7-2), who were coming off a 56-55 double overtime loss at Nebraska on Saturday.


Final Score: (25) Michigan State 66, Eastern Michigan 46

Bryn Forbes totaled 14 points and Travis Trice chipped in 13 as No. 25 Michigan State took down Eastern Michigan by a 66-46 count at Breslin Center. Marvin Clark, Jr. picked up 11 points with six rebounds for the Spartans (8-3), who received 10 points and nine boards from Matt Costello. Raven Lee led the way with 12 points for the Eagles (8-2). Anali Okoloji had seven points and five rebounds in a losing cause.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Pulse of the NBA

There were plenty of headline-grabbing transactions during the summer with all the major free agent news, highlighted by LeBron James’ return to Cleveland.

We also had the big trade between the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks that resulted in Tyson Chandler going back to where he played a huge role in the Mavs winning their only NBA championship.

But there was one deal that drew very little attention and I’m guessing not much of a reaction from NBA fans, but it surely has been a huge boost for a defending division champ and a trade that can only be called a major steal at this point.

That’s what you call the deal the Toronto Raptors made with the Atlanta Hawks, as they traded a way-past-his-prime John Salmons and a second-round draft pick for Lou Williams along with 21-year-old center Lucas Nogueira.

The addition of the nine-year veteran Williams has upgraded the Raptors’ bench significantly and gives them one of the deepest and most talented backcourts in the league. The 27-year-old suffered a torn ACL in January 2013 and is now only back to the player he was before the injury, and he’s played a big role in helping put Toronto atop the East with a 19-6 record.

“He’s been more than we’ve expected,“ coach Dwane Casey said. “I knew he was an excellent player, but you go in with reservations coming off the injury. He’s back 100% now from injuries. He’s fully healed. He’s stronger from it, so he’s been a pleasant plus for us this year.“

In regards to Williams’ offensive game, Casey says “he’s a born scorer,“ but the big surprise has come at the other end of the floor.

“One area that was really highly unexpected was his defense,“ Casey said. It’s huge. I was shocked. There were all these stories about, ‘He’s a scorer off the bench,‘ but he’s been one of our solid defenders on our second unit - being in right position in the schemes, understanding schemes, being in the right place, pushing the ball as a quasi-point guard/ballhandler - but he has been a great teammate.“

Williams is averaging 14.6 points in 22.5 minutes per game, and even earned an Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor in November in helping the Raptors go 3-0. During that stretch, he averaged 23.7 points in just 22 minutes per game, which included a huge game in Cleveland as the Raptors routed the Cavaliers. He scored 36 points in 29 minutes, shooting 9-of-19 from the floor, including 3-of-8 on 3-pointers, and an eye-opening 15-for-15 from the foul line.

The former second-round pick (45th overall) of the Sixers in 2005 has had five games of at least 20 points, and all of them have come in wins for the Raptors.

“It’s amazing how he can go out there and run off the points he can in the short amount of time he’s out there,“ said teammate DeMar DeRozan, who has been sidelined the last nine games as he recovers from a torn tendon in his left groin. “The energy with the second unit is definitely amazing. That’s something that was lacking last year and we got a lot better this year and I think that’s why we’re able to close out a lot of games this year that we couldn’t last year.“

Williams’ presence has certainly eased the impact of DeRozan’s absence. The Raptors are 6-3 without their All-Star guard, with Williams doing his share to pick up the slack. In those six wins, he’s averaged 17.6 points, including a pair of 26-point outings.

The road back from his torn ACL was a long, grueling process for Williams, and one in which he wasn’t sure he’d ever be the same player. But those thoughts can now be put to rest.

“When you’re sitting there and you have a cast on and wheelchair and crutches and can’t lift your leg up, you can’t ride a bike, you can’t run, you can’t jog, obviously there’s going to be some doubt there,“ Williams said. “Two years later, it’s great to see some fruits of the labor, to feel myself back to 100%, being back healthy and having some success.“

PARKER INJURY CHANGES ROOKIE RACE

Speaking of a player tearing his ACL, what terrible news came out of Milwaukee late Tuesday night regarding Bucks rookie Jabari Parker. He will be out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, which he suffered on Monday in Phoenix in a win over the Suns.

Parker was the clear-cut leader for the NBA’s rookie of the year, but now the award is up for grabs, in what is probably the weakest field I’ve ever seen.

I think the Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic has been the second-best rookie, and despite the fact that he doesn’t start and play as many minutes (17.8 per game) as some of his competitors such as Andrew Wiggins (30.8 per game) and Nerlens Noel (30.4 per game), I think he deserves serious consideration for contributing to a winning situation rather than guys who may have bigger numbers but play for really bad teams.


►  Nothin’ but Net: Ranadive may be a mad genius

Vivek Ranadive is widely credited with being one of the principal reasons the Kings still reign in Sacramento.

His ownership exhilarated a new fanbase and he helped expel the increasingly aloof Maloof brothers from the hierarchy of the Kings.

Ranadive’s methods have been strange to say the least. Publicly, the Kings’ owner has tinkered with the idea of having his team play 4-on-5 on the defensive end with an offensive cherry-picker hanging back.

The Kings’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, average a staggering 138.5 ppg. Sure, they allow 136.3 ppg, but they’re 6-5.

The latest strangeness around Ranadive and the Kings was the abrupt dismissal of head coach Mike Malone earlier in the week. The Kings are 11-14, but 2-9 since DeMarcus Cousins left the lineup. The first record is very respectable in the brutal Western Conference and the second record is expected when the best player is unavailable.

Ranadive hired Malone before he hired his GM, Pete D’Alessandro, a move Ranadive acknowledged was out of order.

“I know it was unconventional to get the coach before we got the GM,“ Ranadive conceded in an interview with Sacramento’s News10. “I consulted some of the experts in the game. They said Malone was the right guy and we should get him as soon as we could ... Malone was exactly what the doctor ordered.“

How could Malone be “exactly what the doctor ordered,“ then be unemployed just a season and 24 games later?

“Everything was literally and figuratively falling apart,“ Ranadive explained to News10. “There was chaos, even anarchy in the locker room. The draft was weeks away. We needed to get a coach in place who would restore order.“

Malone must have done that. In all my years watching the NBA, let alone covering it, I never witnessed a coach publicly call out his team to the media like Malone did. He wouldn’t throw guys under the bus, he’d do that, back them over with the bus, then repeat.

But, as Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Malone softened a bit. Wojnarowski reported that Malone traveled to visit Cousins and Rudy Gay while they were on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup this summer. Wojnarowski even went as far as to say Malone was a big reason for Gay extending his contract in Sacramento and that Malone was getting through to Cousins, who could, at times, be a little difficult.

So why then, fire the team’s coach, a coach who was hired without approval of either D’Allesandro, or Ranadive’s closest advisor, Chris Mullin, this early while the team is progressing and while the team’s best player has VIRAL MENINGITIS?

“The Western Conference is arguably the most competitive that it has ever been,“ Ranadive explained. “It’s a little like the hi-tech business. Just because you invent the iphone, doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Just because you win 50 games, you can’t be satisfied with the status quo.

“We live in a time when good enough, isn’t. We need to take this to the next level. We needed to pivot so that we move from a great defensive orientation to having both defense and offense. Move from an isolation offense to a more free-flowing offense. Move from a rules-based culture which was important when there was chaos, to more of a value-based culture so you can have more of a read-and-respond offense.“

Wow, that’s interesting, equating a value-based culture to a fluid NBA offense. It’s certainly not owner speak. That’s a detailed, thought-out offering from someone who takes his job very seriously.

Ranadive also said that the D’Alessandro/Mullin combination made the final call, but Ranadive’s explanation was candid and very much forward-thinking.

Clearly, offense is a big part of the problem Ranadive had with Malone. Owners meddling in sports matters is older than fire. Does Ranadive understand what he has in Cousins? A dominant, two-way big man who can shoot and pass, all while 24 years of age is a unique commodity. Does he want to flush Cousins’ impact in the future for the love of offense?

Maybe he does, but Ranadive is a man who won’t settle for anything but the best. Mark Cuban is a Maverick in team name and in personality. He did things oddly it seemed, and he’s always had a hand in things. Now, Cuban is an elite, shrewd owner who has a championship ring and one of the most consistently strong teams every season.

Cuban also backed off and let the basketball people run things when needs be. Wojnarowski said Ranadive really wanted Detroit’s Josh Smith and told other owners Malone didn’t, yet still pursued him. That’s too meddlesome and he’ll need to curb that kind of behavior.

But Ranadive isn’t willing to settle. Doesn’t that pinpoint exactly what a fanbase should look for in an owner? Progress is fine, but when that progression plateaus, he’ll find the next guy for the next level. Ranadive used Malone to balance his roster out mentally, then chucked him. It’s like when Bane snapped that dude’s neck who provided money and infrastructure, although the comparison is not exactly flawless.

Ranadive’s methods are goofy, but his mind is where it should be.

There will still be issues to flesh out for Ranadive going forward.

Will any worthwhile coach want to work for an owner who fires coaches when the best player is away? Will any worthwhile coach want to work for an owner who fires coaches a little over 100 games into his tenure? Will any worthwhile coach want to work for an owner who wants to employ a 4-on-5 strategy?

Ty Corbin is not the answer. He didn’t do anything of note with the Utah Jazz and he won’t in Sacramento. George Karl’s name was pumped up early based on the fact he has a working relationship with D’Alessandro, but that’s already appeared to fizzle.

Sam Amick of USA Today reported that Mullin, D’Alessandro and Cousins met with Mark Jackson after he called the game for ESPN Tuesday night. That would be fun - taking the most recent genius who butted heads with ownership and pair him with a guy who wants his coach to use lessons from his days coaching his daughter’s youth team.

If this episode proved anything else, it’s that Ranadive isn’t in this to just be owner and deposit checks. He wants to win and his desire to do so borders on impatience. Whoever the long-term solution is in Sacramento, be it Jackson, Karl or Mullin, better be on guard.

Ranadive is doing things his way based on his background in the business and technology world. It’s his right. He may have some trouble getting coaches to trust him for now, but his honesty and approach is refreshing. Improvement is the only acceptable outcome.

Did he have a cherry-picker in software development?


►  NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, December 17)


Final Score: Phoenix 111, Charlotte 106

Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points off the bench and the Phoenix Suns rallied from 17 down to beat the Charlotte Hornets 111-106 on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game losing streak. The Suns took their first lead since the first quarter on Eric Bledsoe’s layup with under two minutes remaining in the game after Goran Dragic won the ball on a steal. Later, Thomas’ free throws made it a three-point game with 19.9 seconds left and P.J. Tucker blocked Kemba Walker’s 3-point try at the other end. Walker recovered the ball and passed to Gary Neal, but he missed an off-balance 3. Tucker’s foul shots with 5.6 seconds left sealed the win, ending Phoenix’s longest losing streak since a 10-game slide from March 20-April 9, 2013. Dragic had 20 points, including 16 in the first half. Gerald Green scored 16 off the bench and Bledsoe added 15 in the victory. Al Jefferson had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead Charlotte and Walker scored 27.


Final Score: Atlanta 127, Cleveland 98

A third-quarter onslaught Wednesday night might’ve helped the Atlanta Hawks silence some doubters. Shelvin Mack hit six 3-pointers and netted 24 points off the bench as the Hawks routed the Cavaliers 127-98, avenging an ugly loss to Cleveland just over a month ago. A huge second-quarter run lifted the Hawks to a five-point halftime advantage, but they took the game over in the third after shooting 61.9 percent (13-of-21) and assisting on eight of their 13 made field goals. Atlanta outscored Cleveland 30-15 in the frame and cruised to the easy triumph in the fourth, leading by as many as 31. The Hawks, who posted 36 assists, have tallied 20-or-more helpers in all but two games and had assisted on an NBA-best 67.4 percent of shots made coming into the matchup. Cleveland blew out Atlanta 127-94 on Nov. 15.


Final Score: Boston 109, Orlando 92

Rajon Rondo totaled 13 points and 15 assists as the Boston Celtics overcame a slow start to beat the Orlando Magic 109-92 Wednesday. The Celtics shot better than 70 percent from the floor in the first quarter, but seven turnovers helped Orlando stay in the game early. Brandon Bass scored 18 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter to help Boston pull away for its second straight win. Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger both chipped in 16 points. Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 18 points and 13 rebounds as they lost for the fourth time in five games. Tobias Harris added 17 points for Orlando.


Final Score: Dallas 117, Detroit 106

Dirk Nowitzki scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Dallas Mavericks hold off the lowly Detroit Pistons, 117-106, on Wednesday. Chandler Parsons added 32 points, seven rebounds and two steals for the Mavericks, who have won six straight against Detroit. Monta Ellis tallied 25 points and eight assists. Andre Drummond ended with 19 points, 24 rebounds, four steals and three blocks for the Pistons, who have lost two straight. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 14 points and Brandon Jennings and Jonas Jerebko each contributed 13 points.


Final Score: Utah 105, Miami 87

Gordon Hayward tallied 29 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Utah Jazz went into AmericanAirlines Arena and topped the short-handed Miami Heat, 105-87, to snap a six-game road losing skid. Enes Kanter scored 18 points and Dante Exum gave 10 off the bench for Utah, which shot 14-for-25 from 3-point range. Exum, the fifth pick in the 2014 draft, was coming off a career-high 12 points in a loss to New Orleans on Tuesday. The Australian rookie has reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Despite the loss, Dwyane Wade put on a show and deposited a game- and season-high 42 points for the Heat, who were again without star big man Chris Bosh. Bosh missed his third straight game with a calf strain. Miami, which opened a seven-game homestand, fell to 4-8 at home this season.


Final Score: Toronto 105, Brooklyn 89

Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists and the Toronto Raptors pulled away for a 105-89 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, becoming the first Eastern Conference team to 20 wins. Patrick Patterson and Lou Williams each had eight points in the fourth quarter and Lowry scored six as the Raptors outscored the Nets 29-16 over the last 12 minutes to wrap up their fourth consecutive win. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 10 assists with Patterson, Amir Johnson and Greivis Vasquez each scoring 13. The Raptors (20-6) have had three winning streaks of at least four games this season. Mason Plumlee had 23 points to lead the Nets, Joe Johnson scored 17 and Mirza Teletovic added 14 in the first meeting between the Atlantic Division foes since Brooklyn’s seven-game win in the first round of the playoffs.


Final Score: Memphis 117, San Antonio 116 (3-OT)

Zach Randolph scored all six of Memphis’ points in the third overtime, lifting the Grizzlies over the San Antonio Spurs, 117-116, in a wildly entertaining game on Wednesday. Randolph ended with 21 points and 21 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who ended the Warriors’ 16- game winning streak with a 105-98 win Tuesday. Marc Gasol tallied 26 points and nine boards. Vince Carter made five 3-pointers en route to 18 points for Memphis, which won despite blowing a 23-point lead. Mike Conley donated 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. The Grizzlies have won six in a row to improve to 21-4 on the season. Danny Green went 7-of-13 from beyond the arc and finished with 25 points and seven boards for the Spurs, who have lost two in a row. Tim Duncan had 23 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.


Final Score: Portland 104, Milwaukee 97

LaMarcus Aldridge tallied 23 points and 15 rebounds to help the Portland Trail Blazers top the Milwaukee Bucks, 104-97, on Wednesday. Thomas Robinson matched a career-high with 15 points and pulled down 16 boards for the Trail Blazers, who enjoyed a 52-32 edge on the glass on their way to their third straight win. Lillard led all scorers with 29 points and seven assists for Portland. In their first game since losing star rookie Jabari Parker to a torn ACL, the Bucks saw Giannis Antetokounmpo go down with an ankle injury just before halftime. Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 24 points, and Khris Middleton scored 17 off the bench as Milwaukee’s two-game winning streak was snapped.


Final Score: Houston 115, Denver 111 (OT)

James Harden scored a season-high 44 points on Thursday and posted his third career triple-double on Saturday. He continued the trend of MVP-like performances by dropping 41 points and 10 assists in the Houston Rockets’ 115-111 overtime win against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. After erupting for 23 points in the first half, Harden was limited to 10 in nearly 21 second-half minutes. He also missed a free throw late in regulation that could have sealed the victory. But he scored eight straight Houston points during the extra session to help the Rockets win their third straight game. Dwight Howard added 24 points and 16 rebounds in his second game back from a knee injury, and Patrick Beverley gave 12 points and 12 boards.


Final Score: LA Clippers 102, Indiana 100

Blake Griffin had 31 points and 16 rebounds in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 102-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Chris Paul added 20 points and nine assists for the Clippers, who have won six in a row at home. J.J. Redick tallied 16 points and DeAndre Jordan contributed 15 points and 23 rebounds. David West ended with 17 points and 10 boards for the Pacers, who have lost nine of 10. C.J. Miles also had 17 points.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Dodgers sign McCarthy to four-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers made it official Tuesday and signed pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a four-year contract.

The Dodgers cut veteran reliever Brian Wilson, designating him for assignment to make room for McCarthy on the 40-man roster.

Financial terms of McCarthy’s deal were not disclosed, but reports at last week’s Winter Meetings indicated the deal was worth $48 million for the Glendale, California, native.

McCarthy is coming off the first 200-inning season of his career. After posting a 3-10 record with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts with Arizona, he was traded in early July to the New York Yankees and went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA over 14 outings. His 5.30 strikeout-to-walk ratio was ninth among all major league starters.

In nine seasons with the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, Diamondbacks and Yankees, the 31-year-old right-hander owns a 52-65 record with a 4.09 ERA in 989 1/3 career innings.

Wilson, 32, was re-signed last December and had a 4.66 ERA in 61 appearances out of the bullpen in his second season with the Dodgers. The hirsute reliever is still owed $9.5 million by the team.

►  Cubs send OF Ruggiano to M’s

The Chicago Cubs traded outfielder Justin Ruggiano to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

The Cubs received pitching prospect Matt Brazis in return for the 32-year-old Ruggiano, who batted .281 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 81 games for Chicago this past season.

Ruggiano is a career .257 hitter with 43 homers and 137 RBI in 398 games with the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins and Cubs.

Brazis is 25-year-old right-hander who split last season between Single-A and Double-A. He posted a 4-1 record with a 2.36 ERA in 40 appearances.


►  BoSox acquire Varvaro from Braves

The Boston Red Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Varvaro from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations on Wednesday.

Varvaro, 30, was 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 61 relief appearances last season for the Braves.

Over the last two seasons with Atlanta, Varvaro is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA and just 114 hits allowed in 128 innings. He is one of only 18 major league relievers with at least 50.0 innings pitched and an ERA of 2.85 or lower in each of the last two seasons.

Kurcz, 24, spent this past season with Double-A Portland where he was 3-2 with three saves and a 2.14 ERA in 34 games. For his minor league career, Kurcz has gone 13-11 with 16 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 121 games (12 starts).


►  Rounding Third: So, where is Scherzer going?

One name you didn’t hear mentioned a whole lot at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings last week was right- hander Max Scherzer.

Actually let me correct that. You heard his name from his agent, Scott Boras, who, in his annual scrum with the media, pointed out just how much of a better pitcher Scherzer was than someone like Jon Lester.

Oh and you also heard through the grapevine that Scherzer would likely be seeking a contract in the $200 million range.

But as far as actual teams with an interest in Scherzer? Nope. Not a single one. In fact you were able to cross off some potential destinations, as the Chicago Cubs took themselves out of the mix considering they gave Lester six years and $155 million. And Scherzer’s old team, the Detroit Tigers, came out publicly and stated they are no longer in the mix for him.

So, who exactly is going to sign Scherzer?

Well, as you would suspect, there are still some options for the former AL Cy Young Award winner.

Obviously the New York Yankees have been the team most often linked with Scherzer, but their general manager, Brian Cashman, stated on Tuesday that Yankee fans probably won’t see Scherzer pitch for them in 2015.

But this is also the same guy who insisted he wanted to get under the luxury- tax threshold last winter and wound up spending nearly half a billion dollars. So, take what Cashman says with a grain of salt.

The Yankees make sense for a number of reasons. One, they have no problem spending money and two, they could use another starter, particularly a No. 1 given the health concerns of both Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia.

But if they do go in on Scherzer that would give them three pitchers that make over $150 million, provided, of course, Scherzer gets that much.

Spoiler Alert: He will.

As much as everyone likes to say the Yankees just throw money at everyone they have become somewhat financially responsible the last couple of years. They held their ground with Robinson Cano last offseason and it’s hard to imagine them going seven years on a pitcher. Even someone as good as Scherzer,

If memory serves me correctly, they seem to have been burned by a long contract recently. Someone whose name rhymes with Schmalex Schrodiguez comes to mind.

The Boston Red Sox desperately need a front of the line starter as well. But, if they wanted to break the bank on a pitcher, wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to give it to Lester?

Boston has acquired a bunch of third starters this offseason. They need a No. 1. Scherzer would certainly fit the bill, but not at his asking price.

People can throw the Los Angeles Dodgers out there all they want, I just don’t see it. Forget the Yankees having three $150 million pitchers, do the Dodgers really want two $200 million pitchers?

But, they were one of the teams that were linked to Lester and they have supposedly made overtures to the Philadelphia Phillies concerning left-hander Cole Hamels so they are looking for another starter, even after signing Brandon McCarthy.

Here’s why the Dodgers may make some sense. Forget the money part of it for a second. Righty Zack Greinke can become a free agent at the end of the season. Maybe they give Scherzer the money and pair him with Kershaw, giving them one of the sickest 1-2 combos the league has ever seen.

I guess it could happen. That is an awful lot of money on that roster, though, if that happens.

San Francisco is also in the market for another starter. But Scherzer’s price tag is probably a little too rich for it.

Now let’s be honest, Scherzer isn’t getting $200 million. He’ll probably fall in the seven-year, $175 million range, give or take.

The team that could be laying in the weeds here are the Washington Nationals.

Yes they have a ton of pitching, but Jordan Zimmermann is a free agent at the end of 2015. Plus Boras and the Nationals always seem to do business. Washington could bring Scherzer in, deal Zimmermann, which has been rumored anyway, and restock that way.

Not crazy.

My guess ... I am not buying Cashman’s bluff. And I don’t think Boras or anyone else is either. Pay attention. The American League East has gotten worse this winter, not better. Scherzer could be a difference maker for the Yanks, Red Sox, or even the Baltimore Orioles for that matter.

Think about it. Let’s say Tanaka is injured and can’t pitch, who is the best pitcher in that division? Chris Tillman?

Scherzer could certainly tip the scales in someone’s favor.

You may not like Boras’ tactics, but more often than not, he gets his clients paid. And like it or not, Scherzer is going to get paid.


►  Indians’ Kipnis has surgery

Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a damaged tendon in his left ring finger.

The team said Wednesday that Kipnis was injured during strength and conditioning activities, but expects him to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Kipnis, 27, batted .240 with six home runs and 41 RBI in 129 games this past season.


►  Marlins sign Morse

The Miami Marlins signed slugger Michael Morse to a two-year contract Wednesday.

Morse, expected to play first base for the Marlins, hit .279 with 16 homers and 61 RBI in 131 games for the San Francisco Giants last season.

A 10-year veteran and a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Morse has a career .281 average with 99 homers and 333 RBI in 704 games for the Mariners, Nationals, Orioles and Giants.

His best season came in 2011 when he set career highs with 31 homers, 95 RBI and a .303 batting average with the Nationals.


►  Blue Jays ink Kalish to minor league deal

The Toronto Blue Jays signed outfielder Ryan Kalish to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on Wednesday.

Kalish, 26, hit .248 with five RBI over 57 games last season for the Chicago Cubs.

Over three seasons in the majors, Kalish owns a .245 batting average with four home runs and 34 RBI in 146 games for the Red Sox and Cubs.


►  Giants bring back Romo

The San Francisco Giants have reportedly re-signed reliever Sergio Romo on Wednesday.

According to FOX Sports, Romo and the Giants have agreed on a two-year, $15 million pact.

The right-hander’s numbers dipped in 2014 as he finished the year with 23 saves, a 3.72 earned run average and a 6-4 record over 64 games.

Romo, who has been a part of all three of the Giants’ World Series teams since 2010, has racked up 78 saves, a 2.51 ERA and a 31-21 record over 405 games spanning seven seasons with San Francisco.

The 31-year-old has also gone 3-1 over 25 career postseason appearances, registering a 2.11 ERA and four saves.


►  Braves OF Markakis undergoes surgery

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis underwent successful surgery to mend a bulging disk in his neck on Wednesday.

Markakis, who signed a four-year contract for a reported $44 million on December 5, is expected to resume training in eight weeks and should be ready for spring training.

The 31-year-old won his second Gold Glove award in 2014 and batted .276 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI over 155 games for the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles.

Markakis owns a career batting average of .290 with 141 homers and 658 RBI over 1,365 appearances spanning nine seasons with the Orioles.


►  Orioles’ Davis cleared to use Adderall

Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis has been cleared by Major League Baseball to use Adderall for the upcoming season, his manager said.

Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Davis told him he was given a theraputic-use exemption for the medication, according to the team’s official website.

MLB suspended Davis in September for 25 games after he tested positive for an amphetamine. Davis said he took Adderall by mistake after legally using in the past.

MLB does not comment on individual player’s theraputic-use exemptions.

The first baseman hit just .196 this past season with 26 homers and 72 RBI after leading the American League with 53 homers and 138 RBI in 2013 on the way to finishing third in the MVP voting.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, December 17)


Final Score: Ottawa 2, New Jersey 0

Craig Anderson stopped all 34 shots he faced and Kyle Turris provided all the offense Ottawa needed in a 2-0 decision over New Jersey at Prudential Center. Turris hit the net early in the first period on a power play and then added his second goal just ahead of the final buzzer. Anderson collected his third shutout of the season and very nearly snagged a piece of history for the Senators, who have won two of three and recorded at least a point in all of those contests. Cory Schneider made just 14 saves for the Devils, losers of five consecutive games.


Final Score: Boston 3, Minnesota 2 (OT)

Loui Eriksson scored the game-winning goal 1:30 into overtime to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. Zdeno Chara flung the puck around the boards off a faceoff win, Carl Soderberg tracked it down and Eriksson deposited Soderberg’s cross-crease pass into a wide-open net for the deciding marker. Soderberg finished with a goal and an assist, Patrice Bergeron also lit the lamp and Niklas Svedberg made 35 saves for the Bruins, who ended a three-game skid. Bruins forward David Krejci made his return to the lineup after missing 11 straight games and 17 of the last 19 with a groin injury. He registered one shot in 18:22 of ice time. Kyle Brodziak and Jason Pominville both supplied offense for the Wild, who have lost consecutive games for the first time in over a month. Niklas Backstrom stopped 22 pucks in defeat.


Final Score: Dallas 2, Vancouver 0

Kari Lehtonen turned away all 27 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season as Dallas shut down Vancouver, 2-0, at Rogers Arena. Colton Sceviour and Antoine Roussel provided the offense for the Stars, who have won three of their last four. Eddie Lack was the hard-luck loser for the Canucks, making 27 saves in his club’s fifth consecutive defeat.



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►  Sprint will end its partnership with NASCAR after the 2016 season

The wireless carrier cited a need to focus more directly on its core business priorities as the reason for its decision to end its sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series. NASCAR and Nextel signed a 10-year agreement in 2004 and Sprint took over after a corporate merger with Nextel.

The Nextel Cup became the Sprint Cup in 2008.

Prior to 2004, NASCAR’s premier series had been sponsored by tobacco giant RJ Reynolds for 33 years and was known as the Winston Cup.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Thierry Henry formally announced his retirement

French soccer legend Thierry Henry formally announced his retirement, bringing an end to an illustrious career that spanned more than 20 years.

He will now move to London to join Sky Sports as a television pundit.

Henry, who led France to a World Cup title on home soil in 1998, leaves the game as one of the most prolific strikers of his generation, recording more than 350 goals across all competitions.

The Gilmer Free Press


References
ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
DSS - DIRECTV
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014


National Football League
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 8:25 PM - NFL Network


National Basketball Association
New York at Chicago, 8:00 PM - MSG, TNT
New Orleans at Houston, 8:30 PM - FS-New Orleans, ROOT-Southwest, DSS
Milwaukee at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - FS-Wisconsin, CSN-California, DSS
Oklahoma City at Golden State, 10:30 PM - FS-Oklahoma, TNT


National Hockey League
Florida at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Florida, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Colorado at Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM - Altitude, ROOT-Pittsburgh, NHL Network, DSS
Toronto at Carolina, 7:00 PM - TSN4, FS-Carolina, DSS
Washington at Columbus, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, FS-Ohio, DSS
Anaheim at Montreal, 7:30 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, RDS, DSS
St. Louis at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - FS-Midwest, West, DSS
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 PM - SNET360, CSN-California, DSS


College Basketball
Seton Hall at South Florida, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Cleveland State at Virginia, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Wright State at Western Carolina, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Georgia Southern at Stetson, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Appalachian State at Charlotte, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
Connecticut vs. Duke, 8:00 PM - ESPN
Coastal Carolina at Ole Miss, 8:00 PM - SEC Network
LSU at UAB, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
DePaul at Oregon State, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
CS-Bakersfield at Utah State, 10:05 PM - Mountain West Network


Women’s College Basketball
Niagara at Cleveland State, 11:00 AM - ESPN3.com
Southern Miss at Ole Miss, 5:00 PM - SEC Network+
Delaware State at Detroit, 7:00 PM - ESPN3.com
Tennessee Tech at Lipscomb, 7:30 PM - ESPN3.com


International Soccer
Cagliari Calcio vs. Juventus FC, 12:55 PM - beIN Sport
SSC Napoli vs. Parma FC, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport

G-Eye™: SJMH Donates First Aid Kits

The Gilmer Free Press
Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital donated fifteen first aid kits
to the Lewis County Soccer Association.
(L-R, FR) Landon Bennett and Keller Bennett, members of the soccer league.
(L-R, SR) SJMH CEO Avah Stalanker, and league president Jim Flesher.

4-H Fall Soccer Application - Deadline Friday August 29, 2014 - Today

The Gilmer Free Press

4-H Fall Soccer Application - Deadline Friday August 29, 2014

The Gilmer Free Press

4-H Fall Soccer Application - Deadline Friday August 29, 2014

4-H Fall Soccer Application - Deadline Friday August 29, 2014

The Gilmer Free Press

Sports Brief - 08.24.14

The Gilmer Free Press


The Gilmer Free Press

►  PACKERS’ RAJI OUT FOR YEAR:  Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji will miss the 2014 season with a torn bicep, according to a report by NFL.com.

Raji suffered the injury during Friday’s 31-21 preseason victory over Oakland.

A first-round pick of the Packers in 2009, Raji has played in 76 games with 63 starts. He has 129 tackles, 10 1/2 sacks and eight passes defensed during his five seasons with Green Bay.

Raji slid back into the nose tackle position this year after playing defensive end the last few seasons.

Without Raji, the Packers will turn to second-year pro Josh Boyd and undrafted rookie Mike Pennel to fill in for Raji in the short term. Green Bay signed Letroy Guion this offseason to be Raji’s backup, but he is currently battling a hamstring injury.


►  OAKLAND RB SHEETS OUT FOR YEAR:  Former CFL standout Kory Sheets will miss the 2014 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in Friday’s game against Green Bay.

Sheets was competing for a backup running back and kick returner position on the Raiders, but on his Twitter account he stated: “A dream deferred….out for the year.“

The 29-year-old signed a contract with Oakland in the offseason after a successful two-year run with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. He set a Grey Cup-record with 197 yards and added two touchdowns en route to earning MVP honors in last November’s CFL title game.

He finished second in the league with 1,598 rushing yards during the regular season while recording 37 catches for 264 yards.

Sheets signed with the Roughriders in 2012 and racked up 1,277 rushing yards while scoring 13 touchdowns (11 rushing, 2 receiving) that season. He added 517 yards on 49 receptions.

The Purdue product played two games for Miami in 2009 and spent the entire 2010 campaign on the Dolphins’ injured reserve list after a right Achilles injury. He was waived by Miami the following year.


►  VILLANUEVA AMONG FIRST WAVE OF EAGLES CUTS:  Defensive end Alejandro Villanueva and linebacker Jake Knott were among the first wave of cuts by the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.

Villanueva, who played his collegiate football at Army, spent the last four years serving three tours of Afghanistan and was most recently promoted to captain. He has earned numerous honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal for valor.

Knott posted eight tackles over 12 games in his rookie season last year, but was due to be suspended for the first four games this season for PED use.

Others among the 14 Philadelphia cuts included tight ends Blake Annen and Emil Igwenagu, offensive linemen Michael Bamiro, Karim Barton and Donald Hawkins, wide receivers Kadron Boone and B.J. Cunningham, defensive ends Joe Kruger and Frances Mays, defensive backs Davon Morgan and Daytawion Lowe and kicker Carey Spear.


►  NFL GAMES SCOREBOARD: 

Final Score: Tampa Bay 27, Buffalo 14

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers built a big halftime lead behind touchdowns from Doug Martin and Mike Evans and held on to beat the Buffalo Bills 27-14 on Saturday Josh McCown passed for 112 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the first half as the Buccaneers got their first win in three preseason games. Evans had three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown one day after a video surfaced showing the wide receiver in a brawl outside a Miami-area nightclub. Martin had 12 carries for 38 yards and Mike Glennon completed five of his seven passes for 44 yards in the second half. EJ Manuel played three quarters for the Bills and passed for 198 yards and a touchdown but also turned the ball over twice on a fumble and an interception. Buffalo played without rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ribs) and lost for the third time in four preseason games.


Final Score: Tennessee 24, Atlanta 17

Bishop Sankey ran for the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter as the Tennessee Titans defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 24-17, in preseason action on Saturday. The rookie Sankey carried the ball 16 times for 44 yards. Jake Locker was 12- of-17 for 188 yards and fired a 63-yard TD pass to Nate Washington, who had three receptions for 94 yards for Tennessee. Matt Ryan was 18-of-23 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass and Devin Hester brought in a 31-yard TD pass to highlight his four-reception, 56-yard effort for Atlanta.


Final Score: Miami 25, Dallas 20

Orleans Darkwa scored a 1-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give the Miami Dolphins a 25-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys in preseason action on Saturday. With Dallas ahead by two in the fourth, Tyler Patmon intercepted Matt Moore and returned it nine yards for a touchdown to increase the visitor’s cushion. Moore made up for the miscue, however, hooking up with Harold Hoskins for a 27-yard touchdown to cap a 5- play, 89-yard drive that took all of 1:37. Darkwa hauled in a pass from Moore to complete the two-point conversion and cut the deficit to 20-19 with 5:40 to play. The Cowboys went three-and-out on their next touch, then Moore orchestrated a 12-play, 55-yard drive thanks to three costly penalties by Dallas. Darkwa plunged in from a yard out with 1:48 to play. Miami failed on the two-point conversion attempt.


Final Score: Baltimore 23, Washington 17

BJoe Flacco completed 16-of-23 passes and threw for 180 yards and a touchdown as the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Washington Redskins, 23-17, in preseason action on Saturday. Steve Smith hauled in six balls for 80 yards and a touchdown, while Tyrod Taylor went 6- of-9 for 65 yards and a score and also rushed for 35 yards. Justin Tucker kicked three field goals in the win. Robert Griffin III went just 5-of-8 for 20 yards and an interception, while Kirk Cousins threw for 122 yards on 14- of-20 efficiency with touchdowns to Santana Moss and Nick Williams in the setback.


Final Score: St. Louis 33, Cleveland 14

St. Louis beat Cleveland 33-14, but the big story Saturday was that Rams quarterback Sam Bradford left the preseason game after reinjuring his surgically repaired left knee. Bradford went down on the game’s opening drive after throwing an incomplete pass. He was pressured and hit high by Browns defensive lineman Armonty Bryant. The former No. 1 overall draft pick missed the Rams’ final nine games last season after tearing the ACL in the same knee. Bradford, who will undergo more tests Sunday, completed 4-of-9 passes for 77 yards before departing. Named the Browns’ starting quarterback over rookie Johnny Manziel to begin the season, Brian Hoyer had only 84 yards passing while playing into the third quarter. He did throw a touchdown pass to Andrew Hawkins, but he was also intercepted once and lost a fumble on a sack. Manziel passed for 85 yards and ran for a touchdown, and was sacked by rookie defensive end Michael Sam.


Final Score: New Orleans 23, Indianapolis 17

Drew Brees passed for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-15 efficiency as New Orleans outlasted Indianapolis, 23-17, in exhibition action on Saturday. Mark Ingram totaled 46 yards on eight carries, Pierre Thomas added 66 yards on four grabs, while Marques Colston and Austin Johnson contributed a TD reception each for the Saints, who improved to 3-0 in the preseason. Ryan Griffin and Luke McCown combined to go 11-of-23 for 91 yards and one interception. Andrew Luck and Chandler Harnish each produced a TD pass for the Colts, who dropped to 0-3. Luck started and was 10-of-18 for 103 yards with a pick for the hosts.


Final Score: Minnesota 30, Kansas City 12

Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater combined to throw three touchdown passes and the Minnesota Vikings remained unbeaten in the preseason with a 30-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday. Cassel played into the third quarter, completing nine of his 17 passes for 152 yards with one touchdown and one interception as the Vikings won their third straight. Two of Bridgewater’s four completions were touchdown passes to Allen Reisner in the third quarter. Alex Smith also played into the third quarter for the Chiefs, who have dropped their last two games. He completed 14-of-24 passes for 140 yards with two interceptions. Cassel threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson in the first quarter.


Final Score: Houston 18, Denver 17

Tom Savage’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin in the closing minute gave the Houston Texans an 18-17 win over the Denver Broncos in preseason action. Houston trailed by a touchdown with time winding down in the fourth quarter when Savage led the game-winning drive. On 4th-and-3 at their own 46, Savage completed a 15-yard pass to Travis Labhart. Two plays later, Savage found Griffin for the touchdown, then converted a two- point conversion with a pass to Labhart. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 10-for-17 for 80 yards and Jonathan Grimes scored a rushing touchdown in the win. Emmanuel Sanders caught five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the setback, while Peyton Manning threw for 243 yards on 21-of-27 passing with two scores and an interception.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  DONE! LOVE HEADED TO CAVS, WIGGINS AND YOUNG TO WOLVES:  The long-awaited trade that will send Kevin Love from Minnesota to Cleveland is finally complete.

Love will head to the Cavaliers in a deal that will give the Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins and forward Anthony Bennett—the last two No. 1 draft picks. A protected first-round pick in 2015 will also head Minnesota’s way, but that draft choice, along with forward Luc Mbah a Moute and guard Alexey Shved, will be dealt to Philadelphia in exchange for forward Thaddeus Young.

The parameters of the deal were agreed upon earlier this month and Yahoo Sports at the time reported that Love will opt out of his current deal after the upcoming season to sign a new contract with the Cavaliers—a five-year extension worth at least $120 million.

Speculation surrounding a trade for Love had been rampant after LeBron James re-joined the Cavaliers last month.

However, the Cavaliers had to wait until August 23 to officially trade Wiggins. NBA rules stipulate that a draft pick cannot be dealt until 30 days after he signs his contract. Wiggins inked his deal on July 24.

Love averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Timberwolves in 77 games last season. He has spent his first six NBA seasons with Minnesota and owns career averages of 19.2 points and 12.2 rebounds.

“At only 25, Kevin has already firmly established himself as one of the NBA’s elite players,“ said Cleveland general manager David Griffin. “We also want to wish Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett the best as they will continue the start of their careers in Minnesota.“

The Wolves were apparently also considering deals with Golden State and Chicago for Love, while Phoenix made a last-minute push by offering guard Eric Bledsoe.

Wiggins was taken first overall by the Cavaliers last month, plucked at the top of a draft class widely seen as one of the most talented of all-time. The 19-year-old Kansas product was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year after averaging 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his only season for the Jayhawks.

Earlier reports last month had Bennett going to the 76ers in the deal for Young. Instead, he will stay with the Wolves after a trying first NBA season in Cleveland. The UNLV product appeared in just 52 games last season and averaged only 4.2 points with 3.0 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per contest.

Young averaged a career-best 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in 79 games last season with the Sixers. A seven-year veteran who has played his entire career in Philadelphia, Young has career averages of 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds.

“Thank you Sixers & Philly fans for 7 wonderful years,“ Young tweeted after the deal was officially announced. “Minnesota #twolvefans I’m ready to work and bring my hardworking attitude Philly gave me #wolfnation #howl ... see you soon.“

Mbah a Moute joined the Wolves last November in a trade from Sacramento and averaged 3.3 points with 2.2 rebounds in 55 games for Minnesota. The UCLA product has career averages of 6.3 points with 4.9 rebounds in 399 games over six seasons with Minnesota, Sacramento and Milwaukee.

Shved spent two seasons in Minnesota and averaged 6.5 points with 2.5 assists in 140 games, starting 16. The 25-year-old Russian native appeared in 63 games off the bench last season and averaged just 4.0 points.

The draft pick Philly acquired is a protected first round pick in the 2015 NBA draft. The pick, which originally belonged to the Miami Heat, is Top-10 protected in 2015 and 2016.


►  CAVS SIGN POWELL:  The Cleveland Cavaliers signed forward Dwight Powell on Saturday.

Powell, the 45th pick of the 2014 draft, was acquired along with center Brendan Haywood from Charlotte on July 12 for guard Scott Hopson and cash considerations.

The Stanford product averaged 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his senior season and was named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  YANKEES RETIRE TORRE’S NO. 6:  The New York Yankees retired the uniform number of former manager Joe Torre, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, prior to Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

Including Torre’s No. 6, the Yankees have 17 retired uniform numbers for 18 players and managers. New York also honored Torre with a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.

“To have your number retired for any team is certainly special. But when you talk about the history and tradition of the New York Yankees, known worldwide, it’s a feeling I can’t describe,“ Torre said. “There wouldn’t have been a Cooperstown without Yankee Stadium.“

Torre spent 12 seasons as Yankees manager from 1996-2007, guiding the team to six World Series appearances and four World Series titles (1996, ‘98-2000). He compiled a regular season record of 1,173-767-2, leading the club to the playoffs in each year at the helm

His win total trails only Joe McCarthy’s team record 1,460 over 16 seasons from 1931-46.

“George [Steinbrenner] gave me the greatest opportunity I’ve ever had in my professional life,“ Torre said. “I played for 16 or 17 years, but it can never match the 12 years here in Yankee pinstripes. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity of entrusting me with this team.“

A number of baseball greats were on hand at the pregame ceremony, including Jim Leyland, Tony LaRussa, Gene Monahan, Lee Mazilli, Jose Cardenal. Current and former Yankees were there as well, including Ron Guidry, Willie Randolph, Reggie Jackson, David Cone, Hideki Matsui, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Yogi Berra.

The 74-year-old Torre, who currently serves as MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, also thanked the fans.

“The one thing that you never forget and you never lose the feeling for are you people,“ Torre said.

Other Yankee retired numbers are: No. 1 - Billy Martin; No. 3 - Babe Ruth; No. 4 - Lou Gehrig; No. 5 - Joe DiMaggio; No. 7 - Mickey Mantle; No. 8 - Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra; No. 9 - Roger Maris; No. 10 - Phil Rizzuto; No. 15 - Thurman Munson; No. 16 - Whitey Ford; No. 23 - Don Mattingly; No. 32 - Elston Howard; No. 37 - Casey Stengel; No. 42 - Mariano Rivera; No. 44 - Reggie Jackson; No. 49 - Ron Guidry.

Torre made a reference to Derek Jeter, saying “there’s only one single digit left” to be retired in pinstripes.


►  ORIOLES CONFIRM MACHADO SURGERY:  Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will undergo season-ending surgery on his injured right knee in the coming week.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed the news to reporters Saturday morning at Wrigley Field.

Machado landed on the disabled list with a right knee ligament sprain earlier this month. He fell awkwardly on his right knee during an at-bat against the Yankees on August 11.

The 22-year-old Machado was an All-Star last year but missed the last week of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee. He made his season debut this year on May 1.

Machado hit .278 with 12 homers and 32 RBI over 82 games this season.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache, orthopedic surgeon for the Los Angeles Dodgers, repaired Machado’s left knee last fall and will also perform the surgery on Machado’s right knee.


►  NATIONALS CALL UP SCHIERHOLTZ:  The Washington Nationals selected the contract of outfielder Nate Schierholtz on Saturday and optioned outfielder Michael Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse.

Schierholtz, 30, was signed by the Nationals to a minor league contract on Monday. He had six home runs in 99 games for the Cubs earlier this season.

Taylor, who made his major league debut on August 12, hit 3-for-18 with the Nationals in seven games during his first stint in the big leagues.

Washington also moved outfielder Nate McLouth to the 60-day disabled list. McLouth was placed on the DL retroactive to August 2 earlier this week with right shoulder inflammation.


►  RED SOX OFFICIALLY SIGN CUBAN OF CASTILLO:  The Boston Red Sox officially signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year major league contract on Saturday.

The deal will run through 2020 and is reportedly worth $72.5 million.

Baseball America reported last December that Castillo defected from Cuba and was looking for a country of residency so he could sign with a major league team. He since established residency in Haiti and was cleared by the U.S. government to sign with a major league team last month.

The 27-year-old is a 5-foot-9, 205-pounder whose main tool is speed. Others compare him to an Andrew McCutchen-type, bringing above average speed, power and average. He is not considered to be a straight slugger like countrymen Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu.

Castillo hit .319 with 75 doubles, 11 triples, 51 home runs, 99 walks, 256 runs scored and 76 stolen bases in 360 games over five seasons with Ciego de Avila in Cuba’s major league, Serie Nacional.

It was reported that the Detroit Tigers were also in the running for Castillo.

Castillo will report to Boston’s spring training facilities at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida to resume baseball activities.


►  PADRES’ CASHNER COMES OFF DL:  The San Diego Padres activated starting pitcher Andrew Cashner from the disabled list, so that he can make the start Saturday night against the Diamondbacks.

Cashner hasn’t pitched since June 18, and landed on the disabled list with right shoulder soreness five days later.

The 27-year-old right-hander has endured an injury-plagued campaign during which he’s gone just 2-6 despite a 2.36 ERA over 12 starts.

San Diego made roster space by optioning pitcher Frank Garces to Double-A San Antonio.


►  INDIANS PUT GOMES ON DL, ACQUIRE GIMENEZ:  The Cleveland Indians placed catcher Yan Gomes on the seven-day concussion list Saturday and acquired catcher Chris Gimenez in a trade with the Texas Rangers.

Gomes was hit on the left side of the head by a deflected pitch while he was behind the plate during Thursday’s game against the Twins and is not yet free of symptoms.

The Indians got Gimenez from the Rangers in exchange for future considerations and will add him to the roster on Sunday.

Gimenez batted .262 with a .331 on-base%age in 33 games for the Rangers this season and had been playing for Triple-A Round Rock since being sent down on August 10.


►  PHILLIES RECALL GALVIS, DFA BRIGNAC:  The Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday recalled infielder Freddy Galvis from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and designated infielder Reid Brignac for assignment.

Galvis was with the Phils from April 11-May 08, collecting just two hits in 42 at-bats over 16 games before being sent back to the minors.

Brignac saw action in 37 games for Philadelphia this season, hitting .222 (18- for-81) with one home run, five doubles and 10 RBI.


►  NATIONAL LEAGUE SCOREBOARD: 

Final Score: Washington 6, San Francisco 2

Jayson Werth drove in two runs to back eight dominant innings by Jordan Zimmermann and the Washington Nationals got back on track with a 6-2 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. Zimmermann (9-5) struck out eight in eight innings of two-run ball for Washington, which lost on Friday to snap a 10-game winning streak. Asdrubal Cabrera homered and scored twice, while Denard Span and Anthony Rendon also finished with a pair of runs apiece for Washington, which did all of its damage in the first three innings. Tim Lincecum (10-9) was pulled after 2 2/3 innings for the second shortest outing of his career. He was charged with all six runs—four earned—on six hits and four walks. The two-time Cy Young winner failed to pick up his 100th career win at the hands of the team that has hit him the hardest over the years. Lincecum fell to 0-6 in his last seven starts against the Nationals.


Final Score: St. Louis 6, Philadelphia 5 (12 innings)

Matt Carpenter’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 12th inning gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night. The Cardinals moved within a half- game of Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central with the win, their eighth in 10 games. Daniel Descalso drew a leadoff walk against Ken Giles (2-1) and eventually scored on Carpenter’s deep fly to left field. Jhonny Peralta hit a solo homer for the Cardinals, who dropped the opener of the three-game series 5-4 on Friday night. Seth Maness (5-2) worked two innings for the win and Trevor Rosenthal stranded a runner in the bottom of the 12th to earn his 38th save. Ryan Howard had a solo homer and Marlon Byrd hit a game-tying, two-run single in the eighth inning for the Phillies.


Final Score: Cincinnati 1, Atlanta 0

Brandon Phillips singled home Mike Leake with the game’s only run, and Cincinnati put the brakes on a seven-game losing skid by clipping Atlanta, 1-0, in the third edition of a four-game series. Leake (10-11) tossed 6 2/3 innings of two-hit ball, fanning six and walking three while adding a double for the Reds. Aroldis Chapman shut the door by striking out the side in the ninth to earn his 27th save. Ervin Santana (13-7) allowed four hits and one run, while issuing one walk and striking out seven for the Braves, who lost for just the second time in their last nine outings.


Final Score: Pittsburgh 10, Milwaukee 2

Pedro Alvarez hit two home runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates routed the Milwaukee Brewers, 10-2, in the middle installment of a three-game series. Alvarez drove in four runs and scored twice as Pittsburgh handed the Brewers their third straight loss. Russell Martin had a three-run homer and Neil Walker finished with three hits and three RBI. Martin and Walker both scored two runs as well. Edinson Volquez (11-7) allowed 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings but limited Milwaukee to just two runs. He outdueled Brewers ace Wily Peralta, who failed to become Major League Baseball’s first 16-game winner. Peralta (15-8) was roughed up, allowing a season-high eight runs—seven earned—over five innings.


Final Score: Arizona 5, San Diego 2

Didi Gregorius belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Vidal Nuno took a shutout into the eighth and Jake Lamb hit his first major league homer for the Diamondbacks, who snapped a six-game losing streak in Friday’s opener of this three-game set. The Padres, who fell to 2-7 on their 10-game road trip, tied the game in the top of the eighth on Yangervis Solarte’s two-out, two-run single.


Final Score: Los Angeles 7, New York 4

Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets, 7-4, in the middle test of a three-game set on Saturday. Scott Van Slyke and Erisbel Arruebarrena each brought in a run for Los Angeles, which won its third straight game. Zack Greinke (13-8) earned the win after giving up four runs—three earned—on nine hits with four strikeouts over seven innings of work. Juan Lagares supplied a three-run blast and Lucas Duda also homered for the Mets, who lost their sixth consecutive game in Los Angeles. Starter Jacob deGrom (6-6), who was activated from the disabled list prior to the game, allowed five runs on five hits and two walks while fanning seven across six frames.


Final Score: Colorado 5, Miami 4 (13 innings)

Corey Dickerson tied the game with a solo homer in the ninth inning and won it with a walk-off single in the 13th, giving the Colorado Rockies a 5-4 victory over the Miami Marlins on Saturday. Nolan Arenado doubled off the left-field wall to start the 13th and Dickerson singled through the right side off Sam Dyson (2-1) two pitches later. An inning earlier, Colorado had runners at the corners when Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a diving over-the-shoulder catch on Justin Morneau’s humpback liner in shallow left-center to end the inning. Earlier, Hechavarria gave the Marlins the lead in the top of the ninth inning by hitting the third consecutive single off LaTroy Hawkins to make it 4-3. Dickerson’s third-deck blast in the bottom of the ninth off Marlins closer Steve Cishek came on a 3-1 sinker with one out. He had four hits. The Rockies used eight pitchers after Jordan Lyles came out in the sixth. Matt Belisle (4-6) pitched the top of the 13th for the win and Brandon Barnes hit a two-run homer for the Rockies. The Marlins, who won the opener of the three-game series, got seven innings from Tom Koehler.


Final Score: Chicago Cubs 7, Baltimore 2

Chris Coghlan hit a bases-clearing triple as part of a four-run second inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7-2, in the middle test of a three-game set. A 3-hour, 9-minute rain delay followed Chicago’s four-run second. Javier Baez smacked a solo homer, while Justin Grimm (4-2) fired 3 1/3 scoreless innings following the delay to earn the win for the Cubs, who have won five of their last seven games. Bud Norris (11-8) allowed four runs on four hits and a walk over the first two frames for Baltimore, which has dropped two straight on the heels of a four- game winning streak.


►  AMERICAN LEAGUE SCOREBOARD: 

Final Score: New York 5, Chicago 3

The New York Yankees retired the uniform number of former manager Joe Torre, then went on to beat the Chicago White Sox, 5-3, on Saturday. The Yankees held a special pregame ceremony to honor Torre, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. Including Torre’s No. 6, the Yankees have 17 retired uniform numbers for 18 players and managers. New York also honored Torre with a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Torre spent 12 seasons as Yankees manager from 1996-2007, guiding the team to six World Series appearances and four World Series titles (1996, ‘98-2000). He compiled a regular season record of 1,173-767-2, leading the club to the playoffs in each year at the helm. His win total trails only Joe McCarthy’s team record 1,460 over 16 seasons from 1931-46. Martin Prado went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored for the Yankees, who entered the day eight games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East. Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer and scored twice. New York starter Hiroki Kuroda (9-8) allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts over six innings. Jose Abreu, Carlos Sanchez and Alexei Ramirez each drove in a run for the White Sox, who have lost five in a row. Scott Carroll (5-8) gave up five runs—four earned—on seven hits with three walks over six innings.


Final Score: Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 4 (10 innings)

Jose Reyes drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Toronto Blue Jays picked up a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Colby Rasmus reached on a bunt single to lead off the 10th. Joel Peralta (2-4) struck out the next two batters he faced, but Rasmus stole second to put himself in scoring position for Reyes, who ripped the first pitch he saw from Jeff Beliveau to left. Rasmus never hesitated rounding third and slid in before Matt Joyce’s throw to the plate. Dustin McGowan (5-3) allowed two baserunners in the top of the 10th but got out of the inning unscathed to pick up the win. Reyes drove in two runs and Dioner Navarro had a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, who evened this three-game set with their American League East rivals following Friday’s 8-0 drubbing. Neither starter factored into the decision. Jeremy Hellickson struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball for the Rays, while Mark Buehrle allowed three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 for Toronto.


Final Score: Minnesota 12, Detroit 4 (Game 1) Final Score: Detroit 8, Minnesota 6 (Game 2)

Eugenio Suarez and Nick Castellanos each knocked in two runs as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins, 8-6, in the second game of a day-night doubleheader. Justin Verlander (11-11) returned to the hill after an 11-day absence and was charged with four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings to earn the win. Verlander, who has never been placed on the disabled list, left his start on August 11 against Pittsburgh with shoulder discomfort after giving up five runs in the first inning. Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez each had three hits for the Tigers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and finally took a game from the Twins in this four-game set. Minnesota outscored Detroit 32-10 in the opening two games, including a 12-4 win in Game 1 on Saturday. Trevor May (0-3) is still in search of his first big league win after he was knocked around for five runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Trevor Plouffe went 3- for-4 with two RBI for the Twins, who had their three-game winning streak halted.


Final Score: Seattle 7, Boston 3

Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer during a seven-run fourth inning as the Seattle Mariners beat the Boston Red Sox, 7-3, in the middle test of a three-game series. Chris Denorfia, Chris Taylor and Jesus Sucre each drove in a run for the Mariners, who hold the second wild card spot in the American League. Chris Young got the start for Seattle and gave up three runs on seven hits with five walks over 3 2/3 innings. Tom Wilhelmsen (2-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. Yoenis Cespedes, David Ross and Mike Napoli each had an RBI for the Red Sox, who have lost seven in a row. Brandon Workman (1-8) allowed seven runs on 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz left the game with a left elbow contusion. He was hit by a fastball from Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush in the bottom of the sixth inning.


Final Score: Chicago Cubs 7, Baltimore 2
Chris Coghlan hit a bases-clearing triple as part of a four-run second inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7-2, in the middle test of a three-game set. A 3-hour, 9-minute rain delay followed Chicago’s four-run second. Javier Baez smacked a solo homer, while Justin Grimm (4-2) fired 3 1/3 scoreless innings following the delay to earn the win for the Cubs, who have won five of their last seven games. Bud Norris (11-8) allowed four runs on four hits and a walk over the first two frames for Baltimore, which has dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.


Final Score: Cleveland 3, Houston 2

Jose Ramirez’s go-ahead single in the ninth inning lifted the Cleveland Indians to a 3-2 walkoff victory over the Houston Astros in the second of a three-game set on Saturday. Tyler Holt singled off Jake Buchanan (1-3) to start the bottom of the ninth. Holt advanced to second on Roberto Perez’s sacrifice bunt and Michael Bourn walked before both runners moved up a base on Buchanan’s wild pitch. Ramirez stroked a line drive just over the glove of third baseman Gregorio Petit down the left-field line to score the game-winning run. Cody Allen (5-3) earned the win after striking out two in a scoreless ninth. Starter Danny Salazar allowed two runs—one earned—on three hits with seven strikeouts across six innings. Michael Brantley and Bourn each drove in a run for the Indians, who lead the American League with 10 walkoff wins. Jose Altuve drove in a run for the Astros, who had starter Collin McHugh give up two runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 frames.


Final Score: Kansas City 6, Texas 3
Jarrod Dyson drove in three runs to lead the Kansas City Royals past the Texas Rangers, 6-3, on Saturday. Alex Gordon homered and Omar Infante hit a two-run single for the Royals, who have won five of their last six games. Jeremy Guthrie (10-10) surrendered just one run on five hits with two strikeouts over eight strong innings to earn the win. Leonys Martin supplied a two-run single in the ninth inning and Shin-Soo Choo homered for Texas, which has dropped the first two games of this three-game series. Starter Nick Tepesch (4-8) was tagged with the loss after giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks over 6 1/3 frames.


Final Score: Oakland 2, LA Angels of Anaheim 1

Coco Crisp scored the go-ahead run on a Joe Smith wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics tied the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim atop the AL West with a 2-1 win. Oakland’s Jon Lester and the Angels’ C.J. Wilson dueled through the first seven innings. Crisp singled off Smith (5-2) to begin the eighth and moved to third base on consecutive groundouts. Smith was then wild with his command, hitting Derek Norris before throwing the errant pitch. Luke Gregerson (3-2) picked up the win after retiring the Angels in order in the top of the eighth. Sean Doolittle worked around a two-out single by Howie Kendrick in the ninth to earn his 20th save. Oakland will look to complete the three-game sweep and reclaim sole possession of first place on Sunday.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  10-MAN FC DALLAS SNEAK PAST RSL:  Je-Vaughn Watson and Fabian Castillo netted second-half goals on Friday as 10-man FC Dallas earned an impressive 2-1 victory over Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake at Toyota Stadium.

Watson opened the scoring for the home side five minutes into the second half and Castillo added the insurance tally in the 74th minute to move FC Dallas onto 42 points.

The win extends FCD’s league unbeaten streak to 10 matches and also lifts the club into a three-way tie for the top spot in the West with RSL and Seattle

Olmes Garcia netted a consolation goal for RSL late on, but Jeff Cassar’s men were just a tad off the pace all night and the club suffered its fifth defeat of the campaign.

The hosts had the first quality chance of the night in the 29th minute when Andres Escobar weaved his way through several RSL defenders and got a strike away from the top of the box, but it flew past the left post.

Rookie Tesho Akindele had another opportunity for FCD just moments later as he got to the top of the box looking to put it around RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, but the U.S. international ‘keeper parried the strike over the bar.

Things appeared to become more difficult for Dallas in first-half stoppage time when Blas Perez was shown a second yellow card and sent off for diving, reducing the home side to 10 men for the entire second half.

Despite playing a man down, FCD grabbed the lead in the 50th minute when Michel whipped a corner kick into the area that struck Watson in the chest and wound up past Rimando for the game’s opening tally.

Dallas doubled its advantage 16 minutes from time when Castillo collected the ball just past midfield and ran at two RSL defenders. Castillo got to the top of the area and beat Rimando with an excellent strike into the bottom left corner for his ninth goal of the season.

The visitors pulled one back in stoppage time when Garcia got on the end of a cross from Sebastian Velasquez and directed it home, but it wasn’t enough.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  BLANEY STEALS NATIONWIDE WIN FROM BUSCH AT BRISTOL:  Ryan Blaney claimed his second career win in the Nationwide Series after passing Kyle Busch for the lead following a restart with six laps to go in Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Blaney, the driver of the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske and the 20-year old son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney, was not much of a factor in this 300-lap race until the late going when he benefited from the final two cautions. He passed rookie Ty Dillon for second following a restart with 13 laps to go and then chased down Busch for the lead.

Busch, the pole sitter, grabbed the top spot from Kyle Larson after a restart on lap 196 and then took command from there until Blaney made his winning pass. Blaney beat Busch to finish line by only 0.13 seconds.

“Kyle didn’t go on that [last] restart,“ Blaney said. “He said his tires were jacked up. When he got to the second [yellow] line, I went. You can go. Luckily, I was able to hold him off…It was one heck of a race. We won at Bristol.“

Busch was attempting to win his record fourth straight and eighth overall Nationwide race at Bristol. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had led 161 of 300 laps.

“I couldn’t get by Larson on a single-lane racetrack. It’s pathetic,“ Busch said. “But once I did get a position on him, kinda sorta, you just gotta try to move the guy out of the way, so I kind of forced him high and got clear of him. And that was sort of gonna be the race until the last restart when my rear tires weren’t on the racetrack, and I couldn’t accelerate forward.“

During his post-race press conference, Busch questioned the final restart and NASCAR’s handling of it.

“The 22 [Blaney] was about five miles per hour faster than me by the first double-yellow stripe, and I didn’t go because I didn’t want to go, but everybody behind me is trying to go because they’re following the 22,“ Busch said. “I’m trying to wait for him to stop, so then I can go by the single-red mark on the wall.

“It’s stupid. NASCAR doesn’t police it, and so everybody keeps jacking around on it. One of these days, I’m just gonna lock all four down and stack the whole field up.“

Blaney’s second Nationwide win came in his 24th start. His maiden victory in the series occurred in September 2013 at Kentucky. Blaney is a full-time competitor in the Camping World Truck Series this season, driving the No. 29 Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing. He has won twice in that series as well.

With 20 laps remaining, Blaney got loose and bumped into Larson while the two were battling for position. Larson spun around several times on the track and collected rookie Dylan Kwasniewski, his teammate at Turner Scott Motorsports.

“I have to apologize to Kyle Larson,“ Blaney said. “I just got loose on the bottom [of the track] and got into him. I’m really sorry about that.“

Larson, who ended up finishing 26th, was furious with Blaney. He had led 46 laps earlier in the race.

“When we went into [turn] 1, I thought he was going to chase me up to the top of the track, but he just ran me into the wall,“ Larson said. “It sucks. We had a really good car. The 22 pretty much ruined our day, and it looks like he ruined our teammate’s day. Dylan was doing really good.“

Chase Elliott, the current points leader, finished third, followed by Dillon and Regan Smith. Elliott now holds a 13-point advantage over Smith, his teammate at JR Motorsports.

Brendan Gaughan placed sixth, while Kevin Harvick, Erik Jones, James Buescher and Chris Buescher, who won last weekend’s race at Mid-Ohio, completed the top-10.

Dillon moved up to third in the standings. He trails Elliott by 30 points. Elliott Sadler dropped to fourth (-42) following his 29th-place finish. Sadler was involved in a crash with Timmy Hill on lap 189. Shortly after, he cut a tire and made contact with the wall.

The start of this race was delayed a little more than an hour due to rain.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  DREDGE TAKES OVER LEAD AT CZECH MASTERS:  Bradley Dredge missed tying the course record by one stroke, but a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third round was good enough to vault him into the lead heading into the final day at the Czech Masters.

Dredge finished 54 holes at 12-under-par 204 and he holds a 2-shot lead over fellow Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Soren Kjeldsen at Albatross Golf Resort.

The last time Dredge held a 54-hole lead was last week at the Made in Denmark, but he could not hold off Marc Warren, who went on to win the event. Dredge settled for a runner-up finish and he is looking for his third career victory on tour this week.

“Last week was huge for me. I didn’t win and I would have loved to have won but Marc (Warren) played fantastic in the last round I thought and handled himself really well and totally outplayed me. I didn’t play well enough,“ Dredge said. “Still, I felt as though I played some good golf and I took a lot of confidence from it. I was hoping to bring it here with me this week and I have so far.“

Donaldson, a Ryder Cup hopeful who held the first- and second-round leads, settled for a 1-under 71 on Saturday and he is tied for second at 10-under 206 with Kjeldsen (68).

Donaldson currently holds the next-to-last spot on the world points list for the European Ryder Cup team and a win this week would secure him a spot on the team.

Gregory Bourdy sits alone in fourth place at minus-9 following a 71. Merrick Bremner (71) and Stephen Gallacher (71) are right behind him at 8-under 208, while David Lipsky (69), Paul Waring (70) and Garrick Porteous (72) are another shot back at minus-7.

Beginning the day three shots behind Donaldson, Dredge was rather quiet at the start of his round as he rolled in four straight pars. Dredge started his move up the leaderboard with a birdie at five and followed that up with three more pars heading to the ninth hole.

Dredge then started a stretch of three birdies in four holes from No. 9, with a par coming at No. 10. Following another par at 13, Dredge hit two great approach shots at 14 and 15, both of which led to back-to-back gains.

Heading to the 18th hole a minus-6 for the day and needing a birdie to tie the course record, Dredge put his approach on the par-4 to within about eight feet. He failed to covert his birdie try, however, and Dredge settled for a 66 and a 2-shot lead.

“It wasn’t my best ball striking round but it was a good scoring round, that’s for sure,“ said Dredge. “I lost my card at the end of 2012 and had a few health problems to sort out. This year my category is quite low, so when I do play I’ve got to go out and play well.“

Donaldson exploded out of the gate when he drained a 6-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 first. He quickly got to 3-under for the day with a birdie at the fourth, but Donaldson gave that shot right back with a bogey at the fifth.

The 38-year-old responded with a birdie two holes later on No. 7, and at the time Donaldson held a 4-shot lead over the rest of the field.

That lead quickly deteriorated when Donaldson made a mess of the par-4 eighth hole and he was forced to settle for double-bogey. Donaldson got one of those back with a gain at nine, making the turn at minus-2 for the day.

After back-to-back pars at 10 and 11, Donaldson traded a birdie at 12 with a bogey at 13. One shot behind Dredge, Donaldson rattled off four straight pars from 14 before dropping two shots back with a bogey at the last.

Kjeldsen had a strong front nine with back-to-back gains at two and three to go along with another birdie on nine. After making the turn with two straight pars, Kjeldsen made another pair of birdies at 12 and 13. His lone blemish came at the 15th hole, which Kjeldsen bogeyed to fall to 10-under. He parred the final three holes to end there.

NOTES: Dredge’s last victory came back in 2006 when he won the Omega European Masters ... Donaldson has five top-10 finishes on tour this season and his last win came at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship last year ... Kjeldsen has not won since the 2009 Open de Andalucia and he does not have a top-10 finish this season ... Dredge is currently riding a streak of 46 straight holes without a bogey, with his first and only one of the week coming at the eighth hole in the first round.


►  AN COMES FROM BEHIND TO WIN IN SWITZERLAND:  Byeong-hun An fired an 8-under 64 on Saturday to come from behind and win the Rolex Trophy.

An collected his first career win on the European Challenge Tour at 19-under- par 269.

Benjamin Hebert (72) finished alone in second place at Golf Club de Geneve at 16-under.

Lasse Jensen, who held the lead at the end of the second and third rounds, tripped to a 3-over 75 during his final round to fall into a tie for third with Callum Shinkwin (69) at 15-under 273.

Sam Hutsby (67) took fifth at minus-14.

An entered the day seven shots behind Jensen, but he started to make his move with back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth. He rolled in another gain at the eighth to move to 14-under.

An then caught fire around the turn, starting with three birdies in a four- hole stretch from the 10th. After parring the 14th, he reached 19-under with consecutive gains at the 15th and 16th. He parred the last two holes to finish there.

Jensen, meanwhile, recorded bogeys at the fifth and ninth around a birdie at the seventh to make the turn at 17-under.

He would drop two more shots at the 11th and 18th to end four shots off the pace.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  CURRY, HARDEN, IRVING TO REPRESENT USA BASKETBALL IN SPAIN:  Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kyrie Irving were among the roster of 12 players named to represent the USA Basketball team in the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain.

DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Mason Plumlee, Derrick Rose, and Klay Thompson are the others who are headed to Spain.

“Since taking over the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we’ve gone through,“ said team managing director Jerry Colangelo. “I can’t stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist. I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent—each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing.“

Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard and Chandler Parsons were the players who did not survive the final cuts.

The team announcement came after the US beat Puerto Rico, 112-86, Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

“The first thing is we are very pleased with the overall effort of every player who was a part of the process,“ said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “To select 12 was difficult, because our pool is so good. As we go forward, we not only go forward as twelve, we go forward as a pool for USA Basketball. As a staff we want to thank the players who are not going forward.“

The FIBA World Cup, previously known as the World Championship, will be held August 30-September 14. The Americans open play on August 30 against Finland, and then take on Turkey on August 31 in a rematch of the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game won by the US.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  ROSOL WINS WINSTON-SALEM OPEN:  Czech slugger Lukas Rosol claimed his second ATP World Tour title after saving two match points to beat Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz at the Winston-Salem Open final on Saturday.

Rosol, the No. 7 seed, rallied past Janowicz 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 on the hardcourts at Wake Forest University.

“I just focused on my games, especially while I was serving,“ said Rosol. “I waited patiently to see if he would give me a chance on his serve, and he did. I didn’t start out well, but I finished strong.“

The 29-year-old Rosol has reached the quarterfinals or better at his last five tournaments. It was his first title since last year’s win in Bucharest.

Rosol is projected to climb to a career-high in the Emirates ATP Rankings next week. He is currently ranked No. 33, equaling the career-high he set in May 2013. He will climb as high as No. 27 with his win Saturday. Janowicz, for his runner-up finish, is expected to rise from No. 52 to 43.

Janowicz, 23, had won the only other meeting with Rosol, beating him in straight sets last year in Marseille. He fell to 0-2 in ATP finals, losing his only other title match to David Ferrer in Paris in 2012.

“Losses happen. This is not my first - and hopefully will not be my last - final,“ said Janowicz. “I’m looking forward to the next tournament. I am playing well. I had a great week here in Winston-Salem.“

Rosol took home $80,280 with the victory.

 

The Gilmer Free Press


SUNDAY, AUGUST 24, 2014


Major League Baseball - National League
Atlanta at Cincinnati, 1:10 PM - FS-South, Ohio, DSS
San Francisco at Washington, 1:35 PM - CSN-Bay, MASN 2, TBS, DSS
St. Louis at Philadelphia, 1:35 PM - FS-Midwest, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 2:10 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
San Diego at Arizona, 4:10 PM - FS-San Diego, Arizona, DSS
NY Mets at Los Angeles, 4:10 PM - SNY, SportsNet LA, DSS
Miami at Colorado, 4:10 PM - FS-Florida, ROOT-Rocky Mountain, DSS


American League
Chicago WSox at NY Yankees, 1:05 PM - CSN-Chicago, YES, DSS
Houston at Cleveland, 1:05 PM - CSN-Houston, SportsTime Ohio, DSS
Tampa Bay at Toronto, 1:07 PM - SunSports, SNET, DSS
Seattle at Boston, 1:35 PM - ROOT-Northwest, NESN, DSS
Detroit at Minnesota, 2:10 PM - FS-Detroit, North, DSS
Kansas City at Texas, 3:05 PM - FS-Kansas City, Southwest, DSS
LA Angels at Oakland, 8:05 PM - ESPN


Interleague
Baltimore at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 PM - MASN, WGN (America), DSS


National Football League - Preseason
San Diego at San Francisco, 4:00 PM - FOX
Cincinnati at Arizona, 8:00 PM - NBC


Canadian Football League
Calgary at Ottawa, 3:00 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com
Saskatchewan at British Columbia, 7:00 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com


WNBA - Playoffs
Atlanta at Chicago, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Phoenix at Los Angeles, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2


Major League Soccer
Seattle at Portland, 5:00 PM - ESPN 2
San Jose at Philadelphia, 8:00 PM - CSN-Bay, Philadelphia, DSS


International Soccer
Tottenham vs. QPR, 8:00 AM - CNBC
Sunderland vs. Manchester United, 10:55 AM - NBCSN


Little League World Series
Consolation Game, 10:00 AM - ESPN
Championship Game, 3:00 PM - ABC


Golf
EUROPEAN - D+D Real Czech Masters, 6:30 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - The Barclays, 12:00 PM - Golf Channel
PGA - The Barclays, 2:00 PM - CBS
CHAMPIONS - Boeing Classic, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel
WEB.COM - WinCo Foods Portland Open, 7:00 PM - Golf Channel


Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Belgian Grand Prix, 7:30 AM - OLN
INDYCAR - GoPro Indy GP of Sonoma, 4:00 PM - NBCSN


Horse Racing
Pacific Classic, 7:30 PM - TVG, NBCSN

Sports Brief - 08.07.14

The Gilmer Free Press

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  GSC FOOTBALL TEAM TO PLAY SCRIMMAGE AT ROANE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL:  Glenville State College Head Football Coach David Hutchison would like to announce that the GSC Pioneer Football team will be returning to County Stadium at Roane County High School on Saturday, August 23, 2014 for an intersquad scrimmage, following on the heels of last year’s successful inaugural event.

The day will begin with a youth clinic from 3:30-4:30 PM, which will be conducted by GSC coaching staff and players.

The GSC intersquad scrimmage will begin at 5:00 PM and run until 6:30 PM.

“Last year’s event was so much fun; not only did the young kids enjoy the youth clinic but our young men really enjoyed working with them and putting on a show for everyone that showed up,” stated Hutchison.

Admission is free and both events are open to the public.

 



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The Gilmer Free Press

►  HERD HUNTING FOR COMPLEMENT TO ROUSE:  Defensive tackles James Rouse and Brandon Sparrow provided the Marshall football team a powerful 1-2 punch up the middle last season. Rouse led the team with 14 tackles for a loss in 14 games, while Sparrow added another five tackles for a loss in 12 games.

Rouse won a sixth year of eligibility following his all-Conference USA first-team performance, enters this season as the conference’s preseason defensive player of the year and gives the Thundering Herd a powerful first blow. It’s that second half to the combination that Marshall seeks at the start of preseason camp.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  REDSKINS WR JACKSON TWISTS ANKLE:  Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson twisted his ankle in practice Wednesday and could miss Thursday’s preseason opener against the New England Patriots.

The teams have been holding joint practices.

“DeSean got cleated today in a walkthrough and twisted his ankle just a hair,“ said Redskins coach Jay Gruden. “We’ll see how he does at rehab or treatment and all that. We’ll find out.“

Gruden said “there’s a possibility” Jackson will miss Thursday’s game. He said wide receiver Pierre Garcon would definitely be out after tweaking a hamstring on Tuesday.

The Redskins signed Jackson in April to a reported three-year, $24 million deal. The dynamic playmaker spent his first six NFL seasons with NFC East rival Philadelphia.


►  RAIDERS TE AUSBERRY TO HAVE KNEE SURGERY:  Oakland Raiders tight end David Ausberry will have knee surgery and will miss the preseason opener Friday.

“He may be out for a little while,“ Raiders coach Dennis Allen said following practice Tuesday. “We should be able to get him back some point in time. We’ll have to evaluate that as we go along.“

Ausberry missed the entire 2013 season due to a shoulder injury. He played in a total of 28 games between the 2011-12 seasons and had nine receptions for 106 yards, but was at the top of the team’s depth chart after a week of training camp.


►  BROWNS TO START HOYER SATURDAY:  Those anticipating Johnny Manziel’s first action in an NFL game setting will have to wait a little longer during Saturday’s preseason opener, as Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced Wednesday that Brian Hoyer will start the team’s matchup against the Detroit Lions.

The decision was expected, as Hoyer has taken the majority of first-team reps thus far in training camp and holds an experience edge on the rookie Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and one of two first-round picks by the Browns in this past April’s draft.

Pettine did tell reporters that it’s possible that Manziel will see some time with the first-team offense in Saturday’s game.

The first-year head coach has previously stated that he plans to have a No. 1 quarterback named by the Browns’ third preseason game. Pettine has yet to determine or reveal if Manziel will start Cleveland’s second preseason contest at Washington on Aug. 18.

Cleveland did win all three of Hoyer’s starts under center last season. In the last of those outings, the sixth-year pro sustained a season-ending torn ACL against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5.


►  DOLPHINS TAKE RB MORENO OFF PUP LIST:  The Miami Dolphins activated running back Knowshon Moreno from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday.

Moreno participated in training camp practice for the first time with the Dolphins, who signed him in March to a reported one-year, $3 million deal.

“It feels good to put the shoulder pads on and come out here and work with the guys,“ Moreno told reporters.

Moreno, 27, had minor knee surgery last month and said he feels “good” after testing the knee as a limited participant in practice Wednesday.

He broke out for career-highs in nearly every category last season with the Denver Broncos, rushing for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns and catching 60 passes for 548 yards and three scores in 16 games.

Moreno spent his first five NFL seasons with the Broncos and helped them reach the Super Bowl this past season. He rushed for 17 yards on five carries in the blowout loss to Seattle.


►  CARDINALS TE BALLARD RETIRES:  Just over two years after starting in a Super Bowl, Jake Ballard has retired from football.

The former New York Giant and current Arizona Cardinals tight end announced his decision Wednesday, citing continued complications from a knee injury he suffered in the Giants’ 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI back in February of 2012.

Ballard was claimed off waivers by the Patriots from New York a few months after that Super Bowl, but spent the entire 2012 campaign rehabbing the torn ACL. He returned to action with the Cardinals last season but was limited to just eight games, catching seven passes for 75 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns.

“[Tuesday] I made the difficult decision to retire from the game of football,“ Ballard said in a statement released to Profootballtalk.com. “I love this game and have put my heart and soul into it for as long as I can remember. After sustaining a serious knee injury while playing for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, my body never felt the same. Having a quality of life after football is very important to me and I have witnessed it taken away from others. I will miss the game tremendously, but I am ready for this next chapter in my life.

“It was an honor and a privilege to play for the NY Giants, New England Patriots, and most recently the Arizona Cardinals. I met amazing people from all of my teammates, to opponents, to trainers, to coaches, to owners, and everyone in between. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of your fraternity and I wish you all nothing but success.“

Ballard started 13 regular-season contests during New York’s 2011 championship run, recording 38 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns.


►  SAINTS SIGN FB GREG JONES:  The New Orleans Saints have signed fullback Greg Jones, the team announced Wednesday.

Jones was originally a second-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004. He spent the first nine years of his NFL career in Jacksonville before spending the 2013 season with the Houston Texans.

In 131 career games (72 starts), Jones has carried the ball 272 times for 913 yards with 10 touchdowns. The Florida State product also has 73 receptions for 471 yards and three scores.


►  JAGUARS SIGN BARDEN, HALL:  The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed Ramses Barden and Chad Hall to fill their depleted receiving core.

Barden was a third-round pick by the New York Giants in 2009. He made only one start in his four years with the team and recorded just 29 receptions for 394 yards. He was released prior to the start of last season and sat out the entire year.

Hall signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The Air Force product has 16 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns in 24 career games with the Eagles and Chiefs.

Jacksonville also waived safety Jerome Junior and waived/injured wide receiver Nathan Slaughter.

Cecil Shorts and Allen Robinson are both out with injuries for the Jaguars, while Justin Blackmon and Ace Sanders will be suspended when the season opens.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  KNICKS ACQUIRE ACY, OUTLAW FROM KINGS:  The New York Knicks have acquired forwards Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for guard Wayne Ellington and forward Jeremy Tyler.

Acy averaged 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 63 games for the Raptors and Kings last season. He holds career averages of 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds over 92 games in two seasons with Toronto and Sacramento.

Outlaw averaged 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 63 games for the Kings last season. He has averaged 8.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 622 career games (98 starts) over 11 seasons with the Blazers, Clippers, Nets and Kings.

Ellington holds career averages of 6.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 312 games over five NBA seasons with Minnesota, Memphis, Cleveland and Dallas. He was originally acquired by the Knicks in a multiple-player deal with the Mavericks on June 25.

Tyler posted averages of 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 41 games for the Knicks last season. He has averaged 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 104 career games with Golden State, Atlanta and New York.

In another aspect of this transaction, the protection on the Knicks’ 2016 second-round draft pick that was traded to Portland and subsequently dealt to Sacramento has been reduced. The trade was originally protected between the 31st and 37th picks.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  BURGLARS WHO TOOK HANK AARON BASEBALL RINGS SENTENCED TO PRISON:  Two men who burglarized the Atlanta home of retired Major League Baseball star Hank Aaron and stole “priceless” rings destined for the Baseball Hall of Fame have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Isiah Slaton and Amir Coleman pleaded guilty late Monday and early Tuesday to burglary and theft charges. They admitted burglarizing the home of now 80-year-old Aaron in July 2013 and taking baseball rings and two BMW vehicles, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office said.

Slaton was sentenced to eight years in prison and 42 years on probation, while Coleman received 10 years in prison and 25 years on probation.

In a statement, Aaron called the rings “priceless” and said he intended to donate them to the Hall of Fame. The rings have not been recovered, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record as an Atlanta Brave in 1974. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Charges against a third man are pending.


►  PADRES TAB PRELLER AS NEW GM:  The San Diego Padres have hired Texas Rangers executive A.J. Preller to fill their vacant general manager position, with the team announcing the move during a press conference held on Wednesday.

Preller, who has spent the past 10 seasons in the Rangers’ organization and most recently served as the team’s assistant GM, beat out three other finalists to replace Josh Byrnes, whom the Padres fired in June following an uninspiring 2 1/2-year run.

The 37-year-old Preller helped build the Rangers into one of the American League’s most successful teams over the past five seasons, with Texas having won 90 or more games in each of the previous four years and reaching the World Series in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011.

“It’s an honor to have been selected for this position,“ said Preller. “I’m grateful for the faith [lead investor] Peter [Seidler], [executive chairman] Ron [Fowler] and [chief executive officer] Mike [Dee] have shown in me. I’m looking forward to meeting our baseball operations staff and getting right to work, with the goal of building a championship organization for San Diego.“

Preller, a Cornell graduate and college roommate of current Texas GM Jon Daniels, has particularly made his mark in the area of international scouting, having been instrumental in the Rangers landing such impact players as Yu Darvish, Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin and Rougned Odor on the foreign market.

“Padres ownership is thrilled to welcome A.J. Preller to the Padres family,“ said Seidler. “His balance of experience, knowledge and energy makes him the ideal person to lead our baseball operations as we work to build a consistent winner in San Diego.“

The Padres initially interviewed eight candidates following Byrnes’ dismissal on June 22, then narrowed that field down to Preller, Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and MLB senior vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng.


►  CUBS ACTIVATE FUJIKAWA FROM DL:  The Chicago Cubs activated reliever Kyuji Fujikawa from the 60-day disabled list prior to Wednesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

Fujikawa, who has been sidelined for almost 14 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of last year, will be available for the game.

The 34-year-old from Japan made his major league debut with the Cubs on Opening Day of last season, but spent nearly a month on the DL in April of 2013 with a right forearm strain. He returned, only to be forced off the mound again in late May before having the surgery.

In 12 games with Chicago in 2013, Fujikawa went 1-1 with two saves and a 5.25 earned run average.

In a corresponding move, the Cubs designated outfielder Nate Schierholtz for assignment.

Schierholtz was batting .192 with six home runs and 33 RBI in 99 games for the Cubs this season.


►  MARLINS’ GREGG TO HAVE SEASON-ENDING SURGERY:  Miami Marlins reliever Kevin Gregg will have season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow.

Gregg, 36, appeared in just 12 games for the Marlins this season, allowing 10 runs in nine innings of work out of the bullpen.

The 12-year veteran has compiled a 30-44 record with 177 saves and a 4.15 ERA in stints with the Angels, Cubs, Blue Jays, Orioles and Marlins.

In addition, Jarred Cosart has been scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday against Pittsburgh due to left oblique soreness. The injury is not serious and Cosart should be ready to make his next start.

Left-hander Brian Flynn will take the mound in place of Cosart opposite of Edinson Volquez in the series finale against the Pirates on Thursday.

Cosart gave up four runs on four hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings against the Reds on Friday in his Marlins debut.


►  D-BACKS’ PENNINGTON COMES OFF DL:  The Arizona Diamondbacks activated infielder Cliff Pennington from the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

Pennington, out since June 1 with a sprained ligament in his left thumb that required surgery, will bat second and play third base in Wednesday’s matchup.

The veteran switch-hitter was hitting .243 with six RBI in 34 games prior to being shelved.

Pitcher Bo Schultz was optioned to Triple-A Reno to create an opening on Arizona’s active roster.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NIKE HAS MOST EUROPE SOCCER DEALS, ADIDAS THE MOST LUCRATIVE:  U.S. sportswear group Nike will supply shirts to more teams in the top five European soccer leagues this season than Adidas, but the German firm has cornered the most lucrative clubs, a study showed on Wednesday.

Sports marketing research group Repucom said Nike had outpaced Adidas in Europe for the first time since the 2009/10 season to supply 26 of the region’s top clubs, up five compared with last year. Adidas is supplying 18, down four from last year.

Although it has been a serious player in soccer only since 1994, Nike is now threatening Adidas’s leadership in the sport. At the World Cup in Brazil, it supplied more teams for the first time and put its boots on more than half the players.

Nike is ahead of Adidas in four of the five top European leagues.

The exception is the English Premier League, the most lucrative with more than 5 million shirts sold last season. Adidas has five English Premier Sides, including Chelsea, compared with four for German rival Puma and three for Nike.

“Whilst Nike looks to maximize the number of teams it supplies, Adidas is going for the most popular, most followed and ultimately biggest selling clubs in the world,“ Repucom soccer expert Andrew Walsh said.

Nike has signed more top teams in Spain, Germany, France and Italy, a total of 23, compared with 13 for Adidas and five for Puma. Repucom said 3 million Spanish club shirts were sold last season, compared with 2.3 million for the Bundesliga and about 1.2 million in each of the top leagues in France and Italy.

“Adidas and Nike, with Puma in third place, have managed to keep a good headlock on the market,“ Walsh said, noting that U.S. brand Under Armour had not managed to sign another top side after English Premier Club Tottenham Hotspur.

Adidas last month struck a record $1.3 billion shirt deal with Manchester United to oust Nike from the former English champions from the 2015/16 season, and it will also replace Nike at Italian champions Juventus next year.

Adidas expects record soccer sales of $2.7 billion in 2014, topping the $2.3 billion Nike reported for its financial year to end-May. While the periods are not directly comparable, Nike has suggested the U.S. Company could exceed the Adidas figure for 2014 in its 2014/15 financial year.

Puma, the world’s no. 3 sportswear firm, has replaced Nike as the kit supplier at Arsenal from this season as part of a strategy to restore a reputation for performance gear after it shifted too far into fashion.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  RAFALSKI AMONG INDUCTEES INTO U.S. HOCKEY HOF:  Former NHL defenseman Brian Rafalski is among this year’s inductees into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

The two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time Stanley Cup champion is joined by Karyn Bye Dietz, Jeff Sauer and Lou Vairo.

“The class of 2014 is an extraordinary collection of individuals that have had an immensely positive impact on hockey in our country,“ USA Hockey president Ron DeGregorio said in a statement Wednesday. “Cumulatively, they have been involved at every level of hockey and this group is a big reason why our sport has advanced to the point it has in the United States.“

The induction ceremony will be held in Minnesota on Dec. 4.

Rafalski played 11 seasons in the NHL for the New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings, registering 79 goals and 436 assists in 833 career games. His 515 points are the 10th-most among American defensemen.

The Michigan native helped the United States win silver at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics.

Bye Dietz helped Team USA win the first Olympic gold medal ever presented in women’s ice hockey at the 1998 Nagano Games, leading the squad with five goals in six games. She also was a key contributor on the silver medal-winning team at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Sauer amassed 655 wins and two national championships, both at the University of Wisconsin, during 31 years of coaching NCAA Division I men’s hockey.

Vairo has served as director of special projects for USA Hockey since 1992. A scout for the U.S. men’s “Miracle on Ice” team that won Olympic gold in 1980, he was head coach of the 1984 team and an assistant on the 2002 team.


►  SHARKS, KINGS TO PLAY AT 49ERS STADIUM:  There will be outdoor hockey in California for a second straight season.

The NHL announced Wednesday that the San Jose Sharks will be the home team when they play the Los Angeles Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 21, 2015.

The venue is the new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

“The growing excitement around NHL hockey in California hockey, the intensity of last season’s playoff series between these teams and the state-of-the-art setting at Levi’s Stadium will bring a thrilling new dimension to the Kings- Sharks rivalry,“ NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

Los Angeles rallied from a 3-0 deficit to eliminate San Jose in the first round of this year’s playoffs. The Kings went on to capture their second Stanley Cup title in three years.

It will be the first outdoor game for San Jose. Los Angeles will participate in its second after losing 3-0 to Anaheim at Dodger Stadium on January 25.


►  NO. 1 PICK EKBLAD DEALING WITH CONCUSSION:  2014 No. 1 overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad sustained a concussion Tuesday while playing for Team Canada’s World Juniors team in a exhibition game against the Czech Republic.

Due to the injury, both Hockey Canada and the Florida Panthers, who own Ekblad’s NHL rights, have decided to hold the young defenseman out of the remainder of the summer development camp for next year’s World Juniors.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon does expect the 18-year-old Ekblad to be fully cleared to participate in the Panthers’ training camp next month.

“We have been in communication with Team Canada and have mutually agreed to hold Aaron out for the remainder of the summer development camp, as a precautionary measure,“ said Tallon in a statement. “We will closely monitor Aaron’s health for the remainder of the offseason and expect him to be ready for our rookie camp in mid-September.“

Ekblad, the first defenseman to be taken with the top overall choice of the NHL Draft since St. Louis selected Erik Johnson No. 1 in 2006, recorded 23 goals and 53 points in just 58 regular-season games for the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in 2013-14.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  BUBBA NOT CONCERNED OVER RECENT LAPSE IN FORM:  Two victories by Bubba Watson in the first four months of this year, including a second triumph at the Masters, highlighted a sizzling start to the 2013-14 PGA Tour by the long-hitting American.

The left-hander piled up seven top-10s in 10 events, two of them runner-up spots, and it seemed that an emotional player known for audacious shot-making and up-and-down form was heading for a season of extraordinary consistency.

Though Watson has since failed to maintain that red-hot momentum, missing the cut at the U.S. Open and also at last month’s British Open, he was in confident mood on Tuesday about his prospects for this week’s PGA Championship.

“I feel like my game’s all right,“ the Masters champion told reporters at Valhalla Golf Club while preparing for Thursday’s opening round. “I tweaked a few things here and there, and hopefully I’ll be ready this week.

“This is my first time being here in Valhalla. The course is in great shape. It’s a good layout, a good test of golf. Obviously long irons are going to be key around this place, there’s a lot of long holes.

“There are about five tee shots for me that are very difficult that I’ve got to really pay attention on. You’re going to wear out your long irons. My six and five-iron are going to get a lot of work this week.“

Asked if he was at all disappointed with how his PGA Tour form had tailed off over the past few months, Watson replied: “No, I’m not disappointed. I haven’t played many rounds of golf

“I’ve been taking it easy with the family and stuff, cutting back with the schedule. It’s one of those things where you don’t see yourself as that far off.

“You see yourself as really close. So I’ve just got to keep going and try to make putts or try to make less putts, however you want to word it.“

Watson, who withstood an early challenge from fellow American Jordan Spieth to clinch the Masters for a second time in three years at Augusta National in April, felt the Valhalla layout was softer than organizers would have liked on Tuesday.

“Right now, every shot is kind of receptive,“ said the 35-year-old from Florida, who is known for his pink-shafted driver with a pink head. “It’s not backing up off the green. Obviously a higher shot is going to be a lot better for you.

“A big hitter, a big hitter that’s hitting his driver well can play this golf course. The rough’s not too demanding. It’s really demanding around the greens.

“A lot of crazy chips are going to happen this week, a lot of pitch shots that are going to be different because the ball is sitting up around the green, so it’s hard to decide what shots you want to hit.“

Watson, a six-times winner on the PGA Tour, will tee off in Thursday’s opening round along with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany and Northern Irish world number one Rory McIlroy, who clinched last month’s British Open.


►  WOODS ARRIVES AT PGA CHAMPIONSHIP:  Tiger Woods showed up to play a practice round at the PGA Championship on Wednesday afternoon, though it was still unclear if he will be well enough to tee it up in the season’s fourth major.

Woods arrived at Valhalla Golf Club driving his own courtesy car around 1:15 p.m. EDT, about an hour after the PGA of America said in a news release he was already there.

Golf Channel covered his arrival live, showing him walking from the parking lot to the range to begin warming up. He was expected to start his practice round at 2 p.m.

Woods showed up three days after withdrawing from the Bridgestone Invitational due to a flare up of his back injury.

The four-time PGA Championship winner has until his Thursday morning tee time to make a decision on whether or not he will play. He is scheduled to tee off with Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson on No. 10 at 8:35 a.m.

Woods missed almost three months after having back surgery in March to fix a pinched nerve, sitting out the Masters and U.S. Open. He said after he withdrew Sunday that he “jarred” his back on a shot, causing spasms.

He has a winning history at Valhalla. He captured his second PGA Championship title on the course in 2000.

Also up in the air for Woods is a potential spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. American captain Tom Watson had said he will pick Woods if he’s playing well.


►  WATSON NAMES STRICKER RYDER CUP VICE-CAPTAIN:  U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson named Steve Stricker as a vice captain for this year’s team.

Watson made the announcement Wednesday at Valhalla Golf Club, site of the PGA Championship. He had previously named Raymond Floyd and Andy North as vice captains.

Stricker, 47, has played in each of the last three Ryder Cups.

This year’s matches will be held at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, from Sept. 26-28.

Europe has won two straight Ryder Cups and five of the last six.


►  PAIN-FREE WOODS SAYS HE’LL PLAY IN PGA:  Tiger Woods says he’s pain-free and planning to play in the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday.

Woods ended speculation about his plans for the season’s fourth major when he showed up at Valhalla Golf Club for a practice round on Wednesday afternoon—just three days after withdrawing from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with back spasms.

After playing nine holes he told assembled media that the spasms were gone and he’s no longer in pain. He said the injury that forced him to withdraw on Sunday wasn’t related to the surgery he had in March to fix a pinched nerve, which kept him out of competition for almost three months.

“It’s something totally different,“ said Woods.

After driving his own courtesy SUV to the course and being followed by TV cameras from the parking lot to the range, Woods warmed up before playing the front side of the course in a foursome with pal Steve Stricker, Davis Love III and Harris English.

Valhalla looks different than it did when Woods beat Bob May in a playoff to win the 2000 PGA Championship on the course. Woods said Wednesday he threw his old Valhalla yardage book away but will go about things as he normally does.

“I’m going to try to go out there and win,“ he said. “That’s all I’m focused on.“

The four-time PGA champion is scheduled to begin his first round off the 10th tee at 8:35 a.m. EDT alongside Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson.

Woods missed nearly three months after his surgery, sitting out the Masters and U.S. Open. He said after he withdrew on Sunday that he “jarred” his back on a shot, causing the spasms.

Still up in the air for Woods is a potential spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. U.S. captain Tom Watson said Wednesday that Woods has told him he’s eager to be on the team.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  FEDERER HAS EASY START TO HARD COURT CAMPAIGN:  Roger Federer launched his North American hard court campaign and bid for an 80th career title in impressive style blowing past Canadian Peter Polansky 6-2 6-0 on Tuesday and into the third round of the Rogers Cup.

Seeing his first action since an epic five set loss to world number one Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Federer lacked sharpness at times but still barely worked up a good sweat on a balmy summer evening needing just 52 minutes to dispose of the Canadian wild card.

“I was happy, I started well and that’s always helpful to play more freely,“ said Federer, a two-time winner this season. “I think I could have served better at times but other than that, already in practice I felt I was moving well.

“Didn’t feel so good hitting the ball yet. Wasn’t quite getting used to the surface and now the last few days have been much better and I’m happy that in the match it kind of all worked really well.

“For the start of a tournament it’s never clear if that’s going to be the case. I’m very relieved and just really pleased.“

Federer, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday on Friday, has reached the final four times winning the title twice, and a Canadian hat-trick would give the second seeded Swiss a milestone 80th career title.

The 17-time grand slam winner sits third on the all-time title list behind only Ivan Lendl (94) and Jimmy Connors (109).

Third seed Stan Wawrinka made it a perfect evening for the Swiss as he rallied for a 4-6 6-3 7-6 (2) win over determined French qualifier Benoit Paire.

It was, however, a terrible day for the local contingent with all four homes grown players seeing action knocked out.

Vasek Pospisil, a semi-finalist in Canada a year ago who was playing his first match since losing Sunday’s Citi Open final in Washington, fell 7-5 7-5 to 12th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Joining Pospisil and Polansky at the exit were compatriots Frank Dancevic, a 5-7 6-0 6-3 loser to American Donald Young and Brayden Schnur, who dropped a 6-3 6-3 decision to Italy’s Andreas Seppi.

Latvian 11th seed Ernest Gulbis had smooth passage on another stormy day at the Rexall Tennis Centre easing past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3 6-4 while Italian 16th seed Fabio Fognini strolled past Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-4.

Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios claimed another career first with an opening round 7-6 (3) 7-5 decision over Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo to set up a second round meeting with twice grand slam winner Andy Murray.

The victory was Kyrgios’ first at the ATP World Tour Masters level but what the 19-year-old lacks in experience he more than makes up for in confidence, announcing himself ready to take on Murray, the eighth seed and a two-time Canadian champion.

In fact, it may be Murray casting a cautious eye in Kyrgios’s direction after watching the Australian beat world number one Rafa Nadal and number 14 Richard Gasquet on his unlikely march into the Wimbledon quarter-finals.


►  MURRAY WINS ROGERS CUP OPENER:  Former world No. 1 and two-time champion Andy Murray was an easy second-round winner Wednesday at the Rogers Cup, a Masters 1000 tournament.

After enjoying an opening-round bye, the eighth-seeded British star blew past promising 19-year-old Aussie wild card Nick Kyrgios 6-2, 6-2 on Day 3 at Rexall Centre.

Murray captured this event back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

Meanwhile, 13th-seeded former top-10 star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga foiled fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 on the hardcourts at this U.S. Open Series event.

Rafael Nadal beat Canada’s own Milos Raonic in last year’s final in Montreal, as this tournament shifts between Toronto and Montreal each year. An injured Nadal is not defending his title this week.

The winner of this $3.145 million tournament will earn $600,000.

 



The Gilmer Free Press

►  BOBBY’S KITTEN FAVORED IN HALL OF FAME STAKES:  Bobby’s Kitten, winner of this year’s Penn Mile, has been made the 7-5 morning line favorite for Friday’s $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Trained by Chad Brown, Bobby’s Kitten will again be ridden by Javier Castellano from the outside post in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. Seven 3-year- olds have been entered, but Matterhorn will only start if the stakes is taken off the turf for the main track.

Bobby’s Kitten, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, won the Penn Mile two starts back at Penn National as the 13-10 favorite. Most recently the colt was eighth at 4-1 in the Belmont Derby on July 5.

Bobby’s Kitten has won half of his eight career starts for $614,766.

In 2013, Bobby’s Kitten won the Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park after breaking his maiden on Saratoga’s turf course in his second lifetime start. He was the favorite in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita when he finished third behind Outstrip. This year the colt won an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs and was 12th in the Blue Grass Stakes on Keeneland’s synthetic main track.

Here is the field for the Hall of Fame from the rail out: Give No Quarter, Rajiv Maragh, 3/1; Matterhorn, main track only, 2/1; Wallyanna, Irad Ortiz Jr., 15/1; So Lonesome, Jose Lezcano, 8/1; Long On Value, John Velazquez, 5/1; Bashart, Joel Rosario, 4-1 and Bobby’s Kitten, Javier Castellano, 7/5.

The stakes will follow the induction ceremony for the class of 2014 into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are jockeys Lloyd Hughes and Alex Solis; owners/breeders E.R. Bradley and E.P. Taylor; trainer Gary Jones, and champion thoroughbreds Ashado, Clifford and Curlin. The ceremony will be held at 10:30 AM ET with the stakes going off at approximately 5:15 PM.


►  CALIFORNIA CHROME TO HAVE FRIDAY WORKOUT:  California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, is scheduled to have a Friday morning workout at Los Alamitos Race Course.

The announcement was posted on the colt’s Facebook page.

“Chrome is scheduled to work on Friday morning. From what I’ve been told visitors are allowed to watch him from the kitchen.“

Trained by Art Sherman and owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome had an unregistered workout last Friday at Los Alamitos. The colt went two furlongs in 26 seconds and galloped out in 38 4/5 seconds.

The leading 3-year-old has not started since finishing in a dead heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes on June 07. His connections are looking for one race before the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 01.

 

The Gilmer Free Press


THURSDAY, AUGUST 07, 2014


Major League Baseball - National League
NY Mets at Washington, 12:35 PM - SNY, WUSA, MASN, DSS
San Francisco at Milwaukee, 2:10 PM - CSN-Bay, DSS
Chicago Cubs at Colorado, 3:10 PM - WGN (America), DSS
Miami at Pittsburgh, 7:05 PM - FS-Florida, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS


American League
Detroit at NY Yankees, 1:05 PM - FS-Detroit, YES, DSS
Baltimore at Toronto, 7:07 PM - MASN, SNET1, DSS
Minnesota at Oakland, 10:05 PM - FS-North, CSN-California, DSS
Chicago WSox at Seattle, 10:10 PM - WGN (America), ROOT-Northwest, DSS


Interleague
Houston at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - CSN-Houston, Philadelphia, DSS
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 7:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-Ohio, DSS
Boston at St. Louis, 7:15 PM - NESN, FS-Midwest, DSS
Kansas City at Arizona, 9:40 PM - FS-Kansas City, Arizona, DSS
Los Angeles at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - SportsNet LA, FS-West, DSS


National Football League - Preseason
Indianapolis at NY Jets, 7:00 PM - WNDY, CBS2
New England at Washington, 7:30 PM - CSN-DC, NBC4, WBZ
San Francisco at Baltimore, 7:30 PM - NFL Network, KPIX, WBAL
Cincinnati at Kansas City, 8:00 PM - CBS12, KCTV
Seattle at Denver, 9:00 PM - Q13FOX, KUSA
Dallas at San Diego, 10:00 PM - NFL Network, KTVT, CBS11


Canadian Football League
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg, 8:30 PM - TSN, ESPN3.com


WNBA
Phoenix at San Antonio, 8:00 PM - FS-Arizona+, Southwest, ESPN3.com
Chicago at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
Atlanta at Seattle, 10:00 PM - LiveWell


Little League Baseball
Great Lakes Regional semifinal, 2:00 PM - ESPN
Northwest Regional semifinal, 5:00 PM - ESPN 2
Great Lakes Regional semifinal, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Northwest Regional semifinal, 9:00 PM - ESPN


Golf
PGA - PGA Championship, 1:00 PM - TNT
USGA - U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
LPGA - Meijer LPGA Classic, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel


Tennis
Rogers Cup, 1:00 PM - ESPN 2

Sports Brief - 08.06.14

The Gilmer Free Press

 



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The Gilmer Free Press

►  BEARS SUSPEND TE BENNETT AFTER PRACTICE INCIDENT:  Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was suspended Tuesday for conduct detrimental to the team after an incident in practice on Monday.

According to the club’s website, Bennett slammed rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller to the ground after the first-round pick spun the veteran around on a tackle after a reception.

The length of the suspension was not disclosed. Bennett was also fined.

Following the incident, Bears coach Marc Trestman halted practice.

“Things happen in practice, it doesn’t happen very often,“ Trestman said Monday. “Families fight, families have moments like that. We have to continue to talk through it. People get to that place sometimes and we have to let them cool down.“

Bennett is in his second season with the Bears after playing one season with the Giants and four with Dallas. He had career highs of 65 receptions for 759 yards with five touchdowns in 16 games last year.


►  PACKERS’ BARCLAY INJURES KNEE:  Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Don Barclay sustained a potentially serious injury to his right knee during Tuesday’s training camp practice session.

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Barclay tore his right anterior cruciate ligament while participating in a blitz drill.

Though the Packers have yet to provide an official diagnosis, head coach Mike McCarthy did confirm after Tuesday’s practice that Barclay, who started 14 games at right tackle in place of an injured Bryan Bulaga last season, did hurt his right knee.

“He got himself in a bad position. He’s being evaluated,“ said McCarthy. “We’ll know more probably [Tuesday night]. We’ll wait to see what we’re dealing with. They don’t come any better than him. I just hope it’s not serious.“

Barclay has made 18 starts overall since making the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and had been slated to serve as the team’s swing tackle, a role that’s now expected to be filled by 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod.


►  COOKS’ PROGRESS IN CAMP PROMISING FOR SAINTS:  New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks has been getting some extra sprints in during practice — often with the ball in his hands as he speeds away from would-be tacklers.

His performances have the Saints increasingly optimistic that their latest first-round draft pick will be an immediate, additional threat in a receiving game led primarily by Marques Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham the past few seasons.

Cooks, whose latest camp highlights include a touchdown catch during red-zone work on Tuesday, says he feels comfortable playing football at the highest level, but constantly asks veteran teammates to scrutinize every mistake he makes so he can keep improving.

Saints safety Jairus Byrd says Cooks does “a lot of the little things well” and is “mature beyond his years.“


►  SAINTS OWNER BENSON TREATED FOR BREATHING TROUBLE:  Saints owner Tom Benson has been treated and released from a hospital after he had trouble breathing while watching practice.

Team spokesman Greg Bensel says the 87-year-old Benson is “fine” after being given oxygen. Bensel says doctors at a hospital in Lewisburg put Benson through a series of tests and “did not find any issues or complications.“

Bensel says Benson apparently has struggled with the altitude and dehydration at times during training camp in the Allegheny Mountains. The Saints’ practice fields are at an elevation of about 2,000 feet, whereas much of New Orleans is at sea level.

Benson also was treated for similar dehydration symptoms on July 29, but hasn’t missed any training camp practices, which began on July 25.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  PARKER WEDS FRENCH GIRLFRIEND:  NBA star Tony Parker married his French girlfriend Axelle Francine in Texas over the weekend, People magazine has reported.

The 32-year-old San Antonio Spurs point guard and Francine, a journalist, were wed on Saturday, after a party two nights before with close friends and family in the Texas city, the celebrity magazine said.

Parker and Francine welcomed their first child, Josh, in April.

The French NBA star, a 13-year veteran whose Spurs won the National Basketball Association championship this year, signed a contract extension last week reportedly worth about $45 million over three years.

Parker was previously married to U.S. actress Eva Longoria. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2011. He met Francine that same year.

Parker, who led the Spurs in scoring for the fourth consecutive season, was San Antonio’s lone player in last season’s NBA All-Star Game. He has won four titles with the team.


►  PHOENIX SUNS P.J. TUCKER GETS JAIL TIME FOR DRUNK DRIVING IN ARIZONA:  Phoenix Suns basketball forward P.J. Tucker was sentenced on Monday to three days in jail and 11 days of house arrest after pleading guilty to “super extreme” drunk driving in Arizona, one of his attorneys said.

Tucker, considered a team leader by insiders, signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the National Basketball Association franchise in July after a season in which he averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds a game.

On Monday, a Scottsdale judge put the 29-year-old on probation for five years, placed him on a substance abuse screening and counseling program and said he must carry a breathalyzer, or ignition interlock device, in his car for 18 months, his lawyer Melanie Beauchamp said.

He had been arrested and released from jail in May after trying to drive home from the W Scottsdale Hotel after a night out, according to a police report.

Tucker’s blood-alcohol level was .222% in a blood test, or nearly three times the legal limit. “Super extreme” driving under the influence is .20 or above under Arizona law.

Lon Babby, president of the Suns basketball operations, said in a statement on Monday the team is convinced that Tucker is remorseful and that he will “take the necessary steps to avoid any such conduct in the future”.

In a statement, Tucker said: “I am truly sorry and I take full responsibility for my actions. It is now my responsibility to examine my life and make the changes necessary to ensure this never happens again.“


►  SPURS NAME BECKY HAMMON ASSISTANT COACH:  The San Antonio Spurs named Becky Hammon as an assistant coach on Tuesday.

Hammon will become the first female coach in the NBA since Lisa Boyer served on John Lucas’ staff with Cleveland in 2001-02.

In July, the Los Angeles Clippers named Natalie Nakase an assistant coach for summer league games, but she is not expected to be named an assistant for the regular season.

Hammon currently plays for the San Antonio Stars in the WNBA. She will retire as a player when the season comes to an end.

A 16-year WNBA veteran, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games (445).

“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,“ said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.“

A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon has spent the last eight seasons with the Stars after going undrafted in the 1999 WNBA Draft and spending the first eight years of her career with the New York Liberty.

She is the Stars’ all-time leader in assists (1,112) and 3-point field goals made (493) while ranking second in franchise history in points (3,442) and games (218).

In her WNBA career, Hammon has averages of 13.1 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds. She has earned All-WNBA First Team honors twice (in 2007 and 2009) and was named to the All-WNBA Second Team in 2005 and 2008.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  BIOGENESIS FOUNDER BOSCH TAKEN INTO CUSTODY:  A year after Major League Baseball handed down suspensions related to the Biogenesis steroid scandal, Tony Bosch, the defunct Florida clinic’s founder, was taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration officials.

United States attorney Wilfredo A. Ferrer stated in a news conference that Bosch and six others were arrested Tuesday and will be charged with conspiracy to distribute steroids.

“These defendants were motivated by one thing, money,“ said Ferrer on Tuesday. “Neither Bosch, nor any of his co-defendants, were licensed or had authority to sell (controlled substances).“

A total of 13 players, including Alex Rodriguez, were suspended last August 5. Rodriguez received an unprecedented 211-game suspension, while the other 12 were banned for 50 games.

Rodriguez’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, was also arrested Tuesday as part the investigation the DEA called “Operation Strikeout.“ Sucart, according to Ferrer, worked as a professional athlete recruiter for Bosch.

Special agent Mark R. Trouville detailed the DEA’s work, saying Bosch supplied customers, including high school students, with testosterone and human growth hormone from black market distributors.

Major League Baseball players and other athletes were among those interviewed by DEA agents, Trouville said. The high school players, who ranged from 15 to 17 years old in the south Florida area, were told by Bosch that his program was safe and undetectable.

“Mr. Bosch is not a licensed medical professional, he is a drug dealer,“ Trouville said.

Bosch was paid anywhere from a few thousand dollars to up to $12,000 per month by his customers.

Both Trouville and Ferrer said Bosch and his associates also developed a program in the Dominican Republic that provided PEDs to prospective baseball players in their teenage years to prepare for the Major League Baseball draft.

Bosch, after initially declining to work with Major League Baseball in its investigation, finally began to cooperate. It led to the massive suspensions from last year.

Others suspended last August from the Biogenesis investigation were Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Fautino De Los Santos, Francisco Cervelli, Fernando Martinez, Antonio Bastardo, Jesus Montero, Sergio Escalona, Jordany Valdespin, Cesar Puello and Jordan Norberto.

Three other players involved in the Biogenesis case—Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal—also served 50-game sentences for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs prior to the August penalties.

Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, accepted a 65-game suspension last July after also being involved with Biogenesis.

MLB’s investigation began following a January 2013 report in the Miami New Times, detailing Rodriguez’s association with Bosch.


►  PADRES ASSISTANT GM HINCH LEAVES TEAM:  San Diego Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch has decided to leave the organization.

Hinch, a former manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is departing to pursue other opportunities in baseball, effective immediately.

“I want to thank A.J. for his hard work and commitment to the Padres over the past four years,“ said Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler in a statement Tuesday. “He has represented the organization well, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.“

Hinch was working with assistant GM Fred Uhlman Jr. and senior vice president of baseball operations Omar Minaya to direct the club’s baseball operations in the wake of the June firing of general manager Josh Byrnes.

“During my time in San Diego, I dedicated myself to do everything I could to help this team win, in the short-term and for the long-term,“ said Hinch. “These last several weeks were no exception. I think the organization is ready for a transition and I’ve made a decision and told Ron Fowler and (team president) Mike Dee that now is the right time for me to move on. I’m proud to have always operated in the best interest of the organization and to have established long lasting relationships with people who work on and off the field in San Diego. I wish the Padres and the new GM well in the future and look forward to the next chapter of my baseball career.“

Hinch joined the Padres in September 2010 as vice president of pro scouting and moved into his role as assistant GM a year later. He was the manager of the Diamondbacks from May 8, 2009 through July 1, 2010 when Byrnes was Arizona’s GM. He and Byrnes were fired in Arizona on the same day.


►  PIRATES’ MCCUTCHEN HAS FRACTURED RIB:  Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington announced Tuesday that center fielder Andrew McCutchen is dealing with a fractured left rib, though the reigning National League MVP will avoid a stint on the disabled list for now.

The injury, which Huntington termed to be an avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of his 11th rib, forced McCutchen to exit the Pirates’ contest at Arizona on Sunday. The All-Star outfielder winced in pain while running to first base after delivering a game-tying sacrifice fly in the eighth inning of Pittsburgh’s eventual 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks, then walked slowly into the clubhouse while being assisted.

It is unclear as to whether or not McCutchen initially broke his ribs while being hit in the back by a pitch from Arizona’s Randall Delgado in the ninth inning of Saturday’s matchup between the teams. The act was in apparent retaliation for Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt breaking his hand when struck by a pitch by the Pirates’ Ernesto Frieri in Friday’s series opener.

McCutchen did have three at-bats without incident prior to leaving Sunday’s game on his fourth trip to the plate.

The Pirates have yet to determine a timetable for how long McCutchen, who currently ranks fourth in the NL with a .311 average and 67 RBI, will be sidelined. He is not in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against Miami.

“We want to take the appropriate time to make the best possible decision for Andrew and for the Pirates,“ said Huntington. “We will have an additional updates as applicable.“

The Pirates are presently right in the thick of both the NL Central and Wild Card races, trailing first-place Milwaukee by just 1 1/2 games in the division and entering play Tuesday only a half-game behind St. Louis for the final Wild Card spot.


►  BREWERS PLACE GARZA ON DL:  The Milwaukee Brewers placed pitcher Matt Garza on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain on Tuesday.

The move is retroactive to August 4.

Garza started and threw six scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, but was pinch-hit for in the seventh. After the game, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke stated that the right-hander was injured near the end of the sixth inning.

Garza is 7-7 with a 3.58 earned run average in 23 starts this season.

In a corresponding move, the Brewers recalled pitcher Rob Wooten from Triple-A Nashville.

Wooten is 1-4 with 16 runs allowed and 29 strikeouts in 33 innings over 37 games with the Brewers this season.


►  BACK SURGERY FOR VICTORINO:  Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino will need back surgery.

The Red Sox said Victorino will undergo a procedure on Tuesday in Los Angeles, likely ending his 2014 season.

Victorino was placed on the disabled list last Friday with a lower back strain after two prior DL stints this season for a hamstring injury. He has appeared in just 30 games this year and is batting .268 with a pair of homers, 12 runs batted in and 14 runs scored.


►  BLUE JAYS’ LAWRIE SET TO RETURN:  The Toronto Blue Jays will be getting one of their key injured players back for their critical three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles.

The team activated Brett Lawrie from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, with the infielder expected to be in the lineup for Toronto’s series opener against the Orioles.

Lawrie has been sidelined since June 22, when he fractured his right index finger after being hit by a pitch from Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.

Toronto held a 1 1/2-game lead atop the American League East at the time of Lawrie’s injury, but have since fallen four games behind Baltimore for first place in the division after losing him as well as sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind.

Lawrie has slugged a career-high 12 home runs in 69 games this season, while batting .244 with 38 RBI.

Infielder Steve Tolleson was placed on the paternity list prior to Tuesday’s game to open up a roster spot.


►  PIRATES ACTIVATE MARTE FROM CONCUSSION DL:  The Pittsburgh Pirates activated outfielder Starling Marte from the seven-day concussion disabled list prior to Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins.

Marte was placed on the DL on July 23, a few days after being hit in the head by a fastball in a game against the Colorado Rockies.

The 25-year-old is hitting .255 with five home runs and 34 RBI over 86 games this season, his third with the Pirates.

To make room on the roster, the Pirates placed Pedro Alvarez on the bereavement list.

Alvarez is batting .234 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 104 games.


►  TRIBE RELEASES MORGAN:  The Cleveland Indians have released outfielder Nyjer Morgan.

Morgan played in just 15 games with the Indians this season, hitting .341 with one homer and six RBI.

He’s been on the disabled list since May 15 with a sprained right knee.

The Indians also recalled pitcher Josh Tomlin from Triple-A Columbus to start Tuesday’s game against the Reds.

Tomlin has not started since July 25 when he allowed four runs—three earned—on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings against Kansas City. He is 5-7 with a 4.47 earned run average on the year.

To open a spot on the active roster for Tomlin, the Indians optioned outfielder Tyler Holt to Columbus.


►  NATS ACQUIRE YANKS RELIEVER THORNTON OFF WAIVERS:  The Washington Nationals acquired relief pitcher Matt Thornton off waivers from the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

The left-hander went 0-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 24 2/3 innings over 46 appearances with the Yankees this season.

In other roster news for the Nationals, pitcher Taylor Jordan was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

To replace Thornton on their roster, the Yankees signed pitcher Rich Hill. The left-hander made just two appearances with the Angels earlier this season and failed to get an out, allowing one hit and walking three.


►  NATS PUT RAMOS ON PATERNITY LEAVE:  Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been placed on paternity leave.

Ramos and his wife are expecting their first child.

In 50 games for the Nats this season, Ramos is batting .295 with four homers and 26 runs batted in.

The Nationals recalled catcher Sandy Leon from Triple-A Syracuse to fill the roster spot. He has appeared in 18 games for the Nats this season and has a homer and three RBI.


►  MARLINS REMOVE TURNER FROM ROSTER:  The Miami Marlins designated pitcher Jacob Turner for assignment Tuesday, two days after the former first-round pick was roughed up in his most recent start.

Turner, who is just 4-7 with a 5.97 ERA while shifting between the rotation and the bullpen this season, is out of minor league options, meaning he will have to pass through waivers for the Marlins to keep him in the organization.

The 23-year-old had been considered one of Miami’s top pitching prospects after being acquired by the Marlins as part of the July 2012 trade that sent established veterans Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers. Turner has gone just 8-19 since the deal, however, and owns a 9-21 record with a 4.77 ERA over 53 major league appearances (45 starts).

Turner had won back-to-back outings heading into Sunday’s start against Cincinnati, but was tagged for five runs and nine hits while lasting only four innings.

Pitcher Brian Flynn, who also came over to the Marlins in the Sanchez/Infante trade, was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans in a corresponding move.

Flynn has compiled a 7-8 record with a 4.00 ERA in 21 starts for the Zephyrs this season. The 6-foot-7 lefty made four starts for Miami last September, but was rocked for 17 runs over a combined 18 innings.


►  CUBS CALL UP BAEZ:  The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of prized infield prospect Javier Baez from Triple-A Iowa prior to Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.

The Cubs’ first-round pick in 2011, Baez entered 2014 ranked as the club’s number one prospect by Baseball America after being named the organization’s player of the year in 2013.

In 104 games with Iowa this season, Baez hit .260 with 24 doubles, 23 home runs and 80 RBI.

Baez batted .278 with 73 doubles, 76 home runs, 238 RBI and 62 stolen bases in 319 minor league games over the last four seasons.

The Cubs also optioned pitcher Blake Parker to Iowa. The right-hander was 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA in nine games with the Cubs this season.


►  PHILLIES RECALL BUCHANAN:  The Philadelphia Phillies recalled pitcher David Buchanan from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros.

The Phillies needed a replacement for Cliff Lee in their starting rotation. Lee was placed on the 15-day disabled list after exiting Thursday’s game against the Washington Nationals in the third inning.

Buchanan is 5-5 with a 4.40 earned run average in 10 starts with the Phillies this season.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NEYMAR BACK INJURY HEALING ‘SATISFACTORILY’:  Neymar’s injured back is healing “satisfactorily” although there is no specific date for the Brazil forward to return to training, his club Barcelona said on Tuesday.

Neymar fractured a bone in his back following a challenge from Colombia defender Juan Zuniga in last month’s World Cup quarter-final and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

The 22-year-old, who has targeted a return to action in a friendly on August 18, had tests on his return to Barca after his post-World Cup holiday and the club said the results were “satisfactory”.

“The player will follow a specific recovery program,“ Barca said on their website www.fcbarcelona.es.

“The progress of the injury will determine when he returns to training,“ they added.

Barca play a friendly against Italian Serie A side Napoli in Geneva on Wednesday and said midfielder Xavi and defender Jeremy Mathieu, a new signing from Valencia, are unavailable due to minor muscle problems.

Argentina pair Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano and Brazil full back Daniel Alves, who only returned to training on Tuesday, were not included in the squad for the trip to Switzerland.

Barca begin their La Liga campaign at home to Elche on August 24.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  MAN UNITED RALLY FOR 3-1 FRIENDLY WIN OVER LIVERPOOL:  Second-half strikes from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard earned Manchester United a morale boosting 3-1 win over Premier League rivals Liverpool in the final of the pre-season International Champions Cup in Miami on Monday.

United end their U.S. tour unbeaten under new manager Louis van Gaal and a victory over their old rivals was perhaps the sweetest way to sign off. They will now return to England to finish off preparations for the new Premier League season, which starts on August 16.

Despite the win, Dutchman Van Gaal was in no mood to go overboard about his team’s pre-season, which also included a 3-1 victory over European champions Real Madrid on Saturday.

Asked what the value of the tournament win was, Van Gaal said: “Nothing. It’s nice, nice for the fans in the U.S. and also at home, that we have beaten Liverpool, not our favorite opponents for United fans, and I think we have given a lot of pleasure to these fans and that is important.

“Of course it is better to win preparation games than to lose but the most important game is against Swansea City, our first game, at home, in the Premier League - that we have to win,“ he added.

Both managers went with their strongest possible teams for the game, played in front of 51,000 fans at a rainy Sun Life stadium in Miami.

Liverpool began brightly and took the lead in the 14th minute when the lively Raheem Sterling was brought down in the area by United defender Phil Jones and skipper Steven Gerrard drilled home the penalty.

The Merseyside team should have doubled their advantage shortly after half-time but Rickie Lambert fluffed his shot after finding space inside the area.

United equalized in the 55th minute when Mexican forward Javier Hernandez delivered a cross deep to the back post and Rooney coolly side-footed home a cushioned volley from a tight angle.

Two minutes later, Mata’s well-struck effort from the edge of the box took a slight deflection off Mamadou Sakho and beat Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Manchester United had the ball in the net again after a high cross from Ashley Young looped over Mignolet and appeared to bounce back off the woodwork to Rooney, who side-footed home.

American referee Mark Geiger signaled a goal but images on the stadium’s giant screen showed the ball had gone over the bar and bounced back off the stanchion.

After consulting with his linesman, Geiger changed his decision and ruled out the goal.

United did get a third two minutes from time, substitute Lingard blasting home from 18 yards to seal the win and wrap up the eight-team tournament victory.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt the scoreline was unfair on his team, who could have had a second penalty in the first half after Ander Herrera’s challenge on Sterling.

“Overall I am delighted with the whole tournament what it has done for us,“ he added. “We have been away a long time, we have worked very, very hard ... we have some positives and we look forward to the new season.“

United start their league campaign against Swansea on August 16 at Old Trafford while Liverpool face Southampton at Anfield the following day.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  ECCLESTONE TRIAL HALTED AFTER F1 BOSS AGREES TO $100 MILLION SETTLEMENT:  A German court on Tuesday halted a bribery trial against Bernie Ecclestone in exchange for his paying a $100 million fee, under the terms of a settlement struck agreed by prosecutors and the chief executive of Formula One.

Such an agreement is possible in German law, depending on the charges. It means the 83-year-old Ecclestone preserves his innocence and is spared the prospect of a lengthy trial.

Judge Peter Noll told the court the suspicion of bribery against Ecclestone could not, by and large, be backed up in a trial. He gave Ecclestone one week to pay $100 million - $99 million to the state and $1 million to a children’s charity.

“The trial is temporarily suspended until you’ve honored your commitments and then it’ll be permanently discontinued,“ Noll said. “If you don’t honor your commitments, we’ll continue the trial. I assume we’ll only ever see each other again on TV.“

Ecclestone, 83, replied in English: “Thank you very much. I will honor my commitment.“

Ecclestone went on trial in April over allegations he paid a $44 million bribe to a former German banker to facilitate the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years ago.

Ecclestone, a former used car salesman who became a billionaire by building the sport into a global money spinner over the past four decades, denied any wrongdoing.

The state prosecutor told the court earlier on Tuesday that due to Ecclestone’s “advanced age” and “other extenuating circumstances”, they supported the proposed settlement.

“The charges could not, in important areas, be substantiated,“ Judge Noll said. He added that any other charges against Ecclestone that remained were not so serious as to warrant the continuation of the trial.

Ecclestone’s lawyers applauded the settlement after the court heard more than 100 hours of testimony. “A conviction of Mr. Ecclestone could not be expected with any likelihood,“ his lawyers said in a joint statement.

They also dismissed the suggestion that Ecclestone had bought his way out of the trial.

“Through this abandonment, the presumption of innocence in favor of Mr. Ecclestone remains intact ... The monetary compensation is geared to his income and financial situation.“

Private equity group CVC, the largest shareholder in Formula One with a stake of 35%, has said it would have fired Ecclestone if he were found guilty.

The state prosecutor added that during the course of the trial it was becoming increasingly clear that the bribery charges would be difficult to prove.

GERMAN LAW

If he had been found guilty, the British billionaire could have faced up to 10 years in jail, although a prison term would have been unlikely.

Under German law, judges, prosecutors and the defense can agree to dismiss a case or settle it with a light punishment, although terms for such an agreement are strictly defined.

A spokeswoman for the Munich court, Andrea Titz, said a settlement did not mean there was an admission of guilt.

“With this type of ending ... there is no ruling on guilt or innocence of the defendant,“ she told reporters. “He is neither acquitted nor judged - rather this is a special type of ending a procedure which is in theory available to all types of cases.“

Ecclestone is accused of channeling cash to jailed BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale of a major stake in the business by the bank to private equity fund CVC, which became the largest shareholder in Formula One in 2006.

Ecclestone was accompanied at the trial his wife, Fabiana Flosi, who watched from the spectator section of the court.

Despite his age, Ecclestone attends almost every Grand Prix and remains central to the sport’s commercial success. He has always dismissed talk of retirement and has no obvious replacement ready to take over when he does finally quit or get forced out.

The German law is intended to ease the burden on courts of hearing relatively minor cases and to spare first-time offenders a criminal record. The sums agreed under the settlement are often paid to the state or charity organizations.

According to German broadcaster ARD, the procedure was used by ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl in 2001 to end a trial for accepting illegal party donations and by ex-defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to prevent charges of copyright infringement in his dissertation.

Former cyclist Jan Ullrich also paid to halt a German investigation into doping charges.


►  FIVE RACES LEFT TO DECIDE CHASE FIELD:  The race to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship is really heating up now.

Five positions in the Chase are up for grabs with five races remaining before the 16-driver field is set. The Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen for its second and final road-course event of the season. After Watkins Glen, the series moves on to Michigan, Bristol and Atlanta before the 26-race regular season concludes on Sept. 6 at Richmond.

Following this past Sunday’s race at Pocono, seven drivers have clinched a spot in the playoffs for NASCAR’s premier series. They are: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick, assuming they all attempt to qualify for each of the last five races in the regular season.

All seven drivers have multiple victories this season. By virtue of his three wins and current second-place in the point standings, Earnhardt holds the top spot on NASCAR’s “Chase Grid.“ He won the Daytona 500 and scored a season- sweep at Pocono.

Gordon currently holds the lead in the point standings, but his two wins (Kansas and Indianapolis) have him ranked fifth on the Chase grid.

Having one victory each in 2014, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch have all but assured themselves a position in the Chase.

Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, rookie Kyle Larson and Greg Biffle have not won a race this season, but they presently hold the five provisional spots in the Chase.

Sitting fourth, Kenseth is the highest-ranked driver in the point standings that doesn’t have a victory. He led the series with seven wins last year. Kenseth finished 38th at Pocono after being involved in the 13-car accident late in the race.

Newman, in his first season with Richard Childress Racing, finished eighth at Pocono and moved from seventh to fifth in points (26 behind Kenseth).

Bowyer’s fourth-place run last weekend marked his first top-five finish since June 1 at Dover. He moved up one spot in points to ninth.

We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing,“ said Bowyer, who qualified for the Chase in 2012 and ‘13, his first two seasons with Michael Waltrip Racing. “There are some things that we need to work on and some areas that we need to work on.“

Larson is trying to become just the second driver to qualify for the Chase in his rookie season. Hamlin first did it in 2006. Right now, Larson is 12th in the point standings and holds the penultimate spot on the Chase grid.

“We’ll keep working hard the next several weeks for a win and a spot in the Chase,“ Larson said.

Larson scored his first career pole in Sprint Cup at Pocono but finished 11th in the race.

Greg Biffle’s fifth-place finish there not only moved him from 16th to 13th in points but also gave him the final provisional spot on the Chase grid. However, the battle between Biffle and Kasey Kahne for the 16th position is very tight, as only one point separate the two. Kahne placed 10th at Pocono.

With five races left, there’s more pressure for some drivers to win rather than rely on points to get them into the Chase.

“That’s been the discussion all along is, ‘What would you do for a win?‘,“ Biffle said. “I would do anything for a win. We’re running as hard as we can every single lap to get every position.“

Biffle has not won since June 2013 at Michigan (42 races ago), while Kahne’s last victory occurred one year ago at Pocono (36-race winless streak).

“I think Watkins Glen is one of my tougher tracks, Kahne said. “It’s going to be a place that we need to work really hard on to perform. After that - Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond - all of those tracks we have won at and ran really well at. I look forward to each one of those tracks and feel like we can definitely still make the Chase.“

Rookie Austin Dillon is just two points behind Biffle. Other drivers who are not too far away from the Chase grid include: Paul Menard (trails Biffle by 28 points), Marcos Ambrose (-49), Brian Vickers (-51), three-time series champion Tony Stewart (-53) and Jamie McMurray (-54).

Stewart and Vickers were also caught up in the big crash at Pocono.

As a road-course expert, Ambrose’s best shot of winning a race within the next five weeks will be Watkins Glen, where he scored back-to-back victories from 2011-12.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  AN INTERESTING THEORY EXPLAINS WHY TIGER WOODS KEEPS GETTING HURT:  In his column about the new back injury that forced Tiger Woods to withdraw from the WGC Firestone on Sunday, Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports outlines an off-beat but plausible explanation for why Tiger keeps getting hurt.

It comes from “The Big Miss,“ a tell-all book by Tiger’s old swing coach Hank Haney.

According to Haney, Tiger was always fighting against the stereotype that golfers weren’t “real athletes.“ He got himself in ridiculous shape, did Navy SEAL training workouts, and generally did everything he could to convince people that he was as athletic as an NBA or NFL player.

As a part of that, he took pride in his injuries.

From Haney’s book:

“Of course, Tiger still could have worsened his knee with heavy workouts or Navy SEALs activities. But Tiger preferred that people see his injuries related to his sport, so that he could wear them as a badge of honor. To him, injuries were a way of being accepted into the fraternity of superstars who played more physical sports than golf. For example, a couple of times when I knew he’d just gotten off the phone with Derek Jeter, I’d asked what they had talked about. Both times Tiger said the conversation was about injuries they were each dealing with. Once in the clubhouse at Isleworth, Shaquille O’Neal came by the lunch table and exchanged pleasantries with Tiger. When Tiger asked him how he was doing, Shaq said, ‘Trying to get through this thing with my knee,‘ and Tiger had nodded knowingly.“

This passage comes after Haney argues that Tiger consistently risked injury with a training program that was unnecessarily hard on his body.

As the theory goes, Tiger sees injuries as an element of his legitimacy as an athlete. That’s why he keeps working out like crazy and refuses to wait until his body is fully healed to come back.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  BEAL, WALL, MILLSAP CUT FROM USA BASKETBALL SQUAD:  USA Basketball trimmed its roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, cutting John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Millsap on Tuesday.

A total of 16 players are still competing for 12 spots on the team that will play in Spain later this summer.

The remaining finalists are DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kevin Durant, Kenneth Faried, James Harden, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, Chandler Parsons, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson and Mason Plumlee.

“All 16 guys have a chance to make to the team, which usually does not happen in a training camp, and it shows that all of the guys thus far have done an excellent job,“ said Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski in a statement Tuesday. “Then it’s just a matter of finding what chemistry that we can develop with the entire group and I don’t think we’ll know that until we play some exhibition games. The 16 guys give us a chance to look at a way of playing in a number of different ways and we just have to figure out what those ways are and then the 12 who will fit best.“

Plumlee was an addition to the roster, which lost Paul George to a broken leg during Saturday’s scrimmage at the conclusion of the team’s training camp in Las Vegas.

“The ending to our Las Vegas training camp with the injury to Paul George was very emotional for everyone involved in USA Basketball,“ said managing director Jerry Colangelo in a statement Tuesday. “I very much appreciate the outpouring of support Paul and USA Basketball has received the past couple of days from the basketball world.“

There had been speculation that some of the team members might pull out in the wake of George’s gruesome injury. The Pacers star landed awkwardly against the stanchion behind the basket, snapping his tibia and fibula. He underwent surgery Saturday night and could be sidelined for the entire 2014-15 season.

“Past Olympic coaches and some of our past Olympic and world championship players have reached out offering their continued support and that’s very important,“ Colangelo added. “Paul’s injury was an extremely unfortunate occurrence; it was truly a freak accident. We’re all very pleased that his recovery is going well.“

Wall and Millsap were late replacements after Kevin Love and Blake Griffin withdrew from consideration.

“We’ve said all along that we would be proud to have any of the players who were in Las Vegas represent USA Basketball and the United States,“ Colangelo stated. “This phase of the selection process was extremely difficult and very thorough, and it’s worth again mentioning that we are looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players. We’re pleased with where we are at this point of our training and we’re looking forward to getting back on the court and continuing our preparations to represent the United States at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.“

Practice will begin August 14 in Chicago. A pair of exhibition games are slated for Madison Square Garden in New York on August 20 and August 22.

The FIBA World Cup, previously known as the World Championship, will be held August 30-September 14.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NISHIKORI DOUBTFUL FOR U.S. OPEN WITH TOE INJURY:  Kei Nishikori faces a race against time to be fit for this month’s U.S. Open after the Japanese world number 11 was ruled out of action for three weeks with a toe injury.

The 24-year-old, the first Japanese to break into the top 10 of the men’s singles rankings, received treatment on the big toe of his right foot and would require three weeks to recover, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

The injury rules Nishikori out of warm-up tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati with his management company also unable to confirm his participation in the final major of the year starting on August 25 in New York.

“He will return to the court as soon as possible,“ the company said in a statement.

The injury-prone Nishikori lost to Briton Daniel Evans in the first round of the U.S. Open last year.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  UP THE BACKSTRETCH: UPSETS TAKING ITS TOLL ON LEADERS:  Forget about having a clear cut leader among this year’s thoroughbreds going into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita this autumn.

Upsets in some of the summer’s major stakes races have already taken a toll on the leading horses as Labor Day quickly arrives.

Just this past Saturday at Saratoga, previously undefeated and top ranked Palace Malice finished a tiring sixth as the 3-5 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile, $1.5 million Whitney Handicap. The 4-year-old colt, trained by Todd Pletcher for Dogwood Stable, failed to stay with frontrunner Moreno as the 10-1 longshot drove to a 1 1/4-length victory.

“I don’t know what went wrong,“ said Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rode Palace Malice. “He didn’t run at all. He was in perfect position. On the backstretch he was looking around. I was hoping by the half-mile he’d move on, but he never showed any interest. He went through the whole race not paying any attention. He trained great, he warmed up great; he just didn’t run.“

Palace Malice had been leading the NTRA Poll since winning the Met Mile on the Belmont Stakes program. He also had the benefit of having two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan sidelined after colic surgery. But, Pletcher’s colt has been winning impressively this year through the first four starts.

“Sometimes they throw in a dud, and right now it looks like that’s what he did,“ said Pletcher.

It was Pletcher’s 4-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar who got beat three weeks earlier in the Delaware Handicap as the 1-5 favorite. Belle Gallantey, the 6-1 second pick, got the best of the ‘Princess’ and put Close Hatches alone as the top older female.

“I thought that over on that far turn she had the opportunity to go through and just didn’t, and that happens,“ noted ‘Princess’ primary owner Ed Stanco That’s the part I was surprised about but what can you do? That’s racing. And then she started to come on again but the race was over at that time.“

In the Haskell Invitational, two divisions were affected by the surprising result. Leading 3-year-old filly Untapable was the 7-5 favorite versus eight males, but could no better than fifth behind 9-2 second choice Bayern.

“We had the widest trip of everybody; she ran a hell of a race and ran as hard as she could,“ the filly’s rider Rose Napravnik said.

In California, Game On Dude will return in the Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 24 for his first start since dropping the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome has been biding his time at Los Alamitos since finishing in a dead heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes. He’s training at his home base but when he’s coming back to the races is only a guess.

Almost the only major thoroughbred not to lose this year, in addition to Close Hatches, is defending two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan. However, the 7- year-old gelding has been away for three months following emergency surgery. He is expected to start at Saratoga on August 30 in either the Bernard Baruch Stakes on turf or the Woodward on the main track.

The Gilmer Free Press


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 06, 2014


Major League Baseball - National League
Miami at Pittsburgh, 7:05 PM - FS-Florida, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
NY Mets at Washington, 7:05 PM - SNY, MASN2, DSS
San Francisco at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM - CSN-Bay, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Chicago Cubs at Colorado, 8:40 PM - CSN-Chicago, ROOT-Rocky Mountain, DSS


American League
Texas at Chicago WSox, 2:10 PM - FS-Southwest, CSN-Chicago, DSS
Tampa Bay at Oakland, 3:35 PM - SunSports, DSS
Detroit at NY Yankees, 7:05 PM - FS-Detroit, YES, DSS
Baltimore at Toronto, 7:07 PM - MASN, SNET-1, DSS


Interleague
San Diego at Minnesota, 1:10 PM - FS-San Diego, DSS
Atlanta at Seattle, 3:40 PM - SportSouth, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Houston at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM - CSN-Houston, Philadelphia, DSS
Cleveland at Cincinnati, 7:10 PM - SportsTime Ohio, FS-Ohio, DSS
Boston at St. Louis, 8:15 PM - NESN, FS-Midwest, DSS, ESPN
Kansas City at Arizona, 9:40 PM - FS-Kansas City, Arizona, DSS
Los Angeles at LA Angels, 10:05 PM - SportsNet LA, FS-West, DSS


Major League Soccer
FC Bayern Munich vs. MLS All-Stars, 9:30 PM - ESPN 2


International Soccer
Napoli vs. Barcelona, 1:55 PM - beIN Sport


Little League Baseball
Midwest Regional semifinal, 11:00 AM - ESPN 2
Midwest Regional semifinal, 1:00 PM - ESPN 2
Southeast Regional semifinal, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2
Southeast Regional semifinal, 5:00 PM - ESPN 2
Southwest Regional final, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2


Golf
USGA - U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel

 

WVSSAC Works to Improve Athlete Safety

The Gilmer Free Press

The WVSSAC Sports Medicine Committee is continuing discussions on health and safety related issues for student athletes in member high and middle schools. The committee, consisting of medical doctors, certified athletic trainers, physical therapist and chiropractors meets several times each year.

The WVSSAC has been a national leader in developing the return-to-play protocol for athletes who have been identified with signs or symptoms of a concussion. The committee has turned its attention to developing a template for schools to review their emergency action plans during interscholastic activities.

This emergency action plan would include sudden cardiac arrest awareness and the use of AED’s.  Dr. Greg Elkins of Hamlin, a member of the National Federation of High School State Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, as well as the WVSSAC Sports Medicine Committee, said, “The development and implementation of emergency action plans (EAPs) for interscholastic practices and games is extremely important for us in West Virginia where very few schools have athletic trainers for all sports. Understanding and practicing what to do in an emergency can decrease the time before treatment is started which has been proven to save lives.”

Gary Ray, SSAC Executive Director said, “We need to provide the leadership to ensure that our student athletes and fans attending the games are as safe as possible. This committee is invaluable in researching and recommending the necessary direction to provide a safe environment. Any activity has inherent risks but with the assistance of these medical professionals we hope to minimize that risk”.

Recently the Sports Medicine Committee developed guidelines for heat and hydration and reviewed the annual physical exam forms to include information to parents about concussions. The committee is studying the impact of the new program implemented by U.S.A. Youth Football, “Heads Up Football,” which hopes to change coaching techniques, as well as player and parent attitudes towards football safety at all youth levels.

Dr. Dan Martin, Professor of Exercise Science and Athletic Training at West Virginia Wesleyan College, annually collects data from member schools to examine the nature and severity of interscholastic related injuries during competition and practice. This information helps the committee to discuss potential high risk behaviors and recommend changes to the rules governing sports activities.

Ray said, “This may well be the most important committee that serves the WVSSAC. Without their leadership and dedication, we could not be able to provide coaches, officials, school administrators, athletes and parents the most updated information regarding sports related health and safety issues”.

World Cup 2014: Germany Pulls Off Last-Minute Win Over Argentina in Final

The Gilmer Free Press

With two quick touches, Mario Goetze ended Germany’s 24-year wait for another World Cup title.

Goetze scored the winning goal in extra time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday in a tight and tense World Cup final that came down to one piece of individual skill.

Goetze, who wasn’t born when West Germany beat Argentina in the 1990 final, controlled a cross with his chest in the 113th minute and in one fluid motion volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Sergio Romero and inside the far post.

It was a goal that gave Germany its fourth World Cup title in its eighth final, and left Argentina star Lionel Messi still walking in the shadow of his compatriot Diego Maradona, who led his country to the 1986 title.

Goetze had come on as a substitute for Miroslav Klose toward the end of regulation time and the 22-year-old midfielder’s fresh legs made the difference.

Andre Schuerrle broke down the left flank, sending his cross into the area, and the Bayern Munich player did the rest with a clinical finish. The goal echoed that of Andres Iniesta’s four years ago, when the midfielder scored in similar fashion but from the other side of the area to give Spain a 1-0 extra time win over the Netherlands.

For Germany, the win ends a string of near misses since winning its last major title at the 1996 European Championship. The team lost the 2002 World Cup final to Brazil and lost in the semifinals in both 2006 and 2010.

It is Germany’s first World Cup title as a unified nation, having won as West Germany in 1954, 1974 and 1990. It was also the third World Cup final between these countries and had been billed as a matchup between the perfect team and the perfect individual, pitting Germany’s machine-like unit against the brilliance of Messi, the four-time world player of the year.

But in the biggest game of his career, Messi came up short.

He had one good chance to score when he was sent free in the area just after the halftime break, but sent his shot wide of the far post. It was a difficult angle, but still the type of chance he so often converts for Barcelona.

Messi threatened intermittently throughout the match, but was effectively neutralized for long stretches. When he did try to break forward with one of his quick dribbles, he was surrounded by the German defense.

His free kick in the 120th minute went well high.

When the final whistle blew, Germany players collapsed in a pile in the middle of the pitch, while Messi walked with his hands on his hips toward the center circle.

Messi, who scored four goals in the group stage but none in the knockout rounds, then had to trudge alone up the stairs of the Maracana Stadium to accept the Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player, shaking hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel along the way. He never broke a smile. Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was voted best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Up until Goetze’s winning goal, the game was more notable for top-class defending than creative attacking, but both teams had their share of chances.

In fact, the first half had just about everything but a goal.

Gonzalo Higuain was gifted a free chance when Toni Kroos’ back header landed at his feet and left him all alone with Neuer. However, he sent his shot woefully wide.

Higuain thought he had scored in the 30th after Messi picked out Ezequiel Lavezzi with a great ball and he sent a cross in toward the Napoli striker. Higuain slotted in his finish inside the far post and ran all the way to the corner flag in celebration before realizing he had been called for offside.

Shortly afterward, Germany was forced to use a substitution as Christoph Kramer had to go off with a suspected concussion after colliding with Ezequiel Garay’s shoulder earlier in the game. Kramer had continued playing but looked visibly dizzy as he was led off the field. Kramer, who was a late inclusion in the lineup after Sami Khedira was injured during the warmup, was replaced by Schuerrle.

Germany’s best chance came just before the break when Benedikt Hoewedes hit the post with a header from a corner.

The game grew more cagey in the second half as both teams became increasingly cautious, knowing that a single mistake could make the difference.

In extra time, both teams had chances to score early. Schuerrle controlled a ball in the area just after the restart and fired a hard shot that Romero had to react quickly to push out.

In the 97th, Palacacio controlled a cross on his chest and tried to lob Neuer, but the ball drifted wide of the post.

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