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Archive for December 2008

Gonzaga drops third in a row

Gonzaga had two shots at the winning basket, but Matt Bouldin’s bank shot from 10 feet was too hard and Austin Daye couldn’t connect on the putback as the 16th-ranked Bulldogs lost 66-65 to Utah on Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

Gonzaga has lost three straight and four of five. The Bulldogs dropped to 8-4. Utah improved to 8-5.

Read on for more.


Earlywine charged with DUI

Kirk Earlywine, Eastern Washington University’s second-year men’s basketball coach, confirmed Wednesday afternoon that it was a legal issue that prevented him from attending his team’s non-conference game against Boise State University in Boise on Monday evening.

According to police reports, Earlywine was arrested near Brown and Sprague at 1:55 a.m. Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was released on bond later that morning and appeared in municipal court for arraignment on Monday afternoon.

When reached by phone on Wednesday in Phoenix, where he has rejoined his team and started preparations for Friday night’s Big Sky Conference matchup against Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Earlywine expressed remorse over the incident, but offered little in the way of additional details.

“I wish I could say more, but I can’t,” he said. “I’ve got to kind of just work through this issue, and it’s going to be a process. And until that process runs its course, I can’t say much.

“I do, however, understand the gravity and seriousness of it. But until the next step of the process takes place, I’ve got to devote my time and full attention to doing what I love, which is coaching these players and this basketball team.”

Earlywine said he was scheduled to appear back in court in early February, but did not recall the exact date. Efforts to reach his attorney were unsuccessful.

EWU athletic director Bill Chaves said university officials were aware of Earlywine’s situation, but declined, as well, to offer further details on how the process might play out.

“We’re in the process of addressing it internally right now,” he said, “and that’s where I’ve got to leave it. It’s a personnel issue, as well, which precludes me from further comment.”

A statement issued by the university during Monday night’s game – a 58-47 loss to the Broncos – said Earlywine was not available to coach because he was attending to a “personal matter.” Neither Earlywine, who watched the EWU-BSU game via a Boise State Web cast, nor Chaves would comment on the matter at the time.

The Eagles coaching staff and team flew directly from Boise to Phoenix on Tuesday morning following the loss, and Earlywine rejoined them late Tuesday evening and conducted Wednesday’s practice session.


Only a few hours until 2009 WSU fans


Let’s see. It’s only a couple days before the Pac-10 basketball season starts. We’ve got that covered on the link. Oregon State put up an offensive show en route to defeating Pitt. That’s covered too. Anything else? Yes, there is. Read on.

Lakeside distant second

Earlier this year Lakeside wrestling coach Troy Hughes said that Orting was favored to win state 1A this year. This week his Eagles finished a distant second to Orting at the Rock Island tournament on Vashon Island. Orting put nine wrestlers into the finals and the schools split head-to-head title matches, Bryan Baumgarden winning, Josh Lauderdale losing.

Game day for GU; 2009 recruit

A roundup of Gonzaga items, including a third member of the 2009 recruiting class. The Bulldogs bid goodbye to 2008 tonight against Utah in Salt Lake City.

Read on.

Links from there to here


A quick post this morning, with a potpourri of links, including to UW’s win last night through Oregon’s football win and on to a new job for a former Cougar, though not in that order. Read on.

Bulldogs set to face Giacoletti’s old team

Gonzaga and Utah will spend New Year’s Eve on the court for the second straight year. GU won 61-59 last year in Spokane. The rematch is Wednesday at 5 p.m. PST in Salt Lake City.

For the second straight year, GU assistant Ray Giacoletti will handle the scouting report for this game. Makes sense, given that Giacoletti recruited 8 of the 10 players in Utah’s rotation when he was the Utes’ head coach from 2005-2007.

Read on for an unedited game preview.

Earlywine resolves “personal matter,” returns to bench

No one at Eastern Washington University is talking publicly about the “personal matter” that prevented Kirk Earlywine, the Eagles’ second-year head men’s basketball coach, from attending Monday night’s 57-48 road to Boise State University in Boise.



But EWU athletic director Bill Chaves said Earlywine has “resolved his personal issue,” and would rejoin the team in Phoenix, Ariz., late Tuesday evening and coach in Friday night’s Big Sky Conference matchup against Northern Arizona that tips off at 6:05 in Flagstaff, Ariz.



Chaves and Earlywine both refused to comment further on the matter when reached by phone. But Earlywine, who watched Monday night’s game via a Boise State webcast and spent some time in his office in Cheney on Tuesday, said he expected to fly into Phoenix late Tuesday evening and conduct Wednesday and Thursday practice sessions with his team, which flew directly from Boise to Phoenix on Tuesday.



From guard play to football recruits


A couple notes from Tony Bennett’s teleconference this morning, along with notes about a former Cougar football assistant and football recruiting. Read on.

Earlywine misses Eags’ loss to Broncos

Coach Kirk Earlywine was not on the bench Monday night when his Eastern Washington men’s basketball team lost for the fourth time in five games, falling on the road to Boise State.

EWU officials did not explain Ealrywine’s absence other that to say he was tending to a personal matter.  I have several phone calls out at the present time, trying to obtain more details on the situation and find out if Earlywine will be back for Friday night’s Big Sky Conference game against Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.

I will post anything I find out as soon as possible. In the meantime, you read more about Monday night’s loss to the Broncos here, in the story that ran in this morning’s S-R, and you check out the game story that ran in this morning’s Idaho Statesman here.  I’ve also included this link to the story posted on EWU’s website, which includes a link to the box score.


GSL makeup games Wednesday

I’ve been on a week vacation much to my automobile’s relief, but Greater Spokane League basketball isn’t resting. Lewis and Clark travels to Central Valley for 1 p.m. and 2:45 boys and girls games, University is at Ferris at and Mead is at Gonzaga Prep for games at on New Year’s Eve day. These are makeups of snowed out contests of Dec. 19. The day after New Year’s the regular schedule resumes.

The Bears boys, unaccustomed to looking up at the pack, needs a win as does last year’s regional qualifier University, both hoping to avoid missing out on post-season. The Panthers-Bullpups boys game is the feature between the league leaders and Mead’s contenders.

CV-LC girls is a game of interest Wednesday and prelude to Friday’s game between the Tigers and Mead who enter this week undefeated.

Zags try to get back on track

An interesting day on the roads. It took about 55 minutes (normal trip 25-30) to get to Gonzaga for media day because traffic was backed up on I-90 from a vehicle spin-out near Barker Road. Later, I was stuck, briefly, in a carefully selected parking spot at NIC and, to cap off the evening, a good Samaritan with 4-wheel drive helped pull my wife’s van out of a snowbank midway up an icy hill. That was interesting.

GU coach Mark Few mentioned that he and several neighbors spent part of Saturday helping a neighbor whose barn had collapsed under the weight of the snow.

Enough of the weather. An unedited Zag notebook below. Also, Tennessee’s Wayne Chism was hurt in the Vols’ win Monday night. GU visits the Vols on Jan. 7th.

Zags tumble in polls

A couple of weeks ago, Gonzaga was undefeated and ranked No. 4. Following a loss to No. 2 UConn on Dec. 20th in Seattle, the Zags actually went up one spot in the A.P. poll, from 8th to 7th.

But a home loss to Portland State last Tuesday — Gonzaga’s third loss in four games — sent the Bulldogs sliding down the rankings. GU is 16th in A.P. and 17th in ESPN/USA Today. More here.

The Bulldogs returned to practice Saturday in preparation for a New Year’s Eve road game against Utah. After Utah, the Bulldogs visit Tennessee on Jan. 7, a rematch of GU’s 83-74 victory in the Old Spice Classic championship Nov. 30. Tennessee is ranked 14th by A.P and tied for 18th by ESPN/USA Today.

 Check back here tonight for a Gonzaga notebook.

Eastern returns to action against BSU

Eastern Washington University returns to the basketball floor following a short holiday break tonight, taking on Boise State University in a non-conference game that tips off at approximately 7:15 in the Broncos’ Taco Bell Arena in Boise.

The games will serve as the nightcap of a women’s-men’s doubleheader, with BSU entertaining Arizona in the 5 p.m. opener.

You can get more details from EWU’s sports information department here, and more on the game from Boise’s perspective here.

Young Cougars test K-State


I know it’s December so this shouldn’t surprise me, but darn if it isn’t snowing again. It’s stretches like these that make me wish I was covering Arizona State or UCLA or even Cal Poly. Read on for the one WSU-related link I found this morning.

WSU has a lot of work before Pac-10 starts


Pac-10 play starts in less than a week. WSU will enter conference 8-4, which is exactly what we thought as we doped out the schedule before the season started. Read on for more thoughts and links.

Short-handed Chiefs triumph

The stars were missing, but the effort, smarts and sacrifice weren’t.

It’s hard to say Spokane’s 4-2 Western Hockey League victory over the Tri-City Americans was unexpected on Saturday night – expect a little of everything in one of the WHL’s most rabid rivalries. But the fact that the Chiefs were playing without three of their top four scorers and regular goaltender Dustin Tokarski certainly made it an uphill skate.

But several young players rose to the occasion, the Chiefs kept their penalties to a minimum and got a strong defensive game to pull within three points of the lead in the U.S. Division.

Read on for an unedited version of the game story, plus a few web-only notes.

WSU collapses down the stretch


After the collapse was over, and WSU had lost 64-52 at LSU, basketball coach Tony Bennett talked about “regrouping.” The defeat itself was one thing, but the way the Cougars lost, blowing a seven-point lead midway through the second half by just giving the ball away, hurt even more. Bennett talked afterward on his radio show about getting ready for Pac-10 play. If WSU can play like it did for the first 10 minutes of the second half against UW, the Cougars will be all right. If they play like the did the final few minutes, it will be a long conference season. Read on for the album version of the game story I put together from watching on ESPN2, listening to Bud Nameck’s call and talking with Taylor Rochestie by phone afterward.

WSU loses 64-52 at LSU


A 11-0 run by LSU clinches a 64-52 nonconference win over WSU on Saturday. The Cougars turned the ball over five times down the stretch, part of 18 they had, including 13 of them steals credited to the Tigers. We’ll be back in a couple hours with the game story.

LSU leads by two at half


An interesting first half with some interesting whistles. That’s as far as I will go other than to say it’s easy to see why LSU has won 12 consecutive home games. … LSU leads 25-23 behind the 12 points of Bo Spencer, a guard who 11.2 a game. … The Cougars are struggling to score, in big part because Aron Baynes picked up two fouls in just more than 4 minutes and hasn’t played since. He had two points when he sat down. … Caleb Forrest also has two fouls, but he keeps playing and has six points, tied for the team lead with Klay Thompson, who has been the go-to-guy on offense. Taylor Rochestie is being aggressive, but is 2 of 9 from the floor. … LSU is hitting just 28.3 from the floor, 3 of 11 from beyond the arc. … WSU, shooting 35.5 from the floor, leads on the boards, 20-18 against the nation’s top rebounding team.

LSU last nonconference game for WSU


The calendar is about to turn a new leaf. Washington State’s basketball schedule is about to do the same thing. The Cougars will play their final nonconference game this morning in Baton Rouge, facing an LSU team that’s lost just once this season. Read on for links and thoughts.

One more pre-Pac-10 test for WSU


WSU gets back on the court tomorrow at 9-1 LSU. The Tigers will provide a formidable test for the Cougars, but their record is a little soft, with eight wins over teams with a Pomeroy ranking of 220 or worse (in way of contrast, 8-3 WSU has played seven games against teams with Pomeroy rankings of 190 or better). Read on for the unedited version of my advance for Saturday.

• UPDATE: According to CougFan, Gonzaga Prep’s Travis Long has given a verbal commitment to WSU. This is big news in that Long was one of the top high school seniors on the Cougars’ recruiting list. I was told not too long ago Long had narrowed his choices to WSU and Boise State, so the defensive lineman’s decision this week also shows WSU can compete against the top teams in the Northwest. Expect a story soon in the S-R from our prep writer Mike Vlahovich.

A Christmas treat for football fans

COUGARS • UPDATED: 3:45 P.M.; 2:30 P.M. DEC. 25

Wandering around the Internet last night, I saw a football beat writer who offered his thoughts about starters next year for the school he covers. It seemed like a good idea, so I decided to try my hand at the same thing. What follows is a list of frontrunners for starting spots based on information gathered since the end of last season. In some cases I listed players at new positions, much of which is based on conversations with coaches from throughout the year. At other spots I made some leaps based on the same type of information. Only a couple of recruits are mentioned, because no one is signed yet. A lot can happen between now and next August, so take these thoughts for what they are, my best guess on the day before Christmas.

Day after Portland State

Where to begin the day after Portland State post? By giving proper credit to the visiting Vikings, who overcame travel issues and were the hungrier team in knocking off No. 7 Gonzaga 77-70 on Tuesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Portland State hopped off a charter bus, which arrived in Spokane about 3 hours and 30 minutes before tip off, and managed to play with more energy, effort and intensity than the Zags, who flew back on their charter plane from Seattle on Saturday night after losing to UConn in overtime.

Much more below.


Stuckey scores 40 in Piston’s win

Former Eastern Washington standout Rodney Stuckey stuck it to Chicago in a big way on Tuesday night, scoring a career-high 40 points in the Detroit Pistons’ 104-98 NBA victory over the visiting Bulls.

The Detroit News ran this account of Stuckey’s heroics, while the Detroit Free Press went with this gamer, and this photo gallery from the contest.  In addition, I’ve included this link to the Associated Press game story the Chicago Sun-Times published.


Unpredictable is predictable

The unpredictable is the norm in Greater Spokane League boys basketball. In tonight’s final games before a 10-day break, Shadle Park lucked out thanks to clutch shooting by Luke Jordan in a 62-61 escape at home against Central Valley. Mead and LC moved up with wins over North Central and Mt. Spokane respectively. The league is appropriately jumbled with half a dozen teams scrambling for position behind Gonzaga Prep and the Highlanders.

In girls basketball, the predicted top three teams are holding up. LC and Mead went to 6-0 and will resume play Jan 2 in action against each other for sole possession of first place

Here are my stories:


No. 7 Bulldogs stunned at home by PSU

Back with the game story from Portland State’s 77-70 upset over No. 7 Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga couldn’t contain 5-foot-6 guard Jeremiah Dominguez, who had 25 points, made seven 3-pointers, and grabbed six rebounds. He added five assists.

Read on for the unedited game story.

Vikings pull stunner

The Portland State Vikings had trouble just getting to Spokane — arriving via a charter bus trip that was split over two days after their flight was canceled Monday — but that didn’t stop them from pulling off one of the biggest upsets in college basketball this season.

Jeremiah Dominguez, a 5-foot-6 guard, poured in seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points to lift PSU (9-3) to a 77-70 win over No. 7 Gonzaga (8-3) on Tuesday. The Vikings became just the third visiting team to win at the McCarthey Athletic Center, joining Washington State last year and Santa Clara two seasons ago. GU is now 55-3 at the MAC, which opened for the 2004-05 season.

Matt Bouldin led the Zags with 18 points, but the Bulldogs were outboarded 39-30, which led to PSU’s 27-5 edge in second chance points.

Check back for the game story in about 90 minutes.



Nikolao back with Shock

EWU product Harrison Nikolao will return for his second season with the Spokane Shock. The arenafootball2 team also added three other players to the roster. More here

Zags, Vikings hook up at the MAC

Like many who went to the Battle in Seattle, I returned home on four wheels instead of an airplane. Got back early evening Monday. Gonzaga’s opponent tonight, Portland State, is taking a similar path. Their flight was a snow-related cancel Monday, so they’ve opted to bus.

The game will go on as scheduled at 5 p.m., good roads willing. The Vikings were expected to stay in Bellevue on Monday night and should be en route to Spokane right now. Snoqualmie Pass was in pretty good shape Monday at about noon, and the update from the Washington State Dept. of Transportation Web site this morning showed no restrictions traveling East or West. PSU is expected to arrive in Spokane at about 2 p.m.



Snow slows GSL pace

Last week’s snowtorm stranded me on my street and forced delays for Greater Spokane League baskeball. Tonight’s games will precede a 10-day winter break that hopefully will mean cleaner streets and parking lots, easier access to games and smoother sailing for the rest of the season. One thing for sure, is the 3A boys teams appear to be having an impact on the league and will put their best foot forward come regional play when four teams advance. Here’s my weekly prep notebook that appearned in today’s S-R.

Hate to see him go

Browsing through the Seattle Times today I saw Craig Smith’s last Sideline Smitty column. He took a voluntary buyout the current sign of the times in the newspaper industry. His columns were always entertaining and it was fun getting together at the various state meets over the years. We have sort of lived parallel lives, are about the same age, have been following high school sports beginning roughly the same time and enjoyed the halcyon days of this craft, now suffering through its nadir. Hopefully it’s temporary and the world of talking heads and opinion as fact will cease to entertain, leading back to reporting information. Smitty, you’ll be missed.  

Two games, two outcomes


Isn’t college athletics fun? Last Friday, WSU’s women’s basketball team handed the University of Hawaii an 18-point defeat. The two teams played again Monday. Read on to find out what happened this time.

Eagles edge pesky Geoducks

Kirk Earlywine did his best to convince his Eastern Washington men’s basketball team that Evergreen College was a special kind of NAIA Division II opponent.

But once again, the Eagles failed to get the message.

Former Coug Haskins lives his faith


A Monday evening in Spokane. It’s beautiful. Plus the ride from Pullman wasn’t too bad. There’s nothing like a day when 195 blends into the surrounding fields, and only the grooves in the snow tell you where to go.

We have a story to share – no, not one of my long-winded from 1987 that bores you to death, but a real story that will appear in the paper tomorrow. It’s about former Cougar star Aaron Haskins. At the end of it, I have some blog news from the man in charge. Read on.

Planes, Trains and WSU


Got back to Pullman last night around 9 p.m. after writing my story, posting it to this blog and driving slowly down the highway. Come to find out an hour or so later that I beat the Washington State team bus back to town.

Seems the Cougars’ bus got stuck in the Kibbie Dome parking lot. Then got stuck going up a hill. Then got stuck again. They didn’t arrive back at campus until almost two hours after they left Moscow. The trip was a battle. Just like the game. Read on for links.

WSU pulls away late to stop UI


With Aron Baynes dominating inside – 18 points and nine rebounds – and Taylor Rochestie controlling the perimeter on both offense and defense – 11 points, five assists and limiting Mac Hopson to 10 points – the Cougars raised their record to 8-3 with a 55-41 win over Idaho. Read on for the unedited version of my story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

I have to head back to Pullman and I understand it’s going to be a slow drive, so I’ll post my thoughts on the game either later tonight or tomorrow morning. Check back in then.

WSU tops Idaho, 55-41


WSU gutted out a 55-41 win behind the inside play of Aron Baynes and the outside shots of Taylor Rochestie. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with a game story.

WSU leads by two at half


Halftime in the Cowan Spectrum and this one isn’t going according to plan. It’s being played at a slow pace and Idaho is staying close. A big reason is WSU is shooting so poorly. The shots are there, the Cougars are just not knocking them down. At the half they are shooting just 38.5 percent (10 of 26), including 1 of 9 from beyond the arc. Only a Klay Thompson layup with 1.4 seconds left gave WSU a 22-20 lead.

The other aspect is the lack of whistles – on both ends. This one got incredibly physical down the stretch as the officials called four fouls the entire half, two on each team. Plus, there was just one travel called and I saw at least four others. Maybe they want to beat the storm out of town. We’ll be back at the end of the game with a post. Till then.

Snow be darned, this one’s on


Good evening from snowy Moscow … and snowy Pullman … and snowy just about anywhere in the Palouse. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to Pullman after the game, but who knows? As long as the snowplows are working, I’m OK I guess. Well, enough of that. Let’s get to our pregame thoughts.

Day after UConn

Stuck in Seattle because of the latest round of storms, so we’ll get the day after Connecticut post up.


Huskies too much for Eags

As promised, I’ve posted links to several accounts of Eastern’s 83-50 men’s basketball loss to Washington in Seattle on Saturday.

The Associated Press game story that ran in Sunday morning’s S-R is here; the gamer published by the Seattle Times is here, and the game story supplied posted on EWU’s website is here.

Feel free to leave your opinions. 


WSU fans will be seeing red tonight


We’re still searching for the best way to present our posts on this new SportsLink site, so we’re back to leading off with the Cougar label. Hope that helps you find each individual WSU post. We have a few story links for you on this Sunday morning. One little note: Tonight’s game at UI will be the first time this season the Cougars wear their red road uniforms. Their 7-3 record has been built at home or on neutral sites where their wore their whites. This is the most games in the program’s history before the school played a true road game.

Watching the Eags go down — hard

Just finished watching the Washington Huskies dismantle Eastern Washington in Seattle, and I will link to stories as soon as they become available.

I would like to say I wish I had been there, but after witnessing the way the Eagles played and the nastry weather outside of Bank of American Arena, it would be difficult for me to sound sincere.

I am sorry, however, that I missed connections with EWU coach Kirk Earlywine following Thursday’s home loss to Missouri-Kansas City, which I was unable to attend because of the snow storm. 


Battle in Seattle game story

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Gonzaga couldn’t finish off what it started Saturday.

The Bulldogs overcame a double-digit deficit in the first half and appeared to be on their way to a win over second-ranked Connecticut, but guard A.J. Price’s 3-pointer put a hold on Gonzaga’s plans. Connecticut won 88-83 in overtime, sending Gonzaga to its third straight loss in the Battle in Seattle.

Read on below for an unedited game story.




Zags can’t hold lead, fall to UConn

The Gonzaga Bulldogs had an 11-point lead near the midpoint of the second half. They led by four with 2 minutes left and three with 24 seconds remaining. But Connecticut’s A.J. Price hit an off balance 3-pointer with eight seconds left to tie it and the second-ranked Huskies went on to an 88-83 victory in overtime in the sixth annual Battle in Seattle.

Steven Gray led No. 8 GU (8-2) with 23 points. Price had 24 points and 10 assists for the Huskies (10-0).

Check back for the game story in about 90 minutes.


Former Cougar Hopson finds home in Moscow

• As I promised earlier today, here’s my feature on former Cougar and current Vandal Mac Hopson. You can read the unedited version on the link.

Gray’s 13 keep GU on Huskies’ heels

Connecticut raced out to leads of 13-2, 24-13 and 33-23 before Gonzaga roared back to move in front, 37-36, late in the first half. A.J. Price’s two free throws with 4.1 seconds left that gave UConn a 38-37 edge at halftime in the Battle in Seattle.

Steven Gray came off the bench to score 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting (he had 15 on the stat monitor when I began writing this, but it’s been changed). He was also GU’s top rebounder with four, but the second-ranked Huskies had the upperhand on that statistic 18-14. Jeremy Pargo added 10 points. Micah Downs, Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye each had two fouls.

UConn center Hasheem Thabeet (6 points, 1 rebound) also sat with two fouls. Reserve post Gavin Edwards gave the Huskies a boost with six points and six rebounds. Price topped Connecticut with eight points and five of his teammates had at least four points.


After finals break, WSU back building toward future

• Well, we’re finally back in Pullman. I won’t bore you with death-defying travel stories (though the slide show will be available for purchase in the spring, as soon as the snow melts enough for me to find my camera), but suffice to say it took me longer to travel the four blocks of my Spokane neighborhood than it did the remaining 80 miles. Anyhow, we have WSU news and notes.

Blanchette on Calhoun

Already checking weather forecasts (supposed to be high winds here later today, which probably means another fun day of air travel), but thought I’d post John Blanchette’s column on UConn coach Jim Calhoun. It might already be pasted on the Zags’ locker room wall.

Zags, Huskies clash in Seattle

Time for a renewal of the short, but thoroughly entertaining series between Gonzaga and Connecticut. The teams will tangle at 1 p.m. Saturday in KeyArena as Gonzaga tries to snap a two-game losing streak (Nevada, Tennessee) in the Battle in Seattle.

They’ve met three times. Gonzaga won 85-82 a year ago in Boston with Jeremy Pargo pouring in 23 points. In the 2005 Maui Invitational championship, the Huskies won 65-63 on Denham Brown’s basket with 1.1 seconds left. The most memorable contest came in 1999 when then-upstart Gonzaga gave the eventual national champion Huskies fits before falling 67-62 in the West Regional Final.

Read on for an unedited preview that will run in Saturday’s S-R.



Three more return to Shock

Spokane continued to add to its roster with the addition of three familiar faces: Sergio Gilliam, Andy Olson and Patrick Bugg. More here.

For a good cause

Spokane Shock player Devon Parks called to say that he and a few other players will be gift wrapping at Northtown Mall (near the inside entrance to Barnes & Noble) Saturday, Dec. 20, beginning at 4:30 p.m. for approximately an hour. They’re doing it to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Here’s an update on Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown made his decision early and signed with Washington State to play basketball. Here’s my feature story on the Shadle Park standout that ran in Thursday’s S-R Prep Page.

Eags fall at home to Missouri-KC

Eastern Washington University’s men’s basketball team loss at home for the first time this season Thursday night, falling to undersized Missouri-Kansas City 68-61.

It wasn’t a great night for the Eagles — or the media assigned to cover them. I missed the game because of the snow storm, and the Eags’ play-by-play radio announcer Larry Weir was reportedly stranded in Seattle and wasn’t there, either.

I was told that Larry had hoped to broadcast  the game off the Big Sky Conference’s streaming video, but that apparently malfunctioned, leaving officials with no way to get the game on the radio.

In any event, I’ve posted the game story I cobbled together — complete with post-game quotes from EWU coach Kirk Earlywine that were supplied by Eastern’s sports information office — below. And be sure to check back tomorrow for a day-after story and, hopefully, an explanation on why the Eagles’ leading scorer, Benny Valentine, was held out of the starting lineup.


Bulldogs prep for UConn with easy win

Read on for John Blanchette’s unedited game story from Gonzaga’s 84-42 rout of Texas Southern.

Eags’ Peach wins Buchanan Award in runaway

As promised, I’ve posted an unedited version of the story on EWU’s Greg Peach having won the 2008 Buchanan Award below.

And I’ve also included this link to the press release supplied by the Big Sky Conference office, and this link to a slideshow of the awards ceremony in Chattanooga, Tenn.



Gonzaga routs Tigers

  Gonzaga improved to 8-1 with an 84-42 win over Texas Southern on Thursday.

The Bulldogs had four players reach double figures — Josh Heytvelt 21, Micah Downs 14, Matt Bouldin 11 and Austin Daye 10. Jeremy Pargo had eight assists, four rebounds and four points.

Texas Southern dropped to 0-10, all 10 games coming away from the Tigers’ home arena in Houston.

Next up for Gonzaga: The showdown with No. 2 Connecticut on Saturday in Seattle.



EWU’s Peach earns Buchanan

Eastern Washington Greg Peach, a senior defensive end out of Evergreen High School in Vancouver, was honored Thursday night in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the recipient of the Buck Buchanan Award given annually to the nation’s top defensive player in teh NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

This is as good as it gets for a defensive player at the FCS level, and a nice honor for the Eagles program, as well.  You can read more details from the EWU sports information department here, and check back later tonight for an early look at the story I’m putting together for Friday morning’s S-R.

I’ve also included this link to some video highlights for Peach’s 2008 season.

I just got off the phone with Greg, who is set to start celebrating with his parents and Eagles head coach Beau Baldwin back in Chattanooga.


Zags up big at half

Gonzaga opened up a big first-half lead, 53-19, over Texas Southern by knocking down nine 3-pointers and shooting 65 percent from the field.

Josh Heytvelt, limited to six points in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, scored 15 points. Micah Downs and Matt Bouldin each had 11. Bouldin and Downs each made three 3s. Heytvelt, Ira Brown and Steven Gray each made one 3-pointer.

Gonzaga finished the half on an 18-2 run. Texas Southern scored the first bucket of the game, but GU quickly answered with nine straight points.

TV dinner, Zags

I figured I was in trouble when I tried to drive, what, five miles to my office in Coeur d’Alene earlier this afternoon. I got stuck at the base of the hill (less than a quarter-mile from my house) and again 50 yards from the front door to the office. The return trip was worse. At one light, I counted 11 Trucks/SUV and my Camry. I’ve never had much trouble getting up the hill, but I crawled up it this time with a great deal of uncertainty that I would actually make it.

So, I’ll be watching GU-Texas Southern on TV tonight with John Blanchette kindly pinch-hitting — he’s got a four-wheel rig from the company garage — at the MAC. And then tomorrow morning, I’ll try to return the favor, weather permitting, as we hopefully catch a morning flight to Seattle for the UConn game. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ll post a halftime update. And we’ll try to get John’s game story posted as well later tonight.

Meanwhile, 50 players are on the early Naismith Trophy watch list. Gonzaga is represented by Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt. UConn has three on the list. More here.



Davila returning to Shock

Quarterback Nick Davila, who led Spokane to the 2008 af2 title game, is back with the Shock. Davila, who set a franchise record with 66 touchdown passes, took the starting job from Jason Murrietta about a month into the regular season. He’s the sixth member of the 2008 Shock to re-sign with the team.

More here.

Game still on, more notes

Despite the record snowfall and GU canceling classes today, the Gonzaga-Texas Southern game is still on for 6 p.m. The Tigers arrived at 1:30 Wednesday morning, according to coach Tony Harvey, whom I met in the lobby of the MAC on Wednesday afternoon while many of his players gazed at the snow falling outside the windows.

Bunch of notes below.

Foliaki, Jackson back with Shock

Spokane continued to restock on veterans from its 2008 team, signing LB Lee Foliaki and K Brian Jackson, as well as Patrick Schwenke, an offensive lineman who played at West Texas A&M. As many as 10-12 Shock players, including Foliaki and Jackson, figured to get AFL tryouts, but’s bigger brother canceled its 2009 season.

Spokane now has five players back from last year’s team — Foliaki, Jackson, LB Kevin McCullough, OL Kyle Young and DL Jeff Van Orsow.

More here.

Snowed under, but not by WSU news

UPDATED: 12:40 P.M.

Let’s have a vote. How many of you think I’m going to make it from Spokane to Pullman today? I’ll give you a hint: I’m not sure I can make it out of the neighborhood, because the snow in the street is, in spots, taller than my Honda. Here’s another hint: The DOT camera in Spangle isn’t working and the one in north Colfax is just a blur. But I’m game. If it stops snowing, I’m heading back down for a week of interviews, games and shoveling. Read on.

Zags finally return home

My first post on the new Web site so hopefully this goes without a hitch. Media day earlier Wednesday and after snowmobiling home, I put together a notebook. The unedited version is below.

All-Idaho football teams

The Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise published its 2008 All-Idaho Football Team Sunday. Lake City senior linebacker Jared Heston was a first-team pick at linebacker.  You can link here and check out each team.

Revised thoughts on GSL boys

After watching the first few games of the Greater Spokane League boys basketball season, I’m tending to re-think my pre-season predictions. Nothing has made me change my mind about Gonzaga Prep as No. 1 and despite last night’s score, I’m not bailing on Shadle Park.

Eags back in action at home on Thursday

Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team returns to action on Thursday night, hosting Missouri-Kansas City in a non-conference game that tips off at Reese Court at 7:05.

You can read more details here, and check out how M-KC did in its last game here.



A brave new world of blogging

• In honor of our new website, we’re going to do something new today as well: Put together an interesting post. Well, sort of. Read on.

A couple notes for exam week


Not much going on in Pullman this week except some last-minute cramming for finals – if you have a good story along those lines, don’t be afraid to share – and football recruiting.

Idaho preps

If we survive the bitter cold this week, there are a couple of entertaining athletic events this weekend.

The annual Fight for the Fish spirit doubleheader between the Coeur d’Alene and Lake City boys and girls basketball teams is Friday at Lake City. The girls tip off at 5:45, followed by the boys at about 7:45.

The 37th annual Tri-State wrestling tournament is Friday and Saturday at North Idaho College. The championship finals will be at about 5 p.m. on Saturday (probably closer to 5:30).

Jon Knight honored by DyeStat

North Central cross country coach Jon Knight was named DyeState Eastbay coach of the week.

Here’s a link to the story in Knight for his accomplishment in building a three-time state champion.

The recognition is well deserved.

Gonzaga falls to Arizona

Arizona handed Gonzaga its first defeat of the season, breaking from a 62-62 tie by scoring seven of the last nine points for a 69-64 victory.

Fourth-ranked Gonzaga (7-1) was led by Austin Daye’s 22 points.

Jordan Hill, who had four points in UA’s final spurt, had 22 points and Nic Wise added 21.

Check back in about 2 hours for the game story.

Eags fall to Hawaii

The addition of Adris DeLeon and Chris Busch to Eastern Washington rotation did not translate into victory for the Eagles, who lost at Hawaii on Saturday night.

You can read the game story that was put together for Sunday morning’s S-R here; you can see what the Honolulu Advertiser had on the game here, and you can read the account of the game published on EWU’s website here.

Results of I.E. Classic wrestling

Idaho and Spokane wrestlers had their share of champions, but Hermiston and Moses Lake scored highest as teams during Saturday’s Inland Empire Classic at Central Valley

Here’s my story in Sunday’s Spokesman-Review:

Chiefs split weekend games with Seattle

The Spokane Chiefs played host on back-to-back nights to the Seattle Thunderbirds this weekend and wound up with one win and one loss.

Here’s the link to the game story from Friday night’s 1-0 victory, and you can read about Saturday night’s 3-1 loss below.

Zags, ‘Zona preview; Sacre hurt

Down in Phoenix for tomorrow’s Desert Classic(Gonzaga-Arizona at 3 PST, Arizona State-IUPUI at 12:15).

Read on for an unedited GU-UA preview that will run in Sunday’s S-R. The hot topic down here, of course, is the Arizona coaching vacancy and whether Gonzaga’s Mark Few has any interest in the job.

The more relevant topic at present for the Zags is the health of Robert Sacre, who reinjured his foot at practice Thursday. An update on him below, followed by the preview.

WSU builds a 12-point halftime edge


Patience is a virtue, and WSU is being virtuous this evening against Montana State. The Cougars are 14 of 24 from the floor in the first half against the Bobcats, with only five of those shots coming from beyond the arc.

The result is a 30-18 halftime lead, thanks to the patient offense and a defense that’s limited MSU to 6 of 23 from the floor and just two offensive rebounds. We’ll be back after the game with some more thoughts.

The Ferris streak is over

A new year, a new team, a new beginning. Shadle Park rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final quarter and one-half to defeat plucky young Ferris 66-59 Friday night ending their winning streak at 59 (and GSL win streak at 50). Not that a loss was unexpected, but the team with five sophomores and a freshman and but two seniors, led by 13 with 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter and had Shadle on its heels.
The experience and ultimately the poise of the Highlanders pressured Ferris into youthful mistakes and they hit enough clutch shots to rally.

So far, it seems, everyone in this league save Mt. Spokane wants to play similar uptempo, shoot the three, styles and it will produce entertaining, if unpredictable outcomes as tonight’s games showed. Ferris, incidentally, plays five games in a little over a week - Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Monday.

Here’s my story - have at it:

WSU survives bumpy trip to Seattle


Over here on the West Side, where the weather is as big a topic of conversation as on the East Side. Though it isn’t snowing, most people are worried it will be soon. Read on for the unedited version of my advance for tomorrow.

Few conference call

Gonzaga coach Mark Few just concluded his remarks on a conference call with Spokane, Arizona and Seattle media.

Few touched on numerous topics, including the Arizona coaching job, the last UA-GU contest, the possibility of playing the Wildcats in Seattle in 2011, Micah Downs, Ray Giacoletti and Lute Olson.

Apologies up front — this is going to be a long post.

More below.

Can Lakeside repeat?

As good as Greater Spokane League wrestling was last year, and should be better this year, but Lakeside and Deer Park may have had better seasons a season ago. The Eagles scored 233 points at state with nine finalists and Deer Park won its first state title.

They’re ready to go again. Lakeside has seven sets of brothers among its returnees and newcomers.

The Stags should be tough again.

Conley named to Walter Camp All-American team


After the finest season by a punter in University of Idaho history, senior T.J. Conley was selected to the Walter Camp All-American team Thursday. Conley led the FBS (Division I-A) in punting with a 47.43-yard average. The Walla Walla product and former Desales High star is the Vandals’ first All-American since the school moved up to the NCAA’s highest division.

You can read more here.

Shock notes, AFL update

Talked to numerous Shock and af2 officials Wednesday before I headed down to Pullman for the GU-WSU basketball game.

Click below for some notes and an update on the AFL.

Gonzaga’s second-half dismantling of WSU, the day after


There are no students lining up this morning. It’s the day after the biggest nonconference game of the year in Pullman and all that’s left is to reflect on what happened. We try to do a little of that, and add all the links as well. Read on.

Zags dominate second half, Cougars


For a half this seemed like a highly contested game between two evenly matched teams. Then it wasn’t anymore. Just like that. It seemed like a lot of the football games, with one team playing at a high level and the other, well, not. We don’t have much in the way of comment at this late hour, but we do have the raw game story on the link. Read on.

Zags scorch WSU in second half

On Washington State’s first possession of the second half, Cougars center Aron Baynes powered inside and scored over Josh Heytvelt.

The bucket trimmed Gonzaga’s lead to 32-31 and seemed to indicate that the second half was going to produce another tight, tough contest between the two rivals.

Gonzaga had other ideas. The Bulldogs answered with 15 unanswered points, nine in roughly 75 seconds. GU went on a stunning 39-7 run and cruised to a 74-52 victory Wednesday.

More below.

Gonzaga leads 32-29 at half

Gonzaga used a late spurt, fueled by two Steven Gray 3-pointers, to take a 32-29 lead over Washington State at halftime.

More below.

Appreciation for old school

If you have an appreciation for old-school basketball post play you’ll love watching Ryan Nicholas work for Gonzaga Prep. The 6-foot-7 post was the object of Mt. Spokane’s attention with its packed in zone, but the tireless worker used the bodies on him to his advantage. Best play came at the start of the fourth-quarter during an 11-2 run that sealed Prep;’s 60-49 victory. He was pinned by his defender, sealed him on a hip and spun for a layin and free throw for a 39-31 lead. It was text book. “My dad and AAU coaches taught me to work hard every play and it followed me into high school,” Nicholas said.

Another key to the Bullpup victory was defense by Nick Hanson on Chaz Johnson. The 6-4 guard posed a problem with his height and slowed down the Wildcat scoring leader. “I thought (it) helped a lot,” said coach Mike Haugen. “Putting a taller kid on him made it a litle more difficult to shoot over. Nick’s got good enough feet he can stay in front. It helped us change the game a little bit.”

The GSL continues to provide the unexpected:

Shock, af2 still a go for 2009

I just spoke with Spokane Shock general manager Adam Nebeker, who said arenafootball2’s 2009 season will proceed, despite reports today that the Arena Football League is expected to cancel its 2009 season.

“We’re selling tickets, the lights are on and we’re busy signing players,” Nebeker said. “We’re 100 percent a go for next year.”

That was backed up by af2 president Jerry Kurz, who said the AFL hasn’t made a final decision on canceling the season. He should know. He’s on the AFL board of directors, and that group would have to vote for the AFL season to be canceled. No such vote has taken place yet, he said.

“If that (AFL cancels the 2009 season) happens, and it’s the worse-case scenario, it doesn’t effect (af2) a lick,” Kurz said. “We purposely in the last number of years since I was asked to take over (as president) have done everything we can to be as independent as possible.”

More later.

Students will be ready for Zag invasion


Another game day. We would say “just another typical game day” but the students lined up in front of Beasley belie that. So we’ll just stick with our original statement. Another way you know it’s not typical? All the stories to link. Read on.

Rochestie wants to break out of slump vs. Gonzaga


Getting ready to head out to basketball practice, but before I go, I wanted to post the unedited version of our advance for tomorrow’s S-R. It’s about point guard Taylor Rochestie and his play thus far this season. Read on for that and some notes.

Idaho preps


By special request, I’m going to list my winter predictions for girls and boys basketball. Things have changed at the old S-R in the past year so we can’t offer team-by-team capsules anymore.

Click the tab below to see my predictions.

YOUR COMMENTS and predictions are welcome.

Why rain on a parade?

My thought for the day: Why is it that no matter what athletes and teams accomplish and the kudos their followers give them there is always someone out there who feels compelled to rain on their parade?

WSU news - and a couple of questions


Just when you thought football season was over, it goes on and on and on. The Pac-10 announces its all-conference team yesterday and the coaches decide no Cougar is in the top 50 or so (see yesterday’s post for more). Then UW officially introduce its new coach. Meanwhile, the WSU staff is spread to the winds, with the maximum-allowed number out recruiting – the halls around the offices look like the New York streets in “Wall-e.” Read on for more football, and basketball, news.

Shock signs ex-Hawaii standout Rivers

Spokane bolstered its receiving unit in a big way with the signing of former Hawaii star Jason Rivers.

More on Rivers here.

Bulldogs move up to No. 4

Gonzaga climbed up one spot in both polls.

The Bulldogs are No. 4 in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today polls. They were fifth a week ago, but moved up when No. 4 Duke lost to Michigan.

Media day this afternoon. Check back later for a GU notebook.

Looking back on Eags’ win in BSC opener

Eastern Washington University’s men’s basketball team found a way to win ugly Saturday night when it found a way to hold back visiting Montana State despite making only three of its first 19 basket tries.

You can access the game story that ran in Sunday’s S-R here, check out the gamer published in Sunday’s Bozeman Chronicle here and read what EWU’s sports information department said about the game here.

Read on for more on Saturday’s big win and leave any opinions you might want to share right here.

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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.


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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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