Archive for December 2009
For some reason only a computer expert could explain, my previous post encountered technical difficulties.
So let’s try it again, this time from home. Here’s my unedited game story, filed about five minutes after the final buzzer because of early New Year’s Eve deadlines. Read on (and hopefully it’s there this time).
Come back tomorrow for my day-after post.
I had to file right after the final buzzer to meet early New Year’s Eve deadlines (9:40!), so I’ll go ahead and post the unedited version below before I hit the locker room.
I hope you had a chance to see this game. The Cougars were like Sisyphus, rolling the rock up the hill for 45 minutes, never getting the lead until the first overtime. But the rock rolled back over them in the form of a technical at the end of regulation (we explain it in the ensuing story) and Tajuan Porter’s long-range shooting in the extra periods. Anyhow, here’s our unedited story, though I wonder how many people are out there reading this. Have a safe New Year’s Eve.
Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 79-75 home win over Big Sky Conference rival Sacramento State on Thursday night.
You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Friday morning’s S-R below.
Just a quick post. The Cougars lost in double overtime after seemingly winning the game at the end of the first overtime only to see a technical foul allow Oregon to tie it with .3 seconds left. We’ll be back.
There’s probably no way Washington State could have begun Pac-10 Conference play any worse. The first 5 minutes of the game with Oregon was a stretch of turnovers and missed defensive assignments. The final 7 and a half were filled with missed shots and lack of intensity on defense. Heck, even the clock operator allowed 10 seconds to run off the clock during a timeout and no one caught it. So today’s game will be 39 minutes, 50 seconds long. And, if the Cougars ever get it going, they might need those 10 seconds. As it is, they need some shots to fall. Klay Thompson is 1 for 7 from the floor, Reggie Moore 0 for 3. Combined, they are 0 for 6 from beyond the arc. The Ducks, who went on a turnover spree of their own near the end of the half, have hit 16 of 26 shots as WSU seemed disinterested on the defensive end at times. As the topper, Garrett Sim hit a buzzer-beating layup for the halftime margin, after Xavier Thames scored the last of his nine points, two free throws with 0.06 on the clock. We’ll be back when we can after the game.
After having nearly 24 hours to digest what took place inside Bronco Stadium yesterday, I realized there’s a lot we weren’t able to touch on — stuff that simply got lost in the postgame melee.
Keep reading for extra quotes, thoughts and links on Idaho’s heart-stopping 43-42 win over Bowling Green.
It’s time for our pregame post, Pac-10 style. Got to love conference basketball. It gets so intense. Except, maybe, when the students are out for winter break, as is the case here. For pregame notes, read on.
Kyle Dranginis’ coach at Skyview High warned me that his star player might come across as quiet on the phone, but I’m still waiting to find out. Yes, that means no return phone call from southern Idaho, so I’ve put together an article based on conversations with Dranginis’ father, Tim, and his coach, Aaron Sanders.
You can read the unedited version below.
It’s the last day of 2009. It’s the first day of the Pac-10 basketball season. As one year ends and a new season begins, it’s usually time to look back before looking forward. But 2009 was so bad in so many ways, we’ll just forget about it and delve right into today’s Pac-10-opening basketball games. Read on.
Well, it came in much more dramatic fashion that Idaho fans would have liked, but the Vandals finished off the year with a win — and, man, what a win it was. All sorts of intrigue in the final moments of the Humanitarian Bowl, and you can read my game story and notes below the link.
Gonzaga prepared for its West Coast Conference opener in 10 days with an 88-52 win over UC Santa Barbara in women’s basketball action Wednesday night.
The extended link has the unedited game story plus some information on a big night for Spokane native Angie Bjorklund in No. 4 Tennessee’s rout of Old Dominion.
I’ve got several items to post tonight.
Thursday is the debut of the S-R’s Four Corners college basketball page, so I’ll post my contributions to that below. Also, my GU-Oklahoma game preview. And a recruiting update. There are a limited number of tickets available for Thursday’s game at the Arena (www.ticketswest.com, or 509-325-SEAT). By the way, fans are encouraged to wear black.
Idaho’s offense sputtered for much of the first half, but UI put together two nice drives and four defensive stops to go into halftime with Bowling Green tied 14-14. The Vandals evened the score 19 seconds before the half when Nate Enderle found Eric Greenwood for a 7-yard fade pass, capping a 10-play drive.
UI has stopped BG on fourth down, blocked a field goal and forced two punts. But the defense also allowed an easy 35-yard TD pass to Freddie Barnes on the game’s first possession, and gave up a 59-yard TD run later. Barnes set the NCAA record for receptions in a season (with 143) at the 1:51 mark of the first quarter. He has nine catches for 111 yards.
We’ve got a couple of items for you this afternoon, covering basketball and a change in the football staff. Plus a link or two, so read on.
The Spokane Chiefs lost to Portland again, 4-3, in a game delayed several hours by the snowstorm that hit Portland. According to the Winterhawks blog, there was some game-end incidents that could cost Kyle Beach a game, which would be Thursday night in Tri-City. Just what the short-handed Chiefs need. Though we’re in no position to comment … no, I won’t say anything. There was also a game-ending linebrawl in Spokane on Sunday with many of the same participants. Nothing is up on the WHL site about suspensions but you can check back later.
By the way, Tuesday’s Chiefs’ game marked the halfway point of the season and the team seems to be going in the wrong direction. Are you worried? What’s wrong with the Chiefs? What do they have to do to right the ship? Keep reading for some more information.
The day has finally arrived for Idaho fans — they get to see the Vandals play in the postseason for the first time since 1998. Greeting them in Boise this morning is a fresh blanket of snow, a good 2 inches worth.
Click below for links and a breakdown of the Humanitarian Bowl. You can also follow my in-game updates at twitter.com/SR_JoshWright.
With Pac-10 Conference basketball play set to begin on New Year’s Eve (that’s tomorrow for all of you who don’t have a calendar), today turned out to be the day to preview the upcoming season for many West Coast papers. We have links to all, plus a football result. Read on.
Playing in front of a much larger crowd than they would have had the game remained in Moscow, the Idaho men’s basketball team ditched Lewis-Clark State at Boise’s Qwest Arena, 71-52. The Vandals scored 17 unanswered points in the first half and only let L-C hang around after a Kashif Watson technical foul.
Mac Hopson notched his first double-double of the season — with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The announced crowd was 4,111.
Just got done watching the Pac-10 even its bowl record at 2-2 with UCLA’s win in ice-cold Washington, D.C. A win in Pullman and one in the nation’s capital. The Bruins are becoming real cold weather warriors. But I digress. This post is basketball oriented. We have some notes from Ken Bone’s press conference and then our Pac-10 preview that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. Read on.
I’m getting ready to fly out of Spokane to Boise in mere moments, but I wanted to post my Humanitarian Bowl advance a bit early. Columnist John Blanchette is already in the Treasure Valley; you can read his column from today here.
Click below for the advance and check back later for more Vandal updates.
Eastern Washington and Washington State women’s basketball teams open conference play with the New Year and our basketball notebook takes a look at that from their angle after a short feature on Eagle senior Jessica Huntington.
The unedited notebook is posted below but first a couple of questions:
Where do you think the optimistic Cougars will finish in the Pac-10?
Will Eastern Washington make the (top 6) Big Sky Conference tournament?
With the schedule Gonzaga played (three top 15’s, four ranked teams) and tried to play (expecting more from some traditional powers), did the Bulldogs get enough out of their schedule? If Wednesday’s Santa Barbara goes as expected, is that a good game or bad game before a 9-day break before opening league play?
Here’s the top 25, which includes 23 of the teams I voted on with all 25 in the top 29. Read on.
Lots of ground to cover, so read on for the day-after EWU post.
Good morning. Hope there wasn’t too much ice on the windshield this morning, or snow on the ground (for those of you reading this in Arizona, well, I can’t write the words going through my head). It was a little cold last night in Pullman, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s basketball season and all the important stuff occurs indoors. Read on for more of that important stuff (yes, my vocabulary shrunk over the holidays).
Back with an unedited game story from Gonzaga’s 94-52 win over EWU on Monday night.
Come back tomorrow for a day-after post.
Gonzaga University, showing no lingering effects of the lopsided loss it suffered against Duke nine days earlier, dismantled Eastern Washington 94-52 Monday night in front of a subdued sellout crowd at the McCarthy Athletic Center.
The Bulldogs (9-3), who took control early and led by upwards of 40 points throughout most of the second half, were paced offensively by freshman forward Elias Harris, who scored a game-high 22 points and chased down seven rebounds.
Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin each added 11 points for the Zags, who also got 10 points, each, from Mangisto Arop and Kelly Olynyk.
Eastern (4-10), which was plagued by some early ball-handling issues, also shot it horribly once again, making only 17 of its 59 field goal tries and just four of 24 attempts from 3-point range.
The loss was the fifth straight for Eastern, which has been outscored by an average of 29 points in its last four games. The Eagles were paced offensively by freshman guard Glen Dean, who finished with 13 points, and senior forward Mark Dunn, who added 11.
Arenafootball2 veteran defensive back William Mulder has signed with the Spokane Shock. More on Mulder here.
Gonzaga hasn’t played since the Dec. 21st poll came out, but that didn’t stop the Bulldogs from dropping out of the A.P. Top 25 and moving up a couple notches in the ESPN/USA Today. Go figure.
The newest rankings were released today. Gonzaga went from No. 25 to the first team receiving votes in A.P., and from No. 24 to No. 22 in ESPN/USA Today.
Here’s the link.
Momentum can be such a funny thing. A lot of coaches deny it even exists, then there are others who are doing their best to build it as conference play draws closer. Some see the Christmas break as a way to recharge it, others as a time that might just drain it away. Here at SportsLink, Cougar division, were in the former category. We’re recharged, so everyone should be. Read on.
There is just a little over 48 hours until the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, and John Blanchette and I will be there to provide coverage. Before then, we’ve got links of note (including interviews at other schools for Idaho assistants) and leftover quotes from my story on Robb Akey. Keep reading.
Same ol’ story at the Arena Sunday night - for the fourth (and final time) in four visits, Portland comes away with the win, rallying with three third-period goals to defeat the Spokane Chiefs 5-4.
The win came despite an amazing performance from Spokane goalie James Reid, who insisted there would be no ill affects when the teams square off in Portland Tuesday.
“The main thing is just winning,” said Reid, the leading goaltender in the Western Hockey League. “It was good building for me. For me personally it was a good first game after the break. I felt good out there. … I’ll be fine but as a team we have to have a good practice, go over some stuff, watch some video and be ready to go Tuesday.”
My unedited game story and some additional details on the goals follow, but first some World Juniors information.
Despite 16 goals in Canada’s opening win, Spokane’s Jared Cowen didn’t pick up a point. Canada plays its second game today.
Stopped in to watch the Gonzaga women’s basketball team, not expecting much of a game and it wasn’t, a 30-point romp for the Bulldogs over UC Irvine. Just wanted to see if there was an lingering affects from the disappointment of a lost weekend in Las Vegas (well, not compared to the move Hangover). After an average first half the Zags answered that with a sensational second half.
The unedited game story filed for Monday’s newspaper is on the extended entry, along with my Top 25 for this week (see if you notice the one change) and a few other items.
The Spokane Chiefs return from Christas break tonight and we welcome them back with a feature on goalie James Reid. The Chiefs face Portland in less than an hour are already behind 3-1 - three Spokane players absent playing in the World Juniors to just one for Portland. Also, Chief rookies Brady Brassart and Mitch Holmberg are off at a Canadian provencial tourney.
I missed all the World Junior action because of the holidays but just heard everything surrounding Tyler Johnson’s ejection for Team USA’s opening win on Saturday. I’ll endeavor to explain it in the next day or two but if any of you fans know of a link or saw what happened, please expound for your fellow fans. I will tell you, inspite of what the broadcasters were saying during the whole affair, Johnson did not receive a concussion during a pre-tournament game.
Check back later for the game story.
Back from a furlough week and I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Below is an unedited advance of Monday’s Gonzaga-EWU game, as well as some notes that didn’t make the preview.
As part of our bowl coverage of the Vandals, I’ve written a profile piece on coach Robb Akey. It touches on him being adopted as a baby, his long road to becoming a head coach and relationship with Mike Price — among other things.
You’ll find the story below. Enjoy and merry Christmas.
COUGARS • UPDATE: 11 P.M.
Let’s get the list. Check it twice. Beard? Check. White hair? Check. Pleasantly plump? OK, if that’s how you want to describe fat, check. Jolly? Ya, most of the time, so, check. That’s it. We’ve officially morphed into Santa Claus. So I guess we better deliver the presents (though there is a certain athletic administrator in Pullman who called me Santa earlier this year that is on my naughty list). You guys? You’re on the nice side of the ledger. So you get to read our Christmas feature a day early. To open your gift on Christmas Eve, read on.
While the first two weeks of bowl prep focused on everything other than Bowling Green, game planning started in earnest today for the Idaho Vandals. That’s the lead item in a notebook that will appear in tomorrow’s paper. You can see an early look below.
Meyer threw for 10,261 yards and 84 touchdowns with only 17 interceptions in 42 games with Eastern, winning two Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year awards and the Walter Payton Award.
Since that time, Meyer has gained experience in the NFL, NFL Europe, and, most recently, with the CFL.
“I know that I’m going to find a way to get back to the NFL someday,” Meyer said. “And it starts with signing with the Shock and leading them to a championship.”
The members of Eastern Washington University’s men’s basketball team head for Christmas break in a major funk after losing to previously winless Jackson State in the Las Vegas Classic on Wednesday.
You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Thursday morning’s S-R below.
Spokane Chiefs forward Tyler Johnson made the USA Hockey 22-player
roster the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the
International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship Dec. 26,
2009-Jan. 5, 2010, in Saskatoon and Regina, Sask. Click here for the press release.
The nonconference portion of Washington State’s basketball season is now officially behind us. The Cougars’ record after a dozen games? 10-2, with the losses at Gonzaga (ranked) and Kansas State (ranked even higher). After last night’s win over LSU, only the second BCS school they played (Kansas State was the other), they can take a few days off for Christmas – “I’m excited to go home,” Klay Thompson said – and then get ready for Pac-10 play. For more on last night’s 72-70 overtime win in Seattle, and some links from around the Pac-10, read on.
Eastern Washington men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine was probably wondering how his team would respond following last Saturday’s 91-34 loss to Brigham Young.
In any event, he found out Tuesday evening, when the cold-shooting Eagles were upset by lowly Chicago State in the opening round of the Las Vegas Classic. You can read the game story that appeared in Wednesday morning’s S-R here, and access what EWU’s sports information department posted about the game here.
The Eagles play again at noon today against winless Jackson State, and we will post details of the game as soon as they become available.
We’ve got to get out of here as the lights are starting to fade. But before we do, here’s the unedited version of the game story describing WSU’s 72-70 overtime victory over LSU at Key Arena. Read on.
Behind the support of 15,341 in Key Arena and numerous free throws in overtime, Washington State rallied to stop LSU on Tuesday night. The Cougars couldn’t hold on to an eight-point second half lead but got the last basket in regulation to force 5 extra minutes. In that period, WSU fell behind but Reggie Moore’s 3-point play brought them the lead and they held it with tight defense and just good enough free-throw shooting. Klay Thompson led the Cougars with 26 points. Bo Spencer led LSU with 23 and Tasmin Mitchell added 18 … In the end of regulation, LSU’s Spencer made the big plays, including hitting a fallaway 15-footer with 45 seconds left to give LSU the lead at 62-60. But Chris Bass missed two free throws that could have clinched it with 19.8 seconds left and Moore drove, found DeAngelo Casto, who fumbled, recovered and put in his 12th point of the game to tie it. Spencer was stripped and after a timeout and a clock review, WSU’s Moore tried a prayer that missed. … The Cougars lack of depth showed in this one, as they seemed tired and sluggish down the stretch. Point guard Reggie Moore played the entire game and seemed to wear down as the clock wound down. … A pretty darn good college basketball game marred by some pretty darn poor college officiating from Michael Irving, Mike Scyphers and Don McAllister. Not biased or one-sided, just really poor. The result, both coaches received technical fouls and the game was choppy. Plus, the teams combined to shoot more than 60 free throws. … We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.
How quickly fortunes can change. Two-plus weeks after dismantling Portland, Idaho visited the Pilots tonight and got thrashed, 82-52. It was a 50-point turnaround from the earlier meeting, when UI notched a 68-48 win.
The cold-shooting Vandals mustered just two 3-pointers and had 19 turnovers. Mac Hopson scored 15 points and was the only Vandal in double digits. Meanwhile, UP guard Jared Stohl knocked down 10 of 15 3-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points. You can see the boxscore here.
The Vandals’ weaknesses keep popping up in grand fashion — turnovers, inconsistent offense and allowing an opposing guard/wing to put up a huge point total.
A quick halftime note. Yes, the crowd here is loud – at times. The loudest may have been when the guy wearing purple was put down on the court by Butch during a time out. During the game, the loudest was after Marcus Capers’ fastbreak layup that gave WSU an eight-point lead. The Cougars led by as many as nine, the last time at 34-25 on Charlie Enquist’s two free throws with 1:44 before intermission. Enquist was playing because WSU can’t handle Tasmin Mitchell, who owns the offensive glass (six offensive rebounds) and has helped get DeAngelo Casto (two) and James Watson (three) into foul trouble. We’ll be back after the game.
The talk around the Key Arena is that this place is going to be packed. I’ve been in here for a Sonics game when it was pretty darn full, but not a college game. So it will be interesting to hear the crowd. Read on.
It was just over two weeks ago that the Idaho Vandals surprised most everyone by pasting then-No. 25 University of Portland 68-48. Tonight, the Pilots get another shot at Idaho (this time in Portland), and it would be shocking if this isn’t a much more competitive game.
Read on for a preview.
Sorry for the delay in posting information - it’s holiday time.
Below is the unedited notebook I filed for Wednesday’s paper and my vote for the AP top 25.
A couple of links for you enjoyment. A look at the Las Vegas tournament Gonzaga just play, which described the Zags as a one-and-done NCAA team (the story by Charlie Creme, ESPN’s bracketologist, seems to forget this same group won a game last year). UConn and Stanford stories for Wednesday afternoon’s big showdown (2:30 p.m., ESPN2). Also, U-Hi’s Angie Bjorklund takes leadership responsibility in Tennessee’s loss at Stanford, while Lady Vol’s coach Pat Summitt also took some blame and was still looking back two days later. The Left Coast women’s hoops blog looks at LV and UT-Stanford.
As Washington State prepares to play LSU tonight in Seattle’s Key Arena, the Pac-10’s bowl season gets underway in Las Vegas. We have links from both, so read on.
Washington State is still on the road for another home game, this one the usual Cougar Hardwood Classic, now in its fifth year. We have an advance for you, centered around Reggie Moore, the first WSU player to play in the Classic who calls the city of Seattle home. Read on.
Picked up from Gregg Drinnan’s blog.
F Luke Walker of the Portland Winterhawks and F Tyler Johnson of the Spokane
Chiefs are two of 14 forwards still with the U.S. national junior team after six
players were dropped from the selection camp roster Sunday. (They have been playing on the same line.)
Walker was a
scratch Sunday as the U.S. national junior team beat the U of North Dakota
Fighting Sioux 4-2 in an exhibition game in Grand Forks, N.D.
The U.S. roster still includes eight defencemen and two goaltenders. The U.S. had 30 players in camp, now is down to 24 and will select 22 to its final roster.
The U.S. team
is held its selection camp in Grand Forks, at Ralph Engelstad Arena and left for Regina Monday morning.
The U.S. team will head for Regina on Monday morning. The U.S. won’t name its
final roster until Wednesday, following a Tuesday night exhibition game with the
Walker is in the U.S. camp despite having had surgery to repair facial injuries after he was struck by a puck during a game Dec. 8.
A shorter day-after post than usual because we weren’t at the day-of event.
Notes and quotes below.
It is interesting to look at the Pac-10 basketball standings and see Washington State leading the way as the nonconference schedule winds down. Sure, WSU’s 9-2 mark has been built, in part, by the strength of the opponents. But that’s only a part. And, after the way the Cougars played Saturday, it seems to be even a smaller part. Read on for more thoughts on that and the win over Portland State in the Tri-Cities.
We about ready to head back to Spokane, but before we leave beautiful Kennewick, we have the unedited version of our game story on the link. Read on.
Click the tab below to read my unedited game story from the Lewis and Clark/Central Valley girls game Saturday afternoon. Also, you’ll see a roundup of the other girls games and a GSL boys roundup.
Washington State coach Ken Bone said that Portland State would hold no surprises for his Cougars. After all, he coached the Vikings for the past four years. Instead, Bone had some surprises for PSU. None were more surprising, though, then the shooting of WSU’s 4s, Abe Lodwick and Nik Koprivica. They, along with Brock Motum, who played a couple minutes, combined for more than 30 points. That, along with the usual contributions of Klay Thompson, DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore, who set another career high in assists, helped WSU to the easy win. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.
It’s halftime at the Toyota Arena and this game has stayed true to the predicted form. Read on for some thoughts.
Any time I have to drag out the reading glasses, it means bad news for somebody — Gonzaga or Gonzaga’s opponent. It means I’m scanning the Gonzaga media guide to see where a win/loss, point total, shooting percentage, etc., ranks in the school records.
Today, it was Gonzaga’s turn as the Bulldogs were blasted 76-41 by No. 7 Duke. There haven’t been many of these blowouts in recent years (Memphis, Illinois, Virginia off the top of my head), but this one wasn’t in doubt after Duke’s 18-2 run midway through the first half.
I wasn’t on hand to witness the drubbing live, but I’ve cobbled together a game story, with the help of GU SID Oliver Pierce and the wire services. You can read the unedited version below.
Being there was a doubleheader in Kennewick and I was there early, I covered the WSU women’s game with USF. On the link is the unedited version of the story we’ll have in tomorrow’s S-R. Read on.
It didn’t get any better for Gonzaga in the second half. In fact, it got worse.
No. 7 Duke overwhelmed No. 15 Gonzaga 76-41 on Saturday. Duke led 31-17 at half and cruised in the second half while Gonzaga continued to struggle at both ends of the court.
Back with a recap in about an hour.
Gonzaga was pretty much a mess offensively as it fell into a 31-17 hole against Duke on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
The Bulldogs had 13 turnovers and made just 7 of 28 shots (0 of 5 on 3s). They missed layups, had airballs on open 3s and short jump hooks, and clanked a dunk attempt. And they were 3 of 8 at the free-throw line.
In the first seven minutes, GU’s lone basket came on a dunk by Will Foster. GU recovered to lead 10-8, but Duke scored 18 of the next 20 points to take a comfortable lead.
Robert Sacre scored seven points and Manny Arop chipped in four. Matt Bouldin, back in the starting lineup after a one-game absence, had two points and two assists, but committed four turnovers. Elias Harris was 0 of 6 from the field and had three turnovers. Steven Gray was 0 of 3 and had two turnovers.
Duke’s Jon Scheyer had 14 points (eight coming at the foul line) and Nolan Smith added nine.
Back after the game with an update.
The road to the Tri-Cities beckons. But before we go, here are a few links to keep you informed. The WSU women’s game starts at 1:30 p.m., the men at 4:30. We’ll be there.
Quorey Payne, an arenafootball2 veteran, has signed with Spokane. The wide receiver/kick returner is a product of Southern Illinois University. More on Payne here.
The short-handed Spokane Chiefs head into the Christmas break after losing to the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-2 in overtime, their third straight one goal loss at home.
The Chiefs return to action Dec. 27 (Sunday) with a 6 p.m. game against Portland.
Before getting to the unedited game story I filed for Saturday’s paper, I have Mitch Wahl’s reaction to not being invited to the tryout game for the U.S. World Junior team after playing last year.
“I heard a lot of different things, U.S. hockey called me, for the most part I think the head coach didn’t like me so I think that’s why I got screwed out of a spot there,” Wahl said. “It’s frustrating but good luck to Johnny (Tyler Johnson) and hopefully he does well there.
“It’s disappointing for me obviously, I should have been a returning guy but at the same time but it’s not going to effect my career in the end. I think I deserve to be there and I deserve to be on the team. It makes me mad but I’m just trying to come out with a good second half of the season.”
With the Chiefs off, the holidays and some vacation time, there won’t be much to report on the blog for a while but we’ll try to keep up with the three players at the World Juniors and return with a James Reid feature story after Christmas.
Keep reading for the game story.
Click the tab below to read my unedited game story from the Gonzaga Prep/Ferris boys game, along with a roundup of the other boys games and the girls games.
Just as Robb Akey said Thursday, the Idaho football team has signed four junior college players — an offensive lineman, defensive tackle, receiver and a safety. Read on for more.
Also, Akey has been named WAC Coach of the Year by the Sporting News and Phil Steele.
Back with a preview of Saturday’s Gonzaga-Duke game. Read on for the unedited version below and some notes that didn’t make it into the article.
Gonzaga is obviously the center of attention in basketball this weekend with games in Las Vegas against No. 6 Baylor and No. 13 Texas A&M.
First, a quick correction. Despite earlier reporters, neither game - and both start at 8:45 p.m. - is on TV. However, if you want to see a high-quality women’s game, the Tennessee-Stanford game is on FSN at 11:30 a.m. Then switch to SWX for Washington’s State’s game with Nevada at 1:30.
But there is a lot of information to digest before the games, which will be on the radio. Keep reading.
We’re back in the swing of things now, and we’ve put together our advance for tomorrow’s game in the Tri-Cities. You can check out the unedited version on the link.
This, according to the final breakdown for sports enrollment classifications purposes, is where the Washington state high schools have landed.
Sixty six schools with three-year enrollment averages of 1,304 and higher are in 4A, including opt ups Gonzaga Prep and Mead (among 4), Lewis and Clark (1,564), Central Valley (1,506) Ferris (1,379) and Rogers (1,316). They will join seven schools from the Columbia Basin Big Nine (Wenatchee, Eisenhower, Walla Walla, Richland, Davis, Moses Lake, Chiawana) to form an eastern region that will likely have three state berths combined - 1 1/2 each. Those numbers aren’t determined until next year
Eastern Washington men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine liked the effort — for the most part — but not the outcome of Thursday night’s 73-70 non-conference road loss to Nevada.
You can check out the game story that appeared in Friday morning’s S-R here, read the gamer that ran in the Reno Gazette Journal here and access the post-game report supplied by EWU’s sports information department here.
Where were we? Oh ya, in basketball season. Well, we’re back and will be until the final shot is taken this season – unless something unforeseen happens. Today, we’ve got some catching up to do. Read on.
I was at Idaho football practice this evening and filed a notebook — led by contract negotiations between Robb Akey and AD Rob Spear. You can check it out below the link.
Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team is less than three hours away from tipping it off against the University of Nevada in Reno. I have a Whitworth University game to cover and won’t be able to listen to the Eagles, but I will posting links to related EWU-Nevada stories either late Thursday night or Friday morning.
In the meantime, you can read what EWU’s sports information department wrote about tonight’s game here, and access the game notes supplied by Nevada’s sports info folks here. In addition, I’ve included this link to the weekly basketball notes put out by the Big Sky Conference office, and this link to a game advance that ran in the Reno Gazette Journal.
University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear says he and football coach Robb Akey have met three times about reworking Akey’s contract and progress is being made toward a new deal. No official announcement will be made, Spear said, until the Idaho State Board of Education approves the extension.
The SBE meets next on Feb 17-18 in Boise. Akey’s contract discussion would have to put on the agenda by Jan. 19. “When it’s appropriate we’ll get that on the agenda,” Spear said. Akey is in the third year of a five-year deal that pays him $258,187 annually, among the lowest in the nation.
It’s a sad day here at The S-R. We’re saying so long to a good friend and classy teammate, Mike Vlahovich. Here is his final column. My wish is I can work as late in life as he did. But with the industry the way it is now, that’s probably mere hope.
I try to explain how we will go forward without Vlahovich and honor the man here.
Here’s a feature on Cheney multiple sport standout DeAngelo Jones.
And a quick glance at Great Northern League boys and girls basketball.
The annual Tri-State wrestling tournament is Friday and Saturday at North Idaho College. Here’s a preview.
Also, here’s a feature on former Sandpoint football standout Erik Stoll who is a starting strong safety at Montana. The Grizzlies play for the FCS national title Friday.
The Portland Winterhawks seem to have the Spokane Chiefs’ fans’ number.
For the third time in as many tries, Portland won at the Arena, taking a 3-2 decision at the Arena Wednesday night. In five games between the teams, the visitor has won every one.
This game was about missed chances for the Chiefs. Read below for the unedited game story I filed for Thursday’s paper.
Devin Clark, an offensive lineman who spent time with the Washington Redskins, has signed with Spokane. More on the former New Mexico Lobo here.
A couple of hockey notes:
From Cory Wolfe of the Star-Phoenix, Jared Cowen’s reaction to making Team Canada: The first call Cowen made was to his mom, Cara, in Saskatoon.
“She was relieved,” Cowen said with a grin. “She’ll get to see her son a little bit more this Christmas.”
has big plans for all three Saskatchewan players.
The 6-foot-5 Cowen is Canada’s biggest defenceman and he’s pegged to play a shutdown role.
“He’s got a big reach and good, quick feet so he can play against some of the better players on the other teams,” said Hockey Canada scout Al Murray. “It looks like, over the last year, he’s been trying to add more of an offensive component to his game. That won’t be necessary here.”
That role suits Cowen just fine.
“I think I can play against every line on every other team,” he said. “Hopefully that’s the case and hopefully I get a lot of minutes.”
Check out the blog of Jon Keen, Swift Current’s play-by-play man. He was in the Arena for the Air Force-Washington State basketball team and captured the transformation for Saturday night’s hockey game.
Finally, for a note from the Chiefs on Saturday’s Teddy Bear toss, click the extended entry:
Eastern Washington’s sophomore running back Taiwain Jones is the latest Eagle to receive FCS all-American accolades. You can read more here.
Oregon State, with a lot of help from ESPN, is in the process of backing out of its contracted Sept. 4 football game against Eastern Washington in Corvallis, Ore., this fall.
Details are still being worked out for a nationally televised game between OSU and Texas Christian, instead. You can read more here and here. And you can read EWU athletic director Bill Chaves comments on the potential schedule change below in an unedited version of the reaction story that will appear in Thursday morning’s S-R.
As mentioned in the prior post, I went to media day Wednesday and put together a notebook that you can access below. The first topic is Matt Bouldin’s health. He’s optimistic he’ll be back in the lineup for the Duke game Saturday.
Read on for more.
A few prep-related items of interest.
Click the tab below.
Eastern Washington’s senior quarterback Matt Nichols has joined teammate J.C. Sherritt, a junior linebacker, as a member of the AFCA’s All-America team. You can read more from EWU here and get additional details on the 25-man team — which includes Montana’s senior offensive lineman and former Rogers High School standout Levi Horn — here.
And those of you wanting to follow Big Sky Conference rival Montana’s drive toward another FCS national championship can get updates from the BSC office here, and more from UM’s sports information department here.
Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin will be one of the guests tonight on WCC Live, which is available on the Internet. More details below.
Media day this afternoon and I’ve been hearing pretty strongly that Bouldin, who sat out Saturday’s win over Davidson, will play against Duke on Saturday. Bouldin was still feeling the effects from a head-to-head collsion last Wednesday and sat out the Battle in Seattle. I’ll check in with Bouldin and have some other notes posted later tonight.
There is really any local news today. Eastern has a game tonight, everyone plays this weekend. It’s a good chance to see the Eagles, who are improved (but get trumped by an important hockey game).
Still, there are a few tidbits of national interest to pass on. Keep reading.
Spokane Chiefs captain Jared Cowen finds out this morning if he makes Canada’s team for the World Junior Tournament. Check back later, but read below for a story about the Tuesday night exhibition, which includes a comment from Cowen.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs defeated Seattle last night and have a key game with Portland at the Arena tonight. In addition to Cowen being gone, I’m pretty sure the Chiefs will be without Tyler Johnson, who has to be at the US camp for World Junior tryouts tomorrow in Grand Forks, N.D. Not sure you can get there from here so he’s probably spending today traveling.
Jason Harmon, a defensive back/kick returner with AFL experience, has signed with Spokane. More on Harmon, a Michigan State product, here.
And Spokane announced it will hold upcoming open player tryouts in Los Angeles and Atlanta. It’s the first time the Shock has held tryouts outside (correction) the state of Washington. More here.
As of this afternoon, the University of Idaho has sold roughly 2,500 of its allotted 3,000 tickets to the Humanitarian Bowl, according to the UI ticket office. The Vandals play Bowling Green at 1:30 Pacific on Dec. 30 in Boise. The bowl’s venue, Bronco Stadium, seats 32,000. Tickets are available through TicketsWest.com, idahotickets.com, or calling 208-885-6466.
OK, my bailiwick is prep sports, but I’m a fan, too. What are your thoughts about the Seattle Mariners and the moves they’re involved in? Could this mean they’ve got a shot at bringing Jason Bay - former Zag and NIC Cardinal - back to the Northwest. How about a one-two punch of Hernandez and Lee in the rotation?
Here’s your thread. Start yapping.
The lead item for this week’s women’s basketball notebook is Gonzaga’s trip to Las Vegas, where the Bulldogs will gamble that they can keep up with a pair of Top 15 teams.
I’ve filed way too many notes to get into Wednesday’s paper but you can read them all below.
Idaho left guard Mike Iupati today continued a banner few weeks of national recognitions by earning first-team Associated Press All-America honors. Iupati has been named to five All-America lists so far and is the Vandals’ first player to get first-team recognition by the AP since the program moved to the FBS (formerly Division 1-A). Last year punter T.J. Conley made the AP’s second team.
UPDATE: Iupati is also a first-team selection for SI.com.
Today is the day for undecided schools to announce their decision whether to opt up or stay put allow the WIAA to breakdown enrollment classifications. The Greater Spokane League appears set with 10 teams next year - if East Valley school board votes to drop to 2A this morning. Five or six (Mead, Gonzaga Prep, Ferris, Central Valley and Lewis and Clark for sure, Rogers probably the other) will be 4A; four or five (Shadle Park, Mt. Spokane, North Central and University) in 3A. It looks like the Columbia Basin Big Nine is going seven and seven with WV-Yakima dropping to 2A. Chiawana, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Richland, Moses Lake, Davis and Eisenhower are 4A. Eastmont, Pasco, Kamiakin, Southridge, Kennewick, Hanford and Sunnyside are 3A. Hard to believe that schools approaching 1,100 students will be considered 2A in classification size. It will be interesting to see how WIAA officials ultimately break things out.
Here’s my story in today’s paper:
Eastern Washington’s junior linebacker J.C. Sherritt has been named to the 2009 Walter Camp All-America football team after leading the Football Championship Subdivision in tackles.
You can read more or Sherritt here.
Here’s your Monday thread.
Lots of good things to chat about. How about Robby Douglas at Shadle Park? He’s off to a hot start. The Gonzaga Prep boys keep rolling along. I witnessed the Mead/Coeur d’Alene girls game. Many turnovers but entertaining nonetheless. Mead will have to use its quickness to overcome it’s glaring liability - lack of size in the post. Over at Central Valley, area grapplers squared off with University and Coeur d’Alene placing second and third respectively.
The focus in women’s basketball this week is going to be on the weekend tournament in Las Vegas where No. 6 Baylor, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 14 Arizona Stat and Gonzaga meet.
Here’s what the Zags are looking at: Baylor’s Brittney Griner was named the Big 12 Player of the Week, her second such honor and third for the Bears. Shanay Washington was the Nov. 23 recipient. Griner scored 25 points, had seven rebounds, a steal and three blocked shots to help Baylor beat Boston College 68-55 on Sunday in the Maggie Dixon Classic in Madison Square Garden. The 6-8 post led the Lady Bears in both scoring and rebounding. She was 12-of-24 from the floor and 1-for-3 from the charity stripe. Griner raised her season blocks total to 50 and continues to rank No. 2 nationally in blocks per game. She leads the Lady Bears in scoring at 17.0 points a game, averaging 24.3 over the last three outings. Griner’s 50 blocks, nine games into the season, places her No. 8 on Baylor’s single-season block list. She needs 37 more blocks to break former Lady Bear Danielle Wilson’s single season record of 86.
For more on women’s basketball, click below.
Gonzaga’s 2-0 week resulted in a climb to No. 15 in the A.P. Top 25. The Zags (8-2) are tied for 15th with Georgia Tech in the ESPN/USA Today poll. GU was 21st and 22nd, respectively, in those polls last week.
Find both polls are here.
It was a tough week for teams that were ranked just in front of Gonzaga in the Dec. 7 polls. Texas A&M, Washington, UNLV, Cincinnati and Wisconsin dropped games. No. 24 Washington is the only Pac-10 team ranked.
Duke, Gonzaga’s opponent Saturday in New York City, is No. 7 in both polls. Saint Mary’s received 17 votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll; none in the A.P voting. Three two-loss teams are rated ahead of Gonzaga: No. 10 North Carolina, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 14 Connecticut.
Eastern Washington’s third-year head men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine thought some of the young players on his team grew up during Saturday afternoon’s 100-97 non-conference overtime win over visiting Seattle University — and with good reason.
You can read the game story that ran in Sunday morning’s S-R here, you can access what EWU’s sports information department posted about the game here, and you can take a look at what SU published about the game on its website here.
For more day after details on the game, read on.
Good late morning after a late-night flight home from Seattle. Back with the day after Davidson post, following GU’s the-future-looks-bright 103-91 win at the Battle in Seattle. Like the announced attendance of 13,176 (down from recent years), there were fewer media members present at the Battle, but we’ll tell you what they had to say about the game, too.
Same drill as always — links up here, more details below.
LINKS: S-R gamer, John Blanchette’s column, photos (No. 3 — shown above — pretty much summarizes this game), Seattle Times gamer and column, Tacoma News Tribune column, A.P. gamer, and the Seattlepi.com.
UPDATE: Here’s a link to Davidson’s web site for an article (you can also access Bob McKillop’s post-game interview there); and an article in DavidsonNews.net.
Swift Current - and the charieties that will share more than 4,500 stuff toys - came up big at the Arena Saturday night as the Broncos defeated the Spokane Chiefs 2-1 on Teddy Bear Toss night.
Read below for my unedited game story.
It was far from pretty but the Idaho Vandals managed to pull out a 82-77 win NAIA foe Eastern Oregon at Memorial Gym. Keep reading for my game story.
Gonzaga, playing without guard Matt Bouldin, defeated Davidson 103-91 Saturday in the Battle in Seattle.
Read on for my unedited game story and check back tomorrow for the day-after post.
Eastern Washington, fresh off final exams and ready to head out on the road for its next four games, came up with an impressive overtime win over Seattle University at Reese Court on Saturday.
You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Sunday morning’s S-R below, and be sure to check back tomorrow for addtional thoughts and comments on the game from Eagles head coach Kirk Earlywine.
Saturday afternoon, Eastern Washington had no trouble with Montana Tech, limiting the Orediggers’ best player, senior Jessica DePell from Freeman, to five free throws.
They played fairly nonchalantly for most of the first half, but the Idaho Vandals still lead Eastern Oregon 43-29 at the break. Kyle Barone, making his first career start in place of injured Luiz Toledo, leads UI with eight points. The Mountaineers, an NAIA Division II squad, canned 5 of 14 3-pointers to keep things fairly close.
Also, one football note: Mike Iupati made yet another All-America squad, this time the Football Writers Association of America’s. WR Freddy Barnes of Bowling Green, UI’s foe in the Humanitarian Bowl, also made the team.
Well, it took longer than we said it would, but we finally have our game story ready to go. You can read the unedited version of our gamer from WSU’s 75-68 win over the Air Force Academy on the link.
A quick update from the Battle in Seattle: Matt Bouldin is dressed in street clothes and won’t play today.
I spoke briefly with Bouldin as he was watching his teammates warm up at KeyArena. He said he was still experiencing some symptoms from Wednesday’s head-to-head collision with an Augustana player.
Klay Thompson scored 19 and Reggie Moore added 16 as WSU held off the Air Force Academy at the Spokane Arena. The Cougars once again let a big lead almost slip away – the Falcons got within 57-55 with 6 minutes, 49 seconds left – but had enough to pull away down the stretch. WSU is 8-2 while Air Force fell to 5-3. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.
Let’s see. Klay Thompson has two points. The Cougars have yet to hit a 3-point shot after seven attempts. The five starters were pulled en masse with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left before the half. And they lead by seven? What’s going on here? Defense, sort of like what WSU has hung its hat on the past few years. Actually, even better than the last time these two schools met. The Falcons, milking the shot clock, are hitting just 39 percent of their shots. And they’re getting out-rebounded by six. Plus, leading scorer and rebounder Grant Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward, is out with a bad ankle. So there’s that. … We’ll be back after the game.
A quick post, as I’ve had a little bit of trouble getting on line. Just wanted to say that the Spokane Arena isn’t too crowded. Most of those 7,000 people who bought tickets must be out at Qdoba getting a burrito. We’ll be back at halftime, so go ahead and use this post for comments.
Getting my first glimpse of high school basketball and the 35 second clock during the University-North Central game, I hardly knew it was there.
Although the Titans’ uptempo game sometimes treated it like there were a 10-second clock - one time in transition it only took 5 seconds to counter an NC basket - time wasn’t a factor in the 68-58 outcome. Both teams were able to run through their offenses and get a decent shot most times in around 20 seconds. And the Titans actually got into a bit of a passing game in the second half to find seams in the Indians extended zone defense and wound up winning by hitting 14 of 16 free throws in the final two minutes.
In other words, it was your ordinary everyday type of game.
Washington State travels up U.S. 195 to play host to Air Force tomorrow in the Spokane Arena. If you want to know why, read on.
Raul Vijil, who has been with the Shock since the team’s inaugural season in 2006, has re-signed with Spokane.
Gonzaga and Davidson hook up in the seventh annual Battle in Seattle on Saturday.
You can find my unedited game preview below.
Trade action has picked up around the Western Hockey League but the Spokane Chiefs, who play at Chilliwack tonight and are home against Swift Current on Saturday (Teddy Bear Toss), have been quiet.
There has been another trade - Vancouver picking up a fourth goalie - you can check on Gregg Drinnan’s blog. As an added bonus, Gregg drops in column’s from the late Jim Murray (usually on Monday’s) and he has one about a young Tiger Woods.
Alan Caldwell’s blog looks a little closer at the trade. Caldwell also takes a team-by-team look at what might happen, or maybe needs to happen, before the Jan. 10 trade deadline.
Keep reading to see what he says about Spokane and why we disagree.
Just a quick post this morning as there is very little to pass on. But we did find a couple links. Read on.
Idaho senior guard Mike Iupati continues to get recognized on just about every All-America list out there. This time, it’s the distinguished Walter Camp team — the nation’s oldest All-America team that was announced during the college football award show this evening on national television.
Iupati was a finalist for the Outland Trophy but lost out to Nebraska star Ndamukong Suh, who’s up for the Heisman. You can see all the major award winners here.
As we get closer to the Pac-10 season, we thought it might be a good time to take a look at how teams are trying to stop Klay Thompson (above against Idaho), the nation’s second-leading scorer going into the week. So we put together a story based on conversations with Thompson, teammates, coach and those who guarded him. The unedited version is on the link. Read on.
We ran a year-ender story on Eastern Washington’s football program in the S-R this morning, and Eagles coach Beau Baldwin made it clear that finding his next starting quarterback is his top priority heading into the offseason.
You can access the S-R story here, and feel free to leave any comments you might have about what you feel are EWU’s most pressing issues that must be solved prior to the start of the 2010 season.
The new arena football league will have three teams from Florida. Tampa Bay is set to become the 15th franchise. Orlando and Jacksonville have already joined. There’s been no formal announcement on the membership from the league office, but it sounds as if 15 might be the number for the 2010 season.
More on Tampa Bay from the Tampa Tribune.
Also, Charles Frederick, a standout on the Spokane Shock’s 2006 ArenaCup championship squad, has signed with Jacksonville. It’s been rumored that the Sharks’ offensive coordinator will be Chris Siegfried, who coached Spokane to the ‘06 title and coached Frederick with the Kansas City Brigade of the AFL.
Senior guard Matt Bouldin, who left Wednesday’s game against Augustana after a collision a Vikings player, is expected to play vs. Davidson in the Battle in Seatle on Saturday, according to a GU release.
Bouldin left the game with nearly seven minutes left in the first half and didn’t return. Bouldin said he didn’t remember the play and he thought he had suffered a concussion.
Our Prep Page featured stories and glances on area wrestling including this feature on the ever-talented Jacob Trotter of Mead. Trotter is pictured above (right).
Here’s a glance at Greater Spokane League and Great Northern League teams and individuals.
Here’s a look at Inland Empire League 5A and 4A teams and individuals.
Here’s a column by Mike Vlahovich.
How could that be? Keep reading.
Back with the day after post from Gonzaga’s 79-40 rout of Augustana.
There wasn’t a lot of time after the game last night for in-depth analysis, either from those involved or on this space. The late start meant no one had much time to talk, with deadlines looming or early classes. But we have a few things that didn’t make the paper, so read on.
A four-player, three draft pick trade came down in the Western Hockey League Wednesday between Lethbridge and Regina. For details, and a nice tip of the hat to the Seattle Thunderbirds for raising money for the Lakewood Police Guild, check out Gregg Drinnan’s blog. That’s a lot easier than hitting numerous websites.
The trade will have no impact on the Spokane Chiefs unless they meet Regina for the WHL championship. There is this quick note from the Chiefs, who play in Chilliwack on Friday and are home on Saturday against Swift Current. The home game is Teddy Bear toss night. Drinnan found a story on the event that has spread through junior hockey.
We’re done with the game story. UI coach Don Verlin wasn’t too happy with his team and ripped into them pretty good in his postgame comments. Ken Bone? He was pleased as you might expect. Read on.
Gonzaga rolled to a 79-40 win over Augustana, a Division III school from Rock Island, Ill. The Bulldogs’ senior guard Matt Bouldin left the game late in the first half with what appears to be a concussion.
Read on for my unedited game story, with quotes from Bouldin.
Gonzaga got an easy win and a brief injury scare.
The Bulldogs routed NCAA Division III Augustana 79-40 Wednesday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Senior guard Matt Bouldin collided with an Augustana player on the baseline with 6:54 left in the first half. Bouldin stayed on the floor for a minute or two, holding his head, before leaving on his own power. He sat out the second half as a precautionary measure. (We’ll update his condition with the game story post later.)
Steven Gray scored 12 points and Bol Kong and G.J. Vilarino each added 10 as 13 Bulldogs scored and all 14 played. GU built a 40-14 halftime lead and went on to the easy non-conference victory.
Back with the game story in about 90 minutes.
There are only four nonconference games left on the Washington State schedule, with Pac-10 play opening the last day of the month. This is also the Cougars final appearance on campus until conference begins. And it should be a good one. Read on.
The Vandals have a chance to collect a very good non-conference road win tonight at Washington State — something they were able to do at Utah. But they also stumbled at Texas Southern and Cal State Northridge. So what to expect? It’s hard to say, but you can read comments from Idaho coach Don Verlin about the WSU matchup below the link.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 12:30 P.M.
One time this football season, in the course of travel covering Washington State, I ended up sleeping in a different place six consecutive nights. Talk about never feeling at home, even though a couple of those evenings were spent with the family. Why share that? Because that’s how the Cougars are going to feel over the next couple weeks. WSU will play their next five home games at different sites, starting with Beasley tonight against Idaho. They then go to Spokane, Kennewick and Seattle before returning to open Pac-10 play in Beasley on Dec. 31. Maybe the Cougars should borrow that RV the NBA uses for its television commercials and just tour Washington in it. Read on.
There wasn’t much excitement but the Spokane Chiefs did what they needed to do, blanking Prince George 3-0 at the Arena Tuesday night.
My unedited game story follows.
We’re back with more basketball news heading into WSU’s six consecutive “home” games. On the link we have the unedited version of our notebook for tomorrow’s S-R in advance of the Cougars game with Idaho on Wednesday night. We also have a piece of news for you. Read on.
I hesitate to start writing this because I know once I do the avalanche begins.
However, welcome to our women’s basketball blog. We do this because there is no longer enough room to get all the news and notes into the newspaper related to women’s basketball in the Inland Northwest.
We try to cover four Division I teams (Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Washington State and Idaho) equally as warranted, like to touch bases with our D-III team (Whitworth) and ocassionally touch bases with a pair of junior colleges (Spokane, North Idaho).
Mix in 14 young ladies from our area high schools playing D-I ball outside of our area and another 20 or so playing D-II, D-III or NAIA and that’s a lot of follow.
Then figure the eyes of the women’s basketball world are going to be trained on Spokane in 2011, with the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament here, and well, that’s a ton of news to track.
I can’t promise a daily post - and I won’t post during vacations, I’m not allowed to post during my furlough and I have hockey and figure skating in my future - but I’ll do my best to keep you informed.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I put together a notebook/advance for Wednesday’s S-R. The first topic deals with how the GU-Augustana game came about, followed by a couple of other items, including a shorter version of the Elias Harris’ note from Monday’s post.
Read on for the unedited article.
Meanwhile, Matt Bouldin and Saint Mary’s Omar Samhan are co-WCC players of the week.
The Spokane Chiefs face Prince George tonight at the Arena and it is the last chance to see standout defenseman Jared Cowen this year.
Hope that didn’t make any hearts flutter. Notice it said this year, not this season. Cowen heads for Canada’s World Junior tryout camp after Friday’s game at Chilliwack.
The Chiefs lose forward Tyler Johnson to the U.S. camp next Wednesday so Saturday’s home game against Swift Current is his last appearance.
Defenseman Stefan Ulmer won’t leave until after the home game with Seattle on the 18th. That is the Chiefs’ last game before the Christmas break. They return to action on Sunday, Dec. 27 when Portland comes.
The world tournament is in Saskatoon and runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
If my math is correct - and it often isn’t, Cowen could miss nine games, Johnson seven and Ulmer five if there is a gold medal in their futures.
Spokane announced the addition of three players, including 6-foot-5, 238-pound quarterback Chris Crane, who was in training camp with the Indianapolis Colts over the summer.
Crane backed up Matt Ryan at Boston College before taking over as the starter as a senior. He doesn’t have arena football experience. Crane and 2009 Shock backup Casey Hansen, also 6-5 and 230 pounds, are the team’s only QBs at this point.
Also signing were DL Bryan Save (pronounced Saw-vay) and DB Al Phillips. More on the three players below and also at spokaneshock.com.
Meanwhile, news continues to trickle out at a slow pace on the new league. It sounds as if Cleveland, a member of the now defunct Arena Football League, will be part of the new league. Former arenafootball2 member Central Valley, apparently has chosen not to be involved.
The league Web site lists 13 teams (not counting Cleveland. Alabama is the af2 Tennessee Valley franchise).
I was at GU’s media day today, but the full-fledged notebook won’t run until Wednesday, when the Bulldogs entertain Augustana.
In the meantime, read on for a couple of items.
Robb Akey just wrapped up a teleconference with reporters about the Humanitarian Bowl and said he and athletic director Rob Spear have talked about a contract extension — as recently as this morning. Akey was out last week recruiting and is gone again, so he said the two need to find time to get an agreement worked out. “I’m hoping by next weekend that we’ll have something hammered out,” Akey said.
Asked if he and Spear were on the same page, Akey said, “I think we’re working toward the same goal.” The coach is finishing the third year of a five-year deal that pays him $258,000 per year.
Also, WAC awards were released this morning and guard Mike Iupati and safety Shiloh Keo were first-team selections.
The All-Pac-10 football teams were just announced, and WSU senior center Kenny Alfred was a second-team selection on the offensive line. He was the only Cougar to earn anything but honorable mention. There were five of those: junior punter Reid Forrest; senior free safety Xavier Hicks; sophomore wide receiver Jared Karstetter; freshman defensive end Travis Long; and senior running back Dwight Tardy. You can check out the entire list here The offensive player of the year was Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, the defensive, UCLA’s Brian Price and the coach, Oregon’s Chip Kelly.
Gonzaga slipped four spots in the A.P. Top 25, falling to No. 21 after losing to Wake Forest on Saturday. GU (6-2) is one spot behind Wisconsin, despite a convincing win over the Badgers in Maui, and two spots behind Cincinnati, whom the Zags beat for the Maui title. Wisconsin knocked off Duke last week.
Wake Forest (5-2) didn’t receive a vote in the poll. Portland, losers of three straight after being ranked No. 25, didn’t receive a vote.
In the ESPN/USA Today poll, Gonzaga slid to No. 22. Wake Forest received seven votes; Saint Mary’s six.
Find both polls here.
Fall prep sports officially ended with the conclusion of the 4A state football game late Saturday evening.
And what a game it was. Skyline is arguably the best team I’ve seen in 25 years of covering prep sports for The Spokesman-Review. I realize most of those years were spent in North Idaho, but I think you get the point.
So now we head inside for girls and boys basketball and wrestling. Not a minute too soon either!
So here’s a thread to start the week. Feel free to talk about the just-completed fall season or offer some thoughts on early basketball results.
Just one reminder: Keep the conversation civil.
I took care of basketball duty tonight and John Blanchette will have a column on the football developments as far as Idaho is concerned. But I was able to sit in on an impromptu press conference with Robb Akey and several players during halftime. Keep reading for quotes and more.
UPDATE: Here is John’s column that he filed from Moscow. Tickets go on sale this morning at 8, by the way.
The final score says Idaho 68, Portland 48. But it wasn’t really that close, which should tell you all you need to know about this night for the Vandals. They beat their first ranked team since 1982 on a night when the football team accepted an invite to the Humanitarian Bowl. Keep reading for my hoops story.
Humanitarian Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald said this afternoon that he hopes to make an announcement on which WAC team will play in the game after this evening’s BCS selection show. It’s also possible that both teams for the Dec. 30 bowl in Boise could be announced. Asked how Vandal fans should feel at this point about their chances, he said, “I think they should feel pretty good. But until the really the BCS comes out, we’re going to have to wait.”
McDonald said next week’s Army-Navy game muddles the situation, particularly for 6-6 UCLA — a team that is on the H-Bowl’s “wish list.” UCLA has yet to make a decision on whether it wants to travel to Idaho. “We’ve talked to UCLA but it’s going to come down to a lot of factors. Some of the factors we can’t control, so we’re going to have to communicate with UCLA and try to build reason why they should come here and play.”
Good Sunday morning. Had my morning scrap with the computer (explorer can’t connect to this web site), but I can finally post the day-after offering from Wake Forest’s 77-75 win over Gonzaga.
Lots more on Elias Harris, Kong, etc. below, but first the links. Here’s my game story, John Blanchette was spot-on with Harris’ ejection in his column, the A.P. gamer, the Winston Salem-Journal article, and S-R game photos.
Eastern Washington got an early — and ugly — taste of Big Sky Conference men’s basketball action Saturday night, losing on the road to Portland State.
We’re back, for now. We can’t catch you up completely, but we can fill you in with what happened last night. A good one for women’s basketball, not so good for the men. Read on.
The Skyline Spartans are a dazzling football team.
The Sammamish team pulled away from Ferris in the second half with a 45-21 win in the 4A state championship game Saturday evening at the Tacoma Dome.
Click below to read my unedited game story.
Back with the game story from Wake Forest’s 77-75 win over Gonzaga on Saturday. The game took a U-turn when GU freshman forward Elias Harris was tossed for a flagrant technical foul late in the first half.
Read my unedited game story below, and check back tomorrow morning for a day-after post.
Coach Jim Sharkey’s worst fears were realized. Skyline’s defensive front caused problems but not as much as the offense’s ability to run the football which made it more difficult to defend the pass. Kasen Williams and his fellow sure-handed mates complimented BYU-bound Jake Heaps and the running game for a dominant 45-21 victory over Ferris for the 4A State football title.
Ferris: A 73-yard drive, including Halliday’s 49-yard pass to a streaking Bates, set up an early fourth quarter TD cutting the lead to 31-21. But the pocket collapsed on Halliday on the next possession. He was hit as he threw and picked off by lineman Jake Carlson, setting the Spartans up at the 16.
Skyline: Heaps hits Connor Brandt, 38-21, 7:51. Then, following a bit of razzle dazzle out of the Wildcat led to a reverse to Heaps, 66-yard strike to Cooper Pelluer, son of Scott, and eventually the final indignity. Heaps threw for four touchdowns and rushed for another. He and Halliday finished with 254 passing yards each. But the ultimate difference was the 192-7 rushing yardage differential. That and the fact Skyline is simply the better team.
Colfax moved the football, but four turnovers - two fumbles and two interceptions - came back to bite the Bulldogs in the 2B state championship game this afternoon at Gridiron Classic in the Tacoma Dome. They fell into a 26-10 hole, got back to within 26-24, losing 32-24 to Adna following a meaningless late score.
Here’s my unedited story:
Too many mistakes did in the No. 1-ranked Colfax Bulldogs, and the third-ranked Adna Pirates took advantage for a 32-24 victory in the State 2B football championship game Saturday afternoon at the Tacoma Dome.
Colfax (12-1), playing in its fourth final, was seeking its first state title since 2001.
Adna finishes 13-0.
Final statistics can be found on the extended entry.
Mike Vlahovich will post his unedited game story in about an hour.
Matt Nichols won’t be among the three finalists attending Thursday night’s The Sports Network’s Award Banquet in Chattanooga, Tenn., where the 2009 Walter Payton Award winner will be announced.
But Eastern Washington’s record-breaking senior quarterback can take some satisfaction in knowing he finished fourth in this year’s voting for the Football Championship Subdivision’s player-of-the-year award.
You can read more on Nichols and the splendid season he recently completed on this link to EWU’s athletic department website, and check out what the Big Sky Conference office published about the Payton voting here.
Eastern Washington University’s men’s basketball team is just couple of hours away from opening Big Sky Conference play on the road against defending two-time champion Portland State.
Eagles coach Kirk Earlywine has previously made it clear he is not a big fan of starting conference play in early December, and he did so again earlier this week in this Big Sky preview that ran in The Spokesman-Review.
In addition to the preview, I’ve included this link to the EWU-PSU game notes supplied by Eastern’s sports information department, and this link to what Portland State’s sports info office had to say about the upcoming game.
Wake Forest ended Gonzaga’s five-game winning streak with a wild 77-75 win Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Gonzaga was in command, 31-22, late in the first half when Matt Bouldin was whistled for a foul contesting C.J. Harris’ 3-pointer and Elias Harris was ejected for a forearm to the neck of Demon Deacon center Chas McFarland on the rebound. Wake Forest capitalized by making 4 of 5 free throws and Ari Stewart drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
Another Stewart 3-pointer gave Wake Forest a 34-33 halftime lead. Wake Forest lead by as many as 14, 55-41, before the Zags staged a furious comeback, fueled by four 3-pointers by Bol Kong.
GU had a couple of chances to tie it late. Steven Gray was fouled on a 3-pointer with 8.1 seconds left. After making the first free throw he missed the next two and GU trailed 76-74. After a Stewart free throw, Matt Bouldin made 1 of 2 free throws, missing the second on purpose, but it failed to hit the rim, giving Wake Forest possession.
Matt Bouldin led the Zags with 22 points. C.J. Harris, who made 13 of 15 free throws, finished with 19, and Stewart added 17.
Game story in about two hours.
West Valley and Lynden competed tooth and nail, defenses bending but not breaking in a game that wasn’t decided until the final four minutes. The Eagles, however, came out on the short end of a 16-6 decision after leading 6-0 until the final 50 seconds of the first half.
“It was anybody’s game,” said Eagles coach Craig Whitney. “We battled down to the final tick of the clock. Tip your hat to Lynden, that’s a great squad and tradition they have.”
Here is my unedited version of this morning’s State 2A championship final
Lynden defended its 2A state football championship, stopping West Valley 16-6 Saturday morning in the Gridiron Classic at the Tacoma Dome.
Click the tab below for final statistics and highlights throughout the game.
Mike Vlahovich will post his unedited game story in about 2 hours.
Here’s a GU-Wake Forest preview from the Winston-Salem Journal.
TACOMA - Don’t know how many of you football followers watched the 3A final between Bellevue and Liberty and kept tabs on time of possession, but the victorious Wolverines, now winners of seven of the last nine titles (including twice over West Valley’s foe Lynden) had the football for all but 1 minute 40 or 45 seconds of the first half. Don’t give up the ball it’s hard to lose. Incredibly, Liberty trailed just 16-7 at half, scoring in a minute to cut the lead to 9-7. And the score was 16-14 before Bellevue scored in the game’s final 2 minutes to ice victory. The team did it primarily with its Wing T multi-directional running game, passing only 3 or 4 times.
On another note, I discovered the Lynden quarterback Jordan Hastings has Eagle ties. His grandparents lived in the district for over 50 years and his dad, Gary, is a WV graduate. Two aunts still live in Spokane.
Lends another dimension to Saturday’s WV-Lynden 2A title game at 10 a.m. Greg or I will be blogging with updates during all three playoff games, so stay posted.
It was a bit of a struggle but the Spokane Chiefs scored two late goals to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2 at the Arena Friday night.
Keep reading for the unedited game story.
Mike Vlahovich and I arrived in Tacoma about an hour ago for Gridiron Classic. I failed to post our feature story on Ferris standouts Jordan Tonani and Gage Orosco. You can link to it here. Tonani is pictured above.
Here’s a feature on Gonzaga Prep senior post Ryan Nicholas, who is pictured above.
Here’s our predicted order of finish for the GSL along with some other notes.
Some of Gonzaga’s biggest wins in recent years (Washington State, Connecticut, Washington, Texas) have been in December. And a high percentage of GU’s losses have come in December.
The Bulldogs started December off this season with a win over WSU. Next up: Wake Forest of the ACC.
Read on for my unedited preview and a couple of notes at the bottom.
The Idaho Vandals started an important three-game portion of their schedule with a 95-93 loss at Cal State Northridge. UI (4-2) led by 14 in the second half, 63-49, but let it slip away and eventually trailed by eight before a furious (and ultimately futile) late-game rally.
Kashif Watson scored a team-high 21 points (on 15-of-15 shooting from the free-throw line, the second-best mark in the NCAAs this season) while Mac Hopson had 19 and Steffan Johnson had 16. Kenny Daniels scored a career-high 39 for the Matadors.
The Vandals play Portland on Sunday at 5 at Memorial Gym before traveling to rival Washington State on Wednesday.
Spokane has added another Dillon, Ronald ‘Rock’ Dillon, to their roster, after announcing earlier this week the return of Charles Dillon.
There’s also more on Josh Leonard joining the Tampa Bay practice squad below.
At least seven former Shock players have landed in the new arena league. They are: Palauni Ma’Sun (Chicago), Virgil Gray (Milwaukee) and five with Arizona (Nick Davila, John Booker, Kyle Young, Sergio Gilliam and Kelvin Morris).
UPDATE: Make that eight: Andrico Hines (Tennessee Valley).
UPDATED UPDATE: Make it nine: Rico Ochoa (Dallas).
One recent Shock signee, DL Josh Leonard, has signed with Tampa Bay’s practice squad.
And ex-Shock linebacker/FB Levi Madarieta won an MMA fight last weekend in Yakima. He defeated Mike Riddell via submission in the second round.
Here is a feature on Mead multi-sport standout Jazmine Redmon, who is pictured above.
Here’s a glance with some notes.
Here’s a column by Greg Lee with a look at the Coeur d’Alene/Lewis and Clark matchup Friday.
Mike Iupati, Idaho’s dominant left guard, was the only WAC player to be named to the American Football Coaches Association All-America team. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound senior from American Samoa is viewed as an elite NFL prospect as an interior lineman and is a finalist for the Outland Trophy. Last year punter T.J. Conley was an All-America for the Vandals as well.
Mark Hester has resigned after 15 years as football coach at Shadle Park. He was third-longest tenured coach this year in the Greater Spokane League.
I was here for 15 years and that was plenty of time,” Hester said. “It was a great opportunity here. I enjoyed working with the kids, being around my assistants and had great supported from the administration and student body.”
Raise your hand if you expected Gonzaga to be 6-1 at this point. I’m typing so I can’t, but I would have guessed 5-2. It’s a razor-thin margin between Gonzaga possibly being 7-0 (and probably in the top 10) or 4-3.
Onward. I should have put the day-after post together last night, but I watched the GU-WSU replay until the wee hours. Read on.
Three games in the next week should tell us a lot about the Idaho basketball team. The challenging stretch starts Thursday night at Cal State Northridge, continues Sunday vs. No. 25 Portland (at Memorial Gym; tickets are limited) and finishes Wednesday at Washington State.
Keep reading for thoughts and comments from Don Verlin on the toughest part of the Vandals’ nonconference schedule. And as always, you can follow my updates on Twitter at twitter.com/SR_JoshWright.
A quick post before I sign off for a few days (more about that on the link). We were in the Kennel tonight as WSU struggled to execute down the stretch – on both ends of the floor. We have some thoughts about that on the jump and some comments from a few Cougars.
Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s 74-69 win over Washington State. GU’s comeback, its third successful rally from a double-digit second-half deficit this season, wasn’t exactly stylish (the Bulldogs had 10 turnovers in the second half), but it was effective in knocking off the upset-minded Cougars.
Read on for my unedited article and come back Thursday morning for a day-after post.
Gonzaga stormed back in the second half behind the play of senior Matt Bouldin and freshman Elias Harris to defeat Washington State 74-69 before 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. By overcoming a 15-point first-half lead, 17th-ranked GU (7-1) kept the Cougars (6-1) from becoming the first visiting team to win twice at McCarthey. Though it was Bouldin (28 points) and Harris (24) doing it on the offensive end, it was Steven Gray and Mangisto Arop who made the biggest difference, combining to hold Klay Thompson, the nation’s leading scorer at 28.3 points coming in, to 15 points on 6 of 21 shooting. More on the link, so read on.
A pretty good size football post for you, pretty much marking the end of the 2009 season. Hey, I heard that. No more cheering. Anyhow, we have a season preview based in large part on an interview with Paul Wulff. And a short news story, though the basis of it has been available for a while. Plus, as an added attraction, the WSU players who made the Pac-10’s All-Academic team. Read on.
Here are the Greater Spokane League all-league photos and here is the link to the entire list of area all-league teams. The teams are chosen by the league coaches. We also have the North Idaho all-league teams and the all-league photos. We apologize for the delay.
Hockey Canada and USA Hockey announced training camp rosters for the national junior teams to select teams for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan 5 in Saskatoon and Regina, Sask., including Spokane Chiefs Jared Cowen and Tyler Johnson.
Cowen, the Chiefs captain, is among the 36 players, including 10 from the Western Hockey League, invited to take part in Canada’s National Junior selection camp from December 12-16, 2009 in Regina, Sask.
Johnson, a Spokane native, is one of two WHL players headed to the U.S camp in Grand Forks, N.D., Dec. 17-19. Johnson played on the 2009 team.
Spokane defenseman Stefan Ulmer is headed to the tournament in Saskatoon later this month as a member of the Austrian team for the third time, but the first time the team is in the A tournament, a result of winning gold in the B tournament last year.
For more information on the Canadian and American teams, click below.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 9 A.M.
An unusual Wednesday morning in the WSU-related cyber world, in that, with the Gonzaga basketball game tonight, there’s plenty to link from around the state. We’ll get to it all on the link. Read on.
Eastern Washington dusted off visiting Walla Walla University 89-61 at Reese Court on Tuesday night.
And while the matchup against the NAIA Division II Wolves probably didn’t do much to prepare the Eagles for Saturday’s Big Sky opener at Portland State, it seemed to be just what coach Kirk Earlywine was looking for.
You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Wednesday morning’s S-R below.
And check back later this week for a short preview of the Big Sky Conference, and where Earlywine expects his Eagles to fit into the regular-season title chase.
The Gonzaga women’s basketball team used a huge second half to pull away from Eastern Washington 87-61 victory Tuesday evening at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, up just four at halftime, outscored the Eagles 52-30 in the second half.
The Western Hockey League announced today that Spokane Chiefs goalie James Reid is the Husky WHL Player of the Month for November.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:20 P.M.
We go from the Apple Cup directly into the heart of the WSU nonconference basketball schedule. From the rivalry with UW to the hardwood rivalry with Gonzaga. We have a WSU basketball notebook on the link (you can also check out the game advance from Jim Meehan on this post) along with some football notes. Read on.
Klay Thompson wears uniform No. 1 and he’s presumably the No. 1 concern on Gonzaga’s scouting report. The sophomore forward has led Washington State in scoring in all six games, with his lowest total a 20-point effort in 28 minutes.
Read on for my unedited WSU-GU preview that will run in Wednesday’s paper. I’ve attached some notes at the top from Monday’s media day prior to the advance.
Charles Dillon, the former WSU receiver who helped Spokane win the ArenaCup last year, is back with the Shock.Offensive linemen Jamarr Ward and Chris Pino also signed with Spokane.
Dillon is the sixth player from the ‘09 team to return.
Read more below.
Where were we? Oh ya, football is over, in Pullman at least. Basketball moves to center stage. So we’ll be adjusting the morning post as well. Read on for today’s entry.
As a quick followup to yesterday’s post about Idaho’s bowl scenarios, the Idaho Statesman has this story that quotes Kevin McDonald, the Humanitarian Bowl’s executive director, saying an Idaho-Bowling Green matchup in the Dec. 30 game is likely to happen. A final announcement, however, might not come until Dec. 12, after the Army-Navy game.