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(West Plains) – Due to today’s rainy conditions, the West Plains High School boy’s golf tournament, boy’s tennis match and the 9th grade baseball game have been postponed, according to school officials.
The baseball game will be held Tuesday at 4:30 PM. New dates for the golf tournament and the tennis match have not yet been determined.
(Detroit) (AP) – Albert Pujols is closing in on his 500th homer and joining a prestigious club. More important for the Los Angeles Angels, he’s looking like his powerful self again.
The 34-year-old Pujols is hitting .280 with six home runs through 75 at-bats this year, an encouraging start following an injury-plagued 2013. The Angels enter a series at Washington with Pujols at 498 career homers.
“There’s no doubt, just speaking of the last couple years we’ve had him here, that this is the best foundation he’s had, this is the healthiest he’s been,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think you’re starting to see some of the swings he can put on baseballs on a consistent basis. It’s been fun to watch.”
With Pujols poised to reach 500 homers, it’s worth a look at who the next few candidates to approach that milestone might be. Adam Dunn is also 34 and has 443 home runs. He went deep 34 times last year, so a couple more seasons like that would put him over the top.
“I’ve never been numbers-oriented in my life, and not starting now,” Dunn said. “If it comes, it comes. That would be awesome.”
Miguel Cabrera just turned 31, and he has 366 homers. He should certainly have a good shot at 500 if he remains healthy and productive. Cabrera and Pujols both started putting up big numbers at a young age – and that’s crucial in the chase for a milestone like this.
There are 25 players currently in the 500-homer club, and they averaged 141 homers before turning 26, according to STATS. With that as a baseline, Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton is in impressive shape already. He doesn’t turn 25 until after this season, and he already has 123 home runs.
Prince Fielder had 163 homers before turning 26. He’s up to 287 now – with his 30th birthday coming up next month – but Fielder is hitting .188 for Texas and needs to hope his power stroke isn’t in serious decline.
(Toronto) – Rubin “Hurricane” Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many prominent supporters.
For 19 long years, the prizefighter was locked in a prison cell far away from the spotlight and the adulation of the boxing ring. But when he at last won his biggest fight – for exoneration – he betrayed little bitterness. Instead, Carter dedicated much of his remaining life to helping other prisoners and exposing other injustices.
The middleweight title contender, whose murder convictions became an international symbol of racial injustice and inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film, died Sunday. He was 76.
The New Jersey native, who had suffered from prostate cancer, died in his sleep at his home in Toronto, said John Artis, his former co-defendant and longtime friend and caregiver.
Carter “didn’t have any bitterness or anger – he kind of got above it all. That was his great strength,” said Thom Kidrin, who became friends with Carter after visiting him several times in prison.
The boxer, a former petty criminal, became an undersized 160-pound contender and earned his nickname largely on his ferocity and punching power.
Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.
But his boxing career came to an abrupt end when he was imprisoned for three 1966 murders committed at a tavern in Paterson, N.J. He was convicted in 1967 and again in 1976 before being freed in 1985, when his convictions were thrown out after years of appeals. He then became a prominent public advocate for the wrongfully convicted from his new home in Canada.
His ordeal and its racial overtones were publicized in Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.
In a statement issued Sunday, Washington praised Carter’s “tireless fight to ensure justice for all.”
Carter and Artis had been driving around Carter’s hometown on the night that three white people were shot by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill. They were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.
Carter was granted a new trial and briefly freed in 1976, but he was sent back for nine more years after being convicted in a second trial.
“I wouldn’t give up,” Carter said in an interview in 2011 on PBS. “No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people … found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.”
Dylan, a boxing aficionado, became aware of Carter’s plight after reading the fighter’s autobiography. He met Carter and co-wrote “Hurricane,” which he performed on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975. The song concludes: “That’s the story of the Hurricane/But it won’t be over till they clear his name/And give him back the time he’s done/Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been/The champion of the world.”
Muhammad Ali and Coretta Scott King spoke out on Carter’s behalf. Other celebrities also worked toward his release, joined by a network of friends and volunteers.
Carter eventually won his freedom from U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who wrote that the boxer’s prosecution had been “predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.”
Born on May 6, 1937, into a family of seven children, Carter struggled with a hereditary speech impediment and was sent to a juvenile reform center at 12 after an assault. He escaped and joined the Army in 1954 and learned to box while in West Germany.
After returning home, he committed a series of muggings and spent four years in various state prisons. Upon his release, he began his pro boxing career, winning 20 of his first 24 fights mostly by knockout.
At 5-foot-8, Carter was fairly short for a middleweight, but he was aggressive and threw waves of punches. His shaved head and menacing glower gave him an imposing ring presence but also contributed to a forbidding aura outside the ring. He was quoted as joking about killing police officers in a 1964 story in the Saturday Evening Post, which was later cited by Carter as a cause of his troubles with law enforcement.
Carter boxed regularly on television at Madison Square Garden and overseas in London, Paris and Johannesburg. Although his career appeared to be on a downswing before he was implicated in the murders, the 29-year-old fighter was hoping for a second middleweight title shot.
Carter defied his prison guards from the first day of his incarceration and spent time in solitary confinement because of it.
“When I walked into prison, I refused to wear their stripes,” Carter said. “I refused to eat their food. I refused to work their jobs, and I would have refused to breathe the prison’s air if I could have done so.”
Carter eventually wrote and spoke eloquently about his plight, publishing his autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” in 1974. Benefit concerts were held for his legal defense featuring Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack.
Although many of his celebrity friends abandoned the cause after his second conviction and an allegation of assault during his brief release, other advocates worked tirelessly on his behalf, culminating in Sarokin’s ruling and two subsequent failed prosecutorial appeals to have the convictions reinstated. Each year on the anniversary Sarokin’s decision, Carter called the judge to thank him.
After his release, Carter moved to Toronto, where he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. He received two honorary doctorates for his work.
Canadian director Norman Jewison made Carter’s story into a biographical film. Washington worked closely with Carter to capture the boxer’s transformation and redemption.
“He’s all love,” Washington said while onstage with Carter at the 2000 ceremony where he won a Golden Globe. “He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he’s love.”
The makers of “The Hurricane,” however, were widely criticized for factual inaccuracies and glossing over other parts of Carter’s story, including his criminal past and a reputation for a violent temper. Giardello sued the film’s producers for its depiction of a racist fix in his victory over Carter, who had long acknowledged that Giardello deserved the win.
Artis said Carter will be cremated and didn’t want a funeral or any memorial. Artis has been taking care of him since 2011.
“He was a champion of the underdog,” he said. “He was like the David against the Goliath of the justice system.”
Kidrin spoke with Carter on Wednesday.
“He said, `You know, look, death’s coming. I’m ready for it. But it’s really going to have to take me because I’m positive to the end.’”
(Miami) (AP) – Each of the last two Miami championship runs has been highlighted by moments where a sharpshooter enters a game and immediately provides a surprise spark.
James Jones got his turn Sunday.
And the lift he brought, combined with the expected playoff showings from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, have the Heat off and running in these playoffs.
James scored 27 points, Wade added 23 and the Heat rode two big runs – one late in the first half, the other down the stretch – to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-88 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series. Miami trailed for much of the first half, but rallied and has now topped Charlotte 17 straight times.
“We were flat to start,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think our guys were just anxious.”
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday. Al Jefferson will be getting plenty of treatment until then.
Kemba Walker scored 20 points for the Bobcats, who started fast behind Jefferson – who was diagnosed with a strained left plantar fascia after a misstep in the first quarter, and got a pair of injections just to continue playing.
“We did some really good things today,” Walker said. “We just have to keep executing throughout the game. We can’t get rattled.”
Jefferson still finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds – yet in what can’t be a real exciting sign for Charlotte, he left the arena in a walking boot.
“Just got to suck it up, man,” said Jefferson, who confessed that he’s no fan of needles but insisted he doesn’t plan on sitting out.
Gary Neal scored 17 and Josh McRoberts added 15 for Charlotte, which shot only 12 free throws compared to 26 by Miami, and allowed the Heat to turn their 15 turnovers into 20 points.
“If we’re going to have 15 turnovers, we’re not going to win,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said.
Miami sealed it with an 18-4 run in the fourth, all but three of those points coming with James getting a rest. Luke Ridnour made a high-arcing baseline jumper over Ray Allen with 10:29 left to get Charlotte within 74-69.
That’s when James got a breather. He returned to breathing room.
Chris Andersen had a tip-in for a 12-point lead, Wade – who shot 10 for 16 – made a 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding down with 6:50 left to make it 85-70, and another score by Andersen pushed the margin to 17.
With that, Game 1 was secure.
“That group that was in once I took that break at the 10-minute mark in the fourth quarter, they just bumped the lead,” James said. “Obviously, to have three Hall of Famers in the game when I’m out of the game, CB, D-Wade and Ray … that was big-time.”
So was Jones.
He didn’t play in the first half of any playoff game last season and was out of the rotation much of this year. But when he checked in with 4:19 left in the half Sunday, Miami led 35-34.
“Hell of a spark,” Wade said.
Before long, it was 47-36, Jones scoring four of those late as Miami was wrapping up a 19-2 run. He added five more in the third, and his 3-pointer with 10:08 left kickstarted what became the game-deciding spurt down the stretch.
“When you’re dressed, you’re expected to perform,” Jones said.
Two years ago, it was Mike Miller giving a lift to the Heat in that off-the-bench role. Last year, it was Miller and Shane Battier sharing those honors. Miller is in Memphis now, Battier is out of the rotation, and that means a door may be opening for Jones.
“He’s going to be a very, very key ingredient to our success,” James said.
Charlotte had four players making their first playoff starts. It was also the first national-television appearance this season for the Bobcats, who seemed anything but overwhelmed by the moment.
Walker made a 3-pointer to beat the first-half buzzer, drawing Charlotte within 49-42. That started an 11-0 run by the Bobcats, who scored the first eight of the third quarter to reclaim a one-point lead.
And the third stayed close, neither team leading by more than three for the majority of the third. But the Heat closed strong behind Jones and James, who made a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left for a 72-65 Miami lead entering the fourth.
(Portland) (AP) – LaMarcus Aldridge was playing on another level Sunday night and had the emotional intensity to match the best performance of his career.
Portland’s star was hungry after missing the playoffs the last two seasons and wanted to show his teammates that getting to the postseason was simply not enough.
Aldridge scored a career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 points and Damian Lillard added 31, including the go-ahead free throws in overtime, to lift the Trail Blazers to a 122-120 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
“I’ve been here and I’ve went through this process and I understand it and I just think tonight was one of those nights,” Aldridge said.
Aldridge fouled out with about a minute left in overtime and Lillard, who was making his playoff debut, took over. He scored the next five points for Portland and put the Trail Blazers on top by one point with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left. Joel Freeland made one of two free throws seconds later to give the Blazers the win in their first trip to the postseason since 2011.
Lillard said seeing the intensity of Aldridge helped him raise his level of play.
“As far as the passion I don’t think I’ve ever seen him like that,” Lillard said. “I saw how bad he wanted to win the game. When you’ve got your best player playing like that it fires you up.”
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.
Aldridge, who was playing in his home state, also had 18 rebounds and two blocks.
“He’s been a handful for us all year long,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said. “We just didn’t have any answers for him.”
James Harden and Dwight Howard each scored 27 points for Houston, and Howard grabbed 15 rebounds.
Houston could have tied it, but Harden missed a short jump shot at the buzzer. He had missed a 3-pointer on Houston’s second-to-last possession.
“I’ve got to play better,” Harden said. “I didn’t shoot the ball well … I’ve got to shake it off, but it will be better in Game 2.”
It was a physical game with the teams combining for 79 free throws.
A three-point play by Lillard gave Portland a one-point lead with 44.5 seconds remaining. Francisco Garcia and Howard both made one of two free throws after that to give Houston a 120-119 lead 20 seconds later.
Aldridge fouled out when he knocked Patrick Beverley to the floor setting a pick with 1:04 left in overtime. An emotional Aldridge continued to yell at the referees after he went to the bench.
“This is one of those games where I could show my team that I wanted to lead,” Aldridge said.
Beverley re-injured his right knee on the play where Aldridge fouled out and McHale said the Rockets would know more about the guard’s status after an MRI exam Monday. Beverley missed eight games late in the season because of a torn meniscus in the knee.
A dunk by Robin Lopez gave Portland a 116-114 lead before he fouled out seconds later. Howard made both free throws to tie it.
Houston scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, with the first four from Howard, to make it 86-73. But Portland used a 10-0 run, with the help of the Hack-A-Howard defense of intentionally fouling the center, to tie it at 98 with 2:46 remaining. Howard missed four straight free throws as Portland cut the deficit.
The Rockets were frustrated that they let this one get away after leading by double figures late.
“We had no business losing this game,” Houston’s Chandler Parsons said.
A 3-pointer by Lillard had tied it at 104-all before Harden put Houston up with two free throws. Aldridge’s tip-in with 2.9 seconds left tied it at 106. Houston had a chance to win it in regulation, but Harden’s shot was off.
Howard and Jeremy Lin both made three-point plays to start overtime before Aldridge and Nicolas Batum hit consecutive 3s to tie it up again.
Portland trailed by 11 when it used a 9-2 spurt to get within 73-69 with about two minutes left in the third quarter. Aldridge started the run with four points and Wesley Matthews finished it off by scoring the last five and capping it with dunk on a fast break.
The Rockets had a four-point lead early in the third quarter when Harden heated up, scoring 10 points of a 12-3 run that extended Houston’s advantage to 66-53 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the period.
You can listen to The Grizzly All-Star Basketball Classic by clicking below. We will begin our broadcast at 3:00pm for the first game, and continue the broadcast till the conclusion of the second game, we will also be uploading the audio for the games following the event.
(West Plains) – Saturday marks the ninth consecutive spring for the Grizzly All-Star Basketball Classic at the West Plains Civic Center. Four all-star teams comprised of senior boys and girls from across south Missouri and north Arkansas will compete at the Joe Paul Evans Arena in a pair of games, starting at three o’clock. The girls game will be played first followed by the boys.
Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly head basketball coach Yancey Walker talks about the event which started in 2006.
Former Grizzly coach Brian Ostermann and his wife, Julie, started the event as a way to honor the top high school senior basketball players in the region and gain visibility for the MSU-West Plains basketball program. There will be a dunk contest between the games and a three point contest as well.
Admission is 5 dollars for adults, 3 for children 12 and younger.
Both games will be broadcast on the Ozark Radio Network on Q-94, Jack-FM.
(West Plains) – Three members of the 2013-14 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team have signed national letters of intent to play for NCAA Division I schools in Texas beginning next fall.
Freshman forward Justin Jamison, Garfield Heights, Ohio, and sophomore guard Devaugntah Williams, Canton, Ohio, will join the Texas Tech University Red Raiders, and sophomore guard Arroyo Edwards, Milwaukee, Wis., will become a member of the University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA)Roadrunners.
“I am proud of these three young men,” Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker said. “Their stories are so different, but they all have worked to accomplish the same goal of signing at an NCAA Division I institution.”
Jamison averaged 10.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game this past season. He hit 123 of 203 shots from the field for 60.6 percent, three of six 3-pointers for 50 percent, and 63 of 100 attempts from the free throw line for 63 percent. He had a total of 203 rebounds, 42 blocks and six steals.
Williams led the Grizzlies in scoring this past season, averaging 17.8 points per game. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and one steal per game. He connected on 169 of 386 shots from the field for 43.8 percent, 64 of 166 3-point shots for 38.6 percent and 79 of 115 shots from the free throw line for 68.7 percent. He collected 111 total rebounds, 99 assists and 26 steals during the season.
Edwards averaged 14.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists this past season. He connected on 130 of 291 shots from the field for 44.7 percent, 27 of 75 3-pointers for 36 percent and 143 of 200 free throw attempts for 71.5 percent. He collected a total of 68 rebounds, 95 assists and 14 steals this past season.
“It is my hope that these three experience the success they deserve at the next level,” Walker said. “Justin and Devaugntah are getting the honor of playing for someone that I believe will be in the Hall of Fame. Arroyo is not only playing for a former NBA player (Roadrunners Head Coach Brooks Thompson), but for a former Grizzly in Robert Guster. These three are a big part of the reason we had 100 Division I coaches in this year. They have certainly left their mark on this program.”
All three said they were glad they had the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies.
For more information about the Grizzly Basketball team, including complete statistics from the games, visit wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/bb/.
(West Plains) – Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball standout Helena Peric will be taking her talents to the University of California-Riverside beginning this fall.
Peric, a 6-foot, 1-inch outside attacker from Smederevo, Serbia, signed a national letter of intent this week to play for the Highlanders, an NCAA Division I school in the Big West Conference.
“We are very excited for Helena to continue her education and playing career at the University of California-Riverside next fall,” Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann said. “She has worked hard in the classroom and on the court to give herself the opportunity to be a leader in both areas at UC Riverside. She will do great things and will represent Missouri State-West Plains very well at her new school.”
This past season, Peric recorded 433 kills (3.9 per game), 241 digs (2.17 per game), 34 blocks (.31 per game), and 462 total points. She earned NJCAA Region 16 first team honors in 2012 and 2013 and was selected to the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team in 2012. She also earned first team NJCAA All-American and second team American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American honors in 2012.
For more information about the Grizzly Volleyball team, visit the team’s website at http://wp.missouristate.edu/grizzly/vb/. For more information about the national tournament, visit http://tbirds.info/.