Stingy defense sends Rock Island to 3A Final


Stingy defense sends Rock Island to 3A Final

Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted: 10:28 p.m.
By Michael O'Brien

PEORIA Every time Brooks guards George Marshall and Mike Powell elevated for jump shots on Friday they looked confident and poised, and for good reason all season long the vast majority of those jumpers had gone in. Not this time. Marshall and Powell were absolutely broke for four quarters as the Eagles fell to Rock Island 55-36 in the Class 3A state semifinals at Carver Arena.It was the worst shooting game we had all year, Brooks coach Bobby Locke said. I think we were awestruck that the ball wasnt going in the hole. I think it carried over to our defense.Brooks shot 13-for-50 from the field. Marshall shot 1-for-12, he missed the first 11 shots. His first basket was a three-pointer with five seconds left in the game. Powell was 1-for-14, he made a layup in the third quarter.The Eagles were not on the court warming up for the usual 15 minutes before tip-off. There was a snafu with the clock in the locker room.We didnt have time to warm up, Powell said. We ended up going out with like eight minutes left. When the game started I tried to get warm out there but it wouldnt go for me.Brooks managed only one free throw in the first quarter and trailed 12-1. Keith Gray (12 points, 12 rebounds) turned things on in the second quarter but the Eagles trailed 23-11 a the half.In a nutshell, the first quarter killed us, Locke said. We couldnt overcome that.The Eagles did hold Stanford recruit Chasson Randle in check. He shot 5-for-15 from the field and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Rocks guard Devon Jones didnt score, but he guarded Marshall for the majority of the game.Jones had a huge hand in us winning this, Rock Island coach Thom Sigel said. He shut down George Marshall.Marshall finished with five points and Powell had three. Justin Raabcontributed nine points and Kevin Gray had seven points and five rebounds for Brooks (28-4).I dont know that we even hoped we would contain Marshall and Powell like that, Sigel said.Denzel McCauley, a 6-8 junior, led Rock Island (29-3) with 14 points and nine rebounds. Romal Davis scored nine and Keith Keesy added eight points and six reboundswhile playing with a broken nose.Im proud of the fact that we put it together and got here, Locke said. We bonded really quickly and I hate that it ended so fast.Rock Island will play the winner of the North Chicago vs. Centraliasemifinal for the class 3A state championship Saturday at 2 p.m.It means the world, Randle said. This is amazing just to be sitting here talking about playing in the championship game.

Morning Update: Cubs open World Series tonight; Hawks lose in shootout

Morning Update: Cubs open World Series tonight; Hawks lose in shootout

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Why Cubs wouldn't pay the price for Andrew Miller and got Aroldis Chapman from Yankees

Why Cubs wouldn't pay the price for Andrew Miller and got Aroldis Chapman from Yankees

CLEVELAND — As the New York Yankees marketed Andrew Miller this summer and prepared for their first sell-off in a generation, their demands started at either Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez — and the Cubs still would have been forced to throw in more talent to get the All-Star reliever.

This could be the fascinating what-if for this World Series. The Cleveland Indians paid the price, giving up a four-player package headlined by outfielder Clint Frazier (the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft) and left-hander Justus Sheffield (the No. 31 pick in the 2014 draft) to get what turned out to be the American League Championship Series MVP.

The Cubs didn’t make Schwarber untouchable because they thought he would be ready in time for the World Series, but he’s preparing to be their Game 1 designated hitter on Tuesday night at Progressive Field after a remarkable recovery from major surgery on his left knee.

“It was impossible to avoid some of the names — particularly the Cubs — (with) the year they were having,” Miller said. “Whether I wanted to avoid it or not I heard it. Guys in the clubhouse, our media was certainly bringing it to us.”

Even in other possible deals for pitching, the Cubs never came close to selling low on Baez, who broke out as the National League Championship Series co-MVP for his offensive production and defensive wizardry. 

Instead of getting Miller’s late-game dominance for three pennant races — and giving up five potential 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons with Schwarber — the Cubs closed a different blockbuster deal with the Yankees for a left-handed power arm.

The Cubs wanted Aroldis Chapman’s 100-mph fastball to get the last out of the World Series and would rationalize his 30-game suspension to begin this season under Major League Baseball’s domestic-violence policy. Already holding an age-22 All-Star shortstop in Addison Russell, the Cubs surrendered elite prospect Gleyber Torres.

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“Gleyber’s a good baseball player,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That kid’s going to be really good. So you have to give up something to get something. But also our guys felt if we got Aroldis this year, we’d have a chance to be sitting here and answering this question. And they were right.

“It’s an entirely different thing when you get a guy out there throwing 100 miles an hour. You feel pretty good about it, regardless of who is hitting. So he’s really a big part of why we’re doing this right now.”

Chapman has saved five playoff games — and become that reassuring ninth-inning presence at Wrigley Field — but he clearly responds better to a scripted role.

Miller has been untouchable during the postseason, throwing 11 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out 21 of the 41 batters he’s faced, giving Terry Francona even more freedom to manage a lights-out Cleveland bullpen.

“To be utilized like Miller,” Maddon said, “not everybody is cut from the same cloth mentally, either, or the ability to get loose and prepare. Andrew Miller — having done a variety of different things in the big leagues as a pitcher — is probably more suited to be able to be this guy that can get up in the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth and warm up in a manner that gets him in the game both mentally and physically.

“Whereas Aroldis — if he wanted to do that — I think that would have had to be done from spring training. He’d have to differentiate his mindset. He’d have to have a different way to get ready. I do notice he throws a heavy baseball before he actually throws a regular baseball. That’s his routine.

“Whether you agree with it or not, that’s just the way it is. So with a guy like Aroldis — to ask him to attempt to dump his routine right now (and) do something else — I think you’re looking for failure right there.

“We stretched him to five outs the other night, which is a good thing, I thought. So now going forward he knows he can do that. But to just haphazardly throw him in the sixth, seventh or ninth, I think would be very difficult to do.”

Even in a World Series featuring historic droughts, Cy Young Award winners, MVP candidates and star managers, this October could come down to the bullpens shaped by deals with the Yankees.

“Both teams made aggressive trades,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. “Both teams are still standing. There’s something to that.”