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From left: John Bailey , Cornelia Ferguson and J.H. Junior Ferguson. (provided)

From left: John Bailey , Cornelia Ferguson and J.H. Junior Ferguson. (provided)

(Springfield) – Is it luck? Is it destiny? Whatever it is, the Fergusons have it.

Junior Ferguson of Raymondville was chosen as a finalist at Bailey Chevrolet in Willow Springs to go to Springfield Wednesday to have a 1 in 12 shot of winning a 2015 Chevy Cruze during the halftime of the Missouri State University Men’s basketball game against Bradley. Despite the odds, Ferguson’s name was pulled.

John Bailey, owner of Bailey Chevrolet, spoke about the win:

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The Fergusons registered at Bailey Chevrolet, and had their name drawn to be the finalist from the dealership. 11 other people from across the region also won the chance to win the car at Wednesday’s game at participating Chevrolet dealers.

The West Plains Lady Zizzers celebrated Senior Night at Wednesday's game. (ORN Photo)

The West Plains Lady Zizzers celebrated Senior Night at Wednesday’s game. (ORN Photo)

The West Plains Lady Zizzers defeated Hillcrest Wednesday for the Ozark Conference Championship.

Gary Lee has the update:

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FINAL

West Plains 65
Hillcrest 59

On Wednesday the Houston Lady Tigers defeated the Willow Springs Lady Bears.

Marty Spence has the wrap:

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FINAL

Houston 55
Willow Springs 52

The Cabool Bulldogs’ season came to an end during the semi-finals of the Class 2 District 9 tournament.

Brad McNew has the update:

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The final score was:

Cabool – 53
Plato – 69

by RB Fallstrom, AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Earlier this month, Vladimir Tarasenko became the youngest St. Louis Blues player in more than two decades to score 30 goals.

The 23-year-old Russian forward’s skill is known across the league.

“He has lots of skill,” said Pavel Datsyuk, the Detroit Red Wings forward and fellow countryman. “He’s a really nice person, he’s a talented guy and a hard worker, too, which is more important.”

Tarasenko was the 16th overall pick in 2010 and made it to the NHL during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He had 22 goals last season and was the Blues’ most potent offensive threat in their one-and-done playoff appearance against the Blackhawks last spring, getting four goals in six games.

This season, he’s a first-time All-Star and the player the opposition fears most.

“It took him a little while to adjust to the North American style,” said Buffalo forward and former teammate Chris Stewart. “But look at him now.”

Alexander Steen is one of the Blues’ best overall players, a tireless two-way standout. Tarasenko has the scoring touch.

“He’s extremely skilled and he’s got a heck of a shot,” Steen said. “That’s why he’s putting up the numbers.”

Tarasenko was tied with San Jose’s Joe Pavelski for fourth in the NHL with 31 goals, trailing only Steven Stamkos (32) and Rick Nash (37) and he’s scoring a point per game through 60 games. His plus-minus of plus-27 was also tied for fourth and he’s among the league leaders with five game-winning goals.

Tarasenko has two overtime goals and has been the Blues’ best player in the shootout with three goals on eight chances.

“He can take a wrist shot from the blue line in a split-second, no wind up or anything, and it gets on the goalie quicker than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. “A goalie can’t take his eyes off him for a second, or even a defenseman.”

The previous Blues player to score 30 goals at age 23 was Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan in 1991-92. Hall of Famer Brett Hull’s career skyrocketed at age 25 in 1989-90 when he racked up 72, 86 and 70 goals over a three-season span.

Shanahan finished with 33 goals in 1991-92. Without making any specific predictions, Tarasenko is shooting much higher.

“The year is not over yet,” he said. “Things are going good right now and I’ll try to keep it up every game.”

The Blues have yet to use Tarasenko at all times during the game. Coach Ken Hitchcock doesn’t use him to kill penalties, preferring to save the legs for offense.

Tarasenko’s signature move is a quick fake to the left that creates space to shoot. Hitchcock stresses the two-way aspect, and anticipates as Tarasenko matures, he’ll play 20 minutes per game instead of 17.

“When he’s checking well and the line is checking well, that’s when they get all of their offense,” Hitchcock said. “When that line checks, they are really dominant.”

Becoming more comfortable with the language and cultural differences aided Tarasenko’s take off. All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was Tarasenko’s first roommate on the road and can relate to the transition after playing in Finland during the lockout.

“He was very self-conscious about his language and English, but in actuality it was great,” Shattenkirk said. “We’d tell him, `You’re fine. You can order in a restaurant perfectly. Don’t stress it.’”

Tarasenko said the situation has improved, but added there’s plenty of room for growth.

“Sure, I feel more confidence right now. It’s way better right now,” Tarasenko said. “It’s hard, still.”

The Blues picked another forward, Jaden Schwartz, two spots before grabbing Tarasenko. The speedy Schwartz also has been a find with 46 points, a plus-16 rating and four game-winners.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Micah Mason had 20 points, including four 3-pointers, and five assists to lead Duquesne to a 79-66 win over Saint Louis on Wednesday night.

Jeremiah Jones scored 16 points and Dominique McKoy and Derrick Colter added 12 apiece for Duquesne (10-16, 5-10 Atlantic 10). The Dukes won back-to-back conference games for the first time in the Jim Ferry era (2012-15).

Milik Yarbrough had 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Marcus Bartley hit four 3s as a part of his career-high 16 points for Saint Louis (11-17, 3-12).

Mason hit a 3 with 7:13 left in the second half to put the Dukes up 12, but the Billikens scored four straight to cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the 14:42 mark the second. Duquesne made six consecutive free throws to go up 67-53 with four minutes left.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Christian Kirk had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead Missouri State past Bradley 80-77 in triple-overtime Wednesday night.

Chris Kendrix and Loomis Gerring each hit a pair at the line in the final :23 to push the Missouri State lead to five and the Bears held on.

Austin Ruder had 20 points, including five 3s and Kendrix added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Bears (11-18, 5-12 Missouri Valley).

Bradley scored the first seven points of double overtime, but Missouri State scored seven of the next eight points capped by a tying 3-pointer from Gavin Thurman with 1:16 left.

After three free throws from Sutherland put Bradley up three, Ruder hit a tying 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to force a third overtime.

Josh Cunningham had 15 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, 11 on the offensive end, and Tramique Sutherland added 20 points for the Braves (8-22, 3-14).

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The owners of the Milwaukee Bucks have selected three architectural firms to design the basketball team’s new downtown arena.

Missouri-based Populous will serve as the lead agency on the design team. The company has worldwide experience designing arenas, stadiums, ballparks and convention centers. Populous has designed 15 NBA or NHL arenas, and is currently working on new projects in Quebec City and Las Vegas.

Two local firms, HNTB and Eppstein Uhen, also will help design the Milwaukee arena. The companies employ nearly 300 Wisconsin residents and have worked on thousands of projects throughout the state.

The Bucks are seeking support from state, county and city governments. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a state budget calling for $220 million in state bonds to help pay for the new arena.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Former first baseman Mike Sweeney will become the 26th member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame.

Sweeney, a five-time All Star when he played with the Royals from 1995 to 2007, was elected in his first ballot appearance, the team announced Wednesday.

Sweeney also played for the Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies but he signed a one-day contract with the Royals in March 2011 to retire as a member of the Kansas City organization.

He hit .297 with 325 doubles, 215 home runs, 909 RBIs and 759 runs scored during his career. He set the Royals’ record with 144 RBIs in a season and is in top six in franchise history in 17 offensive categories.

Sweeney is a special assistant to Royals general manager Dayton Moore.

(West Plains) – On Tuesday night the MSU-West Plains Grizzlies easily defeated State Fair in a region play-in game. Brian Ingalls has the update:

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The Grizzlies will play Mineral Area CC on Friday in Joplin.

MSU WEST PLAINS GRIZZLIES – 82

STATE FAIR – 56