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(Willow Springs) – After being chosen as the winner of a brand new 2015 Chevy Cruze last week, the Fergusons decided to get their new car on Thursday.
Junior Ferguson of Raymondville was chosen as a finalist at Bailey Chevrolet in Willow Springs to go to Springfield Wednesday, February 25 to have a 1 in 12 chance 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.
Junior Ferguson told Ozark Radio News after signing the paperwork that he’s happy that he can give his wife a new car:
He also said that it was nice winning, since he’s hardly ever won anything in his life:
Junior Ferguson, who turned 80 the day before the car was won, 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.
SAINT LOUIS, Mo. (AP) — Andell Cumberbatch scored 17 points and pulled down four rebounds as St. Bonaventure rolled to a 64-48 win over Saint Louis on Wednesday night.
Dion Wright added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Bonnies (16-12, 9-8 Atlantic 10 Conference). Marcus Posley had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Cumberbatch sank a 3-pointer late in the first half to give St. Bonaventure a 23-12 lead and the Bonnies were up 26-18 at the break.
A Mike Crawford jumper helped Saint Louis pull to within three points, 30-27, early in the second half but another Cumberbatch 3 followed by an 11-6 run midway kept the Bonnies out front 52-41 with 7:41 to play. St. Bonaventure led by double digits from there on and rolled to the win.
Achraf Yacoubou led the Billikens (11-19, 3-14) with 11 points and five boards.
by Chuck King, AP
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Jason Heyward can provide both a veteran presence and youth to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Going into the Cardinals’ first Grapefruit League game, manager Mike Matheny had already made up his mind on what Heyward brings to the team.
“I see him as a veteran player,” Matheny said. “He’s accomplished quite a bit in a short amount of time. He’s still a young guy but I see him with leadership qualities.”
Heyward came to St. Louis along with Jordan Walden in an offseason trade that sent Shelby Miller and minor leaguer Tyrell Jenkins to Atlanta, bringing power and speed to a Cardinals’ lineup that lacked both last season.
Heyward stole 20 bases for Atlanta in 2014, that total would have tied him with Kolten Wong for Cardinals’ team high. Heyward’s 27 homers in 2012 were six more than any Cardinal hit in 2014.
Heyward, who is eligible for free agency following this season, averaged 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases with the Braves during his first five seasons – and the Gold Glove he received last season was the second of his career. Those are the stats of a veteran player, but Heyward is still uncomfortable classifying himself that way.
“I guess I have been here for some time,” Heyward said. “I guess I have had some experiences that someone else would like to hear about.”
Matheny said Heyward’s reputation in the clubhouse cemented the Cardinals’ desire to acquire the left-handed-hitting right fielder.
Similar to many veterans, Heyward arrived a couple of weeks early to Cardinals camp. The transition from one organization accustomed to winning to another has been smooth.
“This clubhouse is an easy clubhouse to fit into,” Matheny said. “Actions speak louder than words to this group. Everyone holds themselves accountable for what we want to get done every day. We know at the end of the year where we want to be.”
Younger players such as outfielder Randal Grichuk have found Heyward to be approachable and engaging. Veterans such as left fielder Matt Holiday are looking forward to seeing what he can do when games begin.
Matheny already has an idea on what Heyward brings.
“He’s got a presence, there’s no question about it,” Matheny said. “He’s been a guy in a short amount of time that’s made a big splash.”
Matheny gave Heyward, and all of the Cardinals except the pitchers who needed to throw a bullpen, the day off on Wednesday.
When Grapefruit League games begin on Thursday for the Cardinals, one of Matheny’s more interesting tasks will be determining where Heyward’s speed and power best fit in the batting order.
Heyward frequently hit leadoff for the Braves, which may have affected his power numbers. Matt Carpenter seems to hold a firm grasp on the Cardinals’ leadoff role. Heyward could hit in any of the five spots that follow.
Matheny wouldn’t reveal where he planned to try Heyward first, but does plan to move him around this spring.
“Whatever I’m asked to do, wherever I’m going to be asked to hit, that’s just going to be whatever I settle into,” Heyward said. “Consistency in that spot, in those situations, is what’s going to bring the best out of someone. That’s all I’m looking forward to.”
by Dave Skretta, AP
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Eric Hosmer and Royals newcomers Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios hit consecutive first-inning homers, and AL champion Kansas City routed the Texas Rangers 13-2 on Wednesday in the spring training opener for both teams.
Hosmer hit a three-run shot off Rangers starter Colby Lewis that landed on the grassy berm well beyond the centerfield fence. Morales went deep to right field and Rios went to left, giving Kansas City a 6-0 lead before Lewis had even recorded an out.
The last time Kansas City hit three consecutive homers during the regular season was May 2006, when Tony Graffanino, Angel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz did it against Detroit.
“It’s something you don’t get to see every day, even during the regular season,” said Rios, who spent the past couple seasons with Texas. “It just happened.”
Lewis recorded three straight outs after the Royals’ early home run binge, but the veteran starter still needed 36 pitches to get through his only inning of work.
“I actually felt great, threw a lot of strikes,” said Lewis, a notoriously poor starter in spring training. “Of course, the results aren’t what you want, but it is what it is.”
Fellow starter Yovani Gallardo fared no better in his Texas debut, allowing four runs on six hits over 1 2-3 innings while getting little help from some shoddy defense.
“It’s my first time out,” Gallardo said. “I feel like I kept the ball down, got a lot of ground balls today. That’s what you want to see.”
Morales and Rios had back-to-back doubles of Gallardo during a three-run third inning, leaving the Royals with a strong first impression. The pair signed as free agents with Morales taking over their designated hitter spot and Rios now handling right field.
“You know, that’s a deep lineup up and down,” Hosmer said. “You throw in Kendrys there that can flip a pitcher up every way being a switch-hitter, it makes for a dangerous offense.”
A much different offense from last season, too. Nobody even reached 20 homers for the Royals during their World Series run, and they finished with a league-low 95 as a team.
“It was pretty impressive,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The first live pitching they saw was in an intrasquad game (Sunday), and that was for one or two at-bats. They came in looking like they’ve seen live pitching for a while. It was impressive to see at-bats most of the day.”
Royals: Nobody in the Royals’ starting rotation is scheduled to pitch the first couple spring games. RHP Aaron Brooks was first up Wednesday, allowing a run on two hits in two innings.
Rangers: Lewis said he’s feeling much better than last spring, when he was still sore from an innovative hip resurfacing surgery. “First time out, you want to go out there and throw strikes,” he said. “Arm feels good, everything feels good.”
Royals: LHP Tim Collins left after feeling tightness in his elbow. Yost said that he would have an MRI exam soon. “Timmy threw a curveball and that’s when he first started feeling it,” Yost said. “Then he threw seven or pitches after and it kept getting tighter.”
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus is dealing with tendinitis in his left knee and LF Mitch Moreland is still recovering from ankle surgery. Neither will play a game until at least next week.
Royals: LHP Brian Flynn tries to make his case for a spot in the Royals’ bullpen when he starts Thursday. RHP Ryan Madson also is scheduled to pitch as he continues his comeback.
Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish makes his spring debut after last season ended prematurely due to elbow inflammation. Darvish did pitch a scoreless inning in an intrasquad game Sunday.
SIGN `EM UP
The Rangers renewed the contract of RHP Shawn Tolleson and agreed to terms with C Robinson Chirinos and pitchers Luke Jackson, Phil Klein, Nick Martinez, Roman Mendez and Tanner Scheppers.
LET `EM GO
Texas returned LHP Edgar Olmos to Seattle after claiming him off waivers earlier this spring. Olmos had been unable to pitch because of a shoulder impingement.
by RB Fallstrom, AP
ST. LOUIS (AP) — This time last year, Wichita State was keeping light-hearted track of its unbeaten streak with names attached to the numbers – Michael Jordan for 23 in a row, the B-29 bomber for 29-0 and so on, until the run finally stopped at 35-0 with a two-point loss to Kentucky in the NCAA Midwest Regional final in St. Louis.
“We talked about it,” coach Gregg Marshall said. “We didn’t need other people to bring it up. We had fun with it.”
The eighth-ranked Shockers (27-3, 17-1) were nearly perfect this year in the Missouri Valley and are top seeds heading back to the same court where their dream season ended a year ago. They’re peaking, too, clinching their second straight regular-season title with a winner-take-all, 74-60 victory over No. 11 Northern Iowa last Saturday at home. The lone loss was by 16 at Northern Iowa on Jan. 31.
“Pretty big day for all of us,” Marshall said. “It was an exciting week, an exciting close to the season and a tremendous game viewed by a national television audience.”
Wichita State opens Friday against the winner of the play-in game between the eighth and ninth seeds, Missouri State (11-19, 5-13) and Southern Illinois (11-20, 4-14) on Thursday night. Northern Iowa (27-3, 16-2) faces either Drake (9-21, 6-12) and Bradley (8-23, 3-15) on Friday night.
Guards Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, second and third in balloting for Valley player of the year, have been keys to Wichita State’s continued success despite breaking in eight new players. Forward Tekele Cotton was named the conference top defensive player for the second straight season.
“Those guys don’t walk on the floor expecting to lose, that’s for sure,” Marshall said.
Things to watch for in the Missouri Valley tournament:
GO FOR THREE: Wichita State and Northern Iowa are locks for the NCAA Tournament. The conference could get a third team if both teams falter. Third seed Indiana State (15-15, 11-7) caught stride in conference play and Illinois State and Evansville, the fourth and fifth seeds, are both 19-11. “You’ve got two heavyweight contenders, a logjam in the middle and a logjam at the bottom,” Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson said. “I’ve been on both ends of it.”
TOP TALENTS: Valley player of the year Seth Tuttle of Northern Iowa is the conference’s active career leader in scoring and rebounding. The 6-foot-8 Tuttle leads the Panthers in scoring (15.6 points), rebounding (6.6), assists (3.3) and blocked shots (18) and is shooting 63 percent. Northern Iowa must get past falling fall short in the season finale.
“There was a real, genuine sense of disappointment,” coach Ben Jacobson said. “There were some things we did pretty well and some things we’ve got to do a lot better.”
Baker averages 15.2 points and VanVleet averages 12.5 points and 5.4 assists. Evansville landed two players, D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius, on the six-player all-conference team.
FRONT LOADED: The No. 1 seed has won the tourney title just eight times in 24 chances. Wichita State is trying to become the seventh team to take consecutive tournament titles. The last to do it was Southern Illinois, which took three in a row from 1993-95 with a lineup that featured guard Paul Lusk, now the head coach at Missouri State, on all three teams. The lowest seed to win a conference title is No. 5 Indiana State in 2001. For schools in the play-in games, it’s a long grind: Only one team, No. 7 seed Bradley in 1998, has reached the semifinals. “It’s kind of the gladiator approach,” Drake’s Ray Giacoletti said.
HISTORY BOOK: Illinois State and Southern Illinois have both reached the tournament title game 10 times, most among current Valley members. Illinois State last won, however, in 1998 when coach Dan Muller was the most outstanding player. Southern Illinois last won the title in 2007 and is in a play-in game for the fifth time in six years.
(West Plains) – Four members of the 2014-15 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team have been named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region 16 Team.
They are sophomores Jameel Moore, a 6-foot, 2-inch guard from Richmond Heights, Ohio, and Craig Eubanks, a 6-foot, 4-inch guard from Cleveland, Ohio; and freshmen Terrel Martin-Garcia, a 6-foot, 6-inch forward from London, England, and Dazhonetae Bennett, a 6-foot, 3-inch guard from Dayton, Ohio. Moore, Eubanks and Martin-Garcia were named first-team all-Region 16, and Bennett was named to the second team. As one of the top five players in the region, Moore is eligible to be nominated for NJCAA All-American status, according to region officials.
For the season, Moore averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Against region opponents, he averaged 11.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists. He also set the program record for most assists in a game (16 against Highland, Kansas, Community College on Dec. 13, 2014), and the second highest number of assists in a game (14 against State Fair Community College on Jan. 20, 2015) and third most free throws in a game (17 against Eastern Oklahoma State College on Jan. 6, 2015).
Eubanks averaged 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the season. Against region opponents, he averaged 15.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.13 assists.
Martin-Garcia averaged 12.4 points and 7.5 rebounds for the season and 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds against region opponents.
Bennett averaged 12.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 assist and one steal per game for the season. In six games against region opponents, he averaged 10 points and 2.7 rebounds.
Anthony Virdure of Mineral Area College, Park Hills, Missouri, was named the Region 16 Player of the Year. Other first team all-region honorees included Justas Furmanavicius and Torry Butler of Three Rivers College, Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Rashad Lindsey and Travon Williams of Moberly (Missouri) Area Community College; and Greg Tucker and Randy Holmes of Mineral Area.
Other second team all-region honorees included Donta Jones of Moberly; Josh Bailey of State Fair; Jemeereo Spain of Three Rivers; and Jamal McDowell of Mineral Area.
(Little Rock) – Because of winter weather which is expected to cover the state with either snow or ice today, the Arkansas Activities Association has postponed Wednesday’s state tournament play in all classes 7A, 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A).
The postponement will which push the semifinal round in each classification to Sunday, and will keep the State Finals which are scheduled for March 12-14 at Hot Springs’ Bank of the Ozarks Arena on schedule.
The starting times will remain the same for all state tournament games. The semifinal rounds will be play on Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m.
The press conference for the State Finals will be held at the AAA office on Monday, March 9th, at 11:00 a.m.
To download the brackets with the new time changes and dates, go to the AAA website at www.ahsaa.org. The brackets can be downloaded or viewed from our main page.
Class 7A – Springdale High School
Class 6A – Siloam Springs High School
Class 5A – Greene County Tech High School
Class 4A – Ozark High School
Class 3A – Cossatot River High School
Class 2A – Pangburn High School
Class 1A – Nashville High School (Kirby)
Monday night in Class 2, District 2, the Thayer Bobcats won their fifth district championship in seven years, beating Neelyville at Van Buren, 63-51.
The Alton Lady Comets came up short in their quest for a district title at Van Buren, losing to Neelyville, 75-53.
by Dave Skretta, AP
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — For decades, the Kansas City Royals headed to spring training full of uncertainty.
They would hope their young first baseman would be ready for the big leagues. Or their next big pitching prospect would earn a spot in the rotation. Or some other longshot project would play so well that there was no way the front office could keep him off the club.
But after capturing the American League pennant last season, the Royals headed to Arizona this spring in a decidedly different place. The few holes created by free agency had been plugged, and the rest of the squad figures to look a lot like it did last year.
Very few positions are up for grabs. There’s very little drama in the clubhouse.
“That’s the whole picture, the big picture – you develop all these guys through the minor leagues and one day they come up and hold that spot down,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said.
“I think we’ve developed that core group where most positions are set in stone,” he added, “and you have a bunch of prospects coming up that are ready to fill in if someone goes down. That is how you create an organization that is in October every year.”
It sounds simple in theory, but it’s much more difficult in practice.
Especially for a small-market club like Kansas City.
Take the designated hitter spot. The Royals would have loved to keep homegrown DH Billy Butler around, but the option on his contract was too expensive, so he ultimately signed with Oakland. Same story with James Shields, their staff ace, who signed with San Diego.
But the Royals are in the midst of a rare stretch of years where many of their bright young players are on reasonable contracts, before they hit free agency. Several others, such as All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, have signed long-term deals that are club-friendly. The upshot of it is that manager Ned Yost could probably pencil in his opening-day lineup right now.
Or rather on Wednesday, when the Royals play their spring opener against Texas.
“It’s totally different than any spring that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Yost, who was an assistant with Atlanta in the 1990s, when that club had a relatively stable roster.
So what jobs are up for grabs this spring?
Well, a better question is how many relievers will be kept for the bullpen?
With all of the starting positions locked down, and the five spots in the starting rotation set, the big question is whether Kansas City will keep seven relievers or eight. And whether there will be three players or four left on the bench.
Speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson, a defensive dynamo and valuable late-game sub, is a lock for the roster. So is backup catcher Erik Kratz and infielder Christian Colon, who is valued for his ability to play multiple positions and thus giving multiple guys a day off.
In the bullpen, the trio of Kelvin Herrera, setup man Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland is back, along with veteran reliever Jason Frasor. Luke Hochevar will occupy another spot, assuming he has no setbacks in his return from Tommy John surgery. Tim Collins and Louis Coleman both have had plenty of big league experience and figure to slot into the bullpen.
In other words, there aren’t many jobs for the taking.
“You still have to go out and perform,” Colon said. “There’s other guys here that can play, too, so you can’t just assume anything. … There’s going to still be competition, that’s how it goes. It may seem on paper like it’s all set, but you know, anything can happen.”
NOTES: Speaking of Hochevar, he took another step in his recovery by throwing to hitters on Tuesday. “It’s the next step in his progression,” Yost said. “His stuff was very good.” … LF Alex Gordon continued his recovery from wrist surgery by hitting in the cage. Yost said that he could by hitting on the field by Tuesday. “No setbacks,” Yost said. “Feels great.”
by Kurt Voigt, AP
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — For all that South Carolina has achieved under coach Dawn Staley, there’s a glaring absence on the school’s resume.
It’s an omission the No. 3 Gamecocks, who have risen from near the bottom to become one of the Southeastern Conference’s elite programs in seven seasons under Staley, hope to rectify at this week’s league tournament.
The tournament begins Wednesday night, featuring five ranked teams and the usual host of other NCAA Tournament hopefuls from one of the nation’s deepest leagues.
For South Carolina (27-2), which opens on Friday, this week is about more than just preparing to enter the NCAA Tournament on a high note after a setback at No. 12 Kentucky over the weekend. It’s about putting the exclamation point on the school’s back-to-back regular-season SEC championships by winning its first tournament title.
“We’ve played great basketball because we were challenged every single night,” Staley said. “And to rise to the challenge of this league, it puts you in position to have some success … It’s hard when it’s the best league in the country.”
The Gamecocks were ranked No. 1 this season before an 87-62 loss at top-ranked Connecticut on Feb. 9. And while they are widely projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, even after the loss against the Wildcats, that could hinge on they play this week – particularly with defending tournament champion Tennessee once again in the mix.
Like South Carolina, the No. 5 Lady Vols (25-4) lost only once in conference play this season – a 71-66 setback against the Gamecocks two weeks ago that left Tennessee as he second seed in this week’s tournament.
The Lady Vols have won the tournament 17 times in 35 years, including seven of the last 10, and they would love nothing more than to make their case as an NCAA Tournament top seed than by adding to their postseason domination this week.
“It’s anybody’s championship,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said.
Some things to watch as South Carolina and Tennessee look to hold off the challengers in North Little Rock’s Verizon Arena:
HOMESTATE HOPES: Arkansas (16-12) enters the tournament as the No. 9 seed, but that hasn’t stopped the Razorbacks from being projected as an NCAA Tournament team by many under first-year coach Jimmy Dykes. Led by sophomore Jessica Jackson’s 14.6 points per game, Arkansas – which has played with only nine players this season – faces eighth-seeded Mississippi (17-12) on Thursday.
FAMILIAR FACES: Arkansas has played a game already this season in Verizon Arena, defeating Oklahoma 71-64 there on Dec. 21, but it’s not the only SEC team to have played in North Little Rock. No. 18 Texas A&M (22-8) also played there on the same day as the Razorbacks, losing 67-65 to Texas on a layup with 4.2 seconds remaining.
CHAMPIONSHIP DROUGHT: Long regarded as the top conference in women’s college basketball, no SEC team has won a national championship since Tennessee in 2008. Also, no league team has made the Final Four since that season, when LSU joined the Lady Vols. Texas A&M won the national title in 2011, but it did so as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
OVERCOMING INJUIRES: Several top performers in the SEC have suffered season-ending injuries this season, including Tennessee center Isabelle Harrison – who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee last month. Others out for the season, possibly impacting how the league does in the NCAA Tournament, include Kentucky point guard Janee Thompson (broken leg) and Georgia’s Shacobia Barbee (broken leg).
LEAGUE AWARDS: South Carolina guard Tiffany Mitchell was named the SEC’s Player of the Year for a second straight season on Tuesday, doing so after averaging 14.8 points per game. One of Mitchell’s teammates, guard A’ja Wilson, was named the league’s Freshman of the Year over Mississippi State forward Victoria Vivians, who leads the SEC with an average of 15 points per game.