The West Plains Lady Zizzers steamrolled over Joplin Thursday night. Harlin Hutchinson has the update:
(Willow Springs) – The Willow Springs boys and girls won big Thursday during Senior Night in Willow Springs. Marty Spence has your wrap:
by Andrew Dalton, AP
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are planning a shared stadium in the Los Angeles area if both teams fail to get new stadium deals in their current hometowns, the teams said in a joint statement Thursday night, adding another layer of complexity to a possible NFL return to the region.
The proposed $1.7-billion stadium would be in Carson, 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and home to the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team.
The statement says the teams have tried and failed for years to find stadium solutions in Oakland and San Diego, and without new agreements in those cities their hands will be forced.
“We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason,” the statement says. “If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises.”
The plan creates the odd prospect of divisional rivals suddenly sharing a home field, and of Los Angeles having two NFL teams after going two decades with none.
And it takes the muddled issue of the NFL’s return to Southern California and makes it downright messy, with at least three viable stadium plans in the works.
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture to build an 80,000-seat stadium at the site of the former Hollywood Park horse track just 10 miles from Carson in Inglewood.
And a plan remains alive for an NFL facility in downtown Los Angeles. That stadium known as Farmers Field, until recently the leading candidate for the NFL’s return, now becomes a long shot with multiple competitors and no clear team attached.
Earlier this month, the NFL sent a memo warning teams that the league itself will be behind any decision to move to Southern California, and established a committee of owners to review the options.
The Chargers and Raiders statement says they will respect and adhere to the guidelines the league laid out.
The teams said they plan to work in good faith through 2015 to find new agreements to stay in their current homes, where they are both in year-to-year leases and both have sought public funding that has been hard to get.
The Chargers’ talks with San Diego City Hall to replace the nearly 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium have grown increasingly contentious. Mayor Kevin Faulconer appointed an advisory group earlier this month to recommend a site and financing plan for a new stadium that can go on the November 2016 ballot. But Chargers’ attorney Mark Fabiani told the group that there may not be a publicly acceptable solution to the problem and warned them against using the team for political advantage.
The head of the mayor’s group Adam Day said the new plan came as a “complete surprise.”
“While it’s disappointing to hear the Chargers are moving forward with plans in Los Angeles, we remain committed to finding a solution in San Diego,” Day said in a statement.
The Raiders’ even older Oakland Coliseum has had sewage and electrical problems and is now the only stadium in the US used as the home for both an NFL and Major League Baseball team, the Oakland Athletics. The team wants to build a new stadium at the site but talks with the city have shown little progress.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she spoke Thursday night with team president and CEO Marc Badain, “and he continued to assure me that the Raiders’ first priority is to stay in Oakland in a new stadium.”
Schaaf said she wants to be “a responsible steward of the public dollar, to keep my sports teams and” to redevelop the neighborhood around the Coliseum. She added: “I am committed to not putting public dollars into stadium construction.”
The Rams have been in a similar struggle with St. Louis, but have made progress with a burgeoning plan for a 64,000-seat stadium there on the city’s north riverfront.
All three teams have Los Angeles ties. The Rams called the area home from 1946 to 1994, the Raiders were here from 1982 to 1994 and the Chargers played their inaugural 1960 season in LA.
by RB Fallstrom, AP
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Labor unions have agreed to work around the clock five days a week without overtime if needed to build an NFL stadium on St. Louis’ blighted north riverfront. Officials said the effort could save $45 million on a project that carries a price tag of as much as $985 million.
Gov. Jay Nixon and Mayor Francis Slay spoke at a news conference Thursday at the offices of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council union. More than 100 workers crowded the hall as a show of solidarity for the plan to build a 64,000-seat, outdoor stadium and complete construction in two years.
“Today we take another step toward keeping St. Louis an NFL city,” Slay said. “This project is more than just a football stadium.”
Nixon said the 24-hour agreement would provide work for about 1,500 people per day during peak construction and result in 3.4 million work hours. The governor said the work would be “transformational” and provide a “jolt of energy” to downtown whether the Rams stay – or not.
“The secret to our success is our work force,” Nixon said. “The bigger the job, the harder we work. Together, we’re sending a clear, united message.”
The Rams informed officials last month that they were going to a year-to-year lease at the Edward Jones Dome amid speculation that the team may depart for Los Angeles.
Billionaire Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture building an 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles area, adding urgency to the St. Louis effort. Kroenke has not been in direct contact with leaders of the effort, although Rams officials are participating.
Earlier this month, Nixon announced deals with a power company that would relocate lines and a railroad that would move tracks out of the stadium footprint.
Under terms of a 30-year agreement reached in 1995, the Rams had the ability to convert its dome lease to annual terms if the facility was not deemed among the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums based on various criteria. The city’s Convention and Visitors Commission proposed improvements of less than $200 million with the Rams picking up half of the cost and the team countered with a more elaborate plan with a price tag of at least $700 million.
As in previous news conferences, Nixon said if the Rams leave it would cost the state $10 million in annual income tax revenue paid by NFL players.
Nixon said a new stadium would free up the dome for more convention business.
A franchise move would be subject to approval by a three-fourths vote of NFL owners. The league has said no move would be made in time for next season, although Commissioner Roger Goodell has established a committee to review stadium options in Los Angeles and coordinate a possible move.
The Rams, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are all franchises dissatisfied with current stadium agreements and reportedly interested in making a move.
by Alan Eskew, AP
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Salvador Perez set major league records last year, catching 158 games and 1,389 2-3 innings, including 15 games and 141 innings in the playoffs.
After the World Series, Perez joined a major league all-star team in November touring Japan, adding to his record number of knee bends.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost vows Perez’s workload will be reduced this season as pitchers and catchers reported Thursday to the spring training camp of the defending American League champions.
The Royals have six catchers in camp, but resting Perez once the regular season starts will not be easy. Perez has been selected an AL All-Star the past two years, while earning two Gold Gloves.
“How do I resist the temptation to write Salvador’s name in the lineup 150 times? I don’t know yet,” Yost said. “It is hard to take him out. It’s hard to do. We’ve got to find ways and I don’t know how we’re going to do it yet.”
Perez wore down and faded offensively in the stretch. After hitting .283 with 11 home runs and a .437 slugging percentage before the All-Star game, he hit .236 with six homers and a .360 slugging percentage after it. After hitting .347 in June, Perez dropped to .229 in August and .190 in his final 22 games. He drew only three walks the second half, a .236 on-base percentage.
Perez, who popped up foul for the final out of the World Series with the tying run at third base, hit .207 in 15 playoff games. He struck out 10 times and walked once. Keeping Perez from tiring is a Royals priority in 2015.
“It will be one of the hardest things that we try to figure out all year,” Yost said. “How we keep balance there.”
Perez started 143 games behind the plate during the regular season. Brett Hayes started 14 before he was replaced by Eric Kratz, who was acquired in a July 29 trade with Toronto. Kratz started five games.
There’s a huge drop off to Kratz, who has a .219 average in 176 games in the majors, and rookie Francisco Pena, the son of New York Yankees coach Tony Pena. They are competing for the backup job.
“The easiest way to do it is just assign a starter (to a backup catcher) and that way Sal’s getting a break every five days,” Yost said. “But there are other ways, too, where we just make it a mandatory off day. If we have a day game the next day (after a night game), give him that day off.”
The Royals earned a wild-card berth last year to end a 29-year playoff drought, so Yost was reluctant to rest Perez.
“Your mindset changes,” the manager said. “Last year we were trying to turn the corner, so you go into spring training trying to win as many games as you can and make the playoffs. Then you make the playoffs and you are going deep into October. So you better plan on him to be strong and healthy at the end of the season, where you were just planning to get to the end of the season.”
The pitching staff logged a 3.26 ERA with Perez catching. He also threw out 25 runners attempting to steal, plus picked off four runners.
“He just works so well with guys,” said Yost, a former major league catcher.
The rare days Perez is not in the lineup, he wanders over to Yost’s office, informing him he can play.
“We’ve dealt with that the last three years,” Yost said. “That’s not going to come into your decision because you’ve still got to do what’s right for him and the team in the long run.”
Also Thursday, the Royals announced that they had signed left-hander Franklin Morales to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to big league camp. The 29-year-old Morales went 6-9 with a 5.37 ERA in 38 games, 22 starts, last season with Colorado.
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Kris Davis scored 15 points to lead three players in double figures as SIU-Edwardsville used a late surge to pull away and beat Southeast Missouri 75-72 on Thursday night.
SIU-Edwardsville’s Rozell Nunn made a layup to break a 59-all tie at the 4:24 mark, sparking an 11-2 surge to give the Cougars a 70-61 lead with :51 remaining. Isiah Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Nino Johnson had a dunk to pull Southeast Missouri within 74-72 with :08 left. Davis split a pair of free throws and Jarekious Bradley missed a 3 at the buzzer to seal it for SIU-Edwardsville (11-4, 7-7 Ohio Valley).
Keaton Jackson scored 13 points and Nunn added 12 for the Cougars.
Bradley had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Jones finished with 21 points to lead SE Missouri (12-15, 6-8).
by Harlin Hutchinson
(Jefferson City) – Another week, with or without sports for the most part, means another update on state rankings in basketball.
Area girls teams that are ranked statewide include West Plains (3), Bolivar (7) and Hillcrest (9) in Class 4, Licking (8) in Class 3, and Gainesville (5) in Class 2.
Area boys teams that are ranked statewide include Hartville (5) and Gainesville (8) in Class 2.
High School Basketball Tonight
West Plains @ Joplin
Salem @ Thayer
Liberty @ Houston
Conway @ Gainesville
Sparta @ Dora
Local College Basketball Tonight
MSU-West Plains @ Three Rivers
by RB Fallstrom, AP Sports
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals dealt starting pitching, seemingly an area of strength, to fill a sudden void when promising outfielder Oscar Taveras died in a car accident.
Jason Heyward strengthens a lineup that underperformed last year and takes over the right field spot the Cardinals had been saving for Taveras. Heading into spring training, the rotation seems just a bit iffy.
The two-time defending Central Division champions are accustomed to making deep October runs, with 11 postseason appearances the last 15 years. Still, a team can’t have enough arms this time of year.
Michael Wacha is coming off a shoulder injury that sidelined him most of the second half of the season and will be monitored closely. Carlos Martinez is an unknown as the replacement for departed Shelby Miller.
“We’re giving Carlos a great opportunity, but opportunity is just that,” manager Mike Matheny said. “You’ve got to make the most of it.”
Lefty Jaime Garcia feels strong, for now, following surgery to relieve nerve compression.
Even ace Adam Wainwright arrives with a bit of baggage. Though the procedure was deemed minor, the 20-game winner is coming off elbow surgery for an injury that at the end of the NL championship series left him unable to flip the pop top on a can of soda.
Wainwright, too, will be scrutinized coming off yet another heavy workload.
Lance Lynn and veteran John Lackey are proven innings eaters who’ll help in that department. Still, don’t be surprised if the Cardinals need some of their surplus arms like lefties Marco Gonzales and Tyler Lyons.
“We have to be very, very aware of what we see. And if something has to cause us to take a break, I believe we have some great options,” Matheny said.
The first workout for pitchers and catchers is Friday with the first full-squad workout set for Feb. 25. Most of the team has been in Jupiter, Florida, for a while.
Things to watch for this spring:
CLUTCH BATS: The average with runners in scoring position plummeted last year, and the offense dropped about one run per game. Among the potential tweaks is shifting Kolten Wong to leadoff and moving two-time All-Star Matt Carpenter down in the order to capitalize on power potential.
“I don’t remember ever being part of a team that had to grind like we did last year,” Matheny said, “where every game was that close, where everything hinged upon one play, one pitch right down to the last out.”
BETTER BENCH: Matt Adams has struggled against left-handed pitchers and might have to split time with slugging Mark Reynolds, the top upgrade on the bench. The team has vowed to live with Reynolds’ high-strikeout, low-average profile for the power tradeoff. St. Louis trailed the National League with 105 home runs last season. Outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk, both of whom started at times last season, further strengthen Matheny’s options.
BULLPEN SHUFFLE: Jordan Walden, also acquired in the Atlanta deal, is penciled in to replace departed Pat Neshek as the set-up man for Trevor Rosenthal. Another offseason pickup, Matt Belisle, figures to help in long relief or as a spot starter. Besides ability, Matheny is counting on both to add veteran presence.
SELLING HEYWARD: The Cardinals have a history of persuading newly-acquired players to stick around long-term. Mark McGwire, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, to name a few, all said yes to the nightly unconditional love at Busch Stadium that’s part of the package. There’s salary flexibility with Matt Holliday in the final two years of his deal and the 25-year-old Heyward, who’ll be a free agent after this season, could be part of the core group moving forward.
MENTAL RE-SET: Wacha was unused in the postseason until Game 5 of the NLCS when he gave up the series-clinching homer in the ninth inning against the Giants. He’d been dominant in 2013 with a division series-saving victory at Pittsburgh and two wins over the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in the NLCS. Besides monitoring his uncommon injury, a stress reaction to the shoulder, the young right-hander must move on from bitter disappointment. “Baseball’s a game of forgetting,” Wacha said. “Usually, you’ve got a game the next day. This just kind of gives you a little bit more motivation in the offseason that maybe the outcome will change the next time.”
by Kurt Voigt, AP Sports
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Michael Qualls is feeling just fine these days for Arkansas.
And with the explosive forward returning to his high-flying ways, the No. 18 Razorbacks appear well on their way to securing the school’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2008.
Qualls had 21 points and added to his career highlight reel of dunks, showing he’s fully recovered from a recent knee sprain, and Arkansas (21-5, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) won its fifth straight with an 84-69 victory over Missouri on Wednesday night.
Bobby Portis added 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but it was Qualls’ early energy that sparked the Razorbacks to their eighth win in nine games.
The junior has played through a right knee sprain in recent weeks, but he’s now scored in double figures in three straight games – putting the exclamation point on Wednesday’s win with his 26th dunk of the season, the 79th of his career.
“He’s an energy guy,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “And when he plays with that energy, it’s kind of contagious. It spreads throughout our team.”
Missouri nearly defeated Arkansas in their first meeting on Jan. 24, missing a pair of free throws in the closing seconds of a 61-60 loss. The Tigers (7-19, 1-12) fell behind during a first half in which they committed 14 of 20 turnovers overall, and they never threatened after that – losing their 12th straight game.
Jonathan Williams and Tramaine Isabell had 13 points each to lead Missouri, which hasn’t won since opening SEC play with a win over LSU on Jan. 8. The losing stretch is the school’s longest since a 12-game losing streak during the 1966-67 season.
“We did a much better job in Columbia of handling their pressure,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “… When they get their press going and the crowd going, certainly they’re a good team, but they’re even better. Tonight, they rattled us.”
Isabell put the Tigers up 19-16 with a 3-pointer midway through the first half. Led by the resurgent Qualls, Arkansas answered with a 15-0 run to go up 31-19 and take control of the game for good after that.
Qualls had six points during the run, including one of his four 3-pointers in the game. After a five-game stretch in which he was 14 of 59 from the field, the junior is 17-of-34 shooting over his last three games – even though he said his knee is only “85 percent” healthy.
“Every game, I’m trying to be at a better and better stage,” Qualls said. “… If I feel like it’s the shot I’m capable of making, I’m going to take it, no matter if I’m hitting it or not. Because I feel like I’m doing an injustice to the team if I turn down those shots, because I can make them at any time.”
Missouri finished 26 of 62 (50 percent) from the field, with Montaqu Gill-Caesar and Jakeenan Gant also scoring in double figures with 11 points each.
Arkansas, however, also had 13 points from freshman point guard Anton Beard – helping to keep the Razorbacks in second place in the SEC as they try to reach the NCAA tournament in Mike Anderson’s fourth season as coach.
“We have a long way to go,” Portis said. “Even with our record being what it is, every day coach preaches staying humble and hungry.”
Missouri: A game after scoring a career-best 27 points against Mississippi State, Williams was 4 of 11 from the field for the Tigers. Missouri was 26-of-52 shooting (50 percent) overall, but it was only 6 of 17 on 3-pointers and committed 20 turnovers.
Arkansas: Former Final Four Most Outstanding Player Corliss Williamson was honored at halftime of Wednesday’s game. Flanked by his family, former teammates and former coach, Nolan Richardson, the current Sacramento Kings assistant coach – who led Arkansas to the Razorbacks only national title in 1994 – had a banner with his name and No. 34 hung inside Bud Walton Arena.
Portis led Arkansas with nine rebounds, including four on the offensive end. The Razorbacks had 12 offensive rebounds overall, leading to 22 second-chance points.
Missouri returns to the road when it travels to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Arkansas is at Mississippi State on Saturday.