Wylie said: ” It was a very nice surprise to see him do what he did at Punchestown. Willie told me during the summer we’d go down the Champion Hurdle route, but that we’d try to avoid Faugheen before hopefully meeting him at Cheltenham in March if all went well. “When they were entered against each other I was surprised and Willie told me not to expect to beat Faugheen. I think he was as surprised as anyone that he did. “I think the plan will be to go to Leopardstown and hopefully myself and Andrea (wife) will get over there for a few days over Christmas. “It’s just really exciting to have what looks a live candidate for the Champion Hurdle. I’ve never had one before.” The Wylies have enjoyed a strong start to the season in Ireland, with Bellshill and Up For Review both looking like major players in the novice hurdle division after making impressive starts to their jumping careers in November. “Bellshill was very good at Cork and I was impressed with Up For Review at Fairyhouse as well, so it’s exciting times,” said Wylie. “I’m sure we’ll learn more about them when they step up in grade.” Owner Graham Wylie is looking forward to making the trip to Leopardstown over Christmas to see if Nichols Canyon can reaffirm his Champion Hurdle claims in the Ryanair Hurdle. Press Association The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old struck four times at Grade One level during his novice campaign and inflicted a shock defeat on previously unbeaten stable companion Faugheen on his return to action in last month’s Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown. Wylie expects the pair to be kept apart until a potential rematch at Cheltenham in March and with Faugheen set to return to Kempton to defend his Christmas Hurdle crown, Nichols Canyon will head to Leopardstown on December 29 for a race won four times by recently-retired former stablemate Hurricane Fly.
Syracuse forward C.J. Fair, who was named a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection on Monday, was voted a second-team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association on Wednesday.The senior is joined by former Brewster (Mass.) Academy teammate and current Iowa State forward Melvin Ejim on the team, as well as Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick, Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early and Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins, on the second team.Arizona guard Nick Johnson, Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier, Louisville guard Russ Smith, Duke forward Jabari Parker and Creighton forward Doug McDermott make up the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) first team. The USBWA does not name a third team.Fair’s selection to the USBWA All-American team comes just two days after being left off any of Sporting News’ three All-America teams. Three other ACC players, including Parker, were named to those teams. North Carolina State forward T.J. Warren and North Carolina guard Marcus Paige were the two others. Both also joined Fair on the All-ACC first team.Fair’s 16.9 points per game ranked seventh in the ACC — but outside the top 100 nationally — and his 6.2 rebounds were tied for 16th most in the conference.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe small forward is also one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, which earns him recognition as a Senior All-American.The Associated Press and the National Association of Basketball Coaches will announce their All-American teams in the coming weeks. Comments Published on March 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm Contact David: email@example.com | @DBWilson2 Facebook Twitter Google+
Published on August 30, 2017 at 12:34 am Contact Tomer: firstname.lastname@example.org | @tomer_langer,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt was a flashback to what happened frequently last year, and what will likely happen even more often when the season begins Sept. 1 against Central Connecticut State.Philips wasn’t consistently in the slot his first two seasons. He was nearly everywhere else. He arrived as a running back, the position he started at when he was at West Haven (Connecticut) High School. He also contributed as a kick returner, and assumed the role of the primary “hybrid” under then-offensive coordinator Tim Lester in 2015.In head coach Dino Babers’ up-tempo offense, he found a home at inside receiver, a place where he feels confident in his abilities as a playmaker. His 90 catches last season would have been the most ever for an SU receiver if not for the 94 grabbed by teammate Amba Etta-Tawo. With Etta-Tawo gone, Philips is poised to be one of Dungey’s top weapons.“I want to be the best receiver in the ACC,” Philips said.Even though he lined up primarily in the backfield at West Haven, the goal was to get him the ball in space. It’s why his high school coach Ed McCarthy ran jet sweeps with him and instructed his quarterbacks to throw him the ball in the flat. Philips set school records in touchdowns (88) and total offense (6,182 yards).When Philips was in high school, McCarthy watched many Mid-American Conference games, because they were frequently broadcast during the week. Unintentionally, it familiarized him with the Bowling Green offense run by Babers.“I almost knew that he would be the slot receiver (when Babers was hired at SU),” McCarthy said. “He’s made for that position really. I thought it was a perfect fit with him in the offense.”Babers said that during his first practice at SU, he and his staff instructed players to line up at whatever spot on the field they wanted to play at. Philips stood with the wide receivers.Wide receiver Steve Ishmael predicted Philips would excel if given the chance at receiver. They have been roommates for three years and now are the two senior wideouts who will be tasked with leading the offense. They spoke about this season as soon as they got back from winter break last year, Ishmael said.Philips said that earlier in his career, when he was being moved around a lot, he did not mind it. But from the first game last season, in which he set a school record with 14 receptions against Colgate, he knew he had found his permanent spot. After the breakout season he had last year, he is left wondering what might have been.“Now that I think about it,” Philips said, “I wish I had the time to really get used to one spot. When you’re at one position, you get to learn it more, you learn the ins and outs and you get to improve at that position. It’s (playing multiple roles early in his career) a blessing because it allowed me to show how versatile I can be, but at the same time I wish I could have stayed at one position.”To reach his individual goal of being the best receiver in the conference, Philips started working out at BreakOut Athlete, a local training facility that works with Division I and professional athletes.BOA has become known for its explosiveness training, director Frank Quido said, with the majority of its clients being football players who want to get faster off the line.It was initially difficult to develop a training regimen for Philips, Quido said, because he was already such a gifted athlete. But what stood out to Quido was Philips’ willingness to buy-in wholeheartedly to the training program, regardless of some of the untraditional exercises and equipment.“You know, most people when they come to my facility, this training is so much different than what they’re used to,” Quido said. “But he embraced everything I asked him to do. Never questioned why, never complained this was too hard.”The two worked together for about a month. In one drill, Philips stood behind a tackling dummy and Quido, standing on the other side, threw tennis balls both to the right and the left of the dummy. Philips stood in place, seeing where the balls were coming from and catching them to improve his hand-eye coordination.In another exercise focused on explosiveness, Philips ran on a treadmill while leaning forward until his chest touched a pole.Courtesy of Frank QuidoPhilips said he feels faster and stronger than he did a year ago. Junior Kielan Whitner has noticed it too. Whitner has played safety before for SU and is currently transitioning to linebacker. In both roles, he matches up with slot receivers in practice. This summer, in guarding Philips, Whitner said the hardest part is the bevy of moves that Philips can put on, forcing a defender to not key in on just one.“He got faster and more explosive off the line.” Quido said. “… We’re going to see him getting much more separation from defenders than we’ve ever seen before.”Philips is still learning on the job. He struggled in his shift trying to get off press coverage. He did not realize how important it was to use his hands before the throw is even made.McCarthy said, in retrospect, it’s a shame that Philips could not have redshirted his freshman season. Philips said he wishes he could have played in the slot all four years.With Etta-Tawo gone Philips recognizes that defenses might key in on him as the top target. His definition of being the best receiver in the ACC means being consistent every single game, not having a “rollercoaster” season. And even though he has been doing this for only one year, he is confident he can reach that status.“He just adjusts to things quickly,” Ishmael said. “He’s an athlete, he’s a football player and he’s been big time for us.”He proved Ishmael right a year ago. Now, to reach the postseason goals that he and Ishmael discussed, he needs to adjust to his new role. He needs to be big time.Banner photo by Jessica Sheldon Comments Ervin Philips burst off the line and went to block linebacker Shyheim Cullen. Eric Dungey took the snap and faked a pitch to running back Moe Neal who was split-out left.Syracuse’s first-string offense was scrimmaging against the second-string defense at the start of a practice inside the Ensley Athletic Center. On the first drive, the offense went three-and-out, drawing roars from the rest of the defense standing on the far sideline. To start the second drive, Dungey looked only toward his toward his speedy slot receiver. As Cullen bit on the fake pitch, Philips planted his left foot and burst right past the now flat-footed line linebacker, catching the ball thrown to the open space down the middle.
This season looked like it was going to be an easy one for the University of Wisconsin defense, until inside linebacker Jack Cichy sustained an ACL injury. Now, the security of the defense remains questionable.The third-ranked defense in the conference was returning eight of their starters from the previous year, and the conference schedule consisted of six of the bottom eight teams within the division last year. By all accounts, there wasn’t going to be much of a challenge for this dynamic defense.Football: Jack Cichy to miss 2017 seasonThe University of Wisconsin Athletic Department announced Thursday morning senior Jack Cichy will miss the 2017 season due to a Read…The core of the Badgers defense, has always been the linebackers, and the newest leader of this core was set to be Cichy. Cichy’s injury at the beginning of August left his section without a leader, and a hole that needed to be filled by someone on the team.That position would be filled with Cichy’s position-mate, and someone who knows what it is like to experience an ACL injury at the beginning of the season: Chris Orr.Last season, Orr missed the entire season after suffering the same injury as his linebacker counterpart on the first snap of the season. The shared experience has created a bond between the two.Sarah Godfrey/The Badger Herald “He can tell me different things that he wouldn’t probably feel comfortable telling other guys,” Orr said. “I’ve just been trying to be there for him, listen to him and help encourage him along the way.”And with Cichy taking a seat on the sideline this year, Orr has accepted the challenge of taking over his role as a leader. As a leader on the field, that includes learning as much as he can about the playbook so he will be able to help the other guys out.Orr recognizes the importance of preparation, even with the supposedly easy schedule the Badgers have this season. He knows that any team can pose a challenge, and that the Wisconsin defense needs to be ready for any and all challenges that come their way.Football preview: What to expect from the Badgers this seasonThe University of Wisconsin football team enters the 2017 season with high expectations and hopes of replicating, or even exceeding, Read…“Whether they say we’re going to have the best season ever or the worst, whatever the case may be,” said Orr. “We try to ignore all of that and have the same approach going into any game,”At the beginning of the season, it should have been easy for Wisconsin to once again be a conference leader on the defensive side of the ball. Now, the picture is hazier.The linebacker position has taken more losses than just Cichy. Last week, sophomore linebacker Zach Baun also saw his season end to an injury in his left foot. Add-on stars from last season Vince Biegel and TJ Watt are going to the NFL, and the Badgers are tasked with the challenge of replacing four key contributors.Football: Pittsburgh Steelers select T.J. Watt with No. 30 overall pickThe Pittsburgh Steelers selected former Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Read…But the replacements go past the field and to the sideline. For the third year in a row, there will be a new defensive coordinator roaming the sidelines for the Badgers. Paul Chryst decided to look in-program, promoting former defensive back coach Jim Leonhard to the position after just one season in Madison.Leonhard oversaw one of the most successful branches of Wisconsin’s defense last season, leading his group to the second-most interceptions in the country with 22.Just two years removed from an NFL career that spanned 10 years and five teams, Leonhard is young enough to relate to his players and has the resume to demand respect from them.“[Leonhard]’s a really intelligent guy. His football IQ is through the roof,” Orr said. “It’s fun to pick his brain more and more each day to see why he put certain things in the game plan,”The conference championship is certainly within reach for this team. With Iowa, Northwestern and Michigan all headed to Camp Randall throughout the season, a case can be made that all three of Wisconsin’s best opponents will be taken on at home, which is a major advantage for the Badgers.For now, the Badgers aren’t looking that far ahead. They realize reaching the championship requires taking the season one step at a time.If the remainder of the Wisconsin defense manages to stay in good health, and with leaders like Orr leading them through this year, the Badgers are poised to have one of their best seasons to date.
Alex Iwobi played all 90 minutes as Arsenal booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League with a comfortable second-leg victory over Bate Borisov at the Emirates.Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, they scored inside four minutes when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross was turned in by Bate defender Zakhar Volkov.Centre-back Shkodran Mustafi made it 2-0 before the break with a powerful header from Granit Xhaka’s corner. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) and Shkodran Mustafi celebrating Arsenal’s qualification for the last 16 of the Europa League following the 3-0 defeat of Bate Borisov at the Emirates Stadium in London…last night Substitute Sokratis Papastathopoulos headed in the third goal after an hour.After a disappointing performance in losing the first leg in Belarus, Arsenal needed to score at least twice to go through.Bate were denied an equaliser just four minutes after Arsenal had taken the lead when Stephan Lichtsteiner slid in to make a goalline clearance from Stanislav Dragun’s header.The visitors also came close when Maksim Skavysh hit the side-netting in the first half but Arsenal had the best chances through Iwobi, Xhaka and Aubameyang.Elsewhere, A brace from Sardar Azmoun and one from Magomed Ozdoev at Gazprom Arena ensured Zenit St Petersburg defeated Fenerbahce 3-2 aggregate to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.Chelsea on loan star Victor Moses was unable to rescue the Turkish giants from losing and crashing out.Despite losing the reverse fixture by a lone goal in Turkey earlier this month, coach Sergei Semak’s men put up an impressive performance to seal their passage on 3-2 aggregate.Magomed Ozdoev opened scoring for the hosts in the fourth minute, while Sardar Azmoun doubled his side’s lead with barely seven minutes to the end of the first half.Mehmet Topal pulled one back for the visitors in the 43 minute to give his side an away goal advantage should the game end that way.Also yesterday, Celtic’s Europa League campaign came to an end at the last-32 stage for the second successive season as they bowed out to Valencia.Their task in the second leg always looked formidable, given they had never overturned a two-goal deficit away from home, nor had they won in Spain.A creditable first-half performance was marred by Jeremy Toljan’s dismissal for twice pulling back Goncalo Guedes.And Celtic finally conceded when Kevin Gameiro forced home from close range.While the Glasgow side were passive last week at Celtic Park, they were far more aggressive at the Mestalla against their La Liga hosts.Jonny Hayes shot over for the visitors, while Kristoffer Ajer also went close with the game still goalless.It would be over-stretching it to suggest Toljan’s red card was a pivotal point in the tie, with Valencia well in command following their 2-0 win at Celtic Park last week.But Celtic had at least given them food for thought, with a 3-4-3 formation offering a much more solid look and their use of the ball far improved.Ajer had a goal-bound shot blocked and Jozo Simunovic’s header was comfortably saved as Celtic searched for the opening goal that would bring the tie alive. Ajer would also bullet a glorious header over the bar later in the match with the game still goalless.The draw for the last 16 takes place today at 12:00 GMT.UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE(Round of 32, second leg)Di’ Zagreb 3-0 FC Viktoria(Di’Zagreb 4-2 aggregate)Red Bull 4-0 Club Brugge(Red Bull 5-2 agg.)Napoli 2-0 FC Zürich(Napoli 5-1 agg.)Eintracht 4-1 Shakhtar(Eintracht 6-3 agg.)Valencia 1-0 Celtic(Valencia 3-0 agg.)Zenit 3-1 Fenerbahçe(Zenit 3-2 agg.)Villarreal 1-1 Sporting(Villarreal 2-1 agg.)Arsenal 3-0 FC BATE(Arsenal 3-1 agg.)Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Black Stars Captain Asamoah Gyan remains focused on performing for Ghana at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations despite the recent misfortune that hit his family.The Al-Ain striker arrived on Friday morning in Accra together with his senior brothers Baffour and Opoku to mourn with the rest of the family on the passing of their mother Madam Cecilia Love Amoako at the Ridge Hospital on Tuesday.Gyan who was in a sober mood said he had accepted the demise of his mother as part of life even though it was tough to accept.“It is a big shock as everybody knows but in life you need to experience bitterness not always expecting happiness. When I heard the news it was strange to me and a shock. But as a footballer you dont go on to the pitch with your emotions and will concentrate on my career and even scored two goals in yesterday for my club which tells you how strong I am. I am close to my mum and was coming to celebrate her birth today but am focused to deliver in AFCON 2013”. He told JOY SportsGyan’s mother would have turned 61 today. The strike has been excused from Tuesday’s international friendly against Cape Verde in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ausmus said Upton will need a rehab assignment. The initial timetable for Upton had him returning sometime in June.ALSOThe Angels optioned Taylor Cole a day after he threw 38 pitches on Thursday. They recalled Jaime Barría. They made the move to get a fresh bullpen arm. Ausmus said there are no plans at the moment for Barría to start. …Luis Garcia said he felt fine a day after striking out the side in his rehab outing at Class-A Inland Empire. The Angels did not activate Garcia, but normally a reliever wouldn’t be activated until he had at least one day off before being added.UP NEXTAngels (LHP Tyler Skaggs, 4-4, 5.01) vs. Rangers (LHP Mike Minor, 5-3, 2.64), Saturday, 7 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM With Heaney returning, the Angels will have some decisions to make with a rotation that has struggled.Griffin Canning was scheduled to start on Friday, and Tyler Skaggs is scheduled for Saturday, but the Angels have not announced who will start in Oakland following Heaney’s outing. They also have Trevor Cahill, Felix Peña and Matt Harvey, who got rocked for eight runs on Thursday.Manager Brad Ausmus said there is a “possibility” the Angels will go with six starters, at least one time through the rotation, thus delaying a decision.UPTON UPDATEJustin Upton, who has been out with a sprained toe, has been cleared to take batting practice on the field, do some outfield drills and run on his full body weight.“He’s been coming along actually very well,” Ausmus said. Related Articles ANAHEIM — Andrew Heaney, the Angels’ most consistent starter a season ago, is finally going to make his 2019 debut on Sunday.After missing nearly two months because of elbow inflammation, Heaney was cleared on Friday, a day after throwing a bullpen session and four days after striking out 10 in 4-1/3 scoreless innings at Triple-A.Last year Heaney led the team with 180 innings. He made 30 starts and posted a 4.15 ERA, despite missing the first two weeks of the season with a similar elbow problem.This year, Heaney said he allowed the issue to get too far along before the team shut him down, so that caused the rehab to take longer. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
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Thank you for your input. +26 Vote up Vote down Big D · 210 weeks ago It wasn’t too many years ago when there was an opportunity for the packing plant to expand their operations and the city council pushed them away. With that, the employment increase and the increased revenues from employees spending their wages went West to Harper. We want our children to stay local and for people to buy local…..well we need to open to expansion and not just if it fits our personal fancy. Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago -10 Vote up Vote down guest · 210 weeks ago That packing plant is an eye sore and it smells. I was out there yesterday talking to someone in the parking lot of the Chinese place. The smell was awful and the number of flies buzzing around was disgusting. I’ve driven from the packing plant to the round-a-bout and seen a trail of blood on the highway. Very unappealing to say the least. And remember, there’s a crosswalk for the Kennedy School kids to use…streaked with blood from the hauling of hides or whatever from the packing plant. That plant should have never been built so close to town. For you old timers you may recall, when they put that business in it was to be a no-kill plant. That changed. I’m glad they did NOT expand that stinky place. Report Reply +6 Vote up Vote down Chris Hutchens · 210 weeks ago I hope Cowley will include a GED class. Wellington really needs this service. They sponsored the classes that were given at the Senior Center several years ago. Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down guest · 210 weeks ago Dynamic Learning Center in Belle Plaine offers FREE GED classes. They are on-line, self-paced and laptop computers are made available to students. Shari Mills can help you enroll – open enrollment any time of the years. Dynamic Learning Center 823 Main St. Belle Plaine, Kansas 67013 Phone: 620-488-5638 Contact Shari Mills @ email@example.com Website: http://bp.getmydiploma.org/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dynamiclearningcenterbp/… Report Reply +3 Vote up Vote down Tired Taxpayer · 210 weeks ago This is a for profit college. Why should it be subsidized with tax money? If it is profitable then they will come to Sumner County without a tax shake down. We are taxed enough already. It’s time this county cut some taxes. Lets try a novel idea of user fees. Pay for the service as you use it instead of forcing someone else to pay your bills. Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down SuCo Pride · 210 weeks ago Cowley College is a Kansas Community College, not a for-profit university. Report Reply +8 Vote up Vote down Belle · 210 weeks ago Great advice Phil White! Get informed people…we need Cowley College and this project in order to grow!! Please let our County Commisioners know you want to be heard!!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago +8 Vote up Vote down Jeff · 210 weeks ago Mr. White: your points are well taken. However, please remember the average resident here has already been drained dry by the city council’s spending beyond our means, law suits, poor real estate transactions, draconian utility increases and a 12 million dollar school security bond. A few of us are still somewhat solvent, but John Q. Wellington is “busted flat in Baton Rouge” – as Janis Joplin would say. The piggy bank is empty, sir. This should (and could) have been done long ago before money was extinct. Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down LEAH SOMMERHOFF · 210 weeks ago So well written Phil, it is a great advance for not only Wellington, but for our County. Not to mention everyone it will serve as a great educational resource! Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments To the Editor:Â Â It is looking like we as Sumner County citizens may be presented with an opportunity to take a step toward fighting our countyâ€™s population decline by welcoming Cowley College and its superb educational opportunities and technical training programs to Wellington!Phil WhiteSure, itâ€™s a step that will cost each of us money, but it is perhaps the best opportunity our community has seen in quite a while.However, before we as taxpayers begin debating whether we can afford to help support such a facility, we owe it to ourselves to learn what is being proposed, what it truly will cost, and what economic benefit Sumner County can realistically expect.Contrary to what seems to be the trend, the answers to these questions are not found on social media or in anonymous comment sections. Theyâ€™re found the old-fashioned way: Visiting in-person with those asking for our support. Thatâ€™s also the best way to ask questions and voice any criticism we may have.We have the opportunity to do exactly that tomorrow,Â Monday, August 1st.Â Cowley College President Dennis Rittle and the Sumner County Economic Development will be hosting two town hall meetings. The meetings will beÂ at 10 a.m.Â andÂ at 6 p.m.Â Both will be in the Wellington High School Auditorium.Please do everything you can to attend one of these meetings so you can ask questions, voice your concerns, and ensure you are armed with direct information as you consider this important decision.Philip B. WhiteWellingtonFollow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter.
“The day that I retired, within 24 hours there was already rumours that I was coming out of retirement,” Gronkowski said on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “I’m feeling good right now, I’m happy where I’m at. You just never know, man. You just never know. You never know. I’m not totally done.”Despite the Gronkowski to Buccaneers rumors, he wouldn’t immediately be eligible to play in Tampa Bay. If he does decide to come back and play in the NFL, the Patriots still own his rights for one season. So a trade would need to take place for Gronk to play alongside his former quarterback. Rob Gronkowski claims he is “not totally done” with football as rumors over a possible NFL return continue to gain momentum.The three-time Super Bowl champion retired in March last year but he has been rumored to join former Patriots legend Tom Brady on the Buccaneers. Gronkowski has kept himself busy after retiring. The 30-year-old won the WWE 24/7 Championship earlier this month following an eye-catching career change. NFL DRAFT: 3-round mock | Top 100 prospects | Latest newsBucs general manager Jason Licht recently said he had “no idea” if the former tight end might come out of retirement, but Gronkowski certainly did not dismiss the idea.
Conference Player of the Year Cassidy Barrios was the engine for Nicholls in the opening half, going 5-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line for 14 points. While plagued by early missed shots in the paint and 12 turnovers, Nicholls held its own on the boards with a 21-17 overall rebounding advantage. Another run by the Colonels capped by another Barrios three with 1:59 to go in the third gave the Colonels the largest lead for either team at 57-44. Kinard would pull the Cardinals closer with a three-pointer of her own to end the quarter but LU would still enter the final period of play down by 10. To start the second half, nine straight points from the Colonels gave them their first lead since early in the first quarter at 39-38. The run was pushed to 18-0 and a 47-38 Nicholls lead before Kiandra Bowers finally put up a layup and one for LU. Barrios answered with a trey with 5:00 on the clock to push the lead back to 50-41 Cardinals before the media timeout. LU’s offense started to click as the first quarter wound down. Both Kinard and senior Baileigh O’Dell knocked down a pair of threes and were 3-4 from the field to lead the floor with eight points each. The Colonels were unable to sustain their opening run and went the final 5:40 of the quarter without a field goal, entering the first intermission down 21-11. Behind strong rebounding and a pair of threes, Nicholls jumped out to an early 6-2 lead before Lamar began to find its stride. The Cardinals knotted the game at 8-8 behind five points from junior Moe Kinard at the first media timeout. The Cardinals were led by all-conference first team guard Kinard with 13 points while O’Dell also notched double figures with 10 points. Nicholls will face the winner of today’s second semifinal between No. 2 Stephen F. Austin and No. 3 Central Arkansas tomorrow at noon on CBS Sports Network for the tournament championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Led by a masterful scoring performance from conference Player of the Year Cassidy Barrios (27 points), the fourth-seed Colonels took LU out of its element and became just the fourth Southland team to hold Lamar under 70 points this season. Kinard led LU with 21 points while O’Dell added 18. Bowers racked up 14 points and 18 rebounds for her 12th double double of the season. “We knew it had to be all about us,” Plaisance said. “It’s the high character, it’s the grit and tremendous leadership we have. I always tell my team that the opponents can’t scout what’s in your head and your heart.” On the return possession, Barrios came up with a massive block on O’Dell’s three-point attempt, which teammate Marina Lilly gathered to force a foul from Lamar. After a missed three-pointer from Freshman of the Year Jadyn Pimentel, Tykeria Williams was fouled on her way to the basket on the other end and canned both free throws, making it a four-point game (72-68) with 19.8 on the clock. “Everything was set up for us to succeed,” Harmony said. “We just unraveled, lost our composure and couldn’t make it happen down the stretch.” Senior Tia Charles and sophomore Tykeria Williams each registered 17 points to lead a well-rounded Colonel attack which averaged just 65.3 points per game in the regular season. Lamar would open up a scoring spurt to close the first half but the Colonels remained in striking distance, finishing the second quarter with the score 38-30 in favor of LU. The Cardinals flirted with single-digit deficits as the final quarter wore on and pulled within six on a jumper from Kinard with 3:21 to go. With 1:46 on the clock, O’Dell drained her third three-pointer of the night to bring the top seed within three points at 68-65. With a minute to play, O’Dell came through with another trey to knot the game at 68 and end another 8-0 Colonels run. Barrios wasted no time on the other end, putting up an off-balance layup to push Nicholls back ahead 70-68. “We knew the third quarter had to be our best quarter,” said Charles. “Our third quarters had been our worst quarters all season, so we had to make a change.” The Cardinals, who were outright Southland Conference regular season champions for the first time in program history, made their 13th straight appearance in the conference tournament, but have not won the title since 2010. Colonels’ senior Tia Charles was fouled on the Nicholls-end inbound play and made 1-of-2 from the line to make the score 73-68 with 8.3 on the clock. Williams was then put back on the line, also going 1-for-2 to make it 74-68 for good. Kinard’s final three-point shot fell short and the Colonels punched their ticket to the championship game for the first time in program history. The fourth-seeded Colonels started a run of their own in the second period, sparking an 8-0 clip before Southland Coach of the Year Robin Harmony called a timeout with her side leading just 25-22 with 6:11 to play. “Don’t panic,” was Plaisance’s mantra. “We’ve been in every possible situation this year,” said Plaisance. “Never having the lead, never losing the lead, everything. We’ve seen it all, so there was no pressure.” They did just that, as the Colonels held Lamar to just nine points in the third period while putting up 27. Box Score | Photo GalleryKATY, Texas – “We are all that we need,” Nicholls head coach DoBee Plaisance said to her team in an early timeout with No. 4 Nicholls trailing No. 1 Lamar in today’s Southland Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinal. She couldn’t have been more right, as the Colonels survived everything the Southland champions threw at them to earn a 74-68 victory and a spot in their first ever Southland Tournament title game. We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Barrios said. “We’ve already made history and we’re ready to make more history tomorrow.”