Monday, April 15, kicks off what is a very busy week for Macomb Bomber Athletics. First off, the varsity baseball game against Illini West has been cancelled.
The rest of Macomb’s scheduled events for Monday should go off without a hitch. The boys varsity tennis meet at home against Quincy is scheduled to begin at 4 PM. The boys and girls varsity track team will head to Illini West for a track meet scheduled to begin at 4 PM. The freshman baseball team is scheduled to play a home game against North Fulton with a first pitch set for 4:30 PM. The girls varsity soccer team will play a road match at Orion, with kick off scheduled for 4:30 PM. The JV team will follow the varsity. The girls varsity and sophomore softball teams will be at home to take on Havana. The varsity game is set to take place at 4:30 PM, and the sophomores will follow them at roughly 6:30 PM.
Tuesday, April 16 begins with the varsity and sophomore baseball teams heading to Hamilton to take on West Hancock. The varsity game will get going at 4:30 PM, while the sophomores will begin at roughly 6 PM. Additionally, the varsity and sophomore softball teams will be at home to take on West Hancock. The varsity will begin at 4:30, while the sophomore first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM.
Wenesday, April 17 will see things get going at 4:30 PM, as the varsity softball team will hit the field at home against Unity. The sophomore team will follow them at roughly 6:30 PM. The freshman baseball team will also be in action on Wednesday, as they will be taking on Bushnell West Prairie on the road. First pitch for the freshman is set for 4:30 PM.
Thursday, April 18, looks to be Macomb’s busiest day on the schedule, and it gets going with the Bomber Invitational, Macomb’s home coed track meet. The event is scheduled to begin at 4 PM. The sophomore and varsity baseball teams will be at home to take on West Hancock in the return match from Tuesday. The varsity game is set for a 4:30 PM first pitch, while the sophomores will begin shortly after the conclusion of the varsity game at 6 PM. The varsity and sophomore softball teams, meanwhile, will head to Hamilton to take on West Hancock in their rematch from Tuesday. The varsity team will begin at 4:30 PM, while the sophomores will follow at 6:30 PM.
Friday, April 19, only sees one event taking place: a home sophomore baseball game against Illini West. This game is set to begin at 4:30 PM. Saturday, April 20, only has one event scheduled as well, as the boys varsity tennis team will hit the road to take on Galesburg as part of the Streaks Invitational. The event is set to begin at 8:30 AM. This event also wraps up the athletic week for the Bombers.
AROUND THE SUMMIT LEAGUE...
• Western Illinois is the first team to sweep Oral Roberts in a Summit League series since the Golden Eagles (1999-2012; 2015-present).
• WIU right hander Javin Drake earned his second Pitcher of the Week honor of the season, because of three earned runs in eight innings of work in a game-two in the victory over ORU. He fanned seven Golden Eagles to bring his total up to 61 on the campaign.
• Drue Galassi made the Leathernecks the first team to sweep the weekly honors this season after he homered three victories over Oral Roberts. He now shares the league-lead in homers (7) and RBI (26).
• Galassi shares the lead in those two categories with Oral Roberts' Spencer Henson. They both had a pair of home runs last week. Henson also equaled his season-high with four hits in the finale vs. WIU.
• Omaha had a big rally to earn a 12-10 victory in game one of its series with South Dakota State and would go on to sweep the Jackrabbits to remain 12-0 in league play. The Mavericks are one of two teams in that Division that are unbeaten in conference action (Xavier, 3-0 in Big East) entering play this weekend.
• Omaha's Parker Smejkal leads the league in batting in overall games (.393) and league games (.531). Smejkal has hit safely in his last five. He homered in a mid-week game at Kansas State and has three dingers in his last four games.
• The Mavericks' lead in the league standings is five games over second-place SDSU (7-5), but the Jackrabbits are in a pack of four teams separated by only two games. Omaha is on the road at Oral Roberts this weekend.
• North Dakota State moved into that group thanks to a three-game sweep of Purdue Fort Wayne last weekend. The Bison (5-7) have gotten nice offensive production from Charley Hesse, who is batting .485 in Summit games. He carries an eight-game hitting streak into the weekend series against South Dakota State, which has been moved to Omaha. Hesse went 9-for-13 with five RBI against the Mastodons.
• Purdue Fort Wayne reliever fanned nine in four innings of relief work against the Bison in the series finale. The Mastodons have a three-game set at Western Illinois this weekend.
THIS WEEK IN THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Friday, April 12
Purdue Fort Wayne at Western Illinois
Omaha at Oral Roberts
North Dakota State at South Dakota State
Saturday, April 13
Purdue Fort Wayne at Western Illinois
Omaha at Oral Roberts
North Dakota State at South Dakota State
North Dakota State at South Dakota State
Sunday, April 14
Purdue Fort Wayne at Western Illinois
Omaha at Oral Roberts
Tuesday, April 16
Valley City State at North Dakota State
South Dakota State at Minnesota
Western Illinois at SIUE
Oklahoma at Oral Roberts
Wednesday, April 17
Toledo at Purdue Fort Wayne
Nebraska at Omaha
Friday, April 5
Western Illinois 8, Oral Roberts 5
Omaha 12, South Dakota State 10
North Dakota State 17, Purdue Fort Wayne 8
North Dakota State 5, Purdue Fort Wayne 4 (11)
Saturday, April 6
Western Illinois 7, Oral Roberts 3
Omaha 9, South Dakota State 4
Omaha 11, South Dakota State 7
North Dakota State 7, Purdue Fort Wayne 0
Sunday, April 7
Western Illinois 11, Oral Roberts 7
Tuesday, April 9
Dakota Wesleyan at South Dakota State (ppd)
Bradley 4, Western Illinois 1
Minnesota 4, North Dakota State 3
(10) Arkansas 15, Oral Roberts 8
Wednesday, April 10
Bowling Green 10, Purdue Fort Wayne 4
Kansas State 7, Omaha 2
Despite allowing a 4 run bottom of the 6th, the Macomb High varsity baseball team was able to hold off Camp Point Central in a road contest on Tuesday, April 9.
The Bombers struck first in the top of the 1st, when senior Ben Higgins hit an RBI-groundout to plate Leighton Holthaus. Collin Sally responded for CPC with an RBI-single in the bottom of the first to tie it at 1.
The score remained deadlocked at 1 until the top of the 3rd when Macomb’s Riley Oest stepped to the plate. Oest would hit a sharp grounder to the Camp Point Central shortstop, who struggled with the ball and allowed two Bomber runs to score.
Fast-forwarding to the top of the seventh, Macomb still maintained its 3-2 lead. Ben Higgins was hit by a pitch with one out, and was followed by a Tyler Bickers single. Luke Silberer brought both players home with a big 2-RBI-double to crack the scoring open. Add in a VJ Lane RBI-single and a Jackson Mabrey sac-fly, and the Bombers left the 7th up 7-2.
CPC would not go quietly however, as an error and two singles allowed them to bring the score back to 7-4. Sally singled, and Lane Ippensen doubled to cut Macomb’s lead to a dicy 1 run, before Ben Higgins shut it down to end the game.
Macomb next hits the field at home on Thursday, April 11, when they get a rematch with Camp Point Central. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30.
The Macomb varsity softball team went on the road on Tuesday, April 9, to face Camp Point Central. Macomb went down 4-0 fairly early on, and despite 5 runs between the 6th and 7th innings, wasn’t able to complete the comeback as CPC won the game 6-5.
Shelby Daniels put up the best offensive performance of the game for the Bombers, notching two hits, a run and a clutch RBI in the thick of Macomb’s comeback attempt. Morgan McGaughey and Reagan Emerick also had two hits for the Bombers, with McGaughey recording an RBI and Emerick scoring a run.
Macomb will look to rebound from this result when they take on Camp Point Central again at home. This game is set to be played on Thursday, April 11, and first pitch is set for 4:30 PM.
Canton Gets Big Late-Game Hit
After taking a 3-0 lead over Canton, Macomb was unable to hold it as they fell 5-4 to the LittleGiants.
Macomb used a 1-run 2nd and a 2-run 3rd inning to go up 3-0, before watching Canton go off for a 4-run 4th to make the score 4-3. Macomb was able to tie it back up in the bottom of the 4th, and the score would stay that way all the way to the top of the 7th inning. After hitting Will Randall to begin the inning, Randall would steal second base. Macomb allowed the go-ahead single to Brody Scarcliff one batter later, and Macomb would not be able to answer in the bottom half of the inning.
Canton used a balanced attack to take down Macomb, as 5 different players recorded RBIs to make up their 5 runs, while Macomb recorded 3 RBIs among their 4 runs, between 3 players.
Luke Silberer had the best day at the plate for the Bombers, going 3-3 at the plate, scoring a run and driving in another. Scarcliff led the way for the LittleGiants with 2 hits in his 2 plate appearances, while driving in the go-ahead run.
Macomb will look to rebound when they take on Triopia at home on Monday, April 5, with a first pitch scheduled for 4:30. Canton, meanwhile, will next take on East Peoria at home on Monday, April 8, with a first pitch scheduled for 4:15 PM.
Rockets' Bats Impress in Win
On the back of a 6-RBI game by Olivia Salrin, the Rushville-Industry Rockets varsity softball team took down the Macomb Bombers on Friday, April 5, by a score of 19-5.
Hannah Higgins and Maggie Vallillo of Macomb each had a double and between them drove in 3 of the Bombers’ 5 runs on the game, in what was a solid offensive performance. The issues came in the circle, as Kylie Barclay allowed 8 hits and 6 walks in the first 3.2 innings, then Macy Coker relieved her to allow 11 more hits in the remaining 2.1 innings. This will be a learning moment for both pitchers, and both pitchers should be able to rebound to have fine seasons.
For Rushville, Sarlin was joined by Gretchen Ward, Chaddam Crosier and Elliott Stinson as players with 3 or more RBIs. The four combined to drive in 16 of the Rockets’ 19 runs as they put up a truly special offensive performance. Crosier also had a solid day in the circle, allowing 3 earned runs to the Bombers in 5.0 innings. Madyson Quinn took over for Crosier in the 6th, and put up a scoreless inning despite allowing one hit.
This game will be a huge momentum booster for Rushville-Industry, and for Macomb, it will be a game they store away, but try to move on from as quickly as possible. Macomb will get their first opportunity to rebound against Bushnell/West Prairie on the road on Monday, April 8, with a first pitch set for 4:30 PM. Rushville Industry takes the field next against Beardstown on Monday, April 8, at home with a first pitch set for 4:30 PM.
Catch Up on all the Weekly Macomb Events
Macomb High School has released its athletic schedule for the week of April 8-14.
Monday, April 8 kicks off with a home boys varsity tennis match against Hannibal. The match begins at 4 PM. The boys and girls varsity track teams will head to Monmouth-Roseville for the annual Titan Invitational. The meet is set to begin at 4 PM. The softball team will head to Good Hope to take on Bushnell/West Prairie with a 4:30 PM first pitch. The sophomore and varsity baseball teams will take on Triopia at home with dueling 4:30 PM first pitches set. Varsity will play at Phil Bradley Field while the sophomores will play at the JV Field. The freshman baseball game scheduled to take place in Quincy against Quincy High has been postponed, and a makeup date has yet to be determined. Lastly, the sophomore softball team heads to Good Hope as well to face Bushnell/West Prairie with a first pitch set for 6 PM.
Tuesday, April 9, gets started with the varsity baseball team hitting the road to take on Camp Point Central with a 4:30 first pitch. The varsity softball team also heads to Camp Point Central for a road game of their own, with a first pitch set for 4:30. Lastly, the girls varsity soccer team heads to Peoria to face Peoria Christian, with a kick off scheduled for 4:30 PM.
The only event scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, is a home freshman baseball game against Rock Island. First pitch is tentatively scheduled for 4:30 PM.
Thursday, April 11, is the busiest day of the week, and it gets going with the boys and girls track teams heading to Lewistown for a road meet that will begin at 4 PM. The boys varsity tennis team will head to Alleman for a road match set to begin at 4 PM. The varsity softball and baseball teams will both take on Camp Point Central in home matchups with a 4:30 first pitch expected for both games. Lastly, the girls varsity soccer team will head to Beardstown for a road matchup with a kick off scheduled for 4:30.
Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, wrap up the athletic week with one event scheduled for each day. Firstly, the freshman baseball team heads to Galesburg on the 12th for a road game with a first pitch scheduled for 4:30 PM. The 13th sees the last event of the week as the boys varsity track team heads to Lanphier for the Capital City Classic. Start time for the meet is scheduled for 10 AM.
Harden, Paul Take Over as Rockets Dominate Clippers
The playoffs are literally days away and it seems like the Houston Rockets are physically locked in. James Harden, who is leading the league in points, scored 31 in the win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, April 3. Chris Paul was next leading scorer for Houston with 29 points which lead to the Clippers defeat. Clint Capela also played a role recording a double double adding 24 points and 15 rebounds.
The final score of the game was 135-103 in a potential playoff preview between the two teams. This win will mark the Rockets 4th in a row. After the win against the Clippers, Houston is now sitting at the third seed in the Western Conference.
During the first quarter, the Rockets came out strong and the Clippers couldn't match their intensity. Houston shot 64% from the field in the first quarter. Not long into the second quarter is where they stretched their lead to 22 points. The Clippers then capitalized on a 9-2 run to close out the 2nd quarter to make the score 68-53. In the third quarter, the back court for Houston took off. Chris Paul scored six straight points hitting back to back three pointers. James Harden also added himself in the mix by scoring eight points in a row making the score 102-73.
The Clippers completely fell apart and didn't have any leadership throughout the game. This eventually allowed Houston to take advantage. Lastly, both teams will host games on Friday, April 5. The Rockets will look forward to playing against the New York Knicks Friday and the Clippers will go against the Lakers.
Wetterling Dominates in impressive Bomber Win
The Macomb Bombers varsity baseball team picked up a nice win as they ran it up against Augusta-Southeastern on Wednesday, April 3.
The Bombers were able to kick off the first inning with a sac from VJ Lane which in return gave them 2 runs. Pitcher Dylan Wetterling had an excellent game as he threw a no hitter to give the Bombers a 12-1 win. Wetterling pitched five innings, allowing no hits and five strikeouts. Ben Higgins was another highlighted player as he drove in 6 runs and went 3-4 at the plate. Higgins had the most impressive inning in the 5th as he hit a home run and as well as a triple.
The pitcher for Augusta Southeastern, Shad Flesner, allowed four hits and three runs against his team. Flesner was only able to get seven strikeouts during the four innings he pitched. The Bombers were able to get a total of nine hits. Ben Higgins and John Ogle had six hits between them with three hits a piece.
The Bombers will look to carry this momentum into their next game against Canton at home on Friday, April 5, at 4:30 PM.
The Latest Summit League Softball News
The Summit League has released their week nine #SummitSB weekly notebook. Already halfway through the season, teams are starting to show their true identities, with the best teams moving towards the top, and the less consistent teams moving towards the bottom.
North Dakota State and South Dakota State are the hottest teams in the conference, and they remain the only two undefeated teams in conference play. North Dakota State is riding an eye-popping 14 game winning streak, one shy of their D-1 record of 15 from 2013, and 12 short of a shocking school record 27, set way back in 2000, while South Dakota State’s 24-7 start equals its best as a D-1 program.
NDSU pitcher KK Leddy showed her dominance this past weekend against Western Illinois, as she pitched 11.2 innings, allowing only 1 run and a paltry 7 hits to the Leathernecks. Leddy’s performance is beginning to show through on a national level, as she ranks 7th in the country with 6 shutouts, 15th in saves with 3, and is #28 in the country with her 13 wins. She will certainly be a player to keep an eye out for as the season develops and we get closer to the Summit League tournament.
As far as a schedule for the week goes, WIU will head to South Dakota State for a 3 game set in Brookings with the Jackrabbits. The first game takes place Saturday, April 6, and will be part of a double header. Game one has a first pitch scheduled for 12 PM.
Bombers Unable to Overcome Wildcats
The Macomb varsity softball team hosted North Fulton on Wednesday, April 3rd, and despite a furious comeback, fell 9-8 to the Wildcats.
Reagan Emerick led the Bombers in runs scored with 3, as her speed on the base paths caused constant issues for North Fulton. A wild 7th inning saw Macomb score 4 runs in 4 at bats, but the Bombers were unable to keep the momentum going, ultimately ending the game on a Riley Creasey strikeout.
The loss brings the Bombers to a 5-2 record on the season, and they will be looking to bounce back when they take on Beardstown on the road today, April 4th, with a first pitch set for 4:30 PM.
Macomb kicks off what will be a very busy athletic week today, April 1st. Set to take place today is, first, a boys and girls varsity track and field meet on the road at Camp Point Central. The meet is set to begin at 4 PM. Next on the list is a boys varsity tennis match at home against East Peoria. This match is set to start at 4 PM at the MHS Tennis Courts. Next up is a sophomore/varsity softball doubleheader at home vs North Fulton. The varsity game will begin first at 4:30 PM, while the sophomores will finish the back half beginning at 6:30 PM. The girls varsity soccer team will take on Canton at home with a JV game to follow the varsity match. Opening kick off is scheduled for 4:30 PM at Edison Field. Last on the list for Monday is a baseball varsity/sophomore double header on the road at Mercer County. The varsity team will kick off the first half at 4:30 PM, while the sophomores will finish the double header at 6:30.
For Tuesday, April 2nd, the first event will be a boys varsity tennis match on the road at Jacksonville. The match is set to start at 4 PM. Next on the agenda is a freshman softball game to take place on the road at Rock Island. First pitch for this one is scheduled for 4:30 PM. Next, the freshman baseball team will take on Alleman in a home contest at Phil Bradley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30. Lastly for Tuesday, April 2nd, the girls varsity soccer team will take on Springfield Lutheran in a home matchup at Edison Field, with a JV game to follow the varsity. Opening kick off is scheduled for 4:30 PM.
Wednesday, April 3rd, is a bit of a light day, as only two events are scheduled. Varsity baseball will take on Southeastern in a home matchup at Phil Bradley Field, with a first pitch scheduled for 4:30 PM. Additionally, the freshman softball team will take on Mercer County in a home matchup scheduled to begin at 4:30 PM.
Thursday, April 4th, will begin with a softball varsity/sophomore double header to take place on the road at Beardstown. Varsity will kick off the first leg at 4:30 PM, while the sophomores will begin the second leg at 6:30 PM. The varsity baseball team will play Bushnell-Prairie City in a home game at Phil Bradley Field scheduled for 4:30 PM.
Friday, April 5th will be all bats and gloves, as the baseball and softball teams host varsity/sophomore double headers. Baseball will take on Canton with the varsity team set for a 4:30 PM first pitch at Phil Bradley Field, and the sophomores also set for a 4:30 PM first pitch, but at the MHS JV Field. Meanwhile, softball plays host to Rushville-Industry with the varsity set to kick off the first half of the double header at 4:30 PM, while the sophomores will begin the second leg at 6:30 PM. Lastly, the freshman baseball team will head to Illini West for a road matchup set for a 4:30 PM first pitch.
Saturday, April 6th, wraps up this busy week of MHS Bombers action, as the boys and girls varsity track teams will participate in Macomb’s own Lee Calhoun Invitational. The meet is set to begin at 10 AM.
Macomb Prepares for Busy Spring Season
The spring sports schedule is in full swing for Macomb, as we get under way with girls soccer, baseball, softball, and outdoor track and field. This week (March 25-March 30) is a busy one for every sport.
For the rest of the week, today, Macomb sophomore and varsity softball will head to Monmouth-Roseville ,with the varsity game set for first pitch at 4:30 PM, and the sophomores set for a first pitch at 6 PM. Baseball will host a sophomore and varsity game against Monmouth Roseville, with first pitch of each game scheduled for 4:30 PM. The varsity game will take place at Phil Bradley Field, while the Sophomores will play at the MHS JV Field. Lastly for today, Tuesday, March 26, the boys and girls track and field teams will be hosting a meet today set to begin at 4:30 PM.
For Wednesday, March 27, the junior high track and field team will head to Farmington for a meet with North Fulton. The meet is set to begin at 4 PM. The Macomb varsity softball team will host a game against Southeastern with a first pitch set for 4:30 PM. The varsity and sophomore baseball teams will hit the road to take on Beardstown with first pitch for both games scheduled for 4:30 PM. Lastly, the freshman softball team will head to Moline for a 4:30 PM game.
Thursday, March 28, the sophomore and varsity softball teams will host Monmouth-Roseville, with the first pitch for the varsity game set for 4:30 PM and the first pitch for the sophomore game set for 6 PM. The varsity and sophomore baseball teams will head to Monmouth-Roseville with the first pitch for the sophomore game set for 4:30 PM at the Field of Dreams, and the varsity game also scheduled for a 4:30 PM first pitch, but at Sunny Lane Field. Lastly, the girls varsity soccer team will play a home match against Lanphier with kick off scheduled to take place at 4:30 PM at Edison Field.
Friday will only see the freshman baseball team take on Illini West on the road, with a first pitch scheduled for 4:30.
WIU Looks to Secure a Spot in the Summit League Championship Game
The upset is complete, and the emotion has returned to a, seemingly, normal level. Now it’s time to get back to business and lock up a spot in the Summit League Championship. For Western Illinois, only North Dakota State stands in the way of that.
This is not to underestimate a Bison team that finished the season with a 15-15 overall record and an 8-7 Summit record. NDSU will be a tough out, make no mistake about it. On the back of tough guard play, they handled #7 seeded Oral Roberts 86-63 in their Summit League Tournament opener. Tyson Ward, the team’s leading scorer through the regular season, led the way with 25 points on 7-10 shooting, and incredibly did it all without hitting a single 3-point shot. Jared Samuelson had an efficient 3-5 shooting night, including hitting 3 3-point shots and going a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line to rack up 15 points as well for the Bison. A third guard, Cameron Hunter chipped in 13 to make up the third in a trio of double-digit scoring guards, a fearsome concept for WIU to be sure.
One thing should be clear, if Brandon Gilbeck has the impact on this one that he had on the upset over SDSU, the Leathernecks should have the advantage on the inside. His dominating presence at 7’ should be intimidating enough, and when combined by strong, motivated play, he can be un-guard-able at times. Another 30-plus combined points from sharp-shooting guards Kobe Webster and Ben Pyle will be a recipe for success as well, as their knockdown strokes have carried the Leathernecks at times this season. In order to lock up what would be another upset, WIU will need another consistent, buzzer to buzzer performance. One I believe, as well as all of Leatherneck Nation believes, this team is fully capable of.
This game will be one semi-final of the Summit League Tournament, which is ongoing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 6 PM local time, and can be heard live on 102.7 WJEQ with the voice of the Leathernecks on the call, Danny Frey. The game will also be televised on ESPN’s subscription service, ESPN+.
Gilbeck dominates inside, Montague comes up big in WIU’s monumental upset
Two words perhaps sum up WIU’s upset of #1 seeded South Dakota State more than no others: shock, and awe. WIU came into this game having lost to SDSU in both regular season matchups by a combined 62 points, but came into the game feeling like they had a fresh start. They had a world of opportunity in front of them, and they were looking to shock the world.
What resulted was one of the greatest wins in WIU history. Going up against one of the few 3,000 point scorers in NCAA Men’s Basketball History in Mike Daum, they needed a tight defensive game plan to not allow him to beat them. WIU came in with just that exact plan to keep the ball away from him, and he was held to a modest (by his lofty standards) 16 points and 10 rebounds. David Jenkins’ 29 point performance kept the Jackrabbits alive in this one, but ultimately the consistency we have come to expect from this squad was just not there.
WIU began the shocking win by running up a lead that grew as large as 13 midway through the second half, and the game began to look very reminiscent of the classic UMBC-Virginia upset from last year’s NCAA Tournament. SDSU woke up at this point, however, and roared back to cut the lead to 77-76 WIU with 14 seconds to go. Now enter Keshon Montague, the oft-injured backup point guard who, to this, point, had a goose egg across the box score. Montague came in cold in a big spot in the biggest game of WIU’s season and came up big. With 10 seconds to go, Montague went to the line after drawing a foul and hit, perhaps, the two biggest free throws in recent WIU men’s basketball history. A David Jenkins three-point attempt nearly went down at the buzzer, but it rimmed out, and the realization began to set in that WIU had pulled off the upset of upsets. The bottom-seeded Leathernecks, who by all accounts have had as disappointing a 4 year run as should be possible, had knocked off the ever consistent Summit League powerhouse of a team in the SDSU Jackrabbits.
Ben Pyle and Kobe Webster put up 17 points apiece to lead the way for WIU, and Pyle especially may have had his most complete performance of the year. Brandon Gilbeck had the kind of dominating inside performance we’ve come to expect, despite a modest 13 points and 13 rebounds. He played large, aggressively ripping down rebounds, and getting “grown man blocks” as radio play-by-play announcer Danny Frey called them during the game. March is a fresh start for every team, and WIU looked like a new squad. Now, it’s time to keep going and push for that elusive first ever NCAA Tournament bid.
MACOMB - The Western Illinois University Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center will host the Midwest Plains Volleyball Club Conference Crossover Event Saturday-Sunday, March 9-10.
The two-day event will feature seven nationally ranked volleyball clubs from across the Midwest. By combining the all men’s teams from each region, each team will be seeded by how they placed during their respective regional tourneys.
Out of the 24 teams involved, the top three seeds (winners of their regionals) are St. Louis A (East Region), Lewis University A (North Region) and University of Nebraska A (West Region). During the two days there will be 78 matches in total.
MWPVC Commissioner Nick Collins commented on hosting the event, "We are excited to have the 2019 MWPVC Crossover Event at Western Illinois University this year. This is the first event that the WIU Men's Club Volleyball team has hosted since joining the conference in 2017. The tournament consists of 24 men's teams and showcase some of the top teams in the conference, as well as in the country. We look forward to bringing this great event to Western Illinois."
(Original story via WIU news. Visit their website here)
Chicago Bulls fell to Indiana Pacers late in the game on the road Tuesday, March 5. Indiana’s very own Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison led them to victory during the last few minutes of the game. This was a must needed win for Indiana as they loss 3 out of their last 4 games since the All-Star break. Pacers are now fighting for the No. 3 seed as they allowed the Philadelphia 76ers to catch up to their win/loss record.
Many people didn't believe that the Pacers would still remain good enough to be one of the top contenders in the east due to injuries. Their star guard Victor Oladipo went down with a season-ending knee injury in January, along with their forward Domantas Sabonis who already missed 4 games due to a sprained ankle.
The Bulls trailed the Pacers up into the 3rd quarter with their center Robin Lopez hitting a floater to tie the game 55-55 with 7 minutes remaining. Both teams were battling pound for pound until the last few minutes of the 4th quarter. During the first 6 minutes of the 4th quarter, the Bulls went on a 7-2 run after Zach LaVine’s dunk, which gave the Bulls a 86-85 lead with 7:08 minutes left. Indiana’s Bogdanovic capitalized after the Bulls 7-2 run with a 3 pointer to get the crown pumped. Next was Collison who drained a 3 to help boost the lead even more. The Pacers went on on 10-0 run giving them 95-86 lead with only 3 minutes remaining in the 4th. During the rest of the game the Bulls couldn't shorten league within under 5, thus giving Indiana the win.
LaVine finished the game with 27 points and Robin Lopez got on the board with 20 rebounds and 9 points. Leading scorers for Indiana are Darren Collison with 22 points and Bojan Bogdanovic with 27 points. The Chicago bulls have loss 5 straight in the series. Hopefully they will do better against Philadelphia Wednesday, March 6th as they play in back-to-back games. The Indiana Pacers will get a break before they play the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
The Chicago Blackhawks hit the road last night, February 27, to take on the Anaheim Ducks at the Pond. They came away with a gutsy, come-from-behind, 4-3 win on the back of Hart Candidate Patrick Kane’s 40th goal with 16 seconds left in regulation.
The Blackhawks got a solid performance out of recent returnee Corey Crawford, who stopped 29 of 32 shots (good for a .906 save percentage). He looked rusty at times, but came up with some big saves when they needed it. His return should be looked at as a positive boost for a team who seems to be confused as to whether they want a high draft pick, or if they want to make a run at the playoffs.
Another very encouraging sign was the play of youngsters Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. Strome recorded an assist, while DeBrincat potted another two goals yesterday, as the two continued to energize what was previously thought to be an old, slow, washed up former dynasty. Since his arrival from Arizona, Strome has racked up 32 points in 35 games for the Blackhawks and has filled the second line center spot in a way few have in this era of ‘Hawks excellence. DeBrincat has racked up 64 points in as many games played as he continues to excel on the back of an impressive rookie season. It’s no question that these two are a big part of the plan moving forward, and they give the ‘Hawks two great building blocks as we move further away from the dynastic 2010’s.
In addition to the youngsters, the older forwards got in the act too, as Patrick Kane, as stated earlier, scored his 40th goal (a goal that would go on to be the game-winner) of the season. The goal brings him up to 94 points (40 G, 54 A) in 63 games, as he continues his Hart-esque season. Should the ‘Hawks make the playoffs, it will be hard to deny his candidacy for the MVP as he has almost literally carried this team on his back at many points during the year.
The ‘Hawks will head to Staples Center on Saturday, March 2, for a road matchup with the Los Angeles Kings. This should be a winnable game, but the Kings will always play the Blackhawks tough given their rivalry during the 2010’s. The opening face off is scheduled for 3 PM local time.
The Western Illinois women’s basketball team will hit the road tomorrow, February 28, to take on a Denver team directly in front of them in the Summit League standings. This matchup could prove crucial to seeding in the Summit League Tournament, as WIU could move up from their current #5 seed up to a tie with #3 seed Oral Roberts should they win. Denver, tied with WIU at 8-6 (Summit record), could also move into a tie for 3rd with a win. Should neither team move out of their current positioning, the two teams will meet again in the first round of the Summit Tournament in the #4 vs. #5 matchup.
WIU comes in on the back of an absolutely thrilling 92-85 loss to Oral Roberts this past Saturday. The loss could be chalked up to an absolutely incredible shooting performance from the Golden Eagles that saw them knock down 20 3’s at a 54% clip. WIU defenders were simply unable to close out on Lakota Beatty and Sarah Garvie, as those two racked up 23 and 26 points respectively and knocked down a combined 15 3’s. WIU will need to shoot better (just 43% on Saturday) and work on their rotations and close-outs if they want to take a quality win home from Denver.
Denver comes in on the back of a wild game as well, as they took a 92-91 overtime victory over North Dakota on Saturday. The win pushed them to 15-12 overall and into the tie with WIU. Denver was able to get the game into OT with a last second 3 made by Haley Simental. WIU will have to be wary of Lauren Loven and Madison Nelson, who both come into the game averaging 15+ points per game. Loven leads the team in made 3’s (99) and 3-pt shooting percentage (46%), so she will again test WIU’s ability to rotate over to open shooters.
Much like the men’s game that will follow it, the women’s game should be massively entertaining and could turn into a bit of a shootout. Both teams will be gunning for the #3 seed, so as to avoid playing one another again in the Summit Tournament and play a lower seed. The game is set to tip off at 1 PM at Magness Arena and can be heard live on 104.1 WMQZ or live-streamed through goleathernecks.com.
The Western Illinois men’s basketball team heads to Denver tomorrow, February 28, for a road matchup with the Pioneers. Should WIU pick up a win, they would clinch a spot in the Summit League Tournament as the #8 seed. WIU has traditionally done well with the bottom seed in the tournament, as they hung around with South Dakota State in the first round last year en route to a 66-60 loss.
WIU will be looking to build off the momentum of a, albeit sloppy, senior day win over Oral Roberts this past Saturday. Should they hope to beat Denver, they will need much more offensive production across the board, as Kobe Webster led the team with a mere 13 points in the win over Oral Roberts. Brandon Gilbeck will need to bounce back in a big way as well, as he shot 3-10 from the field and looked thoroughly outplayed by backup center Jordan Hughes at times. If they can keep up the defensive performance they put up against the Golden Eagles, they should be in good position to take down the Pioneers and lock up that Summit Tournament spot.
While WIU ended a 5-game losing streak with a win on Saturday, Denver continued what had been a 6-game skid with a loss to North Dakota. Freshman David Nzekwesi put up 19 points on 7-8 shooting, but that was essentially all the offense the Pioneers could muster. Much like WIU, Denver will need more consistent production across the board if they hope to play spoiler and pull the Leathernecks’ Summit Tournament bid into question.
This should be an entertaining game, as both teams come in with a clear motive for winning and a lot still on the table. The game is scheduled to tip-off at Magness Arena at 8 PM and can be heard live on 102.7 WJEQ and live-streamed through goleathernecks.com.