WEDNESDAY Ntxyg6,?i<fe4 THE SALINE JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD/ D2 HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL / D3 BASEBALL/D4 D T PRO BASKETBALL Figuring Ostertag Former KU center has no answers for prolonged slump Pacers Bulls . .104 By GORDON MONSON Salt Lake Tribune • Chicago leads series 2-0 • Game 3 Saturday, 2:30 p.m. (NBC) Jordan's 41 ignite Chicago Bulls rally from 7-point halftime deficit, take 2-0 lead in Eastern finals S ALT LAKE CITY — Some say Greg Ostertag is a big dope, a waste of $39 million. And maybe, in regard to the Utah Jazz, they're right. The question can't be answered right here, right now, right yet. Time is needed. This much is true: He messed up a gaping opportunity during his third season in the NBA to find what he has never found in basketball — consistency and respect. And beating him up over the fact is like pounding a dazed polecat with a tire iron. He sits and looks at you with a bewildered look. Like the whole thing is a complete mystery to him, too. If there is dopiness here, it is honest dopiness. "I don't know what's been wrong this year," says Ostertag, who lost his starting job in the regular season and regressed to 4.7 points and 5.9 re- "I'm trying to find a way to be intense every night, to be ready to play" Greg Ostertag Utah Jazz center bounds per game , after posting career highs of 7.3 points and rebounds in 1996-97. "I'm trying to find a way to be intense every night, to be ready to play. Sometimes, I'm great and, sometimes, I don't belong out on the court. I don't know. Someday, I'll figure it out, maybe as I get more mature. I'm working on it, I really am. I'm seen as a guy who signed this big contract who didn't do anything this season, but I'm looking for answers, I really am." Before more misunderstanding sets in, let's backtrack. To Ostertag's youth, to his boyhood days in Duncanville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where he grew up in a middle-class neighborhood, in a house with two professional parents — his mom, Jean, is a securities trader with a Dallas firm and his dad, Jim, is a nurse at a surgical center — and a sister, Amy, who now works at a law office, and a basketball hoop in the back yard. It was a piece of Steven Spielberg's America. But Ostertag didn't ask to play basketball. In fact, he hated it. Eventually, the game inflicted itself on him, as his bones grew to unfold like extension ladders. "I was 6-foot-ll as a freshman in high school," he says. "What else could I do?" What he liked to do was hunt and fish. Go down to a nearby stream — Ten-Mile Creek — and catch bluegill, catfish, bass and perch. Or travel See Ostertag, Page D4 The Associated Press Centers Greg Ostertag (right) of Utah and Shaqullle O'Neal of the Lakers fight for a rebound Monday night. By CHRIS SHERIDAN The Associated Press CHICAGO — Michael Jordan showed what being the MVP is all about. In another dazzling display of what makes him the greatest player in the game, Jordan did it all for the Bulls on Tuesday night, scoring 41 points and making several huge plays down the stretch as Chicago defeated Indiana 10498 for a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. You name it, Jordan did it. Fallaway jumpers. Drives through traffic. Offensive rebounds. Defensive rebounds. Timely assists. Jordan did all of it in the fourth quarter when the Bulls wouldn't let the Pacers catch up. And he did it on a night when commis- JORDAN sioner David JUKUAN presented him with his fifth MVP trophy — a ceremony that was followed by a 40-second standing ovation. It was Jordan's 35th career playoff game scoring at least 40 points, his highest point total of this postseason and his biggest outburst since scoring 55 against Washington in the first round of last year's playoffs. He shot 13-for-22 from the field and 15-for-18 from the line with five assists, four of Chicago's 15 steals and four rebounds. But more than any stat line could show, Jordan took the life out of the Pacers every time they tried to make a move. No plays were bigger than the two Jordan made in the final two minutes. After Indiana scored four points in less than 10 seconds to pull to 98-95, Jordan drove to his right, slipped and fell, got back up — maintaining his dribble all the while — and then sliced through three defenders for a runner that bounced in. Rik Smits missed a shot for Indiana, and Jordan tipped the rebound to Luc Longley. He got the ball back and was isolated one-on- one against Reggie Miller and drove to his right. It seemed like everyone in the United Center knew what was coming, yet no one could do anything about it. Like he has done thousands of times, Jordan stopped at the baseline, turned, squared his body and hit a 14-foot fallaway. Game over. The Bulls used a lot of the same strategies that worked so well in Game 1, from using Scottie Pippen to defend Mark Jackson to using Ron Harper to frustrate Miller. The Pacers' frustration started to show at the end, and their fouls got a little harder and their tempers began to boil over. Indiana had another bad night protecting the ball, turning it over 20 times, and again got a sub-par effort from Miller, who scored 19 points but shot just 4-for-13 from the field. The Bulls, meanwhile, survived a weak effort from Dennis Rodman, who had only two points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. Pippen had 21 points, six rebounds, five steals, five assists and three blocked shots, and Toni Kukoc scored 16 points. The Pacers led 52-45 at halftime in large part because they refused to settle for jumpers and repeatedly drove to the basket. By doing so, they drew enough fouls to eliminate the free throw disparity that was so glaring in Game 1. Out at second DAVIS TURNER/The Sallna Journal Southeast of Saline's Rachel Smith Is tagged out by Lyons' Jenny McAllaster as she tries to steal second base during the third Inning of Tuesday's Class 3A regional softball championship game at Southeast of Saline High School. Lyons won the contest 3-0 to advance to the 3A state tournament next week In Topeka. The game story appears on Page D3. T HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL Knights headed to state Sacred Heart pounds. Wabaunsee to claim 2-1A regional tourney By The Journal Staff ALMA — Sacred Heart's softball team needed just one victory to advance to the Class 2-1A state tournament. The Knights got it in impressive fashion. Sacred Heart collected 10 sip- gles and took advantage of 10 errors en route to a 12-0 victory over Wabaunsee Tuesday in a 2-lA-re- gional tournament. '.• The victory qualifies the Knights (14-5) for the 2-1A state 2-1/1 BffiBNM.- Wabaunsee • 0 Sacred Heart 12 T HIGH SCHOOL REGIONAL BASEBALL South, Central fall in semifinals Mustangs rally to tie West but fail to get winning run home in seventh By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal TOPEKA — This time, when it mattered most, it looked like Salina Central coach Bill Bartow and his Mustang baseball team might just get the better of Topeka West pitcher Kenny Swart. Swart has giv- Topeka West 8 en Central all kinds of prob- Central lems in his four years as a Charger. But during a first-round game of the Class 5A regional tournament Tuesday at Falley Field, the Mustangs had Swart and his West teammates on the ropes. Central rallied from a three-run deficit in the fifth inning and put the potential winning run in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the seventh. But Swart worked out of that jam, then helped settle things with his bat by hitting a three-run homer in the top of the eighth in the Chargers' 84 victory. Central junior Bobby Bartow reached on an error with one out in the seventh and stole second. But Swart sandwiched a fly out and a foul pop out around an intentional walk to senior Todd Just to end the inning. "Bobby gets on and steals second and it looks like we are set to put them away," Bill Bartow said. "But Swart gets out of it. The only time we ever got Swart was his freshman year, and he always seems to throw gems against us." Swart wasn't unhittable, but he did throw a complete game eight- hitter, striking out 13 Central bat- ters. He had seven strikeouts in the first three innings, then slowed down some before striking out the side in the bottom of the eighth. The loss ended Central's school record nine-game winning streak and closed the Mustangs' season at 13-8. West, a state tournament qualifier a year ago, faced Topeka Seaman in the regional championship game late Tuesday. "I was happy with the way we battled and we were still able to end the season on some good notes," Bartow said. "We won 11 of our last 13 games and set a lot of season records, and it will be interesting to see where some of these kids finish with career records. "I appreciate what the seniors did this year and hopefully we can build off that with next year's team. Maybe we can start playing better earlier in the season." Central took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bobby Bartow opened the inning with a double and scored on a two-out single from Clete Wilson. Swart had retired 10 batters in a row and West led 4-1 before Brian Lamone singled to lead off the fifth. Ryan Norris drew a one-out walk, and Bartow, Joe Williams and Just each came through with two-out, run-scoring singles to tie the game. West (12-8) broke the tie on Stephen Downey's RBI single with one out in the eighth, but had another runner thrown out at the plate on the play. Swart followed with the Chargers' only extra base hit in the game, a three-run homer to left to account for the game's final runs. tournament May 29-30 at Emporia. Sacred Heart scored four runs in each of the first two innings and cruised to the victory behind the combined three-hit pitching of Elizabeth Wagoner and Kellen Ratcliff. "We hit the ball awfully hard," Sacred Heart coach Barry Fritz said. "They got rattled and when we went up 8-0. Then we coasted for a couple of innings. We did what we had to do." Several Knights had big days at the plate. Sarah Weese went 3-for- 5 and Anne Weese 2-for-5, drove in a run and scored four. Courtney Ash went 2-for-5 and drove in three. Karis Ratcliff had one 'hit and drove in three. ; "The top of the order really got us going," Fritz said. Wagoner pitched the first five innings, giving up one hit, striking out three and walking five. Ratcliff allowed two hits in the final two innings. "The 10 errors sound like a lot, but it was a well-played game," Fritz said. "They settled down in the middle inning as and were hitting juie ball well, but we were making .the plays." ' ; Wabaunsee (2-20) advanced! to the championship with its second victory of the season, 11-1 over Canton-Galva. Top-seeded Cougars struggle in field, at the plate in loss to Seaman By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal TOPEKA — This was not how Salina South baseball coach Tim Puvogel expected his 1-70 League championship squad to finish the season. Top-seeded South made an early exit from the Class 5A regional Tuesday afternoon at Topeka's Falley Field, 6ABUQHU. Seaman 12 Salina South 2 falling to Topeka Seaman 12-2. "For us to come in here and be successful we were going to have to play sound defense," Puvogel said. "We made errors that Seaman turned into runs, and they are a hard team to shut down when * Southeast edges Lyons for 3A regional crown / Page D3 they get going. "I'm just real disappointed we came out and played flat like that in a regional game. We got our tails kicked, is what it boils down to." The Cougars ended their season at 13-8, while Seaman (8-12) advanced to the regional championship game to face Topeka West, an 8-4 winner over Salina Central in extra innings. South had only one hit through the first three innings and trailed 2-0, but got the game tied in the fourth. Matt Moody walked and moved to second on Tyler Charvat's bunt single. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Chris Davenport lined a single down the right field line to score both runners. The Vikings took the lead for good in their next at-bat. The first five batters reached safely before junior Lance Kramer came through with the big hit. Doug Hill (5-3) made a 3-2 pitch to Kramer a little too good, and the Seaman cleanup hitter lined a double into left center to score three runs. The game ended by the run rule an inning later as Ryan Boden smacked a two-run homer during the four-run fifth. South committed four errors and had only three hits in the game, and the Cougars never had their leadoff hitter on in any inning. Two of their three hits did not leave the infield. "We were hitting line drives right at people early in the game and couldn't seem to get a call to go our way," Puvogel said. "We couldn't get that spark we needed to get us going. "But this has been a great bunch of kids to work with and we will miss our seniors. I feel bad that it has to end like this for them." • In the championship game, Topeka Seaman defeated Topeka West 8-2. The victory sends the Vikings to the 5A state tournament in Salina on May 29-30. Scoreboard .16 ..3 Indians Royals — — • After Dean Palmer's home run put Kansas City up 2-1, Cleveland scores seven runs in fifth to take contol. Story appears on Page D4. '. • Today's game: 7:05 p.m. ; SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT firstname.lastname@example.org I « ' '
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