The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 18, 1996 · Page 19
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 19

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, January 18, 1996
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Page 19
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THE SALINA JOURNAL T PREP JOURNAL SPORTS THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 1996 D3< The Sallna Journal Hill City boys off to quick start despite injuries By TROY PALENSKE —•-•••• ' . A, "Jeremy, (Bell) has really, really come on strong this year. He was a good player last year and he's just playing really well right now." H ill City's boys basketball team is 7-0 and ranked fifth in the state in Class 2A. And the Ringnecks have achieved that without their leading scorer of the past two seasons, senior Brent Voss. "He cut his hand the second game of the football season against Victoria and got a staph infection," Hill City coach Keith Riley said. "They had to fly him out to Denver and the staph infection was growing in his back. He had the infection in his vertebras and they had to go in and scrape three of his vertebras and take all of that (infection) out of there." Voss is on the mend. He is expected to resume school in the fall. "He's up and around and doing real good right now," Riley said. The loss of Voss — an All-Mid- Continent League selection a year ago— was a blow for the Ringnecks. "It was a shock for all of us," said Riley, whose team finished 20-3 and was sub-state runner-up a year ago."First of all they were hoping Brent was going to be aU right, then they knew what it was going to do to the basketball team. Because you don't lose somebody like that off your team and replace him." So how has Hill City — No. 5 in this week's consensus rankings— been successful? Riley attributes his players' knowledge Keith Riley Hill City boys basketball coach of the Ringnecks' system and an understanding of their roles. "I think everybody knows their job and that's been the biggest thing," said Riley, in his 27th season at Hill City. "They know who is supposed to shoot it at the right time and we're supposed to get it into Jeremy (Bell) when we can." A 6-foot-3 senior center, Bell has picked up the load inside in Voss' absence, and leads the . team in scoring with an average of 22 points a game. ' "Jeremy has really, really come on strong this year," Riley said. "He was a good player last year and he's just playing really well right now." Besides Bell, the bulk of the Ringnecks' scoring punch is supplied by guards Geoff Riley and Drew Heiman. Riley, the coach's son and listed by Kansas Sports as the third best sophomore in the state this season, contributes 19 points a game and has come on strong after a variety of injuries restricted him in December. The playmaking point guard had a screw inserted in his broken elbow in August that prevented him from doing any shooting. He broke a rib in the Ringnecks 1 football season finale and then sprained an ankle in the basketball season-opener against Stockton. "He needed a Christmas vacation, but he has really played well since Christmas," Keith Riley said of his son. "He played OK early, but he wasn't shooting like he normally does." Riley poured in a season-high 29 points in last Friday's key Mid-Continent League victory at Ellis, including four 3-pointers, and averages nearly 25 points over the past three games. Heiman, a 5-9 senior, also has been a steady offensive contrib- ' utor, averaging 13 points. Hill City plays host to Trego Friday before turning to the Mid-Continent League Tournament, where the Ringnecks are the defending champion and No. 1 seed. "It's going to be really tough tournament," Riley said. Hill City is assigned to the Quinter sub-state, which is arguably the most difficult in Class 2A. The eight-team field includes state-ranked Quinter, Hill City and Victoria as well as Atwood, Ellis, Hoxie, St. Francis and Stockton. Collectively, the teams have a 47-21 record. V AUSTRALIAN OPEN Pudgy Agassi moves on Extra weight doesn't hamper star in easy victory over Spadea By The Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia — Now that Andre Agassi's knee is OK, and he's stayed out of harm's way for another day, maybe he can work off the extra pounds slowing him down. Agassi, embarrassed by his misstep on a spiral staircase on the eve of the Australian Open, is awfully touchy now about the issue of his weight. The glare in his eyes and the sharp tone in his voice when asked about it suggest he'd rather change the subject. But there it is, just enough fat around the middle after a three- month layoff to make the difference between the light-footed sprinter he was last year in winning the Australian and a slightly plodding player who could lose anytime. Agassi is slowly working himself back into shape after recovering from his chest injury, happily taking a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 victory over fellow American Vince Spadea in the second round Wednesday night, though looking rather vulnerable in the process. It's not his stamina that's the problem as much as his quickness and timing. Asked whether he's a few pounds over his weight from last summer, when he won 26 straight matches, Agassi snapped, "Are you trying to tell me something?" V CHIEFS KG tries to find what went wrong Coach believes his team is still the strongest in the NFL By KENT PULLIAM The Kansas City Star The Kansas City Chiefs can get to the playoffs. No NFL team has done that better in the 1990s. But coach Marty Schottenheimer and Carl Peterson, the team's president-general manager, set a higher standard when they arrived in 1989. Their goal is to win the Super Bowl. They have yet to make it. Their team has lost its first playoff game in four of the last six years. Schotten- heimer said he believes the Chiefs are the strongest team in the NFL, first man through 53rd. The 13-3 regular-season record was no fluke. To achieve that over a 16- game season that grinds down the best of teams is an accomplishment done only 16 times since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The quality of the Chiefs' depth is evident by the way backups stepped in and played. The Chiefs have made that a priority, because Peterson said football is "a game of attrition." But the question must be asked — given that the goal is to win the Super Bowl, not just reach the playoffs — whether building and main- T INJURED COACH SCHOTTENHEIMER taining the best 53-man team is a better option than putting together a team with superior starters, who might make the difference in the playoffs. Schottenheimer said that once a team reaches the playoffs, the better "24-man team" has an advantage in a single-elimination tournament. "But you have to get to the playoffs," Schottenheimer said. The Chiefs have identified certain positions as critical in their building effort. They have not been bashful spending their money there. The starting offensive linemen's salaries — taking into account the deals recently signed by center Tim Grunhard and guard Dave Szott — average more than $1.7 million a year. On the defensive line, the total is about the same. The Chiefs' offensive line ranks among the best in the league. They led the NFL in rushing and ranked second in protecting the passer with just 21 sacks allowed. They can match up well with any opponent. Ditto the defensive line. Neil Smith and Dan Saleaumua both were selected to play in the Pro Bowl. Joe Phillips was as effective as either of them. The Chiefs place a premium on cover cornerbacks. Dale Carter and James Hasty give them a chance to match up well with any receivers. Tamarick Vanover scored three touchdowns on kickoff or punt returns. The Chiefs' special-teams coverage unit is one of the NFL's best. That's an area where high- Packer coach shows improvement Haskell upgraded to fair and moved from ICU to private room By The Associated Press DALLAS — Green Bay Packers assistant coach Gil Haskell, whose skull was fractured during the Packers' loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC championship game, was upgraded to fair condition Wednesday and he was moved to a private room. Haskell had been in the neurological intensive care unit since the incident. The update on his condition was given by by Packers trainer Pepper Burruss at a news conference at Baylor University Medical Center. - It was good news to coach Mike Holmgren, who called Haskell one of his very best friends. "It was a very frightening thing that took place in the game," Holmgren said. "Fortunately ... he appears to be on the upswing. "I prayed when I came down to see him today... that when I came in he'd be able to recognize me, recognize (Holmgren's wife) Kathy, say hello and maybe give me a little static like he always does. "That kind of happened today, so it was a real answer to prayer." Haskell's head struck the artificial turf at Texas Stadium Sunday when Cowboys safety Darren Woodson blocked flanker Robert Brooks out of bounds and into the Packers' assistant on the sidelines. • PRO BOWL REPLACEMENTS — At New York, guard Will Shields of Kansas City and tackle Will Wolford of Indianapolis on Wednesday were placed on the A.F.C Pro Bowl team. They replace two injured players: guard Bruce Matthews of Houston (elbow) and tackle Gary Zimmerman of Denver (shoulder). It will be the first Pro Bowl for Shields, the third for Wolford. • NOT .READY FOR PRIME TIME: At Pittsburgh, Greg Lloyd was unaware he was on live national television when he uttered a four-letter expletive in the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room Sunday. Steelers coach Bill Cowher supported Lloyd, saying technical quality depth at backup positions makes a significant impact, because the core group of special- teamers are backups. But the Chiefs do not have an offensive skill player who consistently strikes fear in opposing defenses. For a short run through the playoffs, running back Marcus Allen comes closest. But Schottenheimer doesn't call on his 35-year-old run : ning back with any consistency from week to week. Except for Allen, who was signed relatively inexpensively at just more than a million a year, the Chiefs have chosen not to get into . the high-dollar bidding for top receivers, runners or quarterbacks — though they have paid top dollar to Joe Montana and now Steve Bono. "I have never been one to advocate that you are ever just one player away from a Super Bowl or that one guy will turn your franchise around," Peterson said. "We would rather try to spread the resources to build a football team." Peterson said he is not sure a team needs a player who "would strike the fear of God" into a defense. Last year the Chiefs opted not to sign either Andre Rison or Alvin Harper, both free-agent wide receivers. Cleveland paid Rison an average of $3.415 million over five seasons. The Browns went from 115 to 5-11. He caught just 47 passes. Harper went to Tampa Bay for an average deal of $2.65 million over four years. Tampa Bay finished 7-9. Harper caught 46 passes. The Associated Press Andre Agassi shows his displeasure over a call during- Wednesday's match. Agassi acknowledged that he'd put on some weight, though he noted defensively that he'd done it "strategically." "And five or six pounds," he insisted, "won't make too much of a difference either way." It very well could if he plays the likes of Todd Martin in the fourth round or Jim Courier in the fifth, the players he's seeded to meet if he gets by Steve Bryan in his next match. For the moment, Agassi is content with his progress and the fact that he's still in the tournament. "I feel exceptionally relieved," he' said. "After the first round, you feel like you've only created more problems for yourself because you've got to get out there against a better . player. But to come out there and • feel healthy, to feel like I was mov-; ing a lot better, striking the ball bet-. < ter ... Another match, and then I've J. worked myself into the second ' week." Spadea, ranked No. 94, played ! poorly from the middle of the first' set on, and never really gave Agassi much of a test. For a player who has ; received a lot of support and coaching courtesy of the USTA, the 21- year-old Spadea's progress the past year has been a disappointment. "If his father would leave him ; alone, he'd be a top-30 player, at least," Agassi's coach, Brad Gilbert; said. "His father's on his case all the time, changing coaches, putting him down." A friend of Spadea's confided after the match, "You wouldn't be-; lieve the stuff his father puts him • through 15 minutes before he has to go on court." In the middle of the first set, Vince Spadea Sr. left his courtside seat and never returned. From then on, his son's performance sagged. "He has firepower on both sides," Agassi said. "He takes the ball early and can dictate play. He's not scared to take chances and play big at the line. And he has a great return of serve. He's lacking a little bit in his serve and in his movement, but ... he cuts off angles to where it's tough to exploit it. sq.yd difficulties had interrupted a trophy presentation ceremony and the players did not know they were on TV. "I asked the camera crew to pause," Lloyd said. "I didn't expect it to go out over national television. What's said in the locker room should be in the locker room. It was meant to be heard only there, in an emotional moment. Nobody in the room had a problem with it." Lloyd's use of the expletive came as he was handed the AFC championship trophy, the first won by the Steelers in 16 years. • KELLY TO HAVE SURGER — At Orchard Park, N.Y., Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly likely will have an operation on his throwing shoulder this week. Kelly, 35, was examined Wednesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles and may have the arthroscopic procedure as early as Thursday. He then would begin a six- to eight-week rehabilitation period. The operation is considered routine and would repair wear and tear in Kelly's right shoulder that has accrued throughout his 10-year career. Kelly has had no previous shoulder operations. vvr-'- i .-•, O% finance charge for 3 months! ">-..v •- *. - ••>" ** ...- & •• . * t ••..-' •;. 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