The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 24, 2001 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, April 24, 2001
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Page 21
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TUESDAY APRIL 24. 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports NBA PLAYOFFS / D3 PRO FOOTBALL / D4 TENNIS / D4 T COMMENT BERNIE LINCICOME Rocky Mountain News Broncos hope they Ve found another pearl DENVER — According to my handy, dandy NFL Draft 2001 cheat sheet, the Denver Broncos are brilliant, smarter than everyone else, seeing gems where others see gravel, finding pearls where others spot swine, seeing the upside while others only see the down. So pleased with themselves are the Broncos that, with three choices left in the draft Sunday, they decided they had done enough and just stopped, giving away the 199th-, 203rd- and 210th-best players in America to the Atlanta Falcons in return for next year's toothpaste or some such thing. I mean, after you have identified the best punter, the best center and the only player from Iowa worth your time, you might as well call it a day • As are all drafts, this one is as uncertain today as Hasim Rahman was Saturday and those of us preoccupied with whether Iowa walk-on receiver Kevin Kasper, spells his name with a "C" or a "K," got the news late that the heavyweight championship of the world was just donated by Lennox Lewis to some cipher from Baltimore, the aforementioned Mr. Rahman. But we do not miss the lesson. The lesson here is, you never know. Or to put in Bron- conian-Shanahanian terms, "Trust us. We know what we're doing." Using only six of the 10 choices the Broncos had going in, they have come out full of Rahmans and not any Lennox Lewises. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Teams who fill themselves with nobodies don't really need anybody, although I can't believe the Broncos couldn't find a single linebacker worth their time, or wouldn't use those last three choices to take linebackers on principle. When in doubt, take a linebacker. When in Denver, take a defensive end from Marshall. What they should have been doing is taking a (linebacker Torrence) Marshall from Oklahoma. What you assume is that this will not be one of those drafts circled for history All that can be said for sure is that the Broncos are no worse today than they were Friday. Sometimes not going backward is progress, never mind that the Broncos ought to be a little more ambitious than that. The Broncos' first-round choice, a cornerback from Minnesota named Willie Middlebrooks, the third corner- back chosen, was rated only seventh-best in the available pile, projected as a late second- or third-round pick. This is because, according to my scouting report. Middlebrooks has poor technique, bad feet (not even considering a broken ankle), gets lost in coverage, thinks poorly and can't seem to keep from biting on the first fake. , Not that Middlebrooks agrees. "I match up with big receivers," he said. "I can run with the small ones and on the running game, I'm supportive with that." Rated the 67th-best player in the draft, Middlebrooks goes 24th to the great delight and relief of the Broncos, who love incomplete cornerbacks so much that this is the second year in a row they have plucked one first, "He's a top-rated guy" insisted coach Mike Shanahan. "You seldom get one of these at the 24th position." No, usually you get one of these by closing your eyes and throwing darts at the draft board. What Shanahan sees or believes about Middlebrooks is that he will add a little needed See LINCICOME, Page D3 HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Salina Central's Jeff Norris tags out McPherson High School's Josh Tipton to end the third inning of the first game Monday afternoon at Dean Evans Stadium. BIG MAC ATTACKS BuUpups collect 24 runs, sweep Central By LARRY MORITZ The Salina Journal Salina Central baseball coach Bill Bartow might have been more understanding if he thought his team had hit a plateau, perhaps HIGH SCHOOL McPherson 15 9 Salina Central 3 4 leveling off some after playing 10 games in a span of 11 days. But the back slide that took place Monday night at Dean Evans Stadium did not sit weU with the longtime Mustang skipper, after he watched his Central team drop a pair of non-league games to McPherson, 15-3 and 9-4. "It thought we took a step backward today," Bartow said. "I don't think we came out and competed like we have been." The Mustangs struggled in several areas, particularly defense where they committed five errors in both games. The offense never scored more than one run in an inning until the bottom of the seventh of game two. "Not allowing them to have any big innings was really important today" McPherson coach Hubie Shorb said. "Especially after prom weekend, because I was worried we might be a little worn out. "Central swung the bats, but we made the big pitches when we had to and came up with the big plays when we needed them." Central (2-9) trailed 4-2 in the opener after Billy Sanders' two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth scored Dustin Fross. McPherson (8-4) then broke the game open, sending 10 men to the plate in the fifth and another 12 BuUpups batted during a seven-run sixth. Josh Tipton had an RBI double and Travis Swanson drove in two more runs with a single to make it 7-2. Swanson . picked up another RBI with a double in the sixth, while Luke Barthel had the team's fourth double of the game to drive in another two runs. Kadem Tharp pitched the first four innings for Central and allowed only four hits and two earned runs, but Bartow lifted his senior pitcher with the idea of using Tharp in the completion of today's makeup game with Southeast of Saline. "We were watching Kadem and (game two starter) Tim Bowen's pitch counts, knowing we will probably use Kadem against Southeast and Bowen if we need him," Bartow said. "They just need to make the routine plays and know the situation before the ball is hit your way. When we are hitting, if contact will score a run, we have to make sure we are putting a bat on the ball, not striking out or popping up." McPherson's Eric Katzer had a two- run triple to put his team up 6-1 in the fourth inning of game two. Central had nine hits in the second game, but left nine runners stranded. Bowen, Tharp and Ken Baxa had two hits each and Brandon Stephenson drove in two runs with a double in the seventh. Central and Southeast will play at 5 p.m. today at Southeast, completing the final four innings of a game started on March 29 but postponed by darkness. Central leads the game 13-6. USBL T PRO FOOTBALL Heupel says he's ready Sixth-round pick for IViiami returns to scene of top triumpli By GEORGE SCHROEDER Daily Oklahoman Josh Heupel is returning to the scene of his greatest triumph. The former Oklahoma quarterback says he's ready for an even greater challenge. Sunday afternoon, Heupel was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round „_,,PP, (177th overall) HEUPEL of the NFL Draft. If he makes the final roster — and that's not certain — Heupel will play home games at Pro Player Stadium, site of the Orange Bowl. "There's a lot of good memories of Miami and what's gone on there," Heupel said from his home in Aberdeen, S.D., where See HEUPEL, Page D4 T COLLEGE GOLF Baylor senior solves Dunes Bears' Williams takes conservative approach, fires 144 By CHRISTIAN D ORR The Salina Journal HUTCHINSON — Worth Williams knew that Prairie Dunes was no place for his driver Monday with 20-to-30 Mph winds whipping balls over the place during the first two rounds of the Big 12 Tournament. Instead, the senior from Baylor opted to play things more safely against the wicked tandem of Mother Nature and the Dunes. While many around him were pulling out drivers and trying to attack pins, Williams sat back with his 3rwood and played things more to the middle of greens. The approach worked almost to perfection as Williams came out of nowhere to build a five-shot lead heading into today's third and final round. "I don't know how many times I used it, but it wasn't very much," said Williams, who was just the 23rd-rated golfer in the conference heading into the event. Big 12 Tourney At Hutchinson Prairie Dunes Golf & Country Club Par 70 TEAM RESULTS FIRST ROUND Baylor 606, Texas 609, Colorado 614, Oklahoma 616, Oklahoma State 620, Texas A&M 625, Kansas 628, Kansas State 635, Missouri 644, Iowa State 648, Nebraska 649, Texas Tech 651. "You have to have a game plan when you come out here when the wind is blowing like this. You can't just go out there and play, you have to have a game plan and you have to stick to it." Williams' 72-72 — 144 puts him five shots in front of Oklahoma State's Par Nilsson and seven in front of teammate Jimmy Walker and Texas' Jason Hartwick. It also helped the Bears charge into the first-day lead with a 606, three shots in front of the Longhorns, who are sitting at 609 after the first two rounds. "This morning, with the conditions like they were, that leveled the playing field somewhat," said Baylor coach Tim Hobby, whose squad is looking for its first Big 12 conference crown. "I just kept telling the guys, the scores are very big, there are lot of pars and bogeys so just keep hanging in there. You don't know what could happen." Williams obviously took note. With the conditions at their worst in the morning, Williams marched around the course with a 2-over 72 to share the early lead with Kansas' Andy Stewart, who was also in Williams' group. The duo started the second round on the back nine, and Williams quickly took control with a birdie on the par-3 10th while Stewart took a bogey It proved to be a sign of things to come for Stewart, who shot 46 on the first nine of his second round and quickly fell out of contention. Williams, meanwhile, just kept making shots. He chipped in for birdie from behind the No. 12 green and roUed in birdie putts at Nos. 16 and 17 to make the turn at See BIG 12, Page D3 Cagerz delay cuts Squad will be pared down to 12 players by Wednesday By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal The Kansas Cagerz are expected to cut two players from their preseason roster following today's practice at Muir Gymnasium. Who that will be has yet to be determined, but Cagerz head coach Francis Flax sees one area where there are plenty of bodies. "We we've got several guys at the guard spot," Flax said. "That's probably the spot we can afford to let a couple people go." The Cagerz must be down to 12 players on FLAX Wednesday before faxing their final 10-player roster to the United States Basketball League office by noon Sunday The Cagerz open their season Sunday night at Dodge City "It's not going to be easy but the guys understand it's business. That's the way I look at it," Flax said. "It's nothing personal. You just have to do what you feel is correct." The Cagerz added a veteran player to their roster Monday morning with the arrival of 6- foot-7, 210-pound forward Johnny Jackson. Jackson played for the South Dakota Gold in the IBA during the 2000-01 season, averaging 14.8 points and 9.3 rebounds in 12 games for the Gold. A native of Chicago, Jackson played junior college ball at Butler County before signing with Mississippi and playing for the Rebels from 1994-96. He has also played overseas in Poland. "We heard he was available so we gave him a call," Flax said. "He answered the phone and here he is." With just a handful of practices remaining before the season opener on the road, Flax is looking for his team to become more physical inside. "I wish I had more veterans, that's the first thing," Flax said. "We're missing a big, aggressive inside person. We need a Tony Kitt-type that's real, real aggressive inside and won't let anybody in the paint. The fellows we have in there right now are rookies, both of them, and they're a little soft." But Flax was also quick to point out that his players have been willing to learn his offensive and defensive system. "These guys are willing to learn and listen. That's been the most gratifying thing," Flax said. "With me being new, sometimes those guys might look at it and say 'What the hell does he know about it.' It has been completely opposite of that. When we call them together and try to explain things, all eyes are upon the speaker and that's a great sign." Rookie guard DeMarcus Minor returned to Waco, Texas, on Monday to resume classes at Baylor. The 6-6 guard is expected to rejoin the Cagerz when his classes are over. The Cagerz also lost Texas Tech center Johnny Phillips for a few days. The 6-9 center returned to Lubbock to take care of some schoolwork. With the club approaching 500 season tickets sold. Flax said he's encouraged, yet cautious, with the reception the Cagerz are receiving from the general public. "We've been meeting the public with mixed reviews," Flax said. "Some of them are waiting to see if we're going to actually have the players we say we're going to have and a few of them are just telling us, for some reason or another, things didn't work out with some the sponsorships they did before, but hopefully that will, change." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavidson@saljournal.eom

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