The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 28, 2001 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Saturday, April 28, 2001
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Page 13
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SATURDAY APRIL 28, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports COUNTY ROUNDUP / C3 NBA PLAYOFFS / C4 NASCAR / OS • COMMENT KEVIN MODESTI Los Angeles Daily News Hurt or not, Bryant pain for Portland LOS ANGELES — If if s any consolation to Scottie Pippen, I don't believe Kobe Bryant is hurt either. As Scottie and I both know, Bryant claims to have suffered a rib injury in last Sunday's game, the game in which the Los Angeles Lakers guard scored 28 points to lead everybody in sneakers. As Scottie and I both know, he has got to be faking, because any other 22- year-old with ROVAMT "'^"y ^^^^^ BHYANT and pains as Bryant has would have spent the evening on the couch moaning in rhythm to MTV. "He's trying to be like Mike," Pippen had said earlier, accusing Bryant of putting on a good act, with all the wincing and clutching, to look heroic in the style of Michael Jordan. And sure enough, Bryant- slash-Jordan was at it again Thursday night, turning the game the Lakers' way as they beat Pippen's Portland Trail Blazers 106-88 to take a 2-0 lead in the first-to-three NBA playoff series. Coming off the bench after early foul trouble, Bryant shot or passed for 11 of the Lakers' points in the 18-4 run in the second quarter that blew open a close game. By the end, he had 25 points and a game high seven assists, and Pippen was resorting to grabbing Bryant In the ribs on a breakaway as the Blazers self-destructed again. If the ribs weren't sore before, Pippen was going to see what he could do to make them that way Before the game, Bryant had sat in the Staples Center locker room and reviewed the medical chart in his head. Ribs? They're wrapped, and they hurt, thoUgh "only when I sneeze," he said. Calf? Not much of a problem, anymore. "It's more the knee," he said. Bryant wiggled his right knee, the one on which he ears a black vinyl sleeve, and I thought I heard a tiny crack. Now, that's an actor. "How old are you?" a writer 3 .sk6cL "It's not the age, it's the mileage," Bryant said. Then he shot out of his chair to go and get ready to play The Trail Blazers did find a way to keep Bryant down, but it had nothing to do with a subtle shot to the ribcage. It had to do with fouls. Bryant picked up his first foul when he grabbed center Arvydas Sabonis on a drive in the opening minutes. The Blazers figiu-ed to run Pippen and Steve Smith at Bryant, trying to draw fouls. Kobe didn't need to help them by reaching out for Sabonis. He was whistled a second time on a Pippen pull-up jumper six minutes in. Bryant went to the bench, and the Lakers offense floundered while the Blazers couldn't miss and went up by six. In the stands, a few fans carried commercially produced , signs proclaiming, "It's Sequel Time." They had in mind a championship repeat. Instead, the Lakers were in danger of repeating game 2 of their 2000 conference final series, in which Portland faoimced back and beat them by 29. Then Bryant returned. He sank a jumper from the right baseline. He passed to Shaquille O'Neal for a one-handed basket. He passed to O'Neal for a HIGH SCHOOL TRACK: BELOIT RELAYS See M0DESn .PageC5 I; ^ T CHIEFS JUSTIN HAYWORTH/The Salina Journal MInneaoplls' Drew Wedel (left) andlanner Gassman (right) speed toward the finish line In the finals of the Class 3-4A 100-meter dash Friday in Beiolt. Wedel finished first with a time of 11.01 seconds. Lions' fuel: Gassman Vermeil tenure begins Kansas City opens three-day ininicainp with uptempo practice By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press IVIinneapoiis senior comes away with two golds, silver as team finishes second By CHRISTIAN DORR The Salina Journal BELOIT — Tanner Gassman knows the feeling of winning a state medal with a team — now he wants to experience it as an individual as well. A year ago, Gassman helped his Minneapolis teammates to a second-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay in the Class 3A state meet but came up short in bids in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Friday afternoon at the Beloit Relays, the senior proved he has the capability to push for not only one state medal, but probably multiple medals. Gassman led Minneapolis' charge to a second-place team finish in the boys 3- 4A division of the 61st annual event with a pair of gold-medal finishes, a second-place finish and then as anchor of the Lions' 1,600-meter relay team, which placed second. The Lions tallied 82 Va points. Concordia, despite having just three first-place finishes, ran away with the team title with 114 points. Quivira Heights cruised to the boys 1-2A division title with 117 points while Washington finished second with 67 points. The meet generally is considered one of the tougher in the state each >ear and provides its competitors a gauge to how they might do once the postseason rolls around. "Right now, I'm right where I want to be," Gassman said. "I just need to keep going. I have a lot of goals, and I am reaching them. I am just going to keep working and see where it takes me." On Friday, it carried Gassman to a time of 51.09 in the 400-meters and 22.62 in the 200-meters, for his two gold medals. He ran 11.05 in the 100-meter dash, finishing just behind teammate Drew Wedel, and then helped the Lions' 1,600-meter relay team to a time of 3:34.84. "I wanted to break 51 in the 400, and I just missed that, but I'm still pretty happy with what I accomplished," said Gassman, who is hoping to break 50 seconds in the 400 before the season is done. "The level of competition here brings out your better qualities. The people here push you. This is usually one of the tougher meets to compete in." Quivira Heights' push to the boys 1- 2A title was led by sprinter Adam Folk, who won the 100-meters, 200-meters and anchored the 400-meter relay squad. Folk won the 100-meter dash in a meet-record time of 10.97 and won the 200-meter dash in a time of 22.61. The Thunderbirds' 400-meter relay finished with a time of 44.13, also a meet record. Minneapolis' Jacob Nelson was the only other athlete to come away with multiple gold medals as he won the 110- meter hurdles in a time of 15.18 and the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 39.86. Osborne's Luke Dannefer set the only other meet record after clearing 14-3 in the Class 1-2A boys pole vault. T HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL Great Bend too much for Central Panthers outscore Mustangs 30-16 in doubieheader sweep By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal It's difficult enough to face a powerhouse club when your pitching staff is rested. But when you've played II games in 12 days and your top two starters are being rested, it makes the task that much tougher. That's the assignment Salina Central had Friday afternoon when fourth-ranked (5A) Great Bend came to town for a dou­ bieheader at Dean Evans Stadium. Central gave the Panthers fits in the opener, losing a 13-10 decision, before Great Bend T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL run-ruled the Mustangs in the second game, 17-6, in five innings Central coach Bill Bartow opted to rest his top two starting pitchers — Tim Bowen and Kadem Tharp — after both had pitched HIGH SCHOOL Great Bend Salina Central 10 6 earlier in 13 17 the week. "Actually, we didn't do too bad in that first ball game. We just didn't make the plays and left 11 guys on base," Bartow said. "I can't complain with the way we hit the ball. I'm real pleased with that. Great Bend is just a real good ballclub." In the first game, the Mustangs (3-11) went from nearly being rim-ruled after five innings to having the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing 13-3 in the bottom of the fifth, the Mustangs got a solo home run from Frankie Hutchinson and an RBI by Dustin Fi'oss on a sacrifice fly It was still a 13-5 game heading into the bottom of the seventh when things got interesting. Tharp drove in two runs with a single, Bowen plated a run on a fielder's choice, and Hutchinson doubled home another. It was 13-10 when Ken Baxa walked, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Brandon Stephenson hit into a fielder's choice to end the game. "We battled. That's the type of team we've been," Bartow said. "The problem is, we always give up a big inning, but we've been able to come up with a big inning, too. We've got to shut people down and continue to have some big innings." Central led 5-4 after two innings in the second game, but Great Bend scored nine times in the fourth to break things open. "We just have to make the routine plays, and sometimes you've got to make the tough plays," Bartow said. "In the second game, we just walked too many people. They are just too good a team to do that against, and they took advantage of that." Daniel Romans led Central's hitting attack with five hits in two games, while Tharp and Hutchinson each had three hits. Hutchinson hit a home run in each game. In the opener, Stephenson, Fross and Billy Sanders had two hits each. Central is off for a week before playing in the Hays tournament. Ramirez, Red Sox turn away Royals, 9-2 Free-agent signee goes 2-for-4, boosts average to .420 By The Associated Press BOSTON — Manny Ramirez hasn't wasted any time making an impression in Boston. Ramirez and Troy O'Leary hit consecutive home runs and Carl Everett added his second grand slam in the last three days as the Red Sox cruised to a 9-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. Ramirez, who was signed to a $160 million, eight-year contract this past offseason, hit an opppsite-fleld three-run homer off Royals starter Blake Stein (1-3) in the fifth mning for his seventh home run of the season. Ramirez was 2-for-4 and leads the AL with a .420 average. He also has 26 RBIs in April, the most for any Red Sox player since 1949. "He's a run producer and that's what he's done his whole career," Everett said. "He's a work of art." O'Leary followed with a solo shot down the right-field line for his first of the season. It al- "He's a work of art" Carl Everett Red Sox outfielder on teammate Manny Ramirez • so marked the first time that Boston hit back -to -back homers this year. The Red Sox have won eight of 11 and improved to 11-3 at Fenway Park. The Royals dropped to 3-11 on the road. "We still have a long way to go," Ramirez said. "Nobody's going to remember how you start. All they care about is how you finish." Stein hadn't allowed a run through the first four innings before Chris Stynes singled and stole second base with one out in the fifth. Everett walked and Ramirez went deep. "It wasn't a good pitch to Ramirez," Royals manager Tony Muser said. "He's a lowball hitter and that's right where it was." Frank Castillo (3-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 51-3 innings for his third straight victory Boston broke it open in the See ROYALS. Page QS KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Dick Vermeil era is officially under way in Kansas City Judging from the quick, up­ tempo style of the first practice Friday in a three-day mini- camp, things are not the same. "They've got me running around all over the field, which is good," two- time All-Pro tight end Tony Gonza- i lez. "I've got ; to get in i shape. But if ' the end resiilt is the Super Bowl, I'm there." Vermeil's resume, which includes taking Philadelphia and St. Louis to the Super Bowl, has caught the eye of a Chiefs team that hasn't won a playoff game since the 1993 season and was just 16-16 the past two seasons under Gunther Cunningham. "Every year at this time, every team in the NFL is talking championship," Gonzalez said. "It's no different with us, especially with (Vermeil and his staff). These guys have been there. They know what's it all about." For the first time since Hank Stram was fired in 1974, the Chiefs have a head coach who has actually won a Super Bowl. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders was also on Vermeil's staff when the St. Louis Rams won the 2000 Super Bowl. "They know how to get there. They have a plan that has worked," Gonzalez said. "With him taking two teams to the Super Bowl, that works. We've got to go out there and trust in him and trust in each other and I think things will work out." Altogether, 89 players took the field for Vermeil's first team practice. There were seven veteran free agents, including new starters in quarterback Trent Green and running back Priest Holmes, nine draft picks and six rookie free agents. For Vermeil, who spent one year in retirement after the 1999 season, it was like coming home. "It was reaUy great," Vermeil said. "This is where I feel most comfortable. This is where I'm happy Maybe that's what I was supposed to be all along." As Vermeil expected, and counted on, everybody is apprehensive about the new coaching staff and how they're going to be evaluated. "Like I told them yesterday, if they want security, buy an alarm system. There is no such thing as security in the National Football League. The only way a football team gets better is to have each position that played not well enough to win more than seven games last year to play better this year. So far, the only guy who paid the price for that was Gunther. We've got to improve everybody's performance." Green, still nursing a surgically repaired knee, was in street clothes helping his new teammates learn the Vermeil/Saunders offense. "This is the hard part, being out there and not being able to be on the field," Green said. "But the knee is getting better. I had a good report from (the doctor) the other day But it's good to be out here. It's gomg to take me a while to get to know everybody and start learning names. But that's going to come." Green, obtained in a trade with the Rams one day before the draft, hopes to be back on the field for the next minicamp in June. Is there any doubt he'll be ready by the time training camp opens in July? "No doubt at all," he said. Vermeil also said the Chiefs will have a news conference on Simday with 11-year veteran center Tim Grunhard, who is expected to annoimce his retirement. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPOFTTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR I.^W-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT 8|bdavld8on©8al|oumal.com

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