The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 2001 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, April 29, 2001
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Page 17
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SUNDAY APRIL 29, 2001 THE SAUNA JOURNAL Sports USBL/C2 NBA PLAYOFFS / C4 PREP SUNDAY /C8 CAGERZ PREVIEW: 2001 Ready to surprise Given a reprieve, Cagerz confident they can contend By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal Two months ago, no one was sure there would be professional basketball in Salina during the spring and summer of 2001. Francis Flax then stepped forward, took a gamble and thought he could make it happen. Now comes the tough part for the general manager and head coach of the Kansas Cagerz. The Cagerz open the 2001 season in the United States Basketball League's Southern Division tonight on the road against defending champi- o n Dodge City with a roster loaded with rookies and untested players. Despite his team's inexperience, Flax expects the Cagerz to be successful, just as they were during their first two seasons in Salina under head coach Tom Hughes when they posted a 36-22 record and won a division championship. "I think the Cagerz are going to be the surprise of the league because I don't think too many people think we're going to be very good," said Flax, who is also the Softball and men's basketball coach at Brown Mackie College. "I think we have a chance to be in the top four overall." The Cagerz enter the season with what appears to be a strong backcourt. Veteran players Sedric Webber, Jermaine Jackson and Gary Johnson are expected to lead the way at the guard positions. The 6-foot-6 Webber played for the Cagerz in 1999 and for a brief time with the Salina Rattlers of the IBA during the 2000-01 season. The 6-5 Jackson has NBA experience with the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers, while the 6-0 Johnson played for the Cagerz during the '99 season. "They're going to hold the keys. Those guys are experienced and they've been through this before," Flax said. "I'll tell you what, those are two big guards to put up against anyone. If they can hang in there and carry us early and let the rest of the guys jump on the bandwagon, I think we can really compete." See FLAX, Page C2 JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal Cagerz forward Johnny Jackson has been a pleasant surprise, said Cagerz coach Francis Flax. Cagerz open against reigning champ Dodge City returns six players from last year; Cagerz's changes vast By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal Last week, Kansas Cagerz coach Francis Flax was told the Dodge City Legend had just nine players on their preseason roster. "I hear they're waiting for some of their veterans to come in," Flax said at the time. The cavalry has arrived. When the Cagerz open the 2001 United States Basketball League season tonight in Dodge City, the Legend will have at least six players on its roster who were part of Kansas Cagerz Opening Day roster PLAYER .HGT ... .WGT ..... POSITION .......... .COLLEGE Cortez Barnes ..,.,. 6-7 .:.. .215 ........ .Guard ..... .Southern Indiana Eric Garter .6-9 ..,. .220 .Fonward ...;.. i.;. .Washburn : Wayne Houston ..... .. .6-9 .... .225 .. .Forward ..... Southern Indiana Jermaine Jackson 6-5 .... .205 .........Guard .....'...... .Detroit Johnny Jackson 6-7 215 Fora/ard Mississippi Gary Johnson 6-0 175 Guard Southern California Mohammed Kamara 6-0 170.........Guard .......WestTexas A&M Johnny Phillips 6-9 245 Center Texas Tech Craig Rodgers .. —6-1t .... .240 . .. .Center.,............Toledo Nino Smith ..;..........6-5 185 .Fonvard Central Methodist Tory Walker .. .6-8 .... .190 ...... .Fonivard ..;..... .New Orleans Sedric Webber ......... .6-6 .... ,200 . -. ... Guard .... .Coll. of Charleston last year's league championship team. The Cagerz, meanwhile, will have 12 new players and a different coaching staff on hand for the 7:30 p.m. tipoff at the Dodge City Civic Center. The two teams played six times last season, with Dodge City winning four times, including a vic­ tory in the USBL Tournament semifinals. The two teams — both members of the league's Southern Division — will meet six times this year during the regular season. "I think it's a great rivalry already and it seems like it might have intensified this year for one reason or another," Flax said. "I look forward to going in there. I think it's going to be a little bit hostile, to tell you the truth. But when they come here, they can expect some noise also." The Cagerz will start two veterans — 6-foot-5 Jermaine Jackson and 6-6 Sedric Webber — in the backcourt; 6-7 Johnny Jackson, See CAGERZ, Page C2 T HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS JUSTIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal Salina Central's Brett Taylor returns during his first-round singles match Saturday at the Mustangs' invitational tournament at Oakdale Park. Andover star tops Taylor in singles final Central's singles performer loses to last year's 5A state runner-up; McPherson captures team title By ARNE GREEN Vie Salina Journal Salina Central's Brett Taylor would have loved a victory Saturday in the singles final of the Salina Central Invitational. Instead he settled for some valuable experience. Andover's Grant Gelina, last year's Class 5A state singles runner-up, put Taylor on the defensive early by winning the first four games, then held off a momentum-swinging challenge in the second set to win the singles title, 6-3, 6-3, at Oakdale Park. McPherson won the team championship with 85 points while Taylor led Salina Central to a second-place tie with Topeka High at 82. Salina South tied Buhler for eighth in the 17-team tournament with 47 points. Dodge City's Marjin Kroes and Klaas Koeckenbier, both Dutch foreign exchange students, beat Topeka High's Sam Wiseman and David Dunnivan 6-3, 6-4 for the doubles title. Taylor, who teamed with Jacob Wilson to win the 5A doubles title a year ago, had his back to the wall most of the way against Gelina. "He's a great player and he's just real consistent," Taylor said of Gelina, whose steady baseline game and pinpoint passing shots kept him in nearly every point. "He doesn't miss shots and he keeps the ball deep, so you have to change your game up. "I've never played him and I hadn't figured him out, though I came on at the end." After spotting Gelina a 4-0 lead in the first set, Taylor broke back at love, then held his own serve to pull within one service break. But Gelina was able to serve out the set. "I had a lot of energy in the beginning and I was able to get off to a good start," said Gelina, who has yet to lose this season. "I think that really helped with the first set." Taylor was down a break again to start the second set and trailed 3-1 before winning the next two games to get even. But a foot fault cost him a serr vice point that would have put him up 40-30 in the next game and Gelina finished it off with a'clean winner •* • See BULLPUPS, Page C5 T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Red Sox's errors pave way for Royals Boston commits five errors; Quinn homers and drives in three By MARK PRATT The Associated Press Royals Red Sox The Associated Press Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran (left) is safe as Red Sox first baseman Brian Daubach fails to handle a throw Saturday. BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox were in a giving mood, and the Kansas City Royals were only too happy to receive. Mark Quinn homered and had three RBIs and the Royals took advantage of five Red Sox errors in an 8-2 victory on Saturday "Usually when a team makes five errors, they end up losing," Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney said. "We've been playing bad baseball and when a team gives you an extra out, you have to take advantage of it." The Red Sox, who came in tied with the Seattle.Mariners for the fewest errors in the American League with 10, made all five in the first six innings. The errors led to four unearned runs for the Royals, including the go-ahead run in the third. The Red Sox, who last made five errors on Sept. 22, 1999, against Toronto, had allowed just three unearned runs all season. "We definitely didn't play well today" said catcher Jason Varitek, who made one of the errors. "They were aggressive errors, they were physical errors. We weren't making mental errors like throwing to the wrong base." Dan Reichert (3-1) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings for his third win in a row. "It wasn't clean, but he's got good enough stuff to survive," Royals manager Tony Muser said. The tone for the game was set when Red Sox second baseman Jose Offer man hobbled a routine grounder by Carlos Beltran, the first batter of the game. Beltran scored on Quinn's ground-rule double into the bullpen in right field. The most bizarre sequence came in the third when Key Sanchez led off with a single, but reached third on two throwing errors. His liner to the See ROYALS, Page C3 SUGGESTIONS? GALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavidson@saljournal.com

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