The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 30, 2001 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

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Salina, Kansas
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Monday, April 30, 2001
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Page 10
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MONDAY APRIL 30, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports GOLF / B2 AUTO RACING / B3 BASKETBALL / B4 T PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL What a start! Cagerz stop Legend Solid second half enables Kansas to knock off last year's USBL champion By GENE SCHINZEL Special lb The Journal DODGE CITY — The success the Kansas Cagerz enjoyed against the Dodge City Legend last year in the Civic Center carried over Sunday night Kansas beat Dodge City in two of its three meetings last year at the Civic Center and did so again in its USBL season opener Sunday as the Cagerz won a nip-and-tuck contest against the defending league champion, 93-90. Cagerz Legend 90 There were nine times and 15 lead changes in the game. But Kansas led throughout the last eight minutes of the game, even though its biggest lead was just six points. The Cagerz hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final 18.8 seconds to hold on. "I felt we had control of the game in the second half," Kansas coach Francis Flax said. "We were never in position to finish them off, but we had the tempo in our favor. "I just like the way the guys stuck with it. I did not like the way we played in the first half, but we made some adjustments at halftime." The Cagerz received a game-high 29 points from Sedric Webber, while Jermaine Jackson contributed 26 points and Johnny Jackson 14 points and 12 rebounds. "They played extremely well," Flax said of the three. "I probably played them too much (each more than 40 minutes), but without any veterans I had too." Kansas took its biggest lead at 81-75 with 5:38 left when Webber hit a 3- pointer from the left wing. Dodge City answered on its next two possessions, cutting the lead to 81-80 after an An- tiony Hardin 3-pointer and a jumper by Donte Quinine. But the Legend never got over the hump. They pulled to within one point four more times in the closing minutes, but the Cagerz always had an answer. Hardin pulled the Legend within 8685 after a baseline jumper, but Webber hit an 18-foot leaner with 35 seconds left to boost the lead to 88-85. After that, Webber, Jermaine Jackson and Tory Walker all hit free throws during that stretch. The final two free throws came with 1.9 seconds left, and the Legend never got off a 3-point attempt at the end. Webber scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter. "From the standpoint of a first game, we played pretty well," Dodge City coach Kent Davison said. "But they hit some shots at critical times." Hardin, a 6-foot-3 guard, came off the bench to score 12 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter for the Legend. The inside trio of Anthony Pelle, Kelvin Price and Marvin Gay also was effective for Dodge City. Pelle had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Price had 16 points and nine boards and Gay had nine points and five rebounds. They combined for 31 of Dodge City's 45 first-half points. But the two starting guards, Tyson Patterson and Donte Mathis, combined for only 16 points, 14 of which came after halftime. Patterson was 3 of 14 from the field, and as a team, the Legend was 1 of 11 from 3-point range. "Their big men were hurting us the second half," Flax said. "But we made them get their guards involved and made them shoot some threes." "We knew going in we'd have to be patient," Davison said. "We've got completely new guys on the perimeter. We couldn't buy a shot from the outside. We didn't hit any until Hardin came in." The Cagerz now turn their focus to a pair of games in Florida this week. Kansas plays Lakeland Wednesday at 6:05 p.m., then finishes the season- opening three-game road swing against Florida at 6:35 p.m. Friday The home portion of the Cagerz's season starts May 11 when Kansas plays host to Lakeland at 7 p.m. T PRO FOOTBALL T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL THe Associated Press Chiefs quarterback Trent Green (left) and coach Dick Vermeil share a laugh before a practice Friday at the team's mlnl- camp. Green, still rehabilitating from knee surgery, watched practices after throwing In warmups. Chiefs like emphasis on speed Vermeil pleased with talent, attitude as minicamp concludes By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dick Vermeil's quest to speed up the Kansas City offense is. meeting with no resistance from the people whose feet will have to move faster. "It's something that is welcome amongst all the guys on offense," said wide receiver Sylvester Morris. "Everyone looks forward to the pace." With an open practice for about 6,000 fans scattered around Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, the Chiefs concluded their first minicamp under Vermeil and new offensive coordinator Al Saunders. By and large, they liked what they saw from a team that won 16 and lost 16 games the past two years under Gun- ther Cunningham. "Actually I think I've found a higher percentage of the team to be more than I expected than less than I expected," Vermeil said. "The playmakers are what win football games," he said. "We have the big people in the front, the defensive line and the offensive line, people who will present opportunities for the quarterback to get the ball to people." The running backs and quarterbacks remain a bit of a mystery however. "I don't know what our playmakers are right now," Vermeil said. "You can't really tell that until you get going." As expected, the minicamp began separating the players who do have the ability and desire to meet Vermeil's demands from those who do not "You can tell the guys who mentally have the ability to do what we need to do," Saunders said. "We found out this week there are quite a few guys who can play fast. There's no real surprises. The guys who played hard are the guys who normally play hard. The guys who are making progress are the guys we expected to make progress." The Chiefs will spent the next three days with shortened meetings and practices known around the league as "OTA," which stands for organized team activities. "I'm pleased with the talent level on this squad," said Vermeil, who replaced Cunningham after the Chiefs went 7-9 last season. "I'm pleased with the attitude," he said. "I think we have the makings of a pretty good football team. How good, I don't know. But I think it wUl be a very good football team." "I see strong. Power. Big men, big guys. Some of them move exceptionally well for big men. I can't see us ever being overpowered by anybody especially from a defensive line, offensive line standpoint." "I can't see anybody being much bigger and stronger than this group. Maybe quicker, maybe faster. But the big people are a very, very physical group." "We have to learn to play the game faster. We're going to have to do that and we will." That's OK with the play­ makers. "We want to put up points. We want this opportunity" said Morris. "It's great for us." "Al has taught us in this offense that every receiver is live on each play. You're aU the first read. So everybody runs with the intent of getting the ball. It's going to be a whole lot more fun." Veteran center Grunhard calls it quits Saying his 'body was telling him so,' Chiefs' 11-year center retires By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After 11 bruising years in the NFL, an unmistakable voice of authority persuaded Kansas City .•..L.. nr> Chiefs center GRUNHARD Tim Grunhard to retire. "I'm not going to lie to you, my body was telling me it's time," he said Sunday The 315-pound center announced his retirement at a news conference at Arrowhead Stadium. "This is a game I've played my whole life," said Grunhard, a second-round draft pick from Notre Dame in 1990. "This is a big day for me. I'm excited to go on with the next phase of my life. I'm proud to have played 11 years in Kansas City" Grunhard appeared in 169 games, and he started 120 in a row until a foot injury sidelined him against Oakland last season. He never gained much of a national reputation because he played in only one Pro Bowl — after the 1999 season — and the Chiefs never made the Super Bowl. But he was a favorite of Chiefs fans, coaches and players for his strong work habits and unflagging leadership. Year after year, teammates elected him a captain, "You're simply the best," Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson said. "No one could have done it better." "He was possibly the best second-round draft choice I ever acquired," Peterson said. "Tim became one of the best centers in Chiefs history" Grunhard plans to co-host a sports-talk radio show in Kansas City and will become the Chiefs' preseason color analyst on TV. "Tim Grunhard is going to continue to be a very important member of the Chiefs family," Peterson said. Grunhard acknowledged that making critical comments about his former teammates will be difficult. "But," he added, "there are tactful ways to say things." He said leaving the game also wiU not be easy "I'll miss driving in on Sunday morning — smelling the barbecue on an empty stomach, getting the feel of Arrowhead Stadium on a Sunday morning," he said. "The Chiefs gave me a chance to play the greatest game in the world, NFL footbaU." Randa's homer in 11th lifts KG Slumping hitter follows 10th-inning single with three-run blast in 11th By JIMMY GOLEN The Associated Press Royals Red Sox 8 BOSTON — Joe Randa's first hit allowed him a sigh of relief. His second one gave his whole team a chance to breathe easier. Randa snapped an O-for-17 slump with a lOth-inning single, then he hit a three-run homer in the 11th on Sunday to lead the Kansas City Royals to an 11-8 victory over the Boston Red Sox. "Sometimes you get up there and you think that ' there's 20 guys playing defense, and you hit it right at people," Randa said. "Sometimes it takes a little thing, like that ground ball, to get your confidence back." Kansas City took a 6-3 lead with six runs in the second inning to chase Boston starter Paxton Crawford. But the Red Sox came back thanks to two homers by Manny Ramirez and another from Scott Hatteberg that put Boston ahead 8-7 after seven. Derek Lowe (1-4) came in for the save in the ninth, but he gave up Jermaine Dye's homer to send the game into extra innings. That's when Randa snapped out of his slump. He hit a grounder through the hole on the left side for his first hit since April 24, when he won the Royals' only other extra-inning game with a single in the 13th. Then he won it with a 380- foot shot just inside the foul pole and over the screen above the Green Monster "When 1 first hit it, I thought it might go foul," he said. "I don't know (how close it was), but it was enough." Jose Santiago (1-0), the sixth Royals pitcher, pitched a perfect 10th inning, and Roberto Hernandez got three outs for his fifth save. Ramirez had a season-high five RBIs and Shea Hillenbrand was 4-for-5 for Boston, which lost consecutive games for the first time all season. The Red Sox committed five errors to lose 8-2 on Saturday Lowe, who had 42 saves last The Associated Press Joe Randa (right) Is congratulated by Royals teammates Jermaine Dye (24) and Mark Quinn after belting a three- run homer In the 11th Inning that broke an 8-8 tie Sunday against the Boston Red Sox. season, allowed four runs and six hits in four innings for his second blown save, raising his ERA to 6.75. "Just one of those days. It happens," manager Jimy Williams said. "We were down 74 and came back to go ahead but just couldn't get the last couple of outs." Mark Quinn and Dye each singled to lead off the 11th against Lowe. Two outs later, Randa hit his third homer of the season. Ramirez hit a three-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot to lead off the sixth to give him nine homers for the season, breaking the Red Sox record of eight in April set by Fred Lynn in 1979 and matched by Mo Vaughn in '96 and '97. Ramirez added his major league-leading 31st RBI on a potential double-play ball with the bases loaded in the seventh. After getting the force at second, shortstop Luis Ordaz threw the relay into the Boston dugout to allow a second run to score and make it 7-6. Hatteberg followed with his first homer of the year, hitting it into the Boston bullpen to give the Red Sox an 8-7 lead. Ordaz went 2-for-2 with a walk, singling in a run and scoring another during the Royals' six-run second inning. Boston starter Paxton Crawford lasted just ll^ inning, allowing six runs, seven hits and a walk. No racing The Associated Press Races fans leave the Texas Motor Speedway after the Firestone FIrehawk 600 CART race was cancelled Sunday. CART drivers refused to compete for safety reasons. Coverage appears on 83. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavldsonOsaljournal.com

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