The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 26, 2005 · 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, June 26, 2005
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Page 17
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SUNDAY, JUNE 26. 2005 SAUNA JOURNAL WIMBLEDON / C2 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES / C4 BASEBALL/C5 C FAIRWAYS & GREENS ^ SEAN PURCELL Salina lournal Lessons of First Tee go beyond golf Josh Puetz's putt stormed at the hole with plenty of speed ... maybe too much. The line was perfect. All Puetz had to worry about was whether the ball would slow enough to finish near, or in, the hole. What happened next was nothing short of extraordinary The putt never lost speed. It blazed over the front part of the cup, caught the back edge, shot straight up in the air and plopped into the hole. It was easily Puetz's best shot of the day one the Sacred Heart eighth-grader probably remembered when he returned to the Salina First Tee program for his next class. "Those kids that play golf and have the opportunity, they're going to play" said Steve Hardesty club professional at Salina Municipal Golf Course. "But kids that maybe don't have that opportunity can get it from us. It teaches a lot of things like honesty and integrity so we'think it goes hand-in- hand with life skills." Hardesty invited me to observe and participate in two of his First Tee classes Thursday morning at the Muni. When I arrived roughly 15 minutes before the start of the birdie level class, the area around the clubhouse was full of children of all ages. On the putting green stood the youngest golfers taking part in the First Touch program, which focuses on the basics and prepares kids to be_ come part of the First Tee curriculum. .Inside the clubhouse I found a.group of eager golfers ready to hit the par-3 course. As part of the birdie-level class, these youngsters have been part of the First Tee program for some time. Beginning golfers start at the par level, move through the birdie level before finishing at the eagle level. On this day the birdie class was working on balance. Instructors didn't care where the ball went after contact, but rather focused on a correct backswing and a good follow- through that pointed toward the target. However, before students were sent out to the course, they participated.in teamwork activities. The two exercises on the schedule for this session were building a human pyramid and fitting as many people as possible inside a hula hoop (impressively enough, all 11 kids were able to wedge their bodies inside the circle). Teaching teamwork is really what the First Tee program is all about. Sure, Hardesty and other instructors around the country want their students to become better golfers, but more importantly it's about helping kids evolve into quality young adults. The First Tee has nine core values: sportsmanship, confi-, dence, integrity perseverance, respect, responsibility, judgment, courtesy and honesty "That's where we hope we have a greater influence," Hard- e.sty said. Like these kids, Hardesty started playing golf at a young age. But when he got to high school, Hardesty focused on football and went on to play at Butler County and then Washburn. But golf reeled Hardesty back in. He has been the club professional at the Muni for 10 years. "For me, when I was their age, I was playing golf," Hardesty said. "But then I dropped it and played football in college. Then (golf) turned out to be my profession." After the birdie-level class concluded, it was time to join the eagle-level players. Thursday was dedicated strictly to being on the par-3 course, so we split into four groups and played a round of best ball — where everyone plays their own ball and the best score on each hole is counted toward the team total. ~ See PURCELL, Page C3 USBL POSTSEASON FESTIVAL Cagerz in title game SEIVilFiniALS Kansas 94 Oklahoma 84 Veteran Hancock pours in 25, helps Kansas reach finals By BOB DAVIDSON Salina loitrnal The old guy from KU can still play As a result, the Kansas Cagerz have another chance to win their first United States Basketball League championship. Darrin Hancock, the Cagerz' venerable 33-year-old forward, scored 25 points in leading Kansas to a 94-84 victory over the Oklahoma Storm in a semifinal game of the USBL Postseason Festival Saturday night at the Bicentennial Center. The Cagerz face arch rival Dodge City at 2 p.m. today in the title game. The Legend toppled Nebraska 106-100 in the other semifinal game and will be playing for their third USBL title. They won titles in 2000 and 2003 — both with Hancock. Kansas played for the title in 2002, but lost to Oklahoma 122-109. "It never gets old," Hancock said of playing for a championship. "If 1 could I'd go for nine like Phil Jackson. ... It's a blessing to me." Hancock, better known for his defensive play, unleashed an incredible offensive game USBL Festival SGOPeboapd At Bicentennial Center Saturday's Semifinals Dodge City 106, Nebraska 100 Kansas 94, Oklahoma 84. today's Finals 2 p.m.— Dodge City (20-12) vs. Kansas (19-13). Saturday. It couldn't have come at a better time for the Cagerz. Hancock was 9 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 5 shooting from 3-point range in the second half. He nailed three consecutive 3-pointers during a 3-minute span early in the third quarter that helped the Cagerz build a 12- point cushion that carried them through. "I'm just happy I caught fire when I did," Hancock said. "At the time we really needed those points. I'm happy the ball ended up in my hands. "When I'm on that court I try and let the game come to me, and when I let the game come to me I find myself in a better rhythm. I let the ball come to me and I took advantage of it." Hancock, who joined the team 11 games into the season, is paying the dividends Cagerz' officials anticipated, "We got off to that rosy start, but you're going to have problems when you JEFF COOPER / Salina Journal Chad Bowden (left) of the Kansas Cagerz tries to keep Oklahoma's Ouannas White _ — from driving to the basket during the first half of Saturday's semifinal game of the See CAGERZ, Page C2 USBL Rbstsefson Festival at the Bicentennial Center. Dodge Jiolds off Cranes Hot-shooting Legend get production inside from guards, prevail By ARNE GREEN Salina Journal JEFF COOPER / Salina Journal Dodge City's Stais Boseman (left) pushes the ball down the floor against Nebraska's Maurice Spillers In the second quarter of Saturday's semifinal game. • USBL'STOP 20 AND BEYOND ANNIVERSARY TEAIVl In a classic case of role reversal, the Dodge City Legend's little guys made a living in the land of the giants. Seldom straying far from the basket, three different Dodge City guards scored in double figures Saturday as the hot-shooting Legend edged Nebraska 106100 in a United States Basketball League semifinal at LOCAL NEWS SEMiFiniALS Dodge City 106 Nebraska 100 the Bicentennial Center The Legend, which won the 2003 Postseason Festival, will go for a second title today at 2 p.m. against Kansas. Dodge City went in front to stay late in the first quarter against Nebraska, but had to hold off repeated Cranes comebacks for the victory It did so by shooting 59.4 percent from the field — 66.7 percent the second half — and it was the perimeter players who led the charge. Small forward Renaldo Major did most of his damage driving into the teeth of Nebraska's defense on the way to a team-high 18 points. Guard Jermaine Boyetle, at 6-foot-2, was equally effective posting up and attacking the basket. See DODGE, Page C2 Fan-favorite Jackson, coach Flax recognized JACKSON FLAX Jackson career USBL leader in rebounds; Flax fourth in victories By the Salina Journal Johnny Jackson, the face of the Kansas Cagerz' franchise, has been named to the United States Basketball League's Top 20 and Beyond Anniversary Team. Francis Flax, the Cagerz' coach the past five seasons, also was honored. The team chosen in a vote of executives, coaches, and administrators that have served over the years in the USBL as part of the league's 20th anniversary Jackson, known for his flowing dreadlocks as well as his ferocious rebounding, was starter, for four seasons (2001-04) and joined the team late this season. Dubbed "Mr. Double Double" because of his pension for finishing games with double-digit points and rebounds, Jackson is the USBL's career rebounding leader, a record he set last season with 1,311. He has 70 double-doubles in his career. Jackson, a graduate of Mississippi, was named to the US­ BL's first team in 2001 and 2002, after leading the league in rebounding, and was chosen Defensive Player of the Year in 2003. He grabbed 12 rebounds Friday night in the Cagerz' Postseason Festival victory over Westchester. "It's a great accomplishment for a minor league basketball player," Jackson said. "I'm thankful and appreciate being considered one of the greatest in the USBL. "I always say 1 play for the love of the game. I'll never be in the NBA and that's something I learned and accepted a long time ago. 1 just love the game." Flax and a group of four other investors rescued the Cagerz from extinction before the start of the start of 2001 season. He had coached the Cagerz to 94 victories entering their game Saturday night against Oklahoma and ranks fourth in the USBL in career victories. Four of Flax' players have played in the NBA — Devin Brown, Jermaine Jackson, Mai-tin Lewis and Billy Thomas. Other players and coaches honored were: See RECOGNIZED, Page C2 • GOLF 15-year-old Michelle Wie reacts after a chip on No. 17 during the- second round of the U.S. Women's Open on Saturday. Wie, along with 17- year-old Morgan Pressel and Karen Stupples, lead the major. . —AP Wow-Wie! Teens share Open lead Teenagers, Stupples top field; Sorenstam five shots back By DOUG FERGUSON Tlie Associated Press CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Those who came to Cherry Hills wanting to witness history only had to adjust their view Saturday in the U.S. Women's Open. Annika Sorenstam's bid for the Grand Slam was still a possibility Perhaps even more amaz' ing was the sight of two PRESSEL STUPPLES teenagers in pinks shirts and ponytails ~ 15-year-old Michelle Wie and 17-year-old Morgan Pressel — grabbing a Karen Stupples +1 a-Morgan Pressel +1 a-Mtohelle Wie +1 Birdie Kim -f2 Young Jo • +2 Paula Creamer +2 Others Gristle Ken' +4 Annika Sorenstam -t-6 Jull Inkster -i-IO See TEENS. Page 03 IvSE^ three-way share of the lead and standing 18 holes away from a chance to become the youngest major champion in golf history Indeed, this was shaping up as a championship for the ages. "It would be really cool If that happened," said Wie, who used her power to escape some rough spots on her way SUGGESTIONS? CALL BipB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 822-1404 OR 1-^0-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT 8ibdavldson@saljoumal.com

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