Bears

Lee's layup gives Pirates Western Suburban Gold title

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Lee's layup gives Pirates Western Suburban Gold title

By Matt Le Cren
YourSeason.com

Proviso East couldnt have scripted a more exciting ending to its Senior Night.The No. 2 Pirates captured the West Suburban Conference Gold Division championship Friday by edging defending champion Downers South 65-62 in Maywood.Guard Paris Lee scored the clinching layup with one second left in front of a host of alumni that included Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.It feels real good, Lee said. Last year they beat us, so this year we had to come redeem ourselves.Lee scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half, including seven of the Pirates last eight. His two free throws with 18.3 seconds left put Proviso East (23-0, 12-0) up 63-59.Jamall Millison then drilled a three-pointer from 25 feet with :09 remaining for Downers South (20-5, 10-2), which was out of timeouts. But before the Mustangs could foul, Proviso East forward Sterling Brown found Lee with a long pass and Lee beat the defense down the floor for his layup.I did a jab to the inbounder and I broke and Sterling threw a good baseball pass to me and I finished the layup, Lee said. Its an honor to score important points. I feel if I go play Division I basketball Im going to have a lot of games like this so this just prepares me.Proviso East hasnt been known for playing smart basketball in recent years, but Browns heads-up play was the difference.I looked for Lee, said Brown, whose offensive rebound of a missed free throw led to Lees last free throws. I see we was up by one but I still wanted to get the ball out because close to the basket they all had pressure defense.I saw Paris leak out so I just threw it. I had faith that he was going to get it and make the layup and I just threw it for him and he did it.The 6-4 Brown often gets overlooked by the media spotlight that gets trained on Lee and fellow guards Keith Carter and Paris Burns, but his play kept the Pirates in the game in the first half. Brown tallied nine of his 13 points in the opening half, including an inside hoop that pulled the hosts within 30-25 at intermission after the Mustangs had used a 9-0 run to take a 30-21 lead.They can have all the press, Brown said. I just want to win. Thats all I come out here to do is just win.The Pirates have done nothing but win this season and werent concerned about trailing the Mustangs, who had won seven straight.Coach Donnie Boyce didnt let us panic, Lee said. He told us to keep our heads and we live for games like that.Downers Grove South did a great job, Boyce said. I felt in the first half we gambled a little too much and we left ourselves vulnerable in the middle and they did a great job of attacking us.It was the first game all year where we had our backs against the wall the majority of the game and I liked the way our guys responded. They never panicked. They kept composure and part of that goes to the experience of Keith Carter.Carter had 15 points, including a pair of foul shots that put the Pirates ahead to stay, 53-51, with 3:19 left, and added five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Burns tallied 10 points and Treshaun Carroll had nine points and 11 rebounds for Proviso East, which hosts Oak Park on Wednesday in the inaugural WSC championship game.Theyre a really tough team, said senior guard Jerron Wilbut, who led Downers South with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Theyve got so many weapons on offense. I think that whats good about them is the really just dont give up. They play hard all the way down the stretch. They dont care who you are.Millison finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Danny Spinuzza chipped in 13 points and Kevin Honn seven points and seven rebounds for the Mustangs, who could meet Proviso East again in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central Supersectional.We played hard. We just came up on the short end, Wilbut said. The emotions were flying in the locker room but we can only just look forward.

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Everything changed for the Bears after going up 17-3 last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Mitchell Trubisky’s 27-yard touchdown to Dion Sims was immediately followed by Bobby Rainey running a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown, then the offense was bogged down with three fumbles (two lost) on three consecutive possessions. 

But Adrian Amos seemed to seal the game with his 90-yard pick six — that is, until Michael Campanaro ran Pat O’Donnell’s punt back 77 yards for what wound up being a game-tying touchdown after a two-point conversion.

The point is the Bears should’ve cruised to a comfortable win last week; a few critical mistakes didn’t allow that to happen. The Bears haven’t led at the end of the fourth quarter this year, a pretty strong indicator they haven’t played a complete game yet despite having two wins. 

The Carolina Panthers have road wins over the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots this year, and only lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by five points last week (despite Cam Newton throwing three interceptions). The bet here is the Bears keep things close on the backs of a strong defense, but either can’t make enough plays or make too many mistakes to win. 

Prediction: Panthers 20, Bears 16

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

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USA TODAY

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

"Of course," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in the middle of the National League Championship — he would like his coaches back in 2018. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's flagship radio station this week that the staff expected to return next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn't go that far during Friday afternoon's end-of-season news conference at Wrigley Field, but he did say: "Rest assured, Joe will have every coach back that he wants back."

That's Cub: USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale first reported Saturday morning that Bosio had been fired, the team declining a club contract option for next year and making a major influence on the Wrigleyville rebuild a free agent. Epstein and Bosio did not immediately respond to text messages and the club has not officially outlined the shape of the 2018 coaching staff.

Those exit meetings on Friday at Wrigley Field are just the beginning of an offseason that could lead to sweeping changes, with the Cubs looking to replace 40 percent of their rotation, identify an established closer (whether or not that's Wade Davis), find another leadoff option and maybe break up their World Series core of hitters to acquire pitching. 

The obvious candidate to replace Bosio is Jim Hickey, Maddon's longtime pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays who has Chicago roots and recently parted ways with the small-market franchise that stayed competitive by consistently developing young arms like David Price and Chris Archer.

Of course, Maddon denied that speculation during an NLCS where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game and the manager's bullpen decisions kept getting second-guessed.

Bosio has a big personality and strong opinions that rocked the boat at times, but he brought instant credibility as an accomplished big-league pitcher who helped implement the team's sophisticated game-planning system.

Originally a Dale Sveum hire for the 2012 season/Epstein regime Year 1 where the Cubs lost 101 games, Bosio helped coach up and market short-term assets like Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. 

Those win-later trades combined with Bosio's expertise led to a 2016 major-league ERA leader (Kyle Hendricks) and a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (Jake Arrieta) plus setup guys Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. and All-Star shortstop Addison Russell.

Bosio helped set the foundation for the group that won last year's World Series and has made three consecutive trips to the NLCS. But as the Cubs are going to find out this winter, there is a shelf life to everything, even for those who made their mark during a golden age of baseball on the North Side.