Bears

Marshall plays hero, leads Brooks over Farragut

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Marshall plays hero, leads Brooks over Farragut

Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011
11:27 p.m.

By Michael O'Brien
Yourseason.com

George Marshalls name has been bandied about the city for four years. A four-year starter for Brooks and a Wisconsin recruit, the 6-foot senior never lived up to his early hype.

Until Sunday.

Marshall scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and drained the game-winning jumper with six seconds to play as the Eagles rallied to beat Farragut 56-54 in the Public League quarterfinals at Chicago State.

It means a lot, Marshall said. We had so many chances to make our mark the last four years and didnt pull it out.

Marshall didnt score until the fourth quarter. Farragut committed a rash of turnovers in the second half, surrendering a 15-point lead. It seemed to energize Marshall, who started attacking the basket and getting to the free-throw line.

Brooks coach Bobby Locke, who took over this season for Chris Head, was pleased that Marshall was the player who hit the big shot.

I didnt realize how much he had been through until I got here this year, Locke said. He deserved that moment.

Marshall missed the majority of his junior season with injuries and had a broken hand earlier this season. He returned just in time for the Public League playoffs.

I was a little winded earlier in the game, Marshall said. But at the end I knew I had to pull everything I had out of me.

Keith Gray, a 6-6 senior, led Brooks (20-3) with 21 points and five rebounds. Michael Powell added nine points and Kevin Gray scored seven and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Farragut only managed one field goal in the final nine minutes of the game.

Thats been a trend with us, Marshall said. The first half our defense has been so-so, but weve really picked up the intensity in the third and fourth quarter.

Gabriel Williams, who missed a possible game-winning three at the buzzer, led the Admirals (19-4) with 26 points. Rashaun Stimage, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, added nine points and Jonathan Collins scored four and grabbed 10 rebounds.

The Eagles held Farragut star DJ Tolliver to just five points and nine rebounds.

Brooks will face Curie in the semifinals on Wednesday at DePaul.

Young will play Simeon (23-0) in the other semifinal. The Wolverines beat Mather (20-5) 66-44. Jabari Parker led the way with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Ahman Fells added 11 points.

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 grade: B+

Level of need: Low

Decisions to be made on: Christian Jones (free agent), John Timu (free agent), Jonathan Anderson (free agent); Jerrell Freeman has reportedly been cut

Possible free agent targets: Demario Davis, Preston Brown, Anthony Hitchens, Avery Williamson, Navorro Bowman, Derrick Johnson

How the Bears rate Nick Kwiatkoski will be the key to figuring out what this unit will look like in 2018. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio thought Kwiatkoski finished last season strong, but strong enough to rely on him in 2018 as the starter next to Danny Trevathan?

The thing with the Bears’ inside linebackers, though: Trevathan makes whoever is playing next to him better. The problem is Trevathan hasn’t been able to stay on the field — he missed time in 2017 with a calf injury and a one-game suspension, and missed half of 2016 after rupturing his Achilles’. Trevathan hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, so durability is an issue for the soon-to-be 28-year-old.

So that leads to this question: Do the Bears need to find someone in free agency, regardless of how they value Kwiatkoski, who’s also missed time due to injuries in his first two years in the league?

Free agency could provide a few options. Demario Davis had a career high 97 tackles for the New York Jets last year and has never missed a game as a pro. Preston Brown had some decent production in Buffalo and also hasn’t missed a game since being drafted in 2014. Avery Williamson may not be a world-beater but has only missed one game in his four years in the NFL.

The Bears could also opt for someone who fits more of a rotational mold, like Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens, or try to lure a veteran linebacker like Navorro Bowman (who played for Vic Fangio in San Francisco) or Derrick Johnson (who Matt Nagy knows from his Kansas City days) to play next to Trevathan and/or Kwiatkoski.

The Bears could opt to keep the status quo and re-sign Christian Jones and John Timu for depth, and enter 2018 with Kwiatkoski and Trevathan as the team’s starters (Jerrell Freeman, who suffered a season-ending injury and then was hit with his second PED suspension in as many years, was cut on Tuesday). Signing a starting-caliber free agent isn’t out of the question, either, but there is a third option for the Bears if they appear to stand pat in free agency: Draft an inside linebacker in April. If that’s the route they go, Georgia’s Roquan Smith could be the guy. But again, those more pressing needs at other positions could mean the Bears don’t burn a first-round pick on an inside linebacker.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?