Mustangs net share of suburban conference title


Mustangs net share of suburban conference title

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
10:36 p.m.

By Matt Le Cren

Downers South center Ziggy Riauka knew his team could beat Proviso East, but he didnt think it was capable of blowing out the Pirates.

But thats exactly what the host Mustangs did Friday night, sprinting out to a big early lead en route to a 60-48 victory that clinched a share of the West Suburban Conference Gold Division championship. It is the first time Downers South (22-3, 10-1) has beaten Proviso East twice in the same season.

It means a lot, Riauka said. Last year we got blown out both times, so this is a good game for us. We hit a lot of good three-point shots that were open and some that were not open but we were still able to hit them. So we got off to a good start and thats what mattered.

The 6-8 Riauka, who finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, swished a three-pointer that triggered an 18-3 run that gave the Mustangs a 27-9 lead in the second quarter. Downers South, which has won 14 straight, hit six consecutive shots at one point, including treys from three different players on three consecutive possessions.

I started off pretty bad, Riauka said. I couldnt catch the ball or hit a layup, so I just took a three-pointer and it went in, maybe by accident.

It was no accident that South dominated the game, extending its lead to as much as 40-18 in the third quarter. The Mustangs, who beat the Pirates (19-4, 9-2) by an identical score on Jan. 21, take pride in their defense and allowed just 13 points in the first half, including four in the second quarter despite playing the last six minutes without star Jerron Wilbut, who was in foul trouble. Riaukas defense inside was a big factor.

Zig has done a lot of good things for us, Wilbut said. Hes a man down there in the post. He got off to a little rocky start but he got it together and made the right passes and the right plays.

Proviso East made five straight steals and scored the last eight points of the third quarter to pull within 44-32. The Pirates made 5 of 6 three-point tries in the period.

But Riauka helped stop the bleeding by breaking the press and assisting on baskets by Jamaal Millison and Kevin Honn. Then, after a jumper by Proviso Easts Sterling Brown made it 52-41 with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter, Danielius Jurgutis scored on a reverse layup off a no-look pass from Wilbut.

The Pirates cut it to 56-46 with 1:26 remaining, but Jurgutis and Wilbut answered with layups for the Mustangs, who shot 23 of 44 from the floor and 9 of 12 from the line and outrebounded Proviso 32-22. We knew they were going to have a lot of runs and we just played through it, Riauka said. We didnt give up.

Wilbut led a balanced attack with 16 points and six rebounds, while Millison added 12 points, six boards and three assists and Jurgutis tallied 10 points, four assists and four steals. Honn chipped in nine points and seven boards.

Proviso East is a really good basketball team, known for their defense and their relentless scoring, Wilbut said. Just to be in that kind of war with them and beat them is a blessing. Thats what we work hard for every day in the gym.

Brown scored 17 points to lead the Pirates, whose only losses in the past 14 games have been to Downers. Guards Keith Carter and Paris Lee added 10 and eight points, respectively, but the pair combined for just two points in the first half when the Pirates made only 6 of 25 shots.

Bulls' treasure Johnny 'Red' Kerr was a walking basketball encyclopedia

Bulls' treasure Johnny 'Red' Kerr was a walking basketball encyclopedia

With the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals games largely shifting to network coverage, the broadcasting work from Tom Dore and Johnny “Red” Kerr for the 1996 playoffs is mostly over.

But what a treat it has been hearing that duo work together again during NBC Sports Chicago’s re-airing of the 1996 playoff run. Covering the games meant you didn’t get to hear the humorous interplay between the two, or Dore’s economical play-by-play work, or Kerr’s heart-on-his-sleeve bemoaning of missed boxouts or official’s calls.

Not that those of us around that team didn’t hear such moments off the air. It was fun to catch up with Dore on a recent Bulls Talk podcast. And I’d call getting to know Kerr one of the highlights of my two decades-plus around the franchise.

Red was there when John Havlicek stole the ball. And he was there when Michael Jordan held the pose.

Yes, Kerr was a walking, talking basketball encyclopedia who bled Bulls red. A storyteller supreme.

Beyond basketball, Kerr graciously sat for a tear-stained interview about his 46 years of marriage to Betsy after she passed away in October 2000. He did so because he wanted to share their love story, because her support allowed him to pursue his passions and because of her Bulls fandom.

At the time, Kerr shared how he hand-picked the three songs played at his wife’s funeral. This sparked a discussion about our shared passion for music.

From that day on, Kerr used to burn me CDs of artists he liked or he thought I’d like or I had told him about. In fact, having a 68-year-old Kerr thank me for introducing him to Uncle Tupelo is a career moment that may be hard to top.

Kerr became the first coach in sports history to lead an expansion team to the playoffs when he guided the 1966-67 Bulls. His knowledge of the game burned through every broadcast. His humor played out in lines like this one as the Bulls eliminated the Knicks to advance to the Eastern Conference finals against the Magic:

“The Bulls are trying to send the Knicks to play golf tomorrow. The Bulls might play golf, too.”

A bust of Kerr stands in the atrium of the United Center, a fitting tribute to a wonderful player, coach and broadcaster. And above all, a gem of a man.

Every other night through April 15, NBC Sports Chicago is airing the entirety of the Bulls' 1996 NBA championship run. Find the full schedule here.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Cubs-Cardinals games in London officially canceled

Cubs-Cardinals games in London officially canceled

The Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals were set to play in London this June, but the COVID-19 outbreak and the uncertainty about the 2020 baseball season and schedule forced those games to be canceled.

The news had been reported by The Sun on March 26, and was practically a foregone conclusion anyway, but MLB made it official on Wednesday.

Information is thin here, but there are some subtleties worth pointing out. First, there are no details on if it will be rescheduled. There are too many uncertainties about baseball’s 2020 schedule and the availability of London Stadium going forward. England’s sports are also on hold and it’s not known when West Ham, the soccer team that plays at London Stadium, might need the stadium in the next couple years with the Premier League schedule also in flux for the foreseeable future.

Also, the wording in MLB’s announcement is canceled and not postponed. That doesn’t make it seem like there are plans to reschedule this. Even if they want to reschedule more games in London, it is a difficult time to plan a big event in a foreign country.

The games were originally scheduled for June 13 and 14. Last year, the Red Sox and Yankees played in London and the contract called for two years of games in London.