Cubs

Williams ignites Vikings to victory

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Williams ignites Vikings to victory

By Patrick McGavin
YourSeason.com

Tim Williams knew it was time to reverse the tide. After Von Steuben narrowed a 16-point deficit to nine late in the third quarter, Williams got his chance. The Homewood-Flossmoor 6-7 senior threw down a dunk in traffic that restored the Vikings inside dominance.Closing out the third quarter in style, the play ignited a 8-0 Homewood-Flossmoor run at the start of the fourth quarter the No. 16 Vikings rode to the 58-36 victory in the first-round of the Proviso West Holiday tournament Tuesday in Hillside.Homewood-Flossmoor advances to meet New Trier in Wednesdays quarterfinals.Williams produced game-high totals of 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Vikings (8-2).I saw that they were making their little run, and I knew I had to do something to get us pumped up and back into the game, Williams said. That dunk got us started again.Williams stayed hot at the start of the fourth quarter, opening the period with two free throws and a putback. His excitement at returning to Proviso West was clear after he missed last years tournament with a broken ankle.I was very happy to be back and I just happy to make plays, especially since this is my senior year, he said.Williams play helped balloon the lead to 48-29, effectively ending the game. Homewood-Flossmoors size and length suffocated Von Steuben (4-3) to start the game as they jumped out to a 14-3 advantage. The Panthers shot 1-12 in the first quarter and scored only on Demetrius Faulkners three-point play at the 2:38 mark.Delvon Rencher scored 13 point for the Vikings. We knew we had the size advantage and we had to use that, he said. Having Tim back at the tournament is huge, because you see, he really impacts the game. Reserve swingman Willie Lipsey added seven points for the Vikings.Senior guard Jalen Delaney was the only consistent Von Steuben offensive threat who scored 15 points. Deqon Horn added eight points.Their length and size gave us a lot of problems, Von Steuben coach Vince Carter said. We had some pretty good shots but they bothered us with their size. Guard for guard, we were able to play with them but our big kids dont have the experience or skill to play against that kind of size.Coming off last years overtime championship loss to Benet, the Vikings are trying to advance to the finals for the fourth time in the last eight years. For the seniors, this is the last time were together and weve progressed each year and hopefully go farther than last year, Rencher said.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Jon Lester struggles against the division-rival Cardinals

It was a tough day for the North Siders.

The Cubs got obliterated by the Cardinals as Matt Carpenter had a three-homer, two-double day. Ben Finfer, Seth Gruen and Maggie Hendricks join David Kaplan on the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast to talk about the blowout.

Was Jon Lester due for this kind of terrible outing? And do the Cubs have enough to swing a big trade before the deadline?

Plus, the panel discusses Matt Nagy’s first training camp practice in the rain and Roquan Smith’s absence in Bourbonnais.

You can listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

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USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.