CIF basketball: How Logan reached Division I state final

UNION CITY — Melvin Easley is all about motivation, details and metaphors. Before each season, the James Logan boys basketball coach tells his players a story about two people getting on a treadmill.

“One of two things is going to happen,” Easley says. “You’re going to get off first or I am going to die on that treadmill. Dying on that treadmill means I am going to give everything I have until that very last second.”

Logan has not fallen off the treadmill. The Colts have huffed and puffed all season behind the tenacious Thompson cousins (guards Brett and Brah’Jon), lanky Malcolm Steadman on the wing, blue-collar Gabriel Hawkins and Daniel Combs near the glass and miracle shot Tim Oldham among those contributing off the bench.

They won their league championship, reached a section final and on Tuesday celebrated a regional title. Friday, Logan will aim for its first state crown when it faces defending champion Chino Hills in the Division I title game at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, the culmination of a long road traveled that began in the summer when no one had secured a role on the team.

“It took everything,” Hawkins said. “Hark work. Coming to practice every day. Coming to workouts, on the track, even when you feel like you don’t want to do it. Credit to this team, man, because we never stop fighting. We’re so resilient. No matter who we play, we’re going to fight to the end.”

One season after bowing out of the postseason in its first game, Logan is in position to achieve its state-championship goal because it challenged itself early against the likes of Salesian, Sheldon and Modesto Christian and stuck to the treadmill when the games got tight in the playoffs.

The Colts made the North Coast Section Division I final when Oldham, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

Blue Jays prospect Kirby Snead focused on present, not future

By Pete Borkowski
Centennial College

DUNEDIN, Fla. – Even though the Toronto Blue Jays are a franchise in need of left-handed pitchers, Kirby Snead is not rushing his own development in order to force his way on to the big club.

The 24-year-old relief pitcher, who spent most of 2018 with the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, wants to, as he put it, “just take it a day at a time.”

Snead was drafted by the Jays in 2016 and has made steady progress, jumping between the single-A squads in Dunedin and Lansing in his first year before cementing a spot with New Hampshire last season.

“I’m not really too worried about where I end up right now,” he said in an interview at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. “Obviously, everyone would say they’d love to end up in Toronto. For me, I’m just trying to take it day by day and enjoy the moment.

“Whatever happens, happens.”

That’s not to say the Alachua, Fla., native is only thinking about where he is now. After finishing the 2018 season without allowing a run over 4.1 innings in his final four games, he still knows there is room to improve.

The lefty appeared in 44 games in 2018, 36 of them with the Fisher Cats. He pitched 42.2 innings with a 3.88 ERA, striking out 51 and walking 31.

“Last year I kind of struggled with walks and it hurt me with giving up runs and stuff,” he said. “I think if I’m consistent and I just take every day just for itself and just try to be the best I can that day, everything will work out.”

Day-to-day, he brings the same mentality.

While sitting in the bullpen on game day, Snead is “just relaxing, trying to watch the game, see what …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

Canadiens underdogs as they seek rare win in San Jose

The Montreal Canadiens will be searching for their first win in San Jose in two decades when they visit the Sharks on Thursday as +145 underdogs on the NHL betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Montreal opened its current three-game swing through California with a 3-1 victory in Los Angeles on Tuesday, extending the club’s current win streak on the road to three games. However, Montreal has failed to produce a victory in San Jose since November 1999, losing 11 straight road decisions to the Sharks going into Thursday’s game at the SAP Center.

The Canadiens have maintained control of an Eastern Conference wild card while posting wins in five of their past eight overall. But with just a slender two-point lead over Columbus, Montreal remains far from assured of a playoff spot, a reality that is reflected on the NHL futures where they lag at +1400 odds of claiming the Eastern Conference championship.

The Sharks hit the ice as -175 favourites on Thursday after opening their current homestand with victories over Colorado and Chicago, and they have won 10 of 12 on home ice during an impressive 20-7-1 run. The Sharks have outgunned Montreal by a wide 21-5 margin over their past five home wins over the Canadiens, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

Elsewhere on the Thursday NHL odds, the Ottawa Senators host the New York Islanders in the second half of a home-and-home series as +175 underdogs.

Out west, the Calgary Flames look to stay ahead of the surging Sharks in the race for top spot in the Pacific Division standings as they visit the Arizona Coyotes as -140 favourites, while the Edmonton Oilers look to establish their first four-game win streak since December 2017 as they host …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

Roma fires coach De Francesco after Champions League exit

ROME — Italian club Roma has fired coach Eusebio Di Francesco following the team’s elimination from the Champions League.

Roma announced Thursday that De Francesco has left the club with immediate effect, a day after the team lost to Porto in the round of 16 in the Champions League. That defeat came on the heels of a 3-0 loss to crosstown rival Lazio in Serie A, with the team fifth in the standings and in danger of missing out on a Champions League spot for next season.

Di Francesco replaced Luciano Spalletti as coach in June 2017 and guided the team into the Champions League semifinals last season after a stunning comeback against Barcelona in the quarterfinals.

Club president Jim Pallotta said in a statement on the club’s official website: “On behalf of myself and everyone at Roma, I’d like to thank Eusebio for his work and his commitment. Since returning to the club, Eusebio has always acted professionally and put the club’s needs ahead of his own. We all wish him well for the future.”

…read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

      

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