Digest for 02-16-14


LOCAL

Bats stay fiery for Blossoms in win

BENTONVILLE — The Arkansas-Monticello softball team its third straight double-digit hit performance with 15 hits in Saturday’s 10-5 win over Upper Iowa at the 8-State Classic in Bentonville.

The Blossoms (5-2) started the scoring early with a two-run homerun from senior Beth Johnson in the bottom of the first, her second round-tripper of the season.

Junior Katie Slaughter (3-1) earned the win after allowing five runs off 11 hits with one strikeout and no walks in the first 5 2/3 innings. Senior Courtney Wilson earned her first save of the season after retiring all four batters she faced to close out the game. Brooke Redmond (0-2) took the loss for Upper Iowa (0-4) after giving up seven runs off 11 hits with one strikeout and five walks in the first five innings.

The Blossoms are back in action at the 8-State Classic today with an 11:30 a.m. matchup against Fort Hays State followed by a 1:30 p.m. game against Southwest Baptist.

NATIONAL

Lillard/Burke win Skills Challenge

NEW ORLEANS — The tandem of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz won the Skills Challenge competition Saturday night.

Burke’s layup completed the obstacle course, which tests a guard’s dribbling, passing and shooting abilities, in 45.2 seconds. That was 0.1 seconds better than Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic.

Lillard, who competed in the Rising Stars game on Friday, is also scheduled to participate in the 3-Point Shootout and Slam-Dunk Contest as well as Sunday’s All-Star Game. He won the Skills Challenge competition for a second straight year.

The victory by the Western Conference meant a $100,000 donation for the Teach for America & Wounded Warrior Project.

Team Bosh wins Shooting Stars

NEW ORLEANS — Led by Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, Team Bosh of the Eastern Conference defeated Team Durant of the Western Conference to win the Shooting Stars Challenge.

It was the second straight Shooting Stars title for Team Bosh, which also included NBA legend Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Bosh hit the winning halfcourt shot to finish the competition in 31.4 seconds.

Kevin Durant of the Thunder, NBA legend Karl Malone and Skylar Diggins of the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock went first in the championship round and had a time of 43.6 seconds. Diggins hit the halfcourt shot to end the round, but Bosh’s squad captured the competition and a $100,000 donation to the American Heart Association & U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

The stars competition is made up of NBA, WNBA and former NBA stars attempting to make baskets from different marked spots on the court.

Belinelli takes three-point competition

NEW ORLEANS — Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs won the 3-point contest Saturday night as part of NBA All-Star festivities.

Belinelli beat Washington’s Bradley Beal, 24-18, in the overtime round after each scored 19 points from beyond the arc in the championship round. Beal forced the extra session by hitting his final six shots, but Belinelli was strong out of the gate in going first in the OT at Smoothie King Center.

Belinelli had 19 points in the first round to edge Western Conference competitors Damian Lillard (18) of the Portland Trail Blazers, Kevin Love (16) of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Stephen Curry (16) of the Golden State Warriors.

Beal (21) surged in the first round to top Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving (17), Orlando’s Arron Afflalo (15) and Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson (11).

McGirt moves ahead at Northern Trust Open

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — William McGirt fired a 6-under 65 on Saturday to claim a 2-stroke lead at the Northern Trust Open.

McGirt, who will try for his first career win on the PGA Tour Sunday, finished 54 holes at Riviera Country Club at 12-under-par 201.

“I’ll take 65 any day, especially around this place,” McGirt said. “I’ve just got to try to hit fairways and greens, and take advantage of my opportunities when I get them.”

George McNeill (66) and Charlie Beljan (68) shared second place at 10-under, while Jason Allred (67) and Brian Harman (68) are tied for fourth at minus-9.

Second-round leader Sang-Moon Bae tripped to a 1-over 72 during his third round to drop into a share of sixth place with Bubba Watson (64), Cameron Tringale (67), Jimmy Walker (68), Jordan Spieth (67), Charl Schwartzel (68) and Dustin Johnson (69) at 8-under 205.