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Friday, May 2, 2014



Could he go? Lakers want permission to talk to Thibs BY K.C. JOHNSON Chicago Tribune

Philip Marruffo/

Erie-Prophetstown’s Kylie Ackerman delivers a pitch during Thursday’s 13-1, six-inning win over Newman in Sterling. Ackerman left the game in the sixth inning after being struck with a batted ball.

Panthers tack on seven in sixth PAIN


Panthers coach Bob Phelps thought the gash might need stitches, although the tough sophomore didn’t seem interested in a trip to the hospital. Savannah Mettler came in to finish the game. After a wild pitch moved Ferris to second, groundouts by Julie Hurd and Jenna Stevens plated the lone run for the Comets (9-8, 3-5 Three Rivers North). “We had a few innings where we started out with a hit, and then we would just strand them,” Newman coach J.D. Waldschmidt said. “We’re a young team, and we played like it today. Too many mistakes in the field, and they made us pay for it.” The Panthers (17-2, 6-0) led 2-0 heading into the fifth inning, as Newman freshman pitcher Lakyn Waldschmidt (6-3) had kept them guessing at the plate. But EP stared guessing right in the fifth. Laykin Miner opened the inning with a single. After a strikeout by Kaeli Kovarik, Stephanie Thulen lined a hit to left field. The ball got past Rachel Grennan and rolled all the way to the fence, allowing both Miner and Thulen to score. A throwing error on the next play not only allowed Mettler to reach, but also move to second. She advanced

another 60 feet on a wild pitch, before scoring on a groundout by Emily Cox. Ackerman closed the scoring in the inning with a long home run to left field. “She came inside on me, and that’s the first time that I have ever hit an inside pitch out like that,” Ackerman said. “She had worked the ball inside and out pretty well the first time through the order, and we weren’t able to do much against her. The second time through, we had it figured out.” Three straight hits to open the sixth chased Waldschmidt. Only two runs resulted from those hits, as Alicia Stout was thrown out at the plate after an infield single by Addison Morse. Samantha Miller came in, and a combination of poor defense and walks led to five more runs. “We’ve been a team that hits the ball like that all season,” Phelps said. “You can’t pitch around anyone, because the next girl can hit, too. They are a nice little club, but they made a few mistakes that opened the door for a couple big innings.” “That’s the best offensive team in the conference,” J.D. Waldschmidt said. “I thought Lakyn pitched well, but there were too many errors, and then she got frustrated. It’s disappointing, because we know we can compete better than that.”

Philip Marruffo/

Newman shortstop Mady Ferris fields a ground ball from Erie-Prophetstown’s Clare Kramer during Thursday’s game in Sterling.

The Bulls expected a busy offseason. Merely at its outset, they couldn’t have envisioned what transpired Thursday. Los Angeles-based media ran with news that the Lakers will seek permission from the Bulls to interview Tom Thibodeau for their vacant head coaching position, created when Mike D’Antoni resigned. Thibodeau, the 2011 Coach of the Year, just finished the first of a 4-year extension through 2017 worth $17.5 million. As of Thursday evening, the Bulls hadn’t heard from the Lakers. When similar rumors surfaced during last season that the Knicks – before hiring Phil Jackson as team president – might pursue Thibodeau at season’s end, indications were the Bulls either wouldn’t grant permission, or would place very high demands on possible compensation. It’s logical that same thinking would apply should the Lakers call. The Los Angeles Times reported Thibodeau is merely one name on a long list of high-profile candidates the Lakers are considering in a search that is expected to last for weeks. Sources said Thibodeau was involved last summer in planning discussions for the Bulls’ new practice facility scheduled to open in August or September. He also has been involved in personnel discussions regarding next season, with sources indicating he is a proponent of trying to add Carmelo Anthony. Given that Anthony

** With approved credit. Payment does not includetax, title & lisence. $2,000 down or trade in value. 3.9% APR x 66 mos . *Plus tax, title, license. See dealer for details. Photos for illustration only. Dealer not liable for errors.

has spoken highly of Thibodeau, the coach would be an attractive recruiting piece if the Bulls remain serious in their pursuit of him if, as expected, he opts to become a free agent. The fact the Lakers even would seek permission to interview a coach who has won at a high level with his current team and has 3 years remaining on his contract underscores one of the league’s worst-kept



secrets – that Thibodeau’s relationship with management isn’t perfect. Several incidents – Thibodeau taking months to sign his extension, the ouster of lead assistant coach Ron Adams after last season, the Luol Deng trade and other personnel decisions – have created an occasionally divisive working atmosphere. Both parties have downplayed the dysfunction publicly. And there were


ATLANTA – The Indiana Pacers have changed who they are, going to a different style in hopes of surviving the opening round of the playoffs. No matter what, they can always count on David West. With the top-seeded Pacers poised for an early summer, West fearlessly led a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. “He’s our rock,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “There’s no other way to put it.” Trailing 3-2 after losing at home for the second time in the best-of-seven series, Indiana was in big trouble when the Hawks



Rt. 40 N, Sterling


stretches of a more harmonious relationship this season, though the Deng trade caught Thibodeau off-guard. Thibodeau has established himself as one of the game’s elite coaches. Thibodeau also has a strong relationship with ownership, loves coaching Derrick Rose, and enjoys the city of Chicago. Thibodeau has ties to Lakers star Kobe Bryant, working him out as a youth in Philadelphia when Thibodeau worked as a 76ers assistant coach. But the Lakers are in a rebuilding mode, and Thibodeau repeatedly praised the Bulls’ core last season.

Pacers alter style to force Game 7; Durant scores 36 in win


Pete’s Price

12,381 $ 198/mo $

2013-14       /VERALL

Lakers in that time

Setting much different pace



Thibs in Chicago


2008 Pontiac

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Tom Thibodeau, who was the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2011, has guided the Bulls to the playoffs the last 2 years without star Derrick Rose. The Lakers think he could work some of that magic in Los Angeles, and would like to talk to him about their vacant coaching job.




Thunder forward Kevin Durant shoots over Marc Gasol during Oklahoma City’s 104-84 win over the Grizzlies in Memphis. Durant scored 36 points to help force a Game 7 in the Western Conference first-round series. pushed out to an 84-79 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining, cheered on by a raucous crowd that barely sat down in the second half. But, for the fourth time in this back-and-forth affair, the road team won. West seemed to make every big play down the stretch, scoring four straight points and forcing a huge turnover to begin the turnaround. He hit two more baskets in the final minute to wrap things up, finishing with 24 points. Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis. Paul George also scored 24 points for the Pacers, making four straight free throws to help fend off a team that was trying to become only the sixth No. 8 seed to win a playoff series.

Jeff Teague scored 29 points, nearly pulling out a victory on a night when Atlanta shot just under 36 percent.

Thunder 104, Grizzlies 84: Kevin Durant scored

36 points to break out of a slump, as the Thunder routed the Grizzlies in Memphis to force a decisive Game 7. Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who haven’t been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010. They took control early with Durant scoring 14 points in the first quarter, led by 15 at halftime and never let Memphis get closer in the second half in the first game in the series to end in regulation since the opener. Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14 of

15 free throws. Reggie Jackson had 16 points off the bench for the Thunder. Game 7 is Saturday night in Oklahoma City. Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for Memphis. Guard Mike Conley strained his right hamstring, briefly returned, then left for good with 8:48 left. Durant had to answer questions after the shootaround Thursday about being called “Mr. Unreliable” in a headline in the Oklahoma City newspaper. Durant said he had no problem with the headline, and that he just needed to hit shots and be more aggressive. Smiling just before tipoff, Durant did just that as he finished 11 of 23 from the floor. He continued to struggle outside the arc, where he missed all six of his attempts.