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Local Sports Archives for 2017-02

Macomb Boys Basketball Defeats Galesburg 46-45, Advances to 3A Regional Semifinals


The Macomb Boys Basketball team pulled out a 46-45 win over Galesburg Monday night in the 3A Regional Quarterfinals at Peoria High School. The Bombers were down by as much as 6 points in the 4th quarter, but closed the game on a 9-2 run to get the win and advance to a Regional Semifinal Game. The win sets up a meeting with Normal University High Wednesday at 7 PM back in Peoria. 


Junior forward Carter Fayhee scored the go-ahead bucket for MHS with 6.8 seconds left after a putback layup on his own miss. The Bombers then got the neccessary stop to hold on and move on.  Fayhee finished the game with 17 points. Teammate Kavon Johnson made a major impact off the bench, dropping 12 points (all in the second half) in the victory. 


Listen below to the radio broadcast of the final 3 minutes of play:


Macomb utilized a 3-2 zone for a majority of the game, something that the team does not typically do. The zone counteracted the athletic advantage that Galesburg held over Macomb, and forced the Silver Streak to become a jump shooting team. The Bombers only allowed 13 first half points, including a mere 2 in the second quarter. 


Jeremy Anderson Postgame Interview:


Macomb has hit it's stride late in the season, winning 8 of its last 9 games, and 6 straight. Wednesday's foe will certainly put that streak to the test, as Normal U High is the 3 seed in the regional. The Pioneers finished 3rd in a very tough Corn Belt Conference. They're 15-11 on the year and 7-4 in conference play. 






Billy Wright Interview (2/27/17)




I spoke with WIU Head Men's Basketball Coach Billy Wright following the end of the team's regular season slate. Western fell 92-81 to South Dakota Thursday night, then took a 96-92 overtime loss at the hands of Fort Wayne Saturday night. Prior to the Fort Wayne game, seniors Garret Covington, Mike Miklusak, and Jabari Sandifer were honored as part of Senior Night. 


The Leathernecks finished the regular season with an 8-19 record overall and 5-11 in Summit League play. Western heads to Sioux Falls, South Dakota later this week to take part in the Summit League Basketball Championships.


The 8th seeded Leathernecks will match up with top seeded South Dakota Saturday at 6 PM. Should Western win that game, they'll move on to play the winner of South Dakota State and Denver. That game will take place Monday at 6 PM. 


Listen below to my conversation with Coach Wright as he and the team get ready for Sioux Falls.



WIU Women's Basketball Tops South Dakota 81-75, Wins Summit League Regular Season Title Outright




In front of a packed house at Western Hall, WIU Women's Basketball notched a 81-75 win over South Dakota Saturday afternoon. The win gave Western, who had already clinched a share of the league title, the outright Summit League crown.


WIU was down by as much as ten early in the 1st quarter, but closed the gap in the 2nd. The score was tied 40-40 at halftime. Western gained control in the 3rd quarter, leading 59-52 at the end of the 3rd. The Leathernecks went up by as much as 12 in the 4th, ultimately wrapping things up with the final 6 point margain of victory. 


Taylor Higginbotham led all scorers with 25 points. Emily Clemens scored 24 (16-16 FT) and dished out 10 assists. 


Western finishes the regular season 23-6 (13-3 Summit), having won 8 consecutive games to close the season out. They'll be the number one seed at the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, SD next weekend. They'll face 8th seeded Denver Saturday at Noon.


Players Emily Clemens, Taylor Higginbotham, and Michelle Farrow postgame:


Head Coach JD Gravina Postgame:


High School Boys Basketball Results 2/24



(4) Bushnell-Prairie City at (1) Peoria Quest 

Quest 62-BPC 49 (1A Regional Finals)

Spartans eliminated from Regionals


Macomb (12-14) at Illinois Valley Central

MHS 38 IVC 27

Carter Fayhee: 12 Points

John Fuhr: 8 Points

-Macomb (11 seed) plays Galesburg (6 seed) in Regional Quarterfinals at Peoria High Monday night



WIU Men's Basketball Falls 92-81 to South Dakota

(Photo of WIU's Mike Miklusak Courtesy of WIU Athletic Communications)



Western Illinois Men's Basketball lost 92-81 at home to South Dakota Thursday Night. Leathernecks drop to 8-18 on the year and 5-10 in Summit League play.


Western was only down three at halftime and hung around for a good portion of the second half. The free throw disparity hurt WIU, with South Dakota getting to the line 34 times to western's 19. The Coyotes also won the battle on the board, outrebounding the Leathernecks 42-33. 


Senior Mike Miklusak led Western with 24 points and 13 rebounds.  Fellow classmate Garret Covington also produced with 21 points and 7 assists. Sophomore center Brandon Gilbeck scored 15 points and pulled down 6 boards. 


Western will wrap up regular season play Saturday night at 7  vs Fort Wayne. You can catch that game on 102.7 FM. 


Bushnell-PC Boys Basketball Tops Peoria Christian En Route to 1A Regional Finals




The 4th seeded Bushnell-Prairie City Spartans took down 11th seeded Peoria Christian 53-36 in the 1A Regional Semifinals at Quest Charter Academy in Peoria last night. The Spartans were led by Junior center Jason Housenga's 17 points, with Devin Yocum (14 points) and Draven Martin (10 Points) also reaching double figures. 


This moves Bushnell-PC to tonight's 1A Regional Finals game against top seeded Peoria Quest. That will be played tonight back in Peoria. Coverage begins at 6:45 on 104.7 FM. 


WIU Women's Basketball Clinches Share of Summit League Title After Fort Wayne Win


(Photo of WIU's Emily Clemens Courtesy of WIU Athletic Communications)


The Western Illinois Women's Basketball team took down Fort Wayne 77-51 at Western Hall last night. With the win the 22-6 (12-3 Summit League) Leathernecks have clinched at least a share of the league's regular season title. This was also the 12th regular season home victory, which ties program marks set in 2002-03 and 2004-05. 


The Leathernecks led in this one for all but 1:39 of gametime. That being said, the 5-23 Mastadons hung around until the 4th quarter, with the game remaining in single digits until that point. A 24-6 advantage in the 4th quarter for Western cemented this one, with the stingy WIU defense limiting Fort Wayne to 37.9% from the field and a putrid 13.3% from three point range. 


Emily Clemens made another strong claim for Summit League Player of the Year honors, dropping 25 points and dishing out 12 assists in this one. Morgan Blumer also put together a strong performance with 18 points (3-4 3FG) and 7 rebounds. Olivia Braun finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 blocks. 


At 12-3 in the Summit League, Western sits one game in front of South Dakota, IUPUI, and South Dakota State. With the Leathernecks playing the Coyotes of South Dakota at Western Hall Saturday afternoon, sole possession of the top spot in the league will be on the line. IUPUI and South Dakota State still have to play the teams with the worst and second to worst records in the Summit League respectively, so a 4-team tie could be in place should Western not get the win Saturday. 


Tip off from Western Hall is set for 4:30 Saturday, with a pregame ceremony honoring seniors Mallory Boyle and Jasmine Patrick taking place prior. Coverage begins at 4:15 on 104.1 FM and the Leatherneck Sports Network. 





Bushnell-PC Boys Basketball Advances to 1A Regional Semifinals




Bushnell-Prairie City Boys Basketball advanced to the 1A Regional Semifinals last night after taking down Princeville 48-28. The game was played at Peoria Quest Charter Academy. The Spartans are the 4 seed in this regional bracket, and took care of business against the 12th seeded Princes.


Bushnell's next opponent is 11th seeded Peoria Christian, who upset number 6 Hartsburg 48-47 last night. This game will be played back at Quest Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 7 PM. Coverage will begin on 104.7 FM at 6:45. Streaming is also available online here at macombnewsnow.com.




Weekend Macomb Area Basketball Results (2/17-2/18)



Friday 2/17

Macomb Boys Basketball (11-14) vs Monmouth-Roseville (Senior Night)


MHS 69 Mon-Rose 49

-Carter Fayhee: 20 Points (Has scored 20 plus in 3 of the last 4)

-Ben Higgins: 14 Points (3rd straight game with 14)

-Kavon Johnson: 14 Points (season high)

-Quintin Adler: 10 Points

Macomb has won 6 of its last 7 games

*Next game is Friday at IVC. Regional Quarterfinals follow Monday at Peoria High vs Galesburg


Saturday 2/18

WIU Men's Basketball (5-9 Summit) (8-17) at North Dakota State


NDSU 100 WIU 91 (2 OT)

-Garret Covington: 32 Points

-Dalan Ancrum: 19 Points

-Mike Miklusak: 10 Points

Western sits in 8th in the Summit League with a 1.5 game lead over Oral Roberts with 2 games remaining

*Next game is Thursday vs South Dakota


Billy Wright Interview (2/20/17)

I spoke with WIU Head Men's Basketball Coach Billy Wright following the team's losses to Denver (78-72) and North Dakota State (100-91 2OT). Western fell to the Pioneers of Denver at home Tuesday night, then traveled to Fargo to face the top team in the Summit League Saturday. 


After the weekend Western sits at 5-9 in the Summit League (8-17 overall), good for the final playoff spot in the league with 2 games to go. WIU holds a 1.5 game lead over 9th place Oral Roberts, who is on the outside looking in. 


This week the Leathernecks will wrap up the regular season with two home games. They'll face South Dakota Thursday night then finish with Fort Wayne Saturday. 


Listen to my interview with Coach Wright below.


WIU Women's Basketball in First Place After SDSU Win

(Photo Courtesy of WIU Athletic Communications)


The WIU Leathernecks Women's Basketball Team took down South Dakota State 83-77 last night to move to 11-3 in the Summit League, good for 1st place in the league. Western snapped a 19 game losing streak to SDSU, dating back to 2008. With two regular season games remaining, the 21-6 Leathernecks are in position to clinch at least a share of the league title with a win Wednesday at home vs Fort Wayne. 


In this game WIU was up by as much as 12 in the first quarter, and down by as much as 10 in the third quarter. Junior point guard Emily Clemens led the way with 20 points (10-10 FT) and 6 assists. She sunk 4 crucial free throws in the final 30 seconds that gave Western a 5 point lead. In the win Clemens also pushed her career scoring mark over 1,000 points, making her the 16th Leatherneck to do so. 


Teammates Morgan Blumer (18 Points 5 Rebounds) and Olivia Braun (17 Points 6 Rebounds 3 Blocks) also played a major role in the Western victory. The final attendance number was 1,303, well over the average of 678. Clemens, Blumer and Braun spoke postgame, as did Head Coach JD Gravina. 


Player Postgame Presser (Clemens, Blumer, Braun in order)


JD Gravina Opening Statement


Gravina Q&A



Local Basketball Results (2/13-14)




Monday 2/13

Macomb Girls Basketball 3A Regional Quarterfinals (at Peoria High School)

Limestone 55 Macomb 26

-Jordyn Hare 9 Points

-Macomb finishes its season 8-20


Zach Keene Postgame Interview: 


Tuesday 2/14

Macomb Boys Basketball at Payson Seymour

Macomb 51 Payson 48

-Carter Fayhee 21 Points

-Ben Higgins 14 Points (Go ahead 3 pointer with 30 seconds left)

-Macomb has won 5 of its last 6 games

-Bombers improve to 10-14 overall 

*Next game is Friday night vs Monmouth-Roseville (Senior Night)


Radio Broadcast of Final Two Minutes 


Jeremy Anderson Postgame Interview


WIU Men's Basketball vs Denver

Denver 78 Western Illinois 72

-Garret Covington 22 Points 5 Assists

-Mike Miklusak 21 Points 8 Rebounds

-Brandon Gilbeck 9 Points 11 Rebounds

-Western trailed by as much as 26 (went on 28-3 run in 2nd half to cut defecit to 1)

-WIU falls to 8-16 overall and 5-8 in Summit League play (tied 7th)

*Next game is Saturday at North Dakota State






Weekend Macomb Area Basketball Results (2/10-2/11)




WIU Women's Basketball (20-6) (10-3 Summit League)


2/11/17 at Denver

W 80-68

Western is now tied with South Dakota State for 1st place in the Summit League

-Morgan Blumer 22 Points (4-8 3FG) 7 Rebounds

*Blumer has set a WIU single season record for made 3's in a season with 69

-Emily Clemens 16 Points 5 Rebounds 8 Assists 

Next game is Wednesday night vs. South Dakota State


Macomb Boy's Basketball (9-14) (3-4 West Central)


2/10/17 at Camp Point

W 51-49 (OT)

-Carter Fayhee 23 Points (5-5 FT)

-Xavier Campbell 10 Points (2 3FG)

-Ben Higgins 7 Points


2/11/17 vs Mercer County

W 66-47 (Highest scoring game of season)

-Higgins 14 Points

-Quintin Adler 12 Points

-Brandon Bickers 12 Points

-Fayhee 10 Points


*Next game is tomorrow night at Payson-Seymour






Billy Wright Interview 2/12/17

I spoke with WIU Head Men's Basketball Coach Billy Wright to discuss last week's 63-60 win over Oral Roberts. We also looked ahead to Tuesday's meeting with Denver, Saturday's road game at 1st place North Dakota State. Coach Wright also gives an update on injured point guard Delo Bruster and keys in on how his team's defensive execution has improved in recent weeks. 


WIU 2017 Football Schedule Released

Western Illinois Football released its 2017 regular season schedule this afternoon. The team will play four of their eleven regular season games in Macomb at Hanson Field. Three of the eight road games will be nonconference games, with the Missouri Valley Football Conference slate being split four home games and four road contests. 


The season will kickoff Thursday, August 31 at Tennessee Tech. The Leathernecks also play nonconference foes Northern Arizona (9/9) and Costal Carolina (9/23) away from their home confines. The Costal game was originally scheduled to be played in Macomb. but the location was changed after the Chanticleers made the jump to the FBS level. 


The home opener for Western is September 30, versus South Dakota. The other home games for WIU are October 14 against Missouri State, October 28 vs. South Dakota State, and November 18 opposing Southern Illinois. These are all Missouri Valley Football Conference matchups. 


The conference road games will be October 7 at Northern Iowa, October 21 at North Dakota State, November 4 at Illinois State, and November 11 at Indiana State. 


The Leathernecks attempt to build off of last year's 6-5 regular season mark. The full schedule is listed below. 


Aug. 31 – at Tennessee Tech
Sept. 9 – at Northern Arizona
Sept. 16 – OPEN
Sept. 23 – at Coastal Carolina
Sept. 30 – *South Dakota
Oct. 7 –  *at Northern Iowa
Oct. 14 -  *Missouri State
Oct. 21 -  *at North Dakota State
Oct. 28 -  *South Dakota State
Nov. 4 -  *at Illinois State
Nov. 11 -  *at Indiana State
Nov. 18 -  *Southern Illinois
Nov. 25 – NCAA FCS Playoffs opening round
* Missouri Valley Football Conference game


MHS Girls Basketball to Face Limestone at 3A Regionals Next Monday in Peoria




The 3A Regional Girls Basketball Brackets have been released. The Macomb Bombers find themselves as the 10 seed in the Limestone sectional, facing the 5th seeded Limestone Rockets Monday (2/13) at 7:30 PM.


That game will be played at Peoria High School. Coverage can be found on K100, with pregame coverage opening up at apporximately 7:15. The winner of this contest will match up with 4th seeded Peoria High on Wednesday, 2/15 at 7:00 back at Peoria High. Macomb and Limestone played on 1/16, with the Rockets taking down the Bombers 51-31 at the Washington Street Gym. 





Billy Wright Interview (2/6/17)



Here is my weekly conversation with WIU Head Men's Basketball Coach Billy Wright. Western currently sits at 7-15 and 4-7 in Summit League play following losses last week to South Dakota State (98-65) and Omaha (79-67). They hold the 8th seed in the League, one game in front of Oral Roberts for the final Summit League Basketball Championships position. 


Western heads to Oral Roberts this week for a Wednesday Night game in Tulsa. WIU returns home following that and will retake the floor at Western Hall Tuesday vs Denver.


Coach Wright and I broke down last week's losses and looked ahead to this week with five games left for Western on the regular season schedule. 




Weekend Macomb Area Basketball Results (2/3-2/4)

Friday 2/3


Macomb Boys Basketball (7-14)

Porta 56 MHS 40

-John Fuhr 10 Points

-Braden Vyhnanek 6 Points

*MHS plays again Friday (2/10 @ Camp Point)


Saturday 2/4 


WIU Women's Basketball (18-6) (8-3 Summit League)

WIU 80 Omaha 63

-Taylor Higginbotham 23 Points 8 Rebounds

-Emily Clemens 20 Points 7 Rebounds 8 Assists 

-Morgan Blumer 13 Points 2 Rebounds

-Postgame Interview with Leathernecks (in speaking order) Emily Clemens, Taylor Higginbotham and Olivia Braun

-Postgame Interview with Head Coach JD Gravina

-Western is currently tied in 2nd in the Summit League with South Dakota

*Next game is Wednesday at North Dakota State


WIU Men's Basketball (7-15) (4-7 Summit League)

Omaha 79 WIU 67

-Mike Miklusak 26 Points (Season High) 6 Rebounds

-Dalan Ancrum 11 Points 4 Rebounds

-Brandon Gilbeck 10 Points 7 Rebounds 4 Blocks

-Postgame Interview with Miklusak and Ancrum

-Postgame Interview with Head Coach Billy Wright

*Next game is Wednesday at Oral Roberts




Rod Smart "He Hate Me" Interview

I recently spoke with former professional football player Rod Smart. A veteran of numerous professional leagues, Smart rose to fame during the XFL's one year of play. He also managed to carve out a five year NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers, the later of which he made a Super Bowl with. 


Smart donned the words, "He Hate Me," on the back of his Las Vegas Outlaws XFL jersey, which quickly made him a household name. Smart discusses the new ESPN 30 for 30 film "This Was the XFL," how he ended up in the XFL, and the trancendence of his nickname and XFL fame.


Listen below:


WIU Football National Signing Day




College Football National Signing Day has concluded for Western Illinois University. The 24-man class was officially announced earlier this afternoon. 
19 of the 24 players are high school signees, with the remaining 5 coming in as transfer students. 4 of those 5 are already on campus, having enrolled at Western in January. 
Offensive line accounted for 5 of the 24 signees, followed by 3 at defensive back, defensive tackle, and wide receiver. Western has 2 players represented at each defensive line, quarter back running back, and tight end. On special teams the Leathernecks added 1 kicker and 1 long snapper. 
In terms of a state-by-state breakdown of high school additions, Illinois expectedly brought in the most players with 5. After that came Indiana with 3 players. Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Minnesota, and Tennessee produced 2 players each. Iowa also was represented, with one signee. 
With the 5 transfers, 2 came from Ohio University, with Bowling Green, Liberty, and Syracuse being the previous schools represented by the remaining 3. 
Western Illinois Head Football Coach Charlie Fisher held a press conference at the conclusion of signing day. That can be heard below, broken up into segments. 
Fisher opening statement:
On the size of the class:
On the regions Western focused on:
On having a full year to recruit unlike his first year in Macomb:
On high school teammates J'Len Smith and Shabar Wilson both signing with WIU:
On added o-line depth:
On Syracuse transfer Trey Dunkleberger:
On 6'6 250 tight end Nathan Karsjens:
On Galesburg HS commit Matt Ricketts, who has family ties to Western:
On his philosophy with recruiting high school qbs:
Fisher closing statement:


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