Dayton Flyers freshman making big strides in practice

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

Dayton's Kostas Antetokounmpo, center, watches a game against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, at UD Arena.

One member of the Dayton Flyers was not with the team Thursday in Indianapolis as it prepared for a 7:10 p.m. Friday game against Wichita State in the NCAA tournament. Freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo can’t travel with the team because of NCAA rules regarding partial qualifiers.

The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo started practicing at the start of the second semester. Coaches and players have had time to get a good look at him and are excited by what they’ve seen. He’ll make his debut on the court next season.

“One thing is Kostas has done a great job in the weight room since the break when he got fully incorporated into our team,” assistant coach Tom Ostrom said. “He’s gained close to 15 pounds of muscle. He’s lifting in a different program than anyone else on the team since he’s not playing. He’s lifting five days a week with Pat (O’Neal). He’s done a really good job getting bigger and stronger in practice.”

Trying to get better every day 😈💪🏾💪🏾🏀 @alex_ante34 @thanasis_ante43 @giannis_an34 #antetokounmpo #work #letgo

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It took Antetokounmpo a little bit of time to get used to the pace of practice, Ostrom said, but he’s adapted well.

“He’s really picked up the offense,” Ostrom said. “He has great instincts on defense. He can really move his feet. He has a knack for blocking shots. Guys will go up for layups and have their man beat, and Kostas will come out of the blue from the weak side to block the shot into the wall. All the coaches look at each other: ‘Where did he come from?’ He’s working really hard on his jump shot. He’s got to get his base strong, his legs stronger for the physicality of the game.”

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Antetokounmpo is the brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks star who started in the NBA All-Star Game in February. Kostas attended the game with his other two brothers, Thanasis and Alex. All the brothers were born in Greece and moved to Milwaukee after Giannis was drafted by the Bucks.

Family @giannis_an34 @alex_ante34 @thanasis_ante43 ❤️❤️

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Sophomore point guard John Crosby said Kostas and Giannis look identical on the floor. Trey Landers, the only other freshman on the team, said Kostas wants to write his own legacy at Dayton, even though comparisons to his brother are inevitable.

“Obviously, his brother is in the league and he has a lot of popularity because of his brother, but he wants popularity of his own,” Landers said. “I just think next year when he’s able to unleash what he’s got built in right now, it’s going to be crazy.”

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Landers described Antetokounmpo as a different breed.

“He’s a 6-10, 6-11 guard,” Landers said. “It’s hard to find those. He’ll have a lot of fire with him next year, and you guys are going to see a great player.”

“He’s going to be great for our team,” Crosby said. “He’s got a lot of length. He’s somebody who can protect the rim. He can do a lot of different things. He can do probably whatever coach asks him. He’s going to be physically able to do it.”

UD Arena losing a piece of its storied past

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 1:46 PM

The last game on the old Tartan court at UD Arena looked nothing like the first.

As part of the three-year renovation of the arena, UD is tearing out the old surface, which has been beneath the wood court since the 1985-86 season. That process starts Tuesday and will take about a month. It’s not an easy surface to remove.

“It’s going to take a while to get it out and grind it out,” said Scott DeBolt, the director of UD Arena.

»RELATED: Arena project biggest in UD history

To celebrate the history of the court, which debuted in 1969 when the likes of Ken May, George Janky, George Jackson and Tom Crosswhite were wearing the red and blue, UD played one last pickup game on the court Friday. The players were mostly students and UD employees. I was lucky enough to get an invitation after joking that I would donate $10 to the $72 million renovation. I’m pretty sure DeBolt’s going to hold me to that offer, however. I guess every little bit counts.

I don’t have an official bucket list, but if I did, playing a game at UD Arena would have been on it. Two years ago, hours after the last game of the season, I took a few shots in the empty arena. Putting on the the hightops and burning a few calories on the same court where Roosevelt Chapman scored a good percentage of his school-record 2,233 points, that’s a day I’ll never forget.

For the record, this is how I would describe my game: 60 percent Kyle Davis, 30 percent Scoochie Smith, 10 percent Kendall Pollard. I watched so much of them the last four years, I couldn’t help but be influenced by them.

The court is not in great shape. It saw daylight — or at least the lights of the arena — only a couple times a year for the last 30-plus years. Every time the NCAA installed the court for the First Floor, UD’s wooden court was removed, and everyone would take photos of the Tartan court. This Tartan surface is the second Tartan surface. The original surface from 1969 was replaced with a newer version of Tartan in the 1970s.

Now UD fans will wonder: Can they buy a piece of the court? The answer is no. There are chemicals, such as mercury in the Tartan surface. The court will be taken away in bags, put in containers and taken to a disposal site.

That’s not a fitting end for a key piece of UD basketball history, but the pickup game Friday provided one last moment in the spotlight. The May brothers, Don and Ken, shot around after the game ended. Ann Meyers, inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame last week, coach Don Donoher and the legend himself, Bucky Bockhorn, also said their goodbyes to the Tartan.

On the scoreboard, throughout the day, was a fitting tribute: “Remember the Tartan.”

Carlisle will play for regional baseball title after blanking CCD 2-0

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 5:38 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 10:05 PM

Carlisle’s players celebrate on the field Thursday after defeating Cincinnati Country Day 2-0 in a Division III regional semifinal at the Athletes in Action complex in Xenia. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JOHN CUMMINGS

The Division III state tournament is one more celebration away for Carlisle High School’s baseball team.

Senior Adam Goodpaster tossed a three-hitter and launched the first home run of his prep career Thursday in a 2-0 regional semifinal victory over Cincinnati Country Day at the Athletes in Action complex.

“I can’t believe it, to be honest,” Goodpaster said. “I knew we had the talent to get here, but there’s always bumps in the road, and you don’t always win when you’re supposed to. So it’s kind of a surreal feeling just being here.

“We’re getting hot at the right time, and our confidence is through the roof. We’re just playing to play another day. We enjoy it so much with each other. We don’t want it to end anytime soon.”

DIVISION I: Fairfield ousted by Bombers 4-1

DIVISION I: Extra baseball leads to West win

The Indians (22-9), whose lone state appearance came in 1966, will return to AIA’s Grady’s Field on Friday at 5 p.m. to face Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (22-7) for the regional title.

Carlisle coach Chris Hawkins, who was told that his program’s last regional-final appearance was a 7-4 loss to Columbus Academy in 2003, is thrilled that his players are experiencing a deep postseason run.

“Pretty cool, pretty cool,” Hawkins said. “It’s all about just getting to play another day. I was telling Goodpaster, ‘Get some ice on your arm. You’ve got to play short tomorrow.’ It’s just a good feeling to say that. We’re not packing it in or done. You get to play again.

“I’m looking forward to hanging with the kids and the coaching staff at 2:30 tomorrow, shagging balls, throwing some BP, music on at the field. We really enjoy that. You never know when it’s the last time, especially with the six seniors we’ve got.”

The Indians managed just two hits against Country Day right-hander T.J. Brock, a solo home run by Goodpaster in the first inning and a single by Caleb Stewart in the fourth.

Reece Human walked and came home on a J.J. Roberts ground out in the second inning.

“Obviously every game we expect to come in and win, but you’ve got to actually do it, and we knew this was going to be a hard game,” said Human, a senior left fielder. “It was just play our baseball. Play defense and let the hits come.

“We’re excited, and we know we’ve got work to do. We’re excited to do the work.”

CCD (21-7) and Carlisle stranded seven runners apiece. Country Day left all its runners on base in the first five frames, going six up and six down against Goodpaster after a 68-minute weather delay.

“We had our chances,” CCD coach Tim Dunn said. “I’m a little disappointed. I thought we had our quote unquote baseball players up in key situations and just didn’t get anything out of it. So we have no complaints there.”

Goodpaster wasn’t far away from the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s 125-pitch limit. Hawkins thought about the possibility of replacing him after the lengthy delay.

“First of all, I knew that if we made the change, he’d probably tear the dugout down,” Hawkins said. “But he also came to us and said, ‘Listen, I get it … I will tell you.’ He went out and tossed a bit and he’s like, ‘I think I feel like I’m more dialed in than I was before.’ I trust him. We’ve always trusted him. He’s always been a big-game player, whether it’s at shortstop or on the mound.”

“I knew my arm was fine. I wasn’t concerned about that,” Goodpaster said. “I felt like it was more of a break than a delay.”

The right-hander struck out six and walked four. Leadoff man Cameron Davis had two singles for Country Day.

“They’re a tough team, so I had to mix a lot of pitches, and I feel like I was throwing them all pretty decent,” Goodpaster said. “I struggled throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes, but the defense had my back. I felt confident just putting it over the plate and letting those guys make the plays.”

Goodpaster was a bit surprised by his home run. He pulled a Brock pitch over the right-field wall.

“He’s a good pitcher, but he missed a spot there,” Goodpaster said. “I got ahead in the count, and I was just sitting dead red like a hitter should and he gave it to me, so I took advantage of it.

“I’ve been hitting with a little more power this year. I’ve hit a few in the summer, but I’ve never quite got ahold of one like that in high school ball. I couldn’t ask for a better time to do it.”

Hawkins conceded the team won’t let him get a big head about it. “What we’re going to tell him is it was wind-aided and it was 314 down the line,” he said.

Brock, a highly regarded junior right-hander, collected four strikeouts and six walks.

“We were expecting faster because that’s what we saw online, but he was still pretty good,” Human said.

CHCA defeated Fredericktown 6-1 in Thursday’s second regional semifinal. The Eagles dropped a 4-2 decision to visiting Carlisle on May 12.

“It was a really tight ballgame, and they ended up on top of the scoreboard,” CHCA coach Tony Schulz said. “It was a rough way to go on Senior Night, but they’re a really good team.”

Schulz spent the last three seasons as Fairfield’s head coach. He’s now an assistant athletic director at CHCA.

“The whole community has welcomed me with open arms, and the guys really bought into what we were trying to install here and the attitude and the culture we were bringing,” Schulz said. “All the credit goes to them for that. I think we’re playing our best baseball right now.”

Pitching has been a strength all year for the Eagles. Schulz said he’ll choose between sophomore right-handers Clayton Brock and Max Ripperger to start on the mound Friday — Carlisle is expected to counter with senior righty Jake Glover.

Cincinnati Country Day 000-000-0—0-3-0

Carlisle 110-000-x—2-2-0

WP — Adam Goodpaster (10-1); LP — T.J. Brock (5-2); HR – CAR: Goodpaster. Records: CCD 21-7, CAR 22-9

Graham High School names new football coach

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 11:06 AM


Graham High School has named Shane Cahill as its new football coach.

A West Jefferson High School grad who played collegiate at Urbana, Cahill has spent the last three seasons as defensive coordinator at Mechanicsburg.

»RELATED: High school results for May 25

“Mr. Cahill has been a winner at all levels. He’s also been praised for his teaching ability. That’s the type of pedigree we look for in a teacher and coach,” Graham Athletic Director Jay Lewis said.

Cahill succeeds A.J. Woods, who stepped down after two seasons.

At West Jefferson, Cahill was a three-year letterwinner on teams that went 40-9 and reached the regional finals three times. At Urbana, he was a four-year letterwinner an all-conference linebacker.

Over the last three years, Cahill has been part of a succesful Mechanicsburg program. The Indians have gone 32-5 over that span, reaching the state playoffs all three years while reaching the regional finals twice. At Mechanicsburg, Cahill was employed as an Intervention Specialist.

“I’m incredibly excited to build a culture of accountability and leadership with the student athletes at Graham High School,” Cahill said. “I am also very thankful for the opportunity given to me by the Graham Board of Education and administration.”

Fallen local Marine to be honored in NASCAR race

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:05 AM
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:29 AM

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC USA Thursday 25 May 2017 Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Roush Fenway Racing, Fastenal Ford Fusion World. JOHN K HARRELSON/CONTRIBUTED PHOTOCopyright: John K Harrelson NKP

John Prazynski admits he’s not a huge NASCAR fan, but the Liberty Township resident will be glued to the action in the Coca Cola 600 on Sunday night.

That’s because his son Taylor, a Fairfield High School graduate who died at 20 fighting in Iraq in 2005, will be one of 40 fallen soldiers honored during the race by having their names emblazoned on the windshield of each car.

›› RELATED: Prazynski’s love of country remains

In Taylor’s case, his name will appear on the No. 17 car driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

“NASCAR has been very, very military friendly, and we’re thrilled that he’s included,” John said. “The biggest fear any parent who loses a child has is that their child will be forgotten. So here’s NASCAR, Ricky Stenhouse, Honor and Remember, all doing something to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m truly thankful for that. And not just for our child, but others as well.”

“It’s 12 years this month – May 9 – since we lost him, and it seems like yesterday and forever all at the same time,” John added. “Memorial Day Weekend is a great way to honor him and all the others.”

This won’t be the first time Taylor’s name has adorned a race car. Several years back the Armed Forces Foundation brought John to a race in Michigan and allowed him to place a sticker of Taylor’s name on the rear bumper of the No. 41 car driven by Kurt Busch.

And four years ago the family attended the Sam Deeds Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. Deeds served with Taylor in the third battalion, 8th Marine regiment. He was honored with the race title as part of a program by sponsor Crown Royal that transfers naming rights to a deserving hero. Deeds secured tickets for the Prazynski family to help him celebrate the occasion.

“We’ve had so many blessings in these past 12 years with the people that we’ve met and things that we’ve gotten to see,” John said. “We know we would never have had these opportunities if it weren’t for Taylor. And I’d give every one of them back to have even another day with him.

Taylor will not be the only local connection to Sunday’s race as members of Team Fastrax, a Butler County skydiving unit, will soar into Charlotte Motor Speedway with the American flag, the Honor and Remember flag and the Purple Heart flag as part of pre-race festivities.

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But once the green flag drops, John’s focus will be on Stenhouse, who has already driven the No. 17 car to victory once this season at Talladega.

“We’re just thrilled that Taylor’s included in this,” John said. “That honor is something that is beyond whatever I would expect. But if Ricky won, I would believe that divine intervention played a part because we have things that happen that we call ‘Taylor moments,’ just different little things that happen where you can’t help but look up and go, ‘OK, thanks.’

“We’re not making new memories with him as we all thought we would, his friends and the rest of our family,” John added. “So anybody who recognizes him, speaks his name, tells his story, or anything like that, it just allows his memory to live on. And that’s what we’re most thankful for.”