breaking news


Former Dunbar standouts lead Spire Academy over Fairmont in Flyin’ opener, 80-70

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 7:32 PM
Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 10:06 PM

Spire Academy seniors Caleb McConnell (left) and Devon Baker, both transfers from Dunbar, address an 80-70 defeat of host Fairmont in the 16th Annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop opener at Trent Arena in Kettering on Fri., Jan. 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Spire Academy overcame a Fairmont streak-shooting Jack Hendricks by rallying in the second half for an 80-70 win in the 16th annual Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop opener at Trent Arena on Friday night.

Hendricks had 20 points at halftime and finished with 29, including eight 3-pointers. He recently set the Firebirds’ single-game scoring record of 52 points, which included 14 three-pointers.

Leading Spire was senior Dunbar transfer Devon Baker with 22 points. Also playing for Spire was Caleb McConnell, another Dunbar senior transfer who scored 19 points. Both Baker and McConnell transferred to the Geneva, Ohio, prep school campus after last season.

Also dressing for Spire was 7-foot-7 center Rob Bobroczky, although he didn’t play.

»RELATED: Spire’s 7-7 center of attention

»RELATED: It’s game on for Flyin’

»RELATED: Delay of game for unbeatens Springfield, Wayne and others

»RELATED: Boys basketball Power Rankings

»RELATED: Girls basketball Power Rankings

»RELATED: 1,000 games and counting for Beavercreek coach

Caleb McConnell of Spire Academy fires over Fairmont defenders. Fairmont played Spire in the Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop opener at Trent Arena on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Top-ranked Findlay Prep (Nev.) plays Huntington Prep (W.Va.) in Friday’s second game of the doubleheader. Among the many standouts in that game will be Findlay’s 7-2 center Bol Bol, Manute’s son who was expected to sign with the University of Kentucky but instead opted for Oregon.

16th ANNUAL PREMIER HEALTH FLYIN’ TO THE HOOP

At Fairmont’s Trent Arena, Kettering

Friday’s results

Spire Institute (Ohio) 80, Fairmont 70

Findlay Prep (Nev.) 50, Huntington Prep (W.Va.) 48

Saturday’s games

Springboro vs. Tippecanoe girls, 11:30 a.m.

Olentangy Liberty vs. Xenia, 1:15 p.m.

Hilliard Bradley vs. Spire Academy (Ohio), 3 p.m.

Pickerington North vs. Princeton, 4:45 p.m.

McEachern (Ga.) vs. Trotwood-Madison, 6:30 p.m.

IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. Prolific Prep (Calif.), 8:15 p.m.

Sunday’s games

Mountain Mission (Va.) vs. Miamisburg, 11:30 a.m.

Sidney vs. Versailles, 1:15 p.m.

Fairland vs. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, 3 p.m.

Covington Catholic (Ky.) vs. Middletown, 4:45 p.m.

Prolific Prep (Calif.) vs. Garfield Heights, 6:30 p.m.

Cleveland Heights vs. Springfield, 8:15 p.m.

Monday’s games

Franklin Monroe vs. Minster, 11:30 a.m.

Fort Loramie vs. Thurgood Marshall, 1:15 p.m.

Pickerington Central vs. McEachern (Ga.), 3 p.m.

Lyndhurst Brush vs. Cin. Hughes, 4:45 p.m.

La Lumiere (Ind.) vs. Aspire Academy (Ky.), 6:30 p.m

Upper Arlington vs. Wayne, 8:15 p.m.

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

Trending - Most Read Stories

Cincinnati Reds: Peraza more comfortable, confident at shortstop

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 8:24 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 8:24 PM


            Reds shortstop Jose Peraza throws to first base for an out against the Cardinals on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds shortstop Jose Peraza throws to first base for an out against the Cardinals on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

One of the Reds’ many problems while losing 18 of their first 22 games was defense, especially around second base.

Jose Peraza, back at shortstop as the heir to 2017 All-Star Zack Cozart after losing his second base position to Scooter Gennett last season, had committed just one error in his first 21 games, but he seemed uncomfortable. Grounders that fans were used to see being caught instead were leaking through to the outfield.

»RELATED: Garrett untouchable in bullpen

»RELATED: Reds hope win get them going

»MCCOY: What’s it like inside Reds clubhouse?

Recently, though, Peraza has shown signs that the more he plays, the more comfortable and confident he feels.

“I think he’s playing great,” Gennett said before Tuesday’s game against Atlanta. “He’s been playing that position with more confidence. After switching back and forth, I’m really impressed with how quickly he’s picked it back up again.”

Going into this season, Peraza had started 82 major league games at second back and 77 at shortstop.

Peraza, who turns only 24 on April 30, also was becoming more productive offensively. Going into Tuesday’s game, he had hit .292 since starting the season 0-for-12, pushing his overall average up to .247.

Interim manager Jim Riggleman credits Peraza’s defensive improvement to working with infield coach Freddie Benavides.

“He’s playing good,” Riggleman said of Peraza, acquired from the Dodgers as part of the December 2015 three-team trade in which third baseman Todd Frazier was sent to the White Sox. “He’s an extremely hard worker. I know Freddie’s had to tone him back a little bit. It’s a long season, but I think he’s played fine.”

Riggleman believes shortstops are at a disadvantage because they usually are compared to those who played at the highest level, such as Ozzie Smith or Omar Vizquel. In Cincinnati, shortstops follow in the footsteps of Roy McMillan and Leo Cardenas and Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin.

“There’s such excellence that to call anybody average is an insult,” Riggleman said. “If you’re an average major league shortstop, you’re pretty good. He’s really swinging the bat and running the bases. He’s a baseball player.”

Deeper bench

Cincinnati’s five-man bench allowed Riggleman to make a move that proved decisive in Monday’s 10-4 win over the Braves.

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth inning of a tie game, he sent right-handed-hitting Phil Gosselin up to bat against left-hander Sam Freeman. Braves’ manager Brian Snitker replaced Freeman with right-hander Peter Moylan, prompting Riggleman to take down Gosselin and send up left-hander Jesse Winker, who delivered a tie-breaking, run-scoring single.

“The sixth inning is a little earlier than I’d like to do it, but with five players on the bench, it’s easier than with four,” Riggleman said. “With four players, it’s really tough, especially if one of them is a catcher. That makes it tough to maneuver for the rest of the game.”

New tools

Tucker Barnhart didn’t have anybody particular in mind as he banged a black Rawlings catcher’s mitt with a bat on the floor in front of his Great American Ball Park home clubhouse cubicle.

The Reds catcher simply was going through the process of breaking in a couple of new gloves. The process is lengthy.

“This one I started on in January and all through spring training,” he said, holding up a third black glove. “I’m hoping it’ll last me close to two years. Rawlings has pretty good leather.”

That means the new gloves might not see the field until 2019.

Barnhart uses a leather conditioner to help with the breaking in process, which also includes him flexing the glove with his hands.

“It’s getting there,” he said.

Bare hand

Sal Romano’s right hand was sore on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after he speared Ozzie Albies’ sharp one-hopper with his bare hand and threw him out at first.

Romano’s approach is not recommended.

“We literally talk about it in spring training,” Riggleman said. “The thing is, with the way shifts are, if you let it go, there’s probably going to be a middle infielder there, but its competition. It’s instinct. What you don’t want to have happen is he doesn’t get all of it and it dribbles off into no-man’s land.”

Trading Kevins: Before Tuesday’s game, the Reds reinstated right-hander Kevin Schackelford from the 10-day disabled list and designated right-hander Kevin Quackenbush for assignment, leaving the 40-man roster at 39. Schackelford was sidelined since March 29 with a right forearm strain. Quackenbush was 0-1 with an 11.00 earned-run average in 10 games.

Next up

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (0-2) is scheduled to make his third start since coming off the disabled list in Wednesday’s 6:40 p.m. game against Atlanta. Finnegan is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career games, both of them starts, against the Braves.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Newest Dayton basketball recruit is a triplet

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 2:39 PM

The opening tipoff of Dayton against Austin Peay on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at UD Arena.
David Jablonski
The opening tipoff of Dayton against Austin Peay on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, at UD Arena.(David Jablonski)

The newest Dayton Flyers recruit, Frankie Policelli, turned 18 last week, his dad Frank said, and like every other birthday in his life, Frankie shared it with two other members of his family: his brother Niko and sister Amber.

The Policellis are triplets.

“It’s been quite an exciting, fast 18 years, I tell you that much,” said Frank Policelli, an attorney in Utica, N.Y.

Frankie wrote the latest chapter in that story Monday, announcing his verbal commitment to the Dayton Flyers. He’s the third member of UD’s 2018 recruiting class along with Dwayne Cohill and Jhery Matos. Dayton now has nine scholarship players on the roster for the 2018-19 season and has the opportunity to add as many as four more as recruiting continues in the weeks ahead.

» RELATED: Former Dayton forward heading to Akron

Frank described his son’s recruiting process as intense. Policelli, a 6-foot-8 small forward who is bordering on 6-9, according to his coaches, had scholarship offers from Cincinnati Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech and others.

“He was making a big decision,” Frank said. “You have to consider a lot of factors. There’s a lot of variables. At the end of the day, this was the best option for him to pursue. You want to have the balance of a good education and a good basketball opportunity at the same time. Dayton had the best offer for him from both a basketball and educational point of view.”

Here’s a quick glance at other reacts and comments to Policelli’s commitment:

John Buck, Long Island Lutheran head coach: "He’s explosive,” Buck said. “He really shoots the ball well. He can get hot. He had games where he hit 6, 7 and 8 3s for us in different games. He rebounds the ball. He’s just a really, humble, selfless kid."

» UPDATE: What the Dayton roster looks like now

Buck said Policelli averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range and 86 percent from the free-throw line.

“He’s playing with five other Division I players,” Buck said. “Twelve points a game is not 12 points a game at your local public school.”

Jay David, New York Jayhawks executive director and Long Island Lutheran assistant coach: “He’s an amazing kid,” David said, “a great person off the floor, and I think with Dayton, they’re getting a kid who’s just now scratching the surface, similar with Obadiah (Toppin) when he went to Dayton. Frankie is 6-8, 6-9, a lefty shooter, a really strong kid — or will be a really strong kid — and brings a lot of positives to a program. He’s high character. Basketball wise, it’s a great fit for him. They really wanted him there. He felt comfortable with coach (Anthony) Grant, and I think he’s going to grow there.”

Trending - Most Read Stories

Sports Today: Reds get some managerial magic for at least one night

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 23: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to drive in a run in the eighth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on April 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 23: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to drive in a run in the eighth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on April 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Chalk one up for Jim Riggleman. 

The interim manager of the Cincinnati Reds moved Scott Schebler up to the leadoff spot, and the offense promptly exploded for 10 runs in a victory over the Braves

Schebler was a big part of it, going 2 fo 5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. 

He hit the first Reds home run in a week and made Riggleman look pretty smart. 

Not that I get the impression that was what the skipper was really going for: 

“We’re 3-and-whatever we are,” Riggleman said before the game. “We’ve got to try anything.”

Sometimes managerial magic is interchangeable with luck, and I think we can all agree “anything” is better than the first three weeks of the season for the Reds. 

Riggleman also sounds committed to batting Billy Hamilton ninth until he starts to look like a real major-league hitter, so I guess we can rule out the second coming of Dusty Baker here (old-school baseball man who insists on speed at the top of the lineup regardless of on-base percentage). 

It is amazing how quickly this became a put-up-or-ship-out season for Hamilton, who apparently could have been traded in December and now may have a lot less value after a bad spring and worse start to the regular season. 

Sal Romano pitched six good innings, striking out five and allowing only one earned run, to get his first win of the season. 

More good news: Eugenio Suarez should be back in a Reds uniform soon. The third baseman is scheduled to play in Triple-A for Louisville tonight on a rehab assignment for his fractured thumb. 

It’s probably too late to salvage a .500 record this season, but the Reds offense should look a heck of a lot better with Suarez and Schebler back in the lineup. 

At least management should still get a chance to sort out which of the guys in the majors deserve to be in Cincinnati long term and who can be moved out to make room for youngsters moving up in the improved farm system. 

There was some bad news, though. 

Hunter Greene was knocked around as the Dayton Dragons lost their third straight game. 

The Reds’ most-recent first-round pick took his first loss of the season after failing to get out of the first inning. 

He allowed seven runs, including a grand slam, and recorded only two outs. 

Greene walked three and gave up four hits. 

For what it’s worth, three of the runs charged to Greene scored with Austin Orewiler on the mound in relief. 

I mention that because Greene showed a knack for getting out of trouble in his first two starts. 

If you’re keeping score, he’s gone from great to average to pretty bad in three times out for Dayton. 

PREVIOUSLY: Greene battles elements in second start

Bumps in the road were always to be expected, of course, especially for such a young fella. 

It will be interesting to see how he bounces back and how quickly he can develop a game plan for hitters who are willing to wait for his fastball and can lay off his breaking stuff. 

The Dragons are the definition of streaky so far, having lost three in a row to start the season, won nine and now lost three more in a row… 

Dayton Flyers basketball made news Monday, too, as one player announced he is joining up and another announced where he is going next. 

Frank Policelli, a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island, will be eligible to help Anthony Grant’s team this fall after verbally committed Monday

He is a three-star top 300 recruit in the 2018 class who played AAU ball with current Flyer Obadiah Toppin. 

» RELATED: Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s program

Meanwhile, Xeyrius Williams revealed he plans to continue his college basketball career at Akron

The former Wayne High School star was a starter two seasons ago but opted to transfer after an injury-plagued junior season. 

At 6-9 with the ability to shoot the three, he could be a force in the MAC -- but not until 2019-20. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

New Bengals linebacker gets his old jersey number at surprising cost

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:18 PM


            ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

When Preston Brown walked through the Bengals locker room for the first time after signing a one-year, $5 million contract, he noticed his number — 52 — already was assigned to Brandon Bell.

“I’ll have a talk with him and see what we can work out,” Brown said.

But that conversation never happened.

›› Bengals RB Mixon hoping Baker Mayfield doesn’t end up in Cleveland

“When I showed up last week (for the start of voluntary offseason workouts), I already had it,” Brown said.

Bell was just as surprised was Brown, but he said he understood.

“It’s a veteran thing,” Bell said. “I get it. They say we’re still rookies. I don’t mind it too much. It is what it is.”

›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft

Bell wore 11 in college so he didn’t have an attachment to 52. This year he will wear 51, which belonged to Kevin Minter last year.

Even though Bell didn’t have a say in the swap, Brown said he still plans to thank him.

“I’m going to have to take him out to dinner or something,” Brown said.

›› Bengals 2018 schedule features a number of franchise firsts

“I’ll take him up on that offer,” Bell said. “A nice steak would be great.”

Cordy Glenn, whom the Bengals obtained in a trade with Buffalo last month, also will wear the same No. 77 he wore with the Bills. That number, worn by Andrew Whitworth from 2008-2016, was not assigned to anyone last year.

Trending - Most Read Stories