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Sports Today: Shot clocks are still terrible edition

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

Dunbar beats Fenwick in tournament game they fought to re-enter

After winning in court, the Dunbar boys’ basketball team won on the court last night against Fenwick. 

I wasn’t there, but it sounds like it was a fairly strange game. 

The Wolverines prevailed 27-26 in a game that had more standing than playing in the second half. 

Via Marc Pendleton

Fittingly, the game also was an oddity. Fenwick (17-7) was packed in a tight zone defense like it had mostly used to win a Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North championship. Dunbar hoped to draw the Falcons out by holding the ball.

Instead, the final four minutes of the third quarter and the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter were spent with Dunbar players standing still with the ball and Fenwick defenders watching motionless. 

This of course will draw more calls for the OHSAA to implement a shot clock, something it should not do. 

The shot clock works, sort of, in the NBA because the players are so incredibly talented — most importantly because almost everyone can shoot, which is the opposite of how things are at every other level of basketball. 

»RELATED: Dayton, OHSAA in war of words after Dunbar legal victory

Since NBA players can consistently finish possessions successfully out of a variety of situations, the game remains entertaining. 

That league still endured a noticeable scoring dip and terrible pace-of-play issues in the late 1990s and early 2000s, though, which is further proof the shot clock isn’t an answer for anyone else. 

It brings diminishing returns because it punishes teams that are good at running offense and rewards those who just want to muck things up by forcing teams to shoot even when there is no shot to take. 

Who said there should be a time limit on how long a team has to play good defense? 

Like anyone else, I don’t want to see a team simply hold the ball, but that can be prevented by guarding them. 

And if a team is able to play keep away while being closely guarded? More power to them. Handling the ball and passing are basketball skills just as much as shooting. It’s all part of the game. 

College coaches who want to still manage to play a slow-down game, and scoring at that level was higher before the shot clock was installed. 

The recent scoring uptick in college are more from actually calling fouls (and many teams responding by playing less physically) than by shaving five seconds off the shot clock. 

The only way for a shot clock to have a significant effect on pace of play is to be so short that teams don’t have time to set up an offense at all, which I’ve never seen anyone advocate. 

As mentioned, the remedy for teams holding the ball is already in place thanks to the five-second rule. 

Fenwick knew what it was doing when it got into a zone last night. 

Since the Wolverines had the lead, Dunbar was smart to hold the ball if it didn’t feel it could beat that zone consistently. 

Fenwick could have stopped this easily by getting out of the zone, but they didn’t. 

Both coaches said as much in our other story from last night. 

Via Rick Cassano

“I was expecting a decent scoring game, but it’s tournament time. You’ve got to do what you have to do to win the game,” Wolverines coach Chuck Taylor said. “We thought Fenwick did a good job packing it in on our big guy and our shots wouldn’t fall, so we just decided if we got a lead, we had to make those guys play man-to-man.

“We put the ball in their court. If they wanted to sit back, we were going to hold the ball.”

Fenwick coach Pat Kreke said he had no regrets. 

“It wasn’t a good game to watch, but if I didn’t think it was working to our advantage, we’d have come out of the zone right away,” Kreke said. “I thought that was to our advantage, and we had a shot to win. I thought the kids played their butts off.”

Good enough for me. 

The bottom line is the shot clock works as a disincentive to running good offense without really encouraging teams to play fast either, which means it isn’t worth it as far as I’m concerned.

Next up for Dunbar is a district final against Cincinnati Woodward on Saturday in Hamilton… 

Meanwhile, the next basketball game that counts Justin Ahrens will play will be in an Ohio State uniform. 

Ahrens’ Versailles team was knocked out of the Division III tournament by Cincinnati Madeira last night. 

The Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year had 13 points while twin brother AJ led the Tigers with 15. 

On the bright side for Versailles, the Tigers girls’ team is still going after a throttling of Williamsburg. 

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Reds set sights on moving out of NL Central basement

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 1:05 PM

The Reds' Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton celebrate at home plate after a grand slam by Votto in the third inning against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds' Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton celebrate at home plate after a grand slam by Votto in the third inning against the Tigers on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at Great American Ball Park.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

About six weeks ago, Cincinnati Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman talked to his club about setting short-term goals.

“Let's go catch that fourth-place club,” Riggleman said. “Then after that, let's go get that third-place club.”

The Reds seemed destined to spend all season in the National League Central Division basement at the time, and that still seemed the case earlier this month. The Reds were 21 games under .500 on June 9.

» BAD NEWS: Top prospect out for season

However, after winning nine of their last 11 games, including six in a row entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Reds (31-45) have moved within five games of fourth-place Pittsburgh.

Riggleman hasn’t given any motivational speeches to get the team going. He gave those speeches more often in the first month on the job. Now he talks to the team after each game and reviews the game while looking ahead to the next one. He’s more selective about when he makes big speeches.

With the Reds playing almost every day, Riggleman can’t approach the job as a football coach would.

“It’s too much,” Riggleman said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Jim, again with the talk?' I leave them alone a little big and get their attention another time. I think a lot of people think you've got pound in every message every day. It's more subtle in baseball.”

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Royals consider signing college pitcher who pleaded guilty to child molestation charge

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich pleaded guilty in 2012 to a felony charge of molesting a 6-year-old relative.
Nati Harnik/AP
Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich pleaded guilty in 2012 to a felony charge of molesting a 6-year-old relative.(Nati Harnik/AP)

The Kansas City Royals are considering signing Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty as a 15-year-old to molesting his 6-year-old niece, The Kansas City Star reported.

>> Read more trending news

“We continue to seek information that allows us to be comfortable in pursuing Luke,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.

In 2012, Heimlich pleaded guilty to child molestation in Washington, Sports Illustrated reported.

According to court documents obtained by The Oregonian, the first time Heimlich molested his niece was when she was 4. He admitted he had “sexual contact” with the girl, The Oregonian reported.

Heimlich and his Oregon State teammates advanced to the College World Series championship series on Saturday, beating Mississippi State 5-2.

For the second straight year, Heimlich was not selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. 

Even though Heimlich is a two-time Pac-12 pitcher of the year, activist Brenda Tracy told the Star the 22-year-old should not be signed.

“I’m sorry, but Luke does not deserve to be on that platform and pedestal, (potentially) looked up to and adored by millions of people, including young kids,” Tracy, a survivor of a gang rape in Corvallis, Oregon, said Saturday. “We should never normalize, we should never minimize (what Heimlich pleaded guilty to). If the Royals bring him on their team, they are complicit in normalizing and minimizing.”

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Heimlich denied touching his niece despite his guilty plea. 

“I pled guilty to it, but ever since that day and even before that, in court records and everything, I’ve denied ever committing the offense,” Heimlich told the magazine. “I stand by that.”

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NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini hit by car while jogging

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini, right, is recovering from injuries after she was hit by a car while jogging Saturday in California.
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini, right, is recovering from injuries after she was hit by a car while jogging Saturday in California.(Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini suffered a skull fracture and concussion Saturday after she was hit by a car while jogging in Novato, California, according to a news release from Venturini Racing.

>> Read more trending news

Venturini, 39, was in California to cover Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup race in Sonoma. She will remain in the hospital for several days, the news release said.

“She’s completely coherent and conversational, and I have talked to her on two occasions today," said Doug Rice, president and general manager of Performance Racing Network. "They told her she would have a really good headache for a couple of days.”

Venturini's father, Bill, is a two-time Auto Racing Club of America champion who founded Venturini Motorsports in 1982, The Sporting News reported.

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Three newest members of Dayton women’s basketball team arrive on campus

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 12:09 PM

Dayton coach Shauna Green watches the team practice before the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton coach Shauna Green watches the team practice before the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

The three newest members of the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball team — Ella Skeens, Amari Davidson and Kyla Whitehead — arrived on campus this weekend. The University of Dayton’s second summer session begins Monday and ends with exams Aug. 3-4.

“Very excited to finally have these three on campus!!” Dayton coach Shauna Green wrote on Twitter. “Can not wait to see what the future holds for them.”

» STAFF NEWS: Dayton hires new assistant coach

“Excited to have Ella, Amari and Kyla on campus!” assistant coach Calamity McEntire wrote on Twitter. “They have a sign hanging in their apartment that says, ‘Don’t wish for it, work for it.’ I loved it!!”

Here’s a quick glance at the three Dayton freshmen:

• Skeens, 5-foot-11 wing: She finished her career with 2,283 points. She’s the all-time leading scorer in the history of Chillicothe Southeastern High School, Ross Country and the Scioto Valley Conference. Skeens committed to Dayton on June 4, 2017.

• Davidson, 6-2 forward: The Avon High School graduate committed to Dayton on Aug. 17, 2017. She’ll be the third member of her family to play college basketball. Sierra Davison, a 6-0 forward, played in six games last season as a junior at Cleveland State. Shay Davidson, a 5-11 forward, played in 18 games last season as a freshman at Notre Dame College.

•  Whitehead, 6-2 forward: She helped lead Pickerington Central to the Division I state championship in March. She had nine points and five rebounds in a 49-45 victory against Solon in the title game. Whitehead committed to Dayton on Sept. 26, 2017.

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