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What will it take for Flyers to make winning a habit again?

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 12:34 PM

Postgame: Dayton's Anthony Grant on victory over Duquesne

So where is Dayton basketball after an 88-73 win over Duquesne on Wednesday night?

The Flyers are 11-12 overall and 5-6 in the Atlantic 10. 

RELATED: Dayton torches the nets, gets back in the win column

Their problems have been identified by now.

Their strengths, too. 

Starting with the negatives is unfortunate, but we kind of have to when a team is a game below .500 on the year, right?

And when a game like Wednesday happens, we remember why a sub .500-record is so disappointing for this Dayton squad.

Even with all the new faces and new roles.

Even with a new coach.

Even against a tough schedule.

The Flyers should be better right?

Well, they haven’t been.

If they are going to be, they can’t wait any longer.

The biggest goal of the season is out the window – they won’t be winning the Atlantic 10 for a third straight regular season.

They aren’t getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, either, despite playing a schedule worthy of one if they had, you know, won a lot more games.

But a strong finish is important.

RELATED: Jordan Davis bounces back with strong shooting night

This is not the NBA where a team can actually win for losing by earning a higher draft pick.

Tanking is not an option at this level. Well, at least not a smart one.

Dayton has six games left in the regular season.

After that, there’s the yearly March reset.

The conference tournament will present another chance to make this season memorable for the right reasons, something to build on and of course the potential to make the NCAA tournament for the fifth year in a row.

Even if they don’t accomplish that, there are positives to be wrung from this campaign.

Offseasons are long. Losing records are forever.

Narratives can be hard to change once they are developed. 

Dayton has made the commitment to winning. It’s got the facilities and the fans of a major program.

Not every step will be forward, but falling too far backward at one time can be debilitating when going out there to sell the brand and recruit the best.

Momentum is important.

So how does this Dayton team finally build some of that? 

If you’ve read this far, you might be expecting some sort of brilliant answer.

There’s not one.

I don’t have it, and neither does Anthony Grant. 

Oh, there are plenty of potential answers. Some of them might even work. They just aren’t going to break any new ground.

That’s probably why he laughed when asked if he had recorded his halftime talk.

Certainly he said something inspiring that led Dayton to, um, fly out of the gate in the second half, right? They outscored the Dukes 20-5 in the opening minutes of the second stanza and hardly looked back.

Dayton ended up shooting over 80 percent in the second half en route to a 15-point win that snapped a two-game losing streak.

That first part isn’t going to happen every night, but they can share the ball and play that hard again and expect similar results. 

» RELATED:  Dayton sets second-half shooting record

“You know what? Our guys have heard my voice enough now they can probably tell you everything I say before I say it,” Grant said.

The veteran coach seemed to like hearing Trey Landers’ solution for finally achieving that consistency that has eluded the Flyers since the start of Grant’s first season on the bench at his alma mater. 

“I would just say our habits, what we do on a day-in, day-out basis,” the sophomore wing said. "A big thing for us is just being able to repeat those habits. Some games we come out and we have 25 assists. We win by 20. Then some games we lose to teams we feel like we shouldn’t lose to. So I just feel like it’s consistency.” 

Trey Landers scored 12 points and added nine assists as the Flyers beat Duquesne on Wednesday night.

So there you have it! 

All Dayton has to do to return to the top of the Atlantic 10 is, well, do what it is supposed to do to be at the top of the Atlantic 10. 

Like I said, it’s not a brilliant theory, but it is time-tested. 

You’ve no doubt heard that cliched quote, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!” 

That’s often attributed to Vince Lombardi, but apparently the legendary Green Bay Packers coach never said that exact phrase (or at least wasn’t the first to if he did). 

He did, however, lay out something similar in his book, What It Takes To Be Number One.

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while. You don’t do things right once in a while. You do them right all the time. 

“Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” 

So that’s something to watch the rest of the way — and what is likely to determine not only how this season ends up, but what is in store for the rest of Grant’s tenure because the challenge of getting a team to work hard, be disciplined and play the right way never goes away. 

The Flyers need a strong finish, and that is within their grasp. 

Wednesday night proved that again. 

Now we’ll see if they can hold on this time. 

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Senior sprinter fuels Dunbar to D-II regional boys championship

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 1:22 PM


            Miami East junior Blaine Brokschmidt won the pole vault during the first day of the D-II regional track and field meet at Piqua on Thursday, May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Miami East junior Blaine Brokschmidt won the pole vault during the first day of the D-II regional track and field meet at Piqua on Thursday, May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

Jalani Allen won three individual events and Dunbar posted seven total firsts to run away with the Division II regional track and field boys team championship at Piqua High School on Saturday.

The top four regional placers advance to the season-ending state track and field meets at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday and Saturday.

» RELATED: Springfield-area D-II regional track

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I regional track and field at Wayne

The defending boys D-II state indoor and outdoor team champion, Dunbar bested runner-up Versailles 81-64 to win another regional title. Central Buckeye Conference member Bellefontaine won the girls team championship, 54-44 over Van Wert.

Allen positioned himself as a state champion contender by winning the regional 110-meter high hurdles (14.49), the 100 (11.09) and the 200 (22.30). Wolverines senior Nigel Beal also captured first in the 300 hurdles (38.60).

»RELATED: Milton-Union senior makes final state push

»NO JOKE: Northwestern teammates are a 1-3 punch

Dunbar also swept all three relays on Saturday, winning the 4x200 (1:28.33), the 4x100 (42.90) and the meet-ending 4x400 (3:19.14). Dunbar won its 10th outdoor team title in program history last season despite not winning an event at state. The Wolverines appear to be in great position to contend for another title.

»REGIONAL TRACK: “It’s all about moving on”

»IT’S A RECORD: Lakota East flash passes mark that stood since 1990

Other area boys winners were Thurgood Marshall senior Jaylen Zachery in the 400 (48.28), Versailles senior Joe Spitzer in the 1600 (4:19.64), defending D-II state champ and sophomore Robie Glass of Springfield Shawnee in the high jump (6-5) and Northwestern junior Adam Riedinger, who added a shot put title (58-1.25) to the discus title he won on Thursday.

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track at Wayne

»RELATED: Butler making surprise D-I baseball run

Alter senior Perri Bockrath extended an outstanding Knights girls career by sweeping 1600 (5:06.56) and 3200 (11:21.12).

Other area girls individual winners were Valley View junior Anna Roach in the 200 (25.91) and Greenon sophomore Delaney Benedict in the 400 (57.56).

»RELATED: Elks’ vaulters push each other to the limit

»RELATED: D-I baseball sectional photo gallery

The Dunbar girls bested the 4x100 (49.46) and 4x400 (3:59.69) relay fields. Valley View won the girls 4x200 relay (1:43.32).

»RELATED: Senior basketball standout a one-season wonder

The Division I (Wayne) and Division III (Troy) regionals concluded on Friday.

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Shawnee, Greenon, Northwestern all have regional champs

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 12:33 PM


            Northwestern sophomore Korbin Spencer was third in the discus. The first day of the D-II regional track and field meet was at Piqua on Thu., May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
            MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Northwestern sophomore Korbin Spencer was third in the discus. The first day of the D-II regional track and field meet was at Piqua on Thu., May 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(MARC PENDLETON / STAFF)

Shawnee had two winners and Greenon and Northwestern one apiece in the Division II regional track and field meet at Piqua High School on Saturday.

Winning for Shawnee were Robie Glass in the high jump and Jace Mitchem in the pole vault. They were joined by regional champs Delaney Benedict of Greenon in the 400 meters and Northwestern’s Adam Riedinger in the shot put.

» PHOTO GALLERY: D-I regional track and field at Wayne

»RELATED: Milton-Union senior makes final state push

The top four regional placers advance to the season-ending state track and field meets at Ohio State University’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Friday and Saturday

Defending boys D-II state champ Dunbar won seven events, including three by senior standout Jalani Allen, and won the boys team title, 81-64 over runner-up Versailles. Shawnee was fourth (40 points) and Northwestern sixth (29).

»NO JOKE: Northwestern teammates are a 1-3 punch

»REGIONAL TRACK: “It’s all about moving on”

Central Buckeye Conference member Bellefontaine won the girls team championship, 54-44 over Van Wert. Shawnee was ninth (29).

The Division I (Wayne) and Division III (Troy) regional concluded on Friday.

Glass, the D-II defending state champ in the high jump, won his specialty, clearing 6 feet 5. He also was second in the 200 (22.36).

»IT’S A RECORD: Lakota East flash passes mark that stood since 1990

»PHOTO GALLERY: D-I district track at Wayne

That was just pat of an outstanding Shawnee boys effort to advance to Columbus. The Braves’ were especially productive in the relays. The 4x100 relay also was second (43.45), and the 4x200 (1:30.25) and 4x400 (3:20.74) were both fourth.

Mitchem, also a sophomore, cleared 11-10 to win the pole vault. She’ll be joined at state by sophomore Olivia Warax, who was third in the 3200 (11:31.68) and senior Grace Holmes, fourth in the 1600 (5:09.66).

»RELATED: Butler making surprise D-I baseball run

»RELATED: Elks’ vaulters push each other to the limit

Benedict, a sophomore, extended her outstanding season by besting the girls 400 field (57.56). Riedinger set a personal best by adding a shot put championship (58-1.25). He also won the discus on Thursday (164-11).

»RELATED: D-I baseball sectional photo gallery

»RELATED: Senior basketball standout a one-season wonder

The only other area state qualifier from Saturday’s competition was Kenton Ridge junior high jumper Justin Peterman, who was third (6-4).

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Scooter’s five hits, diving catch lead Reds past Rockies

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 7:09 AM


            DENVER, CO - MAY 26: Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds jogs to home plate after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 26, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 26: Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds jogs to home plate after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 26, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)

Scooter Gennett capped his big day at the plate with a game-saving play in the field for the Cincinnati Reds.

Gennett tied a career high with five hits, including a solo homer, and then made a diving catch in the ninth to preserve the Reds’ 6-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

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It marked the second time in Gennett’s career that he collected five hits, previously accomplishing the feat against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 6, 2017.

Tony Cruz also homered for the Reds.

Gennett’s defense sealed the win after the Rockies loaded the bases in the ninth against reliever Jared Hughes. Ryan McMahon, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier in the day, led off with his second single and Chris Iannetta doubled to put runners on second and third. Hughes walked pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez to load the bases, but got Charlie Blackmon to ground into a forceout at the plate for the first out.

David Dahl, who drove in three runs, then lined out to Gennett at second, and the Reds second baseman doubled off Gonzalez to end the game.

“Right when he hit it, I felt like we would have a chance at getting him at (second),” Gennett said. “But that ball was hit pretty hard. I didn’t have too much time to think.”

It was the fifth double play the Rockies hit into Saturday night, which tied a franchise record.

“A couple of more feet to the left or the right, it’s a game-winner,” Dahl said. “I did everything I could do to hit the ball in the air. I hit the ball hard, he just made a good play. It was a high-to-low real quick.”

Michael Lorenzen (1-0) pitched one inning in relief, and Hughes earned his third save. Reds starter Tyler Mahle allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.

Gennett hit his 10th homer in the first and Cruz hit a two-run shot in the third to give the Reds the early lead.

The Rockies went ahead 4-3 in the fifth on Blackmon’s RBI triple and a sacrifice fly by Dahl, but the Reds scored three times off Colorado’s bullpen to take the lead.

Chris Rusin (0-1) picked up the loss after allowing two hits to the only batters he faced.

Nolan Arenado doubled and scored in the seventh to cut Cincinnati’s lead to one.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (left oblique strain) pitched in another rehab assignment for Triple-A Louisville on Friday night and appears closer to returning from the 60-day DL. “I think he’s got one more scheduled,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “His previous one was very strong, this one got hit around a little bit. That certainly happens on those rehabs. You never know what’s going to happen in those things.”

Gennett’s torrid night at the plate continued a hot month for the second baseman. Gennett is batting .392 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs in May.

“He’s locked in right now,” Iannetta said. “He’s a guy we knew coming into the series has been swinging the bat really well.”

RUNNING WILD

Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton settled for a triple leading off the seventh inning, but the speedster was eyeing more as he came around second. Third base coach Billy Hatcher put up the stop sign so Hamilton missed getting his first inside-the-park home run.

“It’s going to happen,” he said. “I understand we have no outs and it’s not about me getting an inside-the-park home run, it’s about winning. I’m not mad about the situation I didn’t get an inside-the-park home run. Just glad we got the win.”

SUNDAY’S GAME

Reds at Rockies, 3:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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Wright State rallies to win Horizon baseball title in historic fashion

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 2:11 PM

Burdick bomb sends Wright State to NCAA tournament

It’s debatable what soared higher Saturday afternoon, the go-ahead home run Wright State junior Peyton Burdick launched in the bottom of the seventh inning, or the bat he flung in the air halfway down the first base line to celebrate the shot.

Burdick’s two-run homer off UIC reliever Alex Padilla capped the comeback after a disastrous fourth inning as WSU won the Horizon League championship and earned a berth to the NCAA tournament with an 11-9 victory at Nischwitz Stadium.

“(Padilla) spiked a curveball the pitch before, and I told myself ‘he’s going to throw a fastball here,’” Burdick said. “I just told myself ‘don’t miss,’ and I didn’t miss.”

>> Sampen gem carries WSU into HL tournament final

On his trot toward first base, Burdick looked into the WSU dugout and put a finger to his lips in a “ssshhhh” motion.

“(The Flames) started chirping and I couldn’t do that to their dugout, so I had to keep it within ours,” said Burdick, who flipped the bat as high as he could after making the gesture.

The victory sends WSU to the NCAA tournament for the ninth time as a Division I program, and third in the last four years. The Raiders will find out Monday at noon whom they will play and where.

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Burdick’s ninth home run of the season helped him earn tournament MVP honors, but it was teammate Zach Weatherford who was the catalyst to the comeback after UIC erased an early 5-0 deficit with a seven-run fourth to go up 8-5.

Weatherford’s solo home run with one out in the seventh preceded Burdick’s game-winning homer, and he added an RBI double in the ninth for an insurance run as part of his four-hit afternoon.

“After Z hit his, it was like ‘all right, now it’s my turn to do something,” Burdick said.

>> Snyder named HL Player of the Year

The Raiders outscored their three opponents 31-12 in the tournament, winning their first two games easily before surviving the wild championship game.

Wright State scored five runs in the first inning to jump out to an early lead, but UIC got seven in the fourth via three extra-base hits, four walks, two WSU errors and a hit batter.

“I brought the guys up after that and said ‘If you thought this was going to be easy, you’re crazy,’” WSU coach Jeff Mercer said. “That got a little bit of a laugh and a smile, and I said, ‘We’re going to be fine. We’re going to be fine because we’re the better team and we’re more prepared and we’re tough as hell. We’re going to keep coming and keep chugging along and we did just that.”

The Raiders got an RBI single by Zane Harris in the fourth to make it 8-6 and closed within 8-7 on a Seth Gray RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, but UIC’s Aaron Ackerman led off the seventh with a solo home run to push the lead back to two.

>> Butler grad comes up big for Wright State in tourney opener

Then Weatherford and Burdick struck.

“When you’ve got superstar players that are able to go out there and compete like crazy, you keep putting the bat in their hand and they’re eventually going to find a way to come through for you,” said Mercer, the HL Coach of the Year. “It was the first time we’ve shown that resiliency. We’ve done it every day all year, and we did it again today. I expected that from them.”

After Burdick gave WSU the lead, Daniel Kreuzer retired UIC in order in the eighth, and staff ace Ryan Weiss, who started Thursday’s tournament opener, nailed down the save with a perfect ninth to set off the celebration.

In addition to Burdick and Weatherford, HL Player of the Year Gabe Snyder also had a big day, going 4 for 4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.

Jeremy Randolph earned the win in relief after bouncing back from a rough start that saw him walk the first three batters he faced in UIC’s seven-run fourth.

Weatherford somehow was omitted from the all-tournament team despite hitting .462 (6 for 13) with six RBIs, three runs scored and two stolen bases.

The six RBIs were the most of any player, and his six hits and one home run were tied for the most, while his 10 total bases were one shy of the tournament lead.

Joining Burdick on the all-tournament team were Seth Gray, JD Orr, Bentley Jones, Caleb Sampen, Chase Slone and Ryan Weiss.

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