WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Brewers have a healthy group of pitchers as spring training opens
The Milwaukee Brewers have a healthy group of pitchers as they begin their spring training in Arizona. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny was the only one not throwing yesterday, as pitchers-and-catchers held their first formal workout. Gorzelanny is coming off a shoulder operation. Position players are reporting this week, and their first official practice is on Saturday. Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke says second baseman Rickie Weeks will be at 100-percent when he arrives. Weeks missed the final two months last year with a bad hamstring that needed surgery.
The N-B-A All-Star break did some good for the Milwaukee Bucks, as far as their health is concerned. Forwards Caron Butler and John Henson practiced yesterday, and both are listed as probable for tonight's home contest against the Orlando Magic. Butler and Henson both missed four games before the four-day All-Star break with sprained ankles. Bucks' guard O-J Mayo is listed as questionable for tonight. He practiced yesterday, after missing 10 games over the past month with illness and weight concerns. Front-liner Ekpe Udoh is also questionable with a swollen right knee. The Bucks might not have starting center Larry Sanders for the rest of the season. He's out for at least six weeks after an operation to repair an eye-bone injured against Houston on February 8th. Zaza Pachulia will start at center for Milwaukee, which will try to salvage something from its final 30 games. The Bucks have the N-B-A's worst record at 9-and-43 -- and they're 0-and-3 on a six-game home-stand. They'll face an Orlando team tonight that's not much better, at 16-and-38. The Magic are 2-and-0 against Milwaukee this season.
The U-W Milwaukee women's basketball team had a tough battle with the weather before losing at Illinois-Chicago last night, 79-to-54. The Panthers normally ride two hours on a bus to the home of the Flames. But yesterday's trip took five hours because of a snowstorm, and it delayed the start of the game by an hour. Milwaukee went over 15 minutes without scoring in the first half, while Illinois-Chicago scored 30 straight. U-W-M finally made a basket with 19 seconds left, to go down by 22 at the break. The Panthers only shot 24-percent in the first half, and 34-percent for the game. Milwaukee's top two players -- Ashley Green and Angela Rodriguez -- spent most of the second half on the bench with foul trouble. Avyanna Young led U-W-M with 13 points and eight rebounds. Katie Hannemann scored 26 for Illinois-Chicago, which improved to 7-and-5 in the Horizon League. They're 18-and-7 overall, tying a school record for total victories in a season. Milwaukee dropped to 3-and-8 in the conference and 7-and-17 overall. They'll host Youngstown State on Friday night. Tonight, the Marquette women entertain DePaul.
Yesterday's heavy snow put more dents into Wisconsin high school basketball schedules. About two dozen boys' games were either postponed or canceled, along with about two dozen girls' contests. Up to seven-inches of snow caused many school districts to shut down early for the day, calling off last evening's activities. A number of contests were re-scheduled for tonight. There's not a lot of time left for make-ups. This is the final week of the boys' regular season, as the state regionals begin a week from tonight. Almost two weeks remain in the girls' regular season.
Brookfield Central enters the final week of the boys' season as the Division-One leader in the A-P state high school basketball poll. Central is the only unbeaten team in the state's top division at 20-and-0. Milwaukee King is second, followed by Germantown and Neenah. Mount Horeb and Seymour remain tied for the lead in Division-Two, with Rice Lake third. Manitowoc Roncalli moved up from second-place to first in Division-Three, with Lodi dropping one spot. Elk Mound is third. Whitefish Bay Dominican still leads Division-Four, followed by Mineral Point and Oshkosh Lourdes. Green Bay Northeast Wisconsin Lutheran remains atop Division-Five, with Cassville second and Sheboygan Lutheran third.
Undefeated Kimberly is still the Division-One leader in the A-P girls' high school poll. Sheboygan North is second, followed by Oak Creek and Superior. Green Bay Notre Dame remains atop Division-Two, followed by Onalaska and Milwaukee Pius. Neillsville continues to lead Division-Three, with Brodhead and Fox Valley Lutheran in the two-and-three spots. In Division-Four, Racine Prairie is still first, Colfax second, and Algoma and Cuba City tied for third. Barneveld remains the Division-Five leader, followed by Wisconsin Rapids Assumption and South Shore.
Wisconsin schools hold three spots in this week's national Top-Five in the D-Three-Hoops-Dot-Com men's basketball Division-Three poll. U-W Stevens Point is still at Number-One with an overall record of 22-and-1. U-W Whitewater moved up one place to second, at 21-and-3. And Saint Norbert of De Pere rose one spot to Number-Five, at 20-and-1. The Milwaukee School of Engineering also received a vote in the men's poll.
In the D-Three women's poll, Carthage of Kenosha dropped one place to Number-10. Whitewater remains 11th. Oshkosh jumped one spot to 16th. Wisconsin Lutheran and Saint Norbert also received votes. DePauw is still the women's Number-One.
Two athletes with ties to Wisconsin will have their first competitions today at the Sochi Olympics. Peter Adam Crook, who lived in Lake Geneva for nine years, will be in the men's free-style skiing half-pipe event. Emery Lehman, part of a legion of speed-skaters training in Milwaukee, will take his shot at gold in the 10-thousand meter event. Meanwhile, the U-S and Canadian women's hockey teams are gearing up for their gold medal game on Thursday. Madison area native Amanda Kessel and ex-Badger Brianna Decker scored for the U-S yesterday in a 6-to-1 semi-final victory over Sweden. Former Badger Meaghan Mikkelson-Reid did not play for the Canadians in their 3-to-1 semi-final win over Switzerland.
Eric Johnson of La Crosse Central-and-Logan was the boys' overall champion at the Wisconsin State High School Ski-and-Snowboarding meet that ended yesterday at Mount La Crosse. Johnson won the slalom and giant slalom events, and he placed third in the Super-"G." Alexander Harris of Central-Logan took first in the Super-"G" and second overall.
The Wisconsin football team now has two recruits on board for the fall of 2015. Tight end Kyle Penniston of Santa Ana California tweeted yesterday that he had just given his verbal commitment to the Badgers. He's 6-4 and 230 pounds. Penniston chose Wisconsin over Miami and Florida State. The Badgers' only other known recruit for 2015 is quarterback Austin Kafentzis of Sandy Utah.