WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Bucks fall to Portland for their sixth straight loss
The Milwaukee Bucks lost their sixth straight game last night, 91-to-82 at home to Portland. The injury-riddled Bucks had a full complement of 12 players for a change, but they had trouble getting into a rhythm. The Bucks were up by six in the second quarter, but a 21-to-11 run helped the Trail Blazers take a two-point halftime lead. Portland went up by 11 before Milwaukee cut the margin to six by the end of the third quarter. The Bucks could not get closer than five the rest of the way, as they committed seven-of-their-19 turnovers in the final period. The Bucks lost even though they out-shot the Trail Blazers 44-to-41 percent, and had a 42-28 scoring edge in the paint. Portland had a slight edge in rebounds, and the Blazers made 67-percent of their free throws to Milwaukee's 58-percent. The Bucks hit only 7-of-12 from the charity stripe. LeMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points, as Portland won its eighth straight game and became the third N-B-A team to get 10 wins this season. Former Marquette guard Wesley Matthews added 15 for the Blazers. Luke Ridnour scored 13 in his Milwaukee season debut following back problems. Milwaukee is now 2-and-8, with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. They'll play at Philadelphia tomorrow night.
At least five new state champions will be crowned at the W-I-A-A state high school football finals that begin today in Madison. Glenwood City and Hartland Arrowhead are the only teams going for back-to-back titles during the next two days at Camp Randall Stadium. Glenwood City's title defense will be up first this morning, against undefeated South Wayne Black Hawk in the Division-Seven title contest at 10 a-m. Shiocton, which is 13-and-0, will play Darlington at one this afternoon in the Division-Six final. Shiocton is in the title game for the second time in three years, while Darlington is in its first state final since 1997. Two undefeated teams will square off late this afternoon, when Lancaster and Stanley-Boyd battle for the Division-Five crown. Lancaster lost last year's title game to Amherst. The Division-Four final wraps up the day's schedule, as Platteville takes on Winneconne. Platteville won its last state crown 30 years ago. Winneconne is at the state finals for the first time. Championships in Divisions One-Two-and-Three will be decided tomorrow.
The Green Bay Packers are taking a more serious mindset into their Sunday home contest against the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers have lost three straight games -- something most players on the Green Bay roster have never experienced. The Pack had only lost 10 of its last 48 regular season games before Aaron Rodgers went down in the November fourth home loss to Chicago. Just 13-percent of today's Packers were around for the team's last three-game slide in 2008, the first year quarterback Aaron Rodgers replaced Brett Favre. Receiver James Jones says the players still talk positively with each other, but the time for motivational speeches is over -- and Jones says the Pack simply must perform better and find a way to produce on the field. Green Bay has dropped to 5-and-5, but the Pack is still only a game behind Detroit and Chicago in the N-F-C North Division. Guard T-J Lang says he's surprised the Packers have not dug themselves a deeper hole. But at this point, with two division games coming up, he says there's no more room for error -- and the Packers have to win with who they've got. A dozen players are on the team's injury report, including Rodgers with his broken collarbone.
A receiver from Florida is the latest to commit to the Wisconsin football team for next year. Natrell Jamerson of Vanguard High School in Ocala Florida gave his verbal commitment to the Badgers yesterday. He leads his team with 68 catches, 11-hundred-96 yards, and 14 touchdowns this season. Jamerson made his official visit to Madison last weekend, and saw the Badgers trounce Indiana. He's the 21st known commitment for Wisconsin's 2014 recruiting class. Meanwhile, this year's Badgers continue to get ready for Saturday's border battle at Minnesota.
Milwaukee Brewers have added four minor league prospects to their 40-man roster, so other teams cannot claim them in next month's Rule-Five Draft. The four are first baseman Hunter Morris, right-hander Brooks Hall, right-handed reliever Kevin Shackelford, and utility player Jason Rogers. Morris was the Brewers' minor league player-of-the-year in 2012, but he had a difficult season this year at Triple-"A" Nashville. Morris hit .247 for the Sounds, with 24 homers, a .310 on-base percentage, and 122 strikeouts. He started playing in winter ball, but his season only lasted three games due to a knee injury. Morris was examined in Milwaukee this week. Assistant general manager Gord Ash says Morris has a sprain in his knee, with no structural damage.
Former Brewers' first baseman Prince Fielder was traded last night from Detroit to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Both players saw their production go down in 2013. Fielder hit .279 with 25 homers, his lowest home run total over a full season -- and he batted just .182 in the American League Championship Series with no R-B-I's in this year's post-season. The 31-year-old Kinsler had a .277 batting average with 13 homers. He also stole 15 bases, more than any player on the Tigers this year. Kinsler fills a need at second, where Omar Infante is a free agent. It could also save the Tigers 75-million dollars -- which might come in handy as Cy Young winner Max Scherzer reaches free agency a year from now. The 29-year-old Fielder played six-plus seasons in Milwaukee before he bolted for Detroit. He signed a nine-year deal worth 214-million dollars, and he's still owed 168-million through 2020. Media reports said the Tigers gave Texas 30-million dollars to help cover some of that salary.
In golf, Ryan Helminen of Appleton has been named the Wisconsin P-G-A's player-of-the-year. He finished second at the State Open, was a Top-three performer at the W-P-G-A Championship, and made the semi-finals of the W-P-G-A Match Play tournament. Helminen is a teaching pro at Ridgeway Country Club in Neenah. He played in his seventh straight P-G-A Professional National Championship this year. Eddie Terasa of Waukesha was named the state P-G-A's senior player-of-the-year.