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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: RF native to compete in speed skating event today

The U-S men's hockey team will play the Czech Republic late this morning in the quarter-finals of their Olympic tournament in Sochi. Madison area native Phil Kessel leads Team U-S-A into the final eight with seven points in three games. Plover native Joe Pavelski will also try to help the Americans advance -- along with Madison native Ryan Suter, ex-Badgers Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonough, and former Green Bay Gambler Blake Wheeler. The U-S is 3-and-0 after having a bye in yesterday's qualification round. Today's winner will play either Canada or Latvia in the semi-finals. Also today, Maria Lamb of River Falls will compete in the women's five-thousand meter speed-skating event.

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The Milwaukee Bucks ended a four-game losing streak with a 104-to-100 home victory over Orlando last night. Bucks' rookies Nate Wolters and Giannis Antetokounmpo had big hands in this one. Wolters ended a four-minute scoring drought for Milwaukee by making a key three-pointer with 29-point-five seconds left, which erased a one-point Orlando lead. Antetokounmpo stole a loose ball on the Magic's ensuing possession. He split a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game -- and the Bucks held on to become the last N-B-A to win 10 games this season. Caron Butler led Milwaukee in scoring with 21 points off the bench. Brandon Knight had 18 points and seven assists, including two free throws at the end which gave the Bucks their winning margin. Knight made all 12 of his free shots, playing through a cut to one of his feet. Arron Afflalo had 21 points for the Magic, which lost its 13th straight road game. Orlando has still not won away from home since December 16th. The Bucks improved to 10-and-43, and will host Denver tomorrow night.

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The Marquette women's basketball team came back from 10 points down at halftime to beat DePaul at home last night, 80-to-74. Apiew Ojulu converted a three-point play with 1:13 left to break a 71-all tie, and put the Golden Eagles in front for good. Marquette made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch, as DePaul ended a nine-game winning streak. Arlesia Morse scored 12 of her 17 points in the second half for Marquette, which improved to 9-and-5 in the Big East and 18-and-7 overall. Jasmine Penny scored 20 for DePaul, which fell to 11-and-3 in the conference and 20-and-6 overall. Marquette's next game is on Saturday at Seton Hall. Tonight, the Marquette men host Creighton.

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There was one notable upset last night in the opening round of the boys' state high school hockey playoffs. Rhinelander, a Number-11 seed, eliminated Number-six Mosinee 1-to-nothing. There were four other mild upsets on the first night of post-season play. Nine-seeds Spooner, Chequamegon-Phillips, Black River Falls, and Sun Prairie all defeated Number-eight seeds. All eight top-seeded teams had first-round byes, including last year's champion Eau Claire Memorial. Twenty-six schools were one-and-done last night, leaving 64 as the regionals continue tomorrow and Friday. On the girls' side, Viroqua was the only team eliminated on the first night, falling to Beaver Dam. Thirty-two girls' teams remain, including all four top seeds and defending champion Hayward. Their tournament resumes tomorrow.

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The U-S men's hockey team will play the Czech Republic late this morning in the quarter-finals of their Olympic tournament in Sochi. Madison area native Phil Kessel leads Team U-S-A into the final eight with seven points in three games. Plover native Joe Pavelski will also try to help the Americans advance -- along with Madison native Ryan Suter, ex-Badgers Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonough, and former Green Bay Gambler Blake Wheeler. The U-S is 3-and-0 after having a bye in yesterday's qualification round. Today's winner will play either Canada or Latvia in the semi-finals. Also today, Maria Lamb of River Falls will compete in the women's five-thousand meter speed-skating event.

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The Milwaukee Brewers held shorter workouts yesterday, as Spring Training completed its second official day for pitchers-and-catchers. Most position players are already at camp, even though they don't have to report until Friday. New acquisition Mark Reynolds, who's competing for the first base job, was among those reporting yesterday. Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke says he might have pitchers throwing batting practice as early as Friday.

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The Atlanta Braves have released former Brewers' first baseman Mat Gamel, after he re-injured his right knee in a pre-Spring Training workout. The 28-year-old Gamel was Milwaukee's starting first baseman in 2012 when he tore an A-C-L in the same knee while going after a foul pop-up in San Diego. Last year, Gamel tore the identical A-C-L for a second time last spring. While it was being re-constructed, a tendon was moved from his right hamstring to try-and-make the leg stronger. That apparently didn't work. The Brewers put Gamel on waivers soon after last season, and the Chicago Cubs picked him up. They let him go soon afterward, and the Braves had signed Gamel to a minor-league deal. Milwaukee drafted him in the fourth round in 2005. In 106 career games with the Crew, Gamel batted .229 with six homers and 29 R-B-I's.

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Former Green Bay running back Michael Hill is returning to the Packers. He signed a free-agent deal yesterday, after Tampa Bay let him go. The 24-year-old Hill was on Green Bay's practice squad last fall when the Buccaneers signed him to their 53-man roster. He played in six games for Tampa, with 46 rushing and receiving yards. Hill also spent two weeks on Green Bay's 53-man roster earlier last season, after Eddie Lacy and John Kuhn went out with injuries. Hill did not have any carries for the Pack, but he did return a kickoff 19 yards.

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The Packers have announced that their annual Tailgate Tour will be held April 15th-through-19th in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Stops include Escanaba, Ironwood, Superior, Rice Lake, and Merrill. Present and former players and team officials normally take part in the Tailgate Tours, which include dinners, autographs, and question-and-answer sessions. Proceeds go to local charities.

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