It was only fair to expect a slight drop-off from Kenta Maeda in 2021. The right-hander put forth a career performance in his previous season, posting an MLB-best 0.750 WHIP across 11 starts and finishing second in Cy Young voting. But with the return of a typical 162-game campaign, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see Maeda’s … More The 2021 Collapse of Kenta Maeda’s Fastball
In the summer of 2021, Casey Drottar followed the Kane County Cougars through their first season after the team lost its MLB affiliation. This is the first chapter of his four-part story on how they survived. *** Curtis Haug bounds into the press box at Northwestern Medicine Field 10 minutes before first pitch, boasting a … More Life Unaffiliated: The Kane County Cougars’ First Year Off the MLB Pipeline
Oak Lawn senior Davion Lawrence wasn’t thrilled with his first-half performance Wednesday night. Neither were his coaches. With the Spartans down at halftime, Lawrence received a fiery tongue-lashing to get him going. The message? “Play this game like there’s no tomorrow,” Lawrence said. “I took that personally. I was getting into my head mentally, but … More Davion Lawrence didn’t like the first half. He scores 15 of his 20 points in the second as Oak Lawn edges TF South: ‘I quieted it out.’
Marian Catholic was hoping to run a light practice Monday. The Spartans were preparing for another playoff game and didn’t want anyone going too hard before such an important night. Yet, senior Anna Kleszynski still spent the session diving after loose balls. She’s a player who’s always going at full speed, no matter the occasion. … More Marian Catholic’s Anna Kleszynski gets it. ‘I only play one way,’ she says. Hillcrest sees exactly how in a Class 3A sectional semifinal.
During the second half of the season, Lincoln-Way Central preached the importance of winning time — the moment of the game when the Knights need somebody to throw the team on their back and bring home a victory. In Friday night’s double-overtime game against Sandburg, Azyah Newson-Cole stepped up in winning time. “I know I’m … More ‘Winning time’: Azyah Newson-Cole scores season-high 27 points as Lincoln-Way Central edges Sandburg in double OT for 1st regional title since 2008
Robert Brazelton knew he had to have a big game Tuesday. Honored during senior night, the 5-foot-10 guard wanted to make a huge impact in Homewood-Flossmoor’s regular-season finale. “It was important because my family came out,” Brazelton said. “The crowd was right behind us. I fed off the crowd’s energy, and coach had confidence in … More The crowd. His coach. His family. Robert Brazelton feels that behind him, leads H-F past Lockport on senior night: ‘It was important.’
Playing one basketball game on a sore hamstring is difficult enough for most people. Andrean freshman Lindsay Arcella did it twice in the span of eight hours. Despite aggravating her left hamstring Saturday afternoon in the Class 2A Winamac Regional semifinals, Arcella walked back on the court later that night. She was determined to do … More Andrean freshman Lindsay Arcella couldn’t hide it. Her hamstring hurt in the regional final. ‘For her to fight through that, it means a lot.’
Homewood-Flossmoor senior Christian Meeks doesn’t come off the court too often. It’s a rare sight, something that happens once in a blue moon. No matter how fast the game is flowing, Meeks wants to go as hard as he possibly can for the entire night. “My shot may not be falling, but the one thing … More Christian Meeks’ mindset: ‘I want to dominate.’ Tireless senior forward scores 26 points as H-F pulls away from Lincoln-Way East.
It’s not easy to guard the opposing team’s best player. To be told it’s your job to keep a standout opponent from torching your team on a given night? Most people would shy away from a challenge like that in their second sport. Stagg’s TJ Griffin Jr. isn’t like most people. “I find joy in … More Guard a star player? Battle the best? Illinois football recruit TJ Griffin Jr. gives his all for Stagg: ‘At the end of the day, this is who I am.’
There’s one thing opposing teams learn in a hurry when they take the court against Richards’ Greg Miller. The senior guard is relentless. Miller can nab a steal at a moment’s notice. Before you’ve had a chance to process it, he’ll already be celebrating a 3-pointer he made on the other end of the court. … More The steals? Sublime. But Greg Miller, a ‘microwave scorer,’ heats up as Richards snaps three-game losing streak with win over Marist.