Saluki Sports: January 30, 2014

It’s hardly final . . . and we haven’t taken the time to check records extensively, but in addition to being one of the losingest teams in SIU’s history, the 2014 Salukis may become the all-time leader in “close” losses.

Coach Barry Hinson’s outfit is developing a true ability to play well enough to lose by just a few points.

Check the records to date:  The Salukis lost by two points to Austin Peay and Miami  (Ohio), by three points to San Diego and Drake, by four points to Chicago State, by six points to Evansville, Bradley and Missouri State, by eight points to Murray State, and by nine to Western Kentucky.

It’s true . . . a loss is a loss whether by one or 21, but eight losses by six or fewer points is somewhat unusual.  And, believe me, we’re not trying to make excuses for this year’s team.  Nor last year’s team (14-17).  Nor Chris Lowery’s final team in 2012 (6-23).  Nor Lowery’s second-to-last team in 2011 (11-19).  Nor his 2010 team (15-15).  Nor his 2009 team (13-18).

It’s been six years since SIU’s basketball program has finished with a winning record and that was a somewhat modest 18-15 mark.

That’s not good.  In fact, it’s bad even if this year’s outfit is showing some signs of being competitive.

We acknowledge the fact that Hinson has gone to a young starting lineup.  In SIU’s most recent loss — at Missouri State — it not only was young, but exceptionally young with three freshmen and a sophomore.

The Salukis competed.  They got off to a fine start, overcame several Missouri State leads during the game and were definitely within striking range in the closing minutes of the game.

However, before one gets excited about the future . . . and particularly in competing against Missouri State, it’s only fair to note that the Bears have one of the youngest teams in the nation.  Their leading scorer, a sophomore Marcus Marshall, was recently injured and out for the remainder of the season.  A freshman, Austin Ruder, and two other sophomores — Gavin Thurman and Dorrian Williams — combined for 39 of Missouri State’s 69 points against SIU’s 63.

Bear coach Paul Lusk — yeh, the former Saluki great — has two other underclassmen playing at 6-10.  Lusk is loaded for the future just as are several other Missouri Valley Conference teams.  The Valley, while not necessarily strong this season outside of Wichita State and Indiana State, is loaded with young players.

Despite the fact that the Salukis are comparatively young, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to wind up being the league’s next pre-season choice for championship honors.  Or the following season.

Yet, it’s first things first and the Salukis need to win a few games this season, by a single point or whatever.  Win a few games and avoid another single-digit win total.  That’s a truly tough figure to hide and fortunately there’s only been a few in SIU’s basketball history.

The one we have trouble with is the 1980 record of 7-20 which came after a 7-2 start, including an opening win over Memphis State.  We still haven’t figured that one out and don’t even try any longer.
Fred Huff| For The Cairo Citizen

Local hoopster hosts charity tournament

More than 60 basketball players from the area converged at Meridian Elementary School June 1 and 2 for the 1st Annual Bobcat Hoopfest.

Eight teams played games all day June 1 and into the night on the 2nd, with the Championship game started at 8:30 p.m.

The final game of the tournament showcased the red team against the blue team. The red team had local players such as Isiah Jones, RJ Williams, DJ Weldon, Jared Staples, and former SIU player Nick Evans.

Darius Brown, formerly of Cairo, also played for the red team. Brown will join Josh “Joddy” Jones at Odessa College in the fall.

The blue team had players from outside the Pulaski County area but had several talented high school athletes.

The Kissing Brothers from Crab Orchard High School were three big players for the blue team. The three brothers each scored over 1,500 points in their high school careers. Youngest brother Ben scored over 2,300 and has the school record for points at Crab Orchard.

After 40 minutes of competitive play, the red team came away with the victory 49-45.

Red teams Ben Kissing led both teams in scoring with 28 in the final but his older brother Ray was the talk of the tournament.

The blue team rallied behind their leading scorer Isaih Jones who had 12. Nick Evans had 11 while DJ Weldon had back to back three point baskets to finish with 6.

A bigger story than the championship was the condition of the playing surface. It was very wet. Players fell countless time and luckily no one came away with any injuries. The location of the tournament and the playing surface could be a concern in the coming years of the Bobcat Hoopfest.

There were many more memorable performances from the weekend; Josh Jones had 33 points and 13 rebounds in a game for his team.

The money raised from the tournament will go to the Meridian Elementary school to purchase new athletic uniforms.

This was a tournament that was run well and will continue to be a success for many years to come. Congratulations to all the teams that participated in this competitive tournament. 

–Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242

Pirates slash Centurions

The Pope County Pirates took down the Century Centurions on May. 16 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Class 1A Regional Tournament at Pope County.

Century gave it everything they had but were depleted by injuries and sickness and could not find a way to score after the 2nd inning.

The Pirates found a way to get the bases loaded in the top of the 1st but were only able to scrap together one run.

Sophomore pitcher Caden Hight found his rhythm after allowing the run. Hight struck out three to end the 1st.

The Centurions got their bats going quickly in the bottom of the 1st frame scoring 4 runs on only 2 hits but forced Pope County defense to commit 3 errors in the inning.

Both teams added a run in the 2nd putting the score at 5-2 in favor of Century after 2 innings.

Pope County found a spark in the 4th inning with their number 9 batter getting a 1 out single. The Pirates went tacked on 4 runs in the inning to lead 6-5 going into the 5th inning.

Aaron Jones came on in relief in the 6th inning after Caden Hight had a solid outing with one rough inning. Hight had 7 strikeouts in 6 innings.

The Pirates found another run in the top of the 7th; they held a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the inning.

After a 2 out single by Aaron Jones, the Centurions couldn’t extend the game and fell 7-5.

Jones and Cordon Hight each had 2 hits for Century in the loss.

Century will be a regional and conference favorite next season after only losing two starting seniors this season. They are two pieces that Century head coach Garret Wilson will have to replace.

Brandon Jackson started the most games at pitcher and was solid at the plate for the Centurions while Cordon Hight added pop to the line-up and was a leader on and off the field to this young squad.

— Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242

The Week in Photos: May 9, 2013

The visual report from the week of May 9, 2013.

Cairo junior Jordan Holder, right, takes a look at Cairo Junior Jalecia Purdiman’s cell phone May 4 while taking a break from dancing during the Cairo High School senior prom. Later that evening, prom attendees voted seniors Jeleigha Johnson and Terion Taylor as prom queen and prom king. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo junior Jordan Holder, right, takes a look at Cairo Junior Jalecia Purdiman’s cell phone May 4 while taking a break from dancing during the Cairo High School senior prom. Later that evening, prom attendees voted seniors Jeleigha Johnson and Terion Taylor as prom queen and prom king. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Jeleigha Johnson, left, and senior Terion Taylor pose for a portrait May 4 after being named prom queen and king during Cairo High School’s senior prom. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Senior Jeleigha Johnson, left, and senior Terion Taylor pose for a portrait May 4 after being named prom queen and king during Cairo High School’s senior prom. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Shanna Farris, left, is comforted by her father, John Timmons, during her mother’s funeral May 1 at Jones Funeral Home in Villa Ridge. Farris’ mother, Sandra Farris, went missing March 28 after a walk near her home in Cairo. Her body was found April 24 in the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky. The cause of death was deemed undetermined.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Shanna Farris, left, is comforted by her father, John Timmons, during her mother’s funeral May 1 at Jones Funeral Home in Villa Ridge. Farris’ mother, Sandra Farris, went missing March 28 after a walk near her home in Cairo. Her body was found April 24 in the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky. The cause of death was deemed undetermined.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Rita Flummer, middle, takes her oath of office as mayor of the City of Mounds May 6 with the help of former mayor, Waymon Butler, right and city clerk Robin Barksdale. After being sworn in, Flumer then lead her first city council meeting.-- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Rita Flummer, middle, takes her oath of office as mayor of the City of Mounds May 6 with the help of former mayor, Waymon Butler, right and city clerk Robin Barksdale. After being sworn in, Flumer then lead her first city council meeting.– Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Myron Jordan rounds third base April 30 during the Pilots’ double header home win over Agape Christian. The Pilots had a slow start, narrowly winning the first game 6-5. However, they picked up momentum in the second, defeating the Knights 12-8. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Myron Jordan rounds third base April 30 during the Pilots’ double header home win over Agape Christian. The Pilots had a slow start, narrowly winning the first game 6-5. However, they picked up momentum in the second, defeating the Knights 12-8. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo Pilots third baseman Lorenzo Nelson jumps for a line-drive April 30 during The Pilots' double home win against the Agape Christian Knights. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Cairo Pilots third baseman Lorenzo Nelson jumps for a line-drive April 30 during The Pilots’ double home win against the Agape Christian Knights. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

 

SEC conference announced

The South Egyptian Conference has named their All-Conference teams for the 2013 spring baseball season.

Century, Shawnee, and Meridian controlled the 1st team, grabbing all nine selections between them.

The Centurions led the way with four first team selections. Brandon Jackson, Cordon Hight, Brad Wilson, and Aaron Jones represented Century on the list.

Adam Pennington, Aiden McMahon, and Gavyn Ellet made the 1st team for the Shawnee High School Redskins.

Meridian had two players to round out the 1st team with Jammerio Moore and Wyatt Isom taking their spots on the roster.

Six players made 2nd team SEC All-Conference.

Century’s Adam Jones, Dongola’s Tyler Eddleman, Egyptian’s Cameron Grueninger, Shawnee’s Austin Treece all made 2nd team.

The Meridian Bobcats had two players that made 2nd team, Connor Schaal and Blaine Crow.

Get next week’s paper to catch the All-Citizen Team and MVP. The team will be made up of players from Cairo, Century, Egyptian, and Meridian.

— Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242

Bobcats take revenge

The Meridian Bobcats finally got the revenge they wanted in a 4-3 win over Century April. 29.

Connor Schaal threw his second gem in 2 weeks allowing only 1 hit to the Centurions in the win and striking out 5 in the complete game win. Schaal also walked and scored once at the plate.

Meridian picked up their first run in the 3rd and added 2 in the 5th. They added on a much need insurance run in the 7th.

Century trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the 7th. After a fly out, the next 2 batters for Century reached base. After an error by the Bobcats fielders, both Centurion runners scored. Schaal struck out the last batter for the win.

The lone bright spot for the Centurions was Cordon Hight who had the only hit, a single in the 2nd. All the Centurions runs were unearned.

Brandon Jackson suffered the loss for the Centurions. It was an unusually off game for Jackson who couldn’t get his fastball over the plate. Jackson will return to his dominance for the regionals.

Jammerio Moore had his bat going for the Bobcats. Moore had 3 hits and 2 RBIs on the day. Blaine Crow threw in 2 hits and scored twice.

The Bobcats needed a big win going into the regionals and they got it with this one.

–Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242

The Week in Photos: May 2, 2013

The visual report from the week of May 2, 2013.

Donna Pearman talks on the phone with a relative April 25 in her home in Cairo. Pearman said since her sister’s body was found April 24, she has had a hard time keeping up with all the phone calls she has received from both family and the media. --Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Donna Pearman talks on the phone with a relative April 25 in her home in Cairo. Pearman said since her sister’s body was found April 24, she has had a hard time keeping up with all the phone calls she has received from both family and the media. –Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Gabriel Harris, second from the left, officiates as president pro tempore as, left to right, Mary Coleman, Artie McBride, Brenda Gooden and Sheila Nelson simultaneously swear in April 25 during a special meeting of the Cairo School Board at Cairo High School. Coleman swore in as treasurer, Harris as Vice President, Gooden as secretary, Nelson as a board member and McBride as president. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Gabriel Harris, second from the left, officiates as president pro tempore as, left to right, Mary Coleman, Artie McBride, Brenda Gooden and Sheila Nelson simultaneously swear in April 25 during a special meeting of the Cairo School Board at Cairo High School. Coleman swore in as treasurer, Harris as Vice President, Gooden as secretary, Nelson as a board member and McBride as president. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Assistant Meridian baseball coach Greg Harris leads his team in cheering for their midnight-hour victory against the Century Centurions April 29 at Shawnee Community College. Meridian gave up a safe 3 run lead in the bottom of the 9th, but prevented Century from taking the win. This victory came after the Centurions defeated the Bobcats April 18, 17-3 in a game at Rent-One Park in Marion. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Assistant Meridian baseball coach Greg Harris leads his team in cheering for their midnight-hour victory against the Century Centurions April 29 at Shawnee Community College. Meridian gave up a safe 3 run lead in the bottom of the 9th, but prevented Century from taking the win. This victory came after the Centurions defeated the Bobcats April 18, 17-3 in a game at Rent-One Park in Marion. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

12 arrests made in Cairo, Meridian brawl

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department has arrested and charged 11 adults and 1 juvenile in their involvement in the brawl at Meridian High School Feb. 20.

Those arrested were: Bruce Woodson, of Cairo, Cameron Robinson of Cairo, Cordell Johnson, of Cairo, Darian Engram of Mound City, Darmez Nelson of Ullin, Darryl Jackson, of Cairo, Dejhanane Washington of Cairo, Jemond Pilgram, of Mounds, Kathryn Nesby, of Mounds, Richard Steele, of Mounds and Wilmont Gibson of Cairo. A juvenile was also arrested.

All 12 suspects were charged with reckless conduct. In the state of Illinois, reckless conduct can either be a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 4 felony.

The Illinois Compiled Statutes, defines reckless conduct as: (a) A person commits reckless conduct when he or she, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly performs an act or act that: (1) cause bodily harm to or endanger the safety of another person; or (2) cause great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another person.

Pulaski County Sheriff Randy Kern and his officers worked with Meridian High School principal Terrance Gaddy to review video footage and come up with a list of suspects.

Kern said while there have been fights at previous Cairo vs. Meridian basketball games, this even was unique.

“We’ve never had any fights like this before,” Kern said. He added that the number of participants this year was larger than any year he could remember.

“I think there’s probably more that could have been arrested but we didn’t have any information or any I.D.’s on any of them,”he said.

Pulaski County State’s Attorney Grayson Gile could not be reached for comment in this report.

The incident took place after the Cairo vs. Meridian Regional semi-final game at Meridian High School in Mounds. Century and Egyptian were on the court warming up for the final semi-final game when the brawl started and both teams were directed to their locker rooms as county and state police tried to separate the offenders. Police dogs were brought in to help control the crowd. The final game of the night was cancelled and fans were split up based on what side of the gym they were seated and directed to leave from two separate exits.

Isaac Smith contributed to this report.

–Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242

The Week in Photos: April 18, 2013

The visual report from the week of April 18, 2013.

Brienna Cole, 18, washes her car April 5 in front of her home on 17th St. in Cairo. Cole said this was the first nice day she could find to wash the car she got in Dec. After several ups and downs in the weather, with many parts of the country still seeing heavy snow, warm temperatures seem to have taken root in Southern Ill. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Brienna Cole, 18, washes her car April 5 in front of her home on 17th St. in Cairo. Cole said this was the first nice day she could find to wash the car she got in Dec. After several ups and downs in the weather, with many parts of the country still seeing heavy snow, warm temperatures seem to have taken root in Southern Ill. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Flowers bloom on a tree outside First National Bank April 12 in Cairo. Though Spring was supposed to come early this year, it has taken several weeks for Southern Illinois to see warm weather and spring flowers.  -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Flowers bloom on a tree outside First National Bank April 12 in Cairo. Though Spring was supposed to come early this year, it has taken several weeks for Southern Ill. to see warm weather and spring flowers. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Christi Rogan, director of nurses at Daystar Care Center, right, gives medicine to Peggy Kieth, 76,  April 15 at Daystar in Cairo. The facility was recently purchased by David Aryeh who  has taken it from being a not-for-profit to for-profit and said he looks to make several changes to make Daystar more viable as a business. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Christi Rogan, director of nurses at Daystar Care Center, right, gives medicine to Peggy Kieth, 76, April 15 at Daystar in Cairo. The facility was recently purchased by David Aryeh who has taken it from being a not-for-profit to for-profit and said he looks to make several changes to make Daystar more viable as a business. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

 

A demolition crew works to tear down what was The First Christian Church April 15 on 16th St. in Cairo. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
A demolition crew works to tear down what was The First Christian Church April 15 on 16th St. in Cairo. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Thomas Robertson, right, of Grand Tower and member of Masons Cobden Lodge 466, collects DNA April 8 from a Head Start student in Cairo. Robertson and his fellow Masons were enrolling Head Start students in the Masons-sponsored Illinois Child Identification Program. Each child is fingerprinted, has DNA taken and they record a video saying where they live as well as other key identifiers. Robertson said all of this information is put together in a packet and given to each family so they can provide information to police in case of emergencies. Floyd Koehler of Vienna Lodge 150 said it was the goal of the regional Masons to put together these packets for each Head Start in all of the seven southern counties in the state. Robertson said taking care of children is a high priority for Masons. “Children are one of our concerns and anything we can do to make them safer is part of being a Mason,” he said -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Thomas Robertson, right, of Grand Tower and member of Masons Cobden Lodge 466, collects DNA April 8 from a Head Start student in Cairo. Robertson and his fellow Masons were enrolling Head Start students in the Masons-sponsored Illinois Child Identification Program. Each child is fingerprinted, has DNA taken and they record a video saying where they live as well as other key identifiers. Robertson said all of this information is put together in a packet and given to each family so they can provide information to police in case of emergencies. Floyd Koehler of Vienna Lodge 150 said it was the goal of the regional Masons to put together these packets for each Head Start in all of the seven southern counties in the state. Robertson said taking care of children is a high priority for Masons. “Children are one of our concerns and anything we can do to make them safer is part of being a Mason,” he said — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Two 8th St. duplexes are left to cool April 13 in Cairo. Cairo Fire Chief John Meyer said his department received the call at 6:08 p.m. April 12. His crew spent four hours fighting the blaze and stayed several more hours to manage hot-spots. Meyer also said the fire displaced seven residents of the apartments who are now in the care of Red Cross. As of press time, the cause of the fire had not been released. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Two 8th St. duplexes are left to cool April 13 in Cairo. Cairo Fire Chief John Meyer said his department received the call at 6:08 p.m. April 12. His crew spent four hours fighting the blaze and stayed several more hours to manage hot-spots. Meyer also said the fire displaced seven residents of the apartments who are now in the care of Red Cross. As of press time, the cause of the fire had not been released. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Brad Wilson delivers a pitch April 15 during the Centurion home loss against Johnston City. Johnston City beat the Centurions 8-3. -- Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen
Brad Wilson delivers a pitch April 15 during the Centurion home loss against Johnston City. Johnston City beat the Centurions 8-3. — Isaac Smith | The Cairo Citizen

 

Cairo gets key wins

The Cairo Pilots got big wins against Eagle Ridge and Community Christian Academy in Paducah, KY. They also had a loss to Charleston.

The Pilots 1st game last week was April 8 against Eagle Ridge Christian in a game they won 12-2.

Cairo had 4 different players score at least twice in the win.

Devante Johnson pitched 4 innings and had 9 strikeouts in the win. Jaden Hollis finished the game on the mound for the Pilots.

The Pilot defense was tough on the Eagle Ridge runners allowing only 2 stolen bases the entire game.

The Pilots had an off game when they lost to the Charleston Blue jays on April. 10, 11-0.

Cairo couldn’t get the bats going as they were hitless in the loss.

Head Coach Allen Pearman got things going on the right track when the Pilots traveled to Paducah to take on Community Christian Academy Knights April. 12.

Cairo came away with a 6-5 win with Devante Johnson getting the win and striking out 6. Johnson also scored twice.

The Pilot runners had a good day on the base paths by stealing 10 bases on the Community Christian Academy catcher.

Devante Johnson had two very good games for the Pilots against Eagle Ridge and Community Christian Academy. Johnson picked up 2 wins and had 15 strikeouts in those two games.

— Tyler Dixon can be reached at (618)-734-4242