A Grip on Sports: An era ends, a new star emerges and a gunshot rings out on a fun Saturday
SPORTS MASTERY • Coach K pulls away into the sunset. A young woman who often played in Spokane winning in Augusta. A rocket goal leading to a Sounders victory. It was a Saturday of unexpected moments. But that’s sport.
• As we slept late last night, we reflected on the day that has just arrived. Saturdays are always fun but this one was in different ways. We start with college basketball, as it should be at the beginning of April.
The two teams that we had decided to win won. And that doesn’t happen often. In fact, we were backing Villanova, but we knew the Wildcats were probably not up to the task, not without the injured Justin Moore. So we were hoping that Kansas would go ahead and get the deal done. The Jayhawks did, moving into Monday’s championship game.
Their opponent will not be Duke and Mike Krzyzewski. Nope. His record career was shattered by rival North Carolina in Saturday’s semifinals. It seemed appropriate. As Jim Nantz pointed out on the TBS show, Krzyzewski’s first loss at Duke was against UNC. Now his latest is too.
Now we turn our attention to Monday where we will support Kansas with all our might. Why? The Jayhawks can win, but there’s a good chance the title will end up being vacated. The NCAA soon – in the geological sense – will drop the hammer on kansas for his alleged recruitment failures revealed during the FBI investigation a few years ago.
It is important. A vacant title will mean what schools like Kansas and Auburn and LSU and Arizona have done won’t be forgotten. The empty line by 2022 will stand out in the record books as the ugly scar from the fall from the playground slide. And force people to see how it happened.
How many remember the game-fixing scandals of the 1940s in New York? Or the other betting or recruiting scandals of the past? Probably only a few people. But a vacant title will make people remember this outrage. And hopefully ensure that such egregious actions never happen again.
• As we watched Anna Davis winning the Augusta National Women’s Amateur yesterday afternoon, we had no idea the Spokane vortex would strike once again. But he did and attracted a 16-year-old who lives in San Diego.
Scrolling through social media, we came across Brenna Greene’s tweet about Davis’ Chewelah Ties. So we dug deeper. It appears that Davis spent much of his summers in the northwestern Washington town, playing golf at courses in that area.
Davis won five local tournaments in the Spokane area in 2018, when she was 13 years old. But there is more. She was the District’s Player of the Year in 2019, when she topped the 14-15 age group, winning four in the District and finishing second in the state tournament.
She won the state championship 14-15 at Manito the following year by four strokes, when the pandemic was in remission and golf was possible again. Now it’s on again and she’s showcasing her skills on a much bigger stage. Nothing against Deer Park or Latah Creek or Chewelah, but shooting a 3-under 69 at Augusta is a bit more impressive than a 70 at Ezzy.
And winning just the third women’s tournament in history on the legendary course has more cachet than any victory in these regions.
• All sports have their particularities. Football is no exception. We’re using the Sounders’ first goal in a 2-1 win over Minnesota last night as evidence.
Seattle had dominated. Build attacks and get great looks. But he had been unable to put the ball in the net, for some reason.
In the 38th minute, Joao Paulo just said what the heck and shot away from afar. The rocket found the upper right corner and the sounders were on their way.
Nothing special. Only brilliant. Amusing. And a fitting way to end a beautiful Saturday.
WSU: First spring scrums are usually not very large. Unless, of course, there’s a new coach and a new quarterback and a bunch of new faces on the turf. Like what happened yesterday morning at Pullman. Colton Clark was at Martin Stadium for the Cougars scrimmage and has this report. … Elsewhere in Pac-12 and college football, Washington, with at least three players vying for the spot, could start a transfer quarterback. …So could Oregonwith the Ducksdecision having possibly huge consequences on the road. …So can the decision to have Tosh Lupoi on staff as defensive coordinator. … Arizona staged another scrimmage as spring draws to a close. … The Arizona State quarterback competition is wide open. … UCLA reworked its offensive line. … Utah has a running back who returned to the program. … A Colorado the player is aim for a bigger role. … In basketball news, the South Carolina women will look to end the season where they started. At the top of the hoops world. The Gamecocks face Connecticut today for the NCAA title. … Stanford avoided the mess of the transfer portal. … On the men’s side, Colorado must improve this offseason.
Gonzaga: It seemed inevitable at the start of the season. It would be Drew Timme’s last in Spokane. But is it inevitable now? Jim Meehan examines this and highlights what might be holding the mustached back to Gonzaga. … The baseball team picked up a 7-2 win over visiting Pepperdine. … When Tommy Lloyd was honored as the Associated Press Coach of the Year, he often mentioned his mentor, Mark Few. And credit for Arizona’s success this season has been misappropriated almost as often.
EU: No Eric Barrière. It’s the biggest difference at Eastern this spring than any in the last five years. Dan Thompson takes a look at what the Eagles are trying to accomplish when practice begins Tuesday. …Around the Big Sky, we’ve been hesitant about where to put news of the former G-Prep player (and son of former GU assistant Tommy) Liam Lloyd heads to Northern Arizona for his last three university seasons. We decided here was the best. … Idaho State reorganizes its defense again.
Preparations: Dave Nichols ends his sports previews with golf and tennis. … He also has a summary of Saturday’s action.
Indians: The season starts Friday. It will include many changes.
Chiefs: Spokane scored five unanswered goals and defeated host Vancouver 5-2.
Seahawks: An era is over in Seattle. Now the franchise must determine which of the players won the Super Bowl (and came close in another) deserve the honors.
• If Saturdays are for fun, what are Sundays for? When we were young, we knew. Sundays were about finding excuses not to do our homework until 23 minutes before bedtime. And then complaining about it for 22 of those 23 minutes. The last? It was to brush your teeth, take a bath, find the pyjamas, play with the dog and, if you had to, go to bed. Ugh, there’s school on Monday. Until later …