Sports News-May 15, 2014

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The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have advanced to the NBA's conference finals by winning Game Five of their respective second-round series.  LeBron James scored 29 points and the Heat rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 5 ½ minutes to beat Brooklyn 96-94.  Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 22 points in the Spurs' blowout win over Portland, 104-82.
The Golden State Warriors have hired Steve Kerr as their new head coach, giving him a five-year deal worth $25 million.  Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their next coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March.  He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors last week after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.

Former Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez's free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles has been voided because he failed a physical.  His father, Casey Martinez, wrote in an email to The Associated Press yesterday that Taylor continues to struggle with a left-foot injury that dates to early last season.  Casey Martinez said the Eagles let Taylor go after evaluating his medical file from Nebraska and taking X-rays of the foot.  Taylor Martinez is considering surgery and hopes to get another opportunity with an NFL team.  The Eagles signed Martinez as an undrafted free agent Sunday.  He played in only four games his senior season because of the injury.  He left Nebraska as the program's career leader in total offense, passing yards, career touchdown passes and starts by a quarterback.  

Nebraska linebacker Josh Banderas told campus police he and a member of the men's track team planned to sell the bicycles they stole from racks near university housing units.  Banderas and distance runner Lucas Keifer's scheme is outlined in a probable cause affidavit released today.  Banderas and Keifer were arrested for felony theft Monday after police received a report of men cutting bike locks and loading bikes into the bed of a pickup.  Officer Aaron Pemberton wrote Banderas "stated they took the bikes because he saw signs posted on the racks that UNL would cut the bikes after a certain date and take them as abandoned property."  Banderas said the plan was to sell the seven bikes over the Internet.

Husker Blackshirts Corey Cooper and Randy Gregory were among 42 players named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch yesterday.  Cooper, a senior safety from Maywood, Ill., started all 13 games last season and led Nebraska with 91 tackles.  Gregory, a junior defensive end, earned unanimous first-team All-Big Ten honors after his first season at Nebraska in 2013.  The Fishers, Ind., native led the Big Ten in sacks with 10.5, and made 66 total tackles as a sophomore.  His 10.5 sacks also set a school record for most by a first-year defender.  The winner will be announced at the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Banquet Dec. 14 at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany insists he is all for empowering college athletes and improving conditions for them.  He's just as adamant that forming a union is not the way to go, and he thinks the public agrees with him on that.  Delany says "70% of the people" are against athletes unionizing and are against pay for play.  He says the public does not want to see college programs operating like minor league franchises.  Delany spoke yesterday after wrapping up two days of meetings with Big Ten athletic and academic administrators.  The discussions focused on the conference's expansion east with Maryland and Rutgers along with the reform and restructuring of the college landscape as a potential game-changing decision on unionizing looms in the background.

Werner Park will remain the name of the Omaha Storm Chasers' baseball stadium in Papillion until at least 2020.  The Storm Chasers and Werner Enterprises announced the extension yesterday of the naming rights contract.  The extension comes in year four of the original five-year agreement.  The partnership between the trucking company and the minor-league baseball team began in 2006, when the club played at the old Rosenblatt Stadium.  Since Werner Park opened in 2011, more than 1.3 million fans have watched Storm Chasers' games.  The team plays in the Pacific Coast League and is the top farm club of the Kansas City Royals.

The Wayne State women’s track and field team has four athletes that have qualified in seven events for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships to be held in Allendale, Michigan May 22-24.  Junior Sara Wells, the NSIC Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, has qualified in three events.  Senior Carly Fehringer qualified in two events while senior Emily Wells and freshman Michaela Dendinger each qualified in one event.

Wayne State College had 27 student-athletes named to the Northern Sun Conference Spring All-Academic Team.  The baseball team had ten athletes receive the honor followed by softball with seven, women’s track & field had six and men’s track & field with four.  Among the honorees are track & field athletes Zach Thomsen of Wayne, Skyler Lippman of Pierce, Sidney Blum of Howells, and softball player Cassy Miller of Wakefield.

The Norfolk High track & field squad has qualified in ten events for next week’s State Track & Field Championship after yesterday’s A-1 District Meet at Kearney.  In the boys competition, the host team was the champion with 178 points.  They won by 79 points.  Norfolk finished seventh with 26 points.  In the girls standings, Bellevue West was the champion with 105 points.  They won by 14 points.  The Lady Panthers placed fifth with 60 points.  Qualifiers for next week include Ryker Theisen (1st-Triple Jump); Charles Goodman (3rd-Discus); Claire Sintek (2nd-HJ); Taylor Thompson (4th-HJ); Erica Dover (1st-Shot Put & 1st-Discus); Leah Larson (3rd-TJ); Chelsea Johnson (2nd-100 H & 2nd-300 H); & Girls 1600 Relay (4th-Michaela Heimes, Jaycee Bradley, Breanna Harthoorn, Johnson).

Voters approved a nearly $2 million bond for Humphrey Public Schools to build a new athletic facility with a synthetic-turf football field and track according to the Columbus telegram.  In unofficial results from Tuesday's primary, 59% of voters supported the bond, which passed 484 votes to 339.  The field will be built on the site of the current football field with a 400-meter, eight-lane track to be built around it.  District officials said a track is needed for safety reasons as students currently practice on the streets.  The new field will be able to handle more games than the current natural grass surface.  Construction on the project is expected to start after the football season this year and be complete in 2015.  The bond increases the district's property tax levy by 1 cent.

Local Schedule:  Nfk Cath & LHNE at C-5 Dist. Meet at Battle Creek (T&F-11:00); Illinois at Nebraska (Bsbl-6:35); Creighton at Xavier at Cincinnati, OH (Bsbl-2:00); Omaha Storm Chasers at Memphis (Bsbl-7:05).

NBA Playoffs:  Miami 96 Brooklyn 94 (Miami wins series 4-1); San Antonio 104 Portland 82 (San Antonio wins series 4-1).

      Final    L.A.  Angels          3    Philadelphia      0
      Final    Kansas  City          3    Colorado              2
      Final    N-Y  Yankees          4    N-Y  Mets              0
      Final    Detroit                  7    Baltimore            5
      Final    Chi  White  Sox      4    Oakland                2
      Final    Tampa  Bay              2    Seattle                0
      Final    Cleveland            15    Toronto                4
      Final    Boston                    9    Minnesota            4
      Final    Houston                  5    Texas                    4
      Final    Washington            5    Arizona                1
      Final    San  Francisco    10    Atlanta                4
      Final    Pittsburgh            4    Milwaukee            1
      Final    Miami                    13    L.A.  Dodgers      3
        San  Diego    at    Cincinnati    (7:10  p.m.,    postponed,  rain)
        Chi  Cubs      at    St.  Louis      (8:15  p.m.,    postponed,  rain)
      Final    Montreal            3    Boston        1
      Final    Los  Angeles      2    Anaheim      1

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