Illini definitely have the magic

Monday, March 28, 2005

Does Illinois appear to be a basketball team of destiny this season, or what?

That's about the only way I can explain Saturday night's incredible comeback against Arizona that forced overtime and led to a wild 90-89 victory in the Chicago Regional final.

When the Illini fell behind 75-60 late in the second half, I assumed their magical, one-loss season was about to come to a crashing halt. That seemed more certain when Illinois still trailed by 14 points with about four minutes left.

But in one of the most stunning late-game rallies in NCAA Tournament history, the Illinois came back to tie the contest and then prevailed in overtime.

And now the Illini are headed to St. Louis for the Final Four, where they'll face Louisville in one semifinal after the Cardinals staged a mighty impressive comeback of their own to beat West Virginia in overtime.

Who knows if the Illini are going to win the national title -- but after what happened Saturday, I've got to like their chances.

Area track and field fans need to mark this weekend on their calendar as the annual Gatorade Classic -- Southeast Missouri State's only home outdoor meet of the season -- will be held at the Abe Stuber Complex.

Action officially begins Friday with the hammer throw, but the bulk of the competition will be Saturday.

Here's wishing a speedy recovery to my good buddy George Renick, who is currently a bit under the weather.

Renick is one of the many unsung heroes of the local amateur baseball scene as he devotes countless summer hours as the public address voice of the Cape Girardeau Capahas and Cape Girardeau American Legion.

Get well in a hurry, George!

The 23rd annual Southeast Missouri Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Sikeston.

Among the inductees will be two notable names from the immediate area in Cape Girardeau's Bill Bohnert and Scott City's Mark Amick.

Also entering the hall will be Charles Van Doren of Perryville, Gene Bess of Poplar Bluff, Gary Owens of Vanduser, S.D. "Sol" Johnson of Sikeston and Don Bruenderman of Charleston.

Tickets are available at the door or from any board member. For more information, call board member Homer Dickmann of Cape Girardeau at 334-1017.

Ex-Southeast baseball star Kerry Robinson is making a solid push to begin the season with the New York Mets after the former Cardinals outfielder signed a minor-league contract with the Mets in the offseason.

Entering the weekend, Robinson was putting up solid exhibition numbers, although he had cooled off some after a hot start. He was batting .258, while demonstrated surprising pop with two home runs and eight RBIs.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: