Sports Briefs

Posted: Thursday, February 05, 2004

Wolverines romp in Nikolaevsk

The Ninilchik girls high school basketball team continued its dominance in District 3/2A play Tuesday, defeating Nikolaevsk 57-22 at Nikolaevsk.

The Wolverines, led by Amanda Matson's 15 points, opened the game with a 16-2 run and never looked back.

Kendra Moerlein and Emily Wood each scored 12 points for the Wolverines.

Nikki Melkomukov led the Warriors with 22 points.

WOLVERINES 57, WARRIORS 22

Ninilchik 16 6 17 18 57

Nikolaevsk 2 4 14 2 22

NINILCHIK (57) Ka. Moerlein 2 0-0 4, Peterson 2 1-2 5, Leman 1 1-2 3, Wolford 0 0-0 0, Matson 7 1-1 15, Ke. Moerlein 6 0-0 12, Wood 6 0-0 12, Skjold 0 0-0 0, Bartolowits 0 0-0 0, Rohr 0 0-0 0, Erikson 1 2-4 4, Dawson 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 5-9 57.

NIKOLAEVSK (22) Nad. Kojin 0 0-0 0, S. Martushev 0 0-0 0, O. Kojin 1 0-0 2, Snegiren 0 0-0 0, Nat. Kojin 0 0-0 0, Bailey 0 0-0 0, L. Martushev 0 0-0 0, Melkomukov 5 0-0 10, Z. Martushev 0 0-0 0, Gordeev 1 0-4 2, Yakunin 3 0-0 6, Kalugin 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 0-4 22.

3-point goals none. Total fouls Ninilchik 10, Nikolaevsk 9. Fouled out none.

Legion ballclub to have informational meeting

The American Legion Twins baseball team will have an informational meeting Sunday at 2 p.m. on the top floor of the Kenai American Legion Hall, located on Cook Street in Kenai.

The club fields both a varsity and a junior varsity squad and is open to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1985 through 1989.

USC the class of college football recruiting

College football's recruiting race finished up exactly like the season did with Southern California and LSU on top and everybody else chasing them. Only this time, there's no disputing Southern Cal is No. 1, according to five top recruiting services that unanimously ranked the Trojans' incoming freshman class as the nation's best.

LSU was a strong second on national signing day, landing every top player it sought in its own state while adding to its already deep wide receiver corps.

Miami made a strong rush Wednesday by unexpectedly landing three top players and Florida State made a big comeback from a year ago. But it was Southern Cal's off-the-charts class that was the buzz of the college football world.

''USC's recruiting class is the best in the 11 years I've been doing this,'' said recruiting analyst Bobby Burton of rivals.com. ''It's the highest quality class you're ever going to see.''

Gatorade and Parade national player of the year Jeff Byers of Loveland, Colo., leads coach Pete Carroll's incoming freshmen. Not only was he the most highly recruited center in years, he had 56 sacks and 14 forced fumbles on defense.

The AP national champion Trojans signed two top California high school players in defensive end Jeff Schweiger and offensive lineman Thomas Herring. They also journeyed into recruiting hotbeds Ohio (wide receiver Fred Davis) and Florida (linebacker Keith Rivers) to land key recruits.

Allen Wallace of Prep Football Report called the Trojans' recruiting class ''phenomenal.''

''There are no all-regional players on their list, there are no second-list players there at all,'' Wallace said. ''USC never dipped below (the top level), even though they had great regional kids who wanted offers.''

Some players were so eager to go to Southern Cal or LSU, they volunteered to attend as invited walk-ons with the promise of getting scholarships later, several analysts said.

''Recruiting has always been a critical aspect of our program and of our ability to maintain a high level of play,'' Carroll said.

LSU capitalized on its USA Today/ESPN national championship with a recruiting class arguably just as good as last year's top-ranked class.

The Tigers, already loaded at receiver, landed not one but three of the nation's top pass catchers Early Doucet of St. Martinville, La., Xavier Carter of Melbourne, Fla. and Lavelle Hawkins of Stockton, Calif.

Doucet scored 79 touchdowns and had 7,104 all-purpose yards in his high school career. Carter is one of the nation's fastest sprinters and could be a future U.S. Olympian.

''It was a great year for receivers, and LSU got three of the best,'' recruiting analyst Max Emfinger said. ''You wonder why another receiver would want to go there, but the answer is they want to wear a national championship ring.''

LSU stayed in-state to land dominating 310-pound lineman Marlon Favorite, then went next door to sign massive 395-pound lineman Herman Johnson from Denton, Texas.

''He looks like he is all ready to go down the I-395 freeway and report to the Dallas Cowboys' camp,'' Emfinger said.

Student Sports.com's Doug Huff, who has been tracking national high school recruiting since the 1960s, wasn't surprised last season's strongest teams USC, LSU, Oklahoma had big recruiting years.

''Recruits see teams in the big bowl games on national TV and atop the rankings, and that's where they want to play,'' he said.

Oklahoma signed the nation's most-recruited player: running back Adrian Peterson, who ran for nearly 3,000 yards last season at Palestine, Texas. He was ranked as the nation's best player by rivals.com and Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report and No. 2 by SuperPrep and StudentSports.com.

Oklahoma also got another top-five player in quarterback Rhett Bomar of Grand Prairie, Texas, plus highly sought Chicago linebacker Chris Patterson.

While Southern Cal and LSU had their classes mostly locked up weeks ago, it was Miami's late surge that was the biggest surprise on signing day.

Coach Larry Coker's Hurricanes signed two Top 50-caliber players they weren't expected to get in linebacker James Bryant of Reading, Pa., and defensive lineman Rhyan Anderson of Oak Creek, Wis. They also persuaded Miami high school linebacker Willie Williams to stay at home.

''They really came on strong, and that's tough to do this late in the game,'' Lemming said.

Williams, however, is facing three sworn criminal complaints stemming from his official visit to the University of Florida last weekend. The State Attorney's Office in Gainesville will investigate the sworn complaints before deciding whether to officially charge Williams.

Florida's Big 3 had big days Wednesday, with Florida and Florida State also wrapping up highly regarded classes. The Seminoles had a comeback year after last year's class finished well down the charts.

Florida State's top recruit is quarterback Xavier Lee, Florida's all-time career passing leader (9,082 yards, 98 touchdowns) at Daytona Beach's Seabreeze High. The Seminoles also signed another prized in-state quarterback in Drew Weatherford, plus running back Jamaal Edwards of Greensboro, N.C.

''I told them (the quarterbacks) to come in here with the idea they're going to play,'' coach Bobby Bowden said. ''They're both the quality of quarterbacks we've brought in here in the past. They bring a lot to the table.''

Other schools that did well at the finish were Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina State and Penn State.

The Nittany Lions took away Anthony Morelli from rival Pitt at the last minute; Morelli, a top five quarterback had committed to the Panthers months ago. Michigan high school receiver Carl Grimes signed with Michigan State after giving a verbal commitment to Florida State.

North Carolina State landed two excellent defensive linemen in DeMario Pressley of Greensboro, N.C., and Willie Young of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Pressley was one of the last top 25-caliber players to make up his mind.

''You can't find good defensive linemen, everybody wants them, yet they got two of the best,'' Emfinger said.



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