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CRAWFORD: Examining the filthiest contracts and ultimate bargains in pro sports

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Kobe Bryant loosens his tie and leans back in his seat, struggling to swallow the Lakers’ latest home loss to Charlotte.In minutes, he’ll chastise coach Mike D’Antoni and the effort of teammates to reporters before presenting no explanation as to why Los Angeles has dropped to 16-31 two weeks before the All-Star break.Why is he befuddled? No doubt he wants to win and Bryant’s championship pedigree proves it, but mired in mediocrity, there’s nothing he can do this season for a franchise trying to stay relevant.


Baseball Elite Poll: Slugfest Lumberton’s to win

Say what you want about the seeding — it is voted on by coaches after all — but the Robeson County Slugfest at Red Springs is Lumberton’s tournament to win this season, jokingly labeled the ‘Pirate Invitational’ a season ago after the program’s seventh title in the last 11 years.Lumberton, seeded third this weekend behind Fairmont and Purnell Swett, has taken the business trip angle in recent years in the spring break kickoff tournament, capturin...

1 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Harvick survives shootout for 1st Darlington win

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick used one of the few weekend missteps to pull out his first Darlington victory.Harvick was among several veteran drivers fighting for the Nationwide Series win Friday night when rookie Chase Elliott used fresher tires and a strong machine to move from the back of the pack to first place over the final two laps.Lesson learned.On Saturday night in the Sprint Cup race, Harvick took advantage of four new tires to pass Dal...

1 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Bubba’s back on top

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — One of golf’s most exciting players squeezed most of the drama out of the Masters on Sunday. That’s just fine with Bubba Watson.All he cared about was slipping into that green jacket.Instead of hitting a 40-yard hook out of a forest of Georgia pines — the signature shot in his playoff victory two years ago — the final act Sunday at Augusta National took place on the 18th green. Watson had a three-shot lead and consulted w...

1 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

LYBA weekly report

-Lumberton Ford Coach PitchResultsA’s 17, Orioles 2Braves 10, Phillies 1Braves 6, Rays 2Priates 7, Rockies 1Phllies 3, Pirates 1Rays 5, Orioles 3Braves 4, Yankees 1Red Sox 5, Rockies 1A’s 10, Rays 1Braves 11, Rockies 4Red Sox 12, Orioles 4Yankees 8, Phillies 6Standings (W-L-T-P...

3 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

QB competition ripens at UNCP’s spring game

PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team has had an offseason full of transition.Pete Shinnick’s resignation to become the new leader at West Florida gave way to defensive coordinator Shane Richardson who was promoted to the position and installed two new coordinators to help continue building on the program’s recent success.Saturday, the team put the attention back on the field as part of the annual Black and Gold Spring Ga...

3 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Greene’s recruiting journey ends at Belhaven

RED SPRINGS — The offseason noise for Blake Greene is finally over.He knows where he’ll play college football and says he felt at home during a recent visit to one of the only programs that likes him as a quarterback.Red Springs’ senior playmaker, whose video game-like passing totals in high school put him third all-time in North Carolina football history for touchdowns behind Chris Leak and T.A. McLendon, committed to Belhaven University in Jackson, Mi...

3 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Pinecrest hosting hickory sticks tourney

It’s almost time to break out the knickers.Pinecrest Country Club will go through a bit of a time warp on Friday when the Carolina Hickory Golf Association holds a tournament at the golf course.The association takes the game back to its roots, with participants using hickory-shafted clubs and donning period-appropriate attire such as knickers, argyle socks and ivy caps.The course will be played at a shorter distance to accommodate the clubs and several o...

3 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Fairmont’s Hardin throws one-hitter

LAKE WACCAMAW — Fairmont got a near flawless pitching performance from Gage Hardin and improved to 10-0 in conference play.Hardin threw all five innings in a 10-0 win at East Columbus. He faced the minimum 15 batters, threw 50 pitches and allowed only one walk and one hit.“He had a great night on the mound, that’s for sure,” Fairmont coach Sandy Thorndyke said.Thorndyke said Hardin spotted the fastball well, mixed in the curve and had e...

4 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Purnell Swett hosting basketball tourney in honor of local ref

PEMBROKE — Purnell Swett High School will be hosting a basketball tournament this weekend in honor of referee Van Sampson. The tournament starts tonight at 6:30 and continues Saturday at 9 a.m.Sampson spent more then 30 years as a basketball official in the county and the main purpose of the tournament is to remember his life and begin the process of endowing an athletic scholarship in his honor for a local student.Entry is $150 per team and admission is free, thou...

5 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

SOUTHPAW SHUTOUT: Pinecrest blanks Lumberton behind Helms’ gem

SOUTHERN PINES — Missed opportunities are magnified during games pitting top teams.When they happen against elite pitchers, it’s fatal.Lumberton squandered its chance to move percentage points ahead of idle Richmond for first place in the Southeastern Conference on Thursday night, falling 3-0 at Pinecrest behind Tristan Helms’ complete-game performance.Helms improved to 5-0 and held the Pirates without a run for the first time this season aft...

5 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

Braves’ late rally leads to rout of visiting Coker

PEMBROKE — The 15th-ranked University of North Carolina at Pembroke baseball team scored eight runs in the sixth inning to break open a close game and finish an 11-2 rout of Coker on Wednesday.The victory snapped a two-game skid for the Braves (28-12).All-American Jordan Edgerton had a double and a grand slam as part of a 2-for-4 night at the plate, but the junior from Mount Holly was one of six Braves to turn in multi-hit outings. Dalton Knight doubled twice and s...

6 days 22 hours ago | | | Email

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