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Former minister, sex offender back in Decatur County

first_imgGreensburg, Ind. — Convicted sex offender and former minister, Duncan Danforth Aker Jr., 65, has returned to Indiana and is once again living in the Greensburg area.In 2015 Aker was charged in Lewis County, Kentucky with five counts of first degree sexual assault and four counts of first degree sodomy. Aker and his attorneys were able to reach a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to the five counts of first degree sexual assault. In return the prosecutor dropped the four counts of first degree sodomy. Concerns from the victim’s family and counselor led Kentucky officials to accept the plea deal.Court documents show he was sentenced to one year in jail and given credit for time served. He is also required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.According to the Lewis County Herald, Aker was accused of having deviate sexual contact with a male under the age of 12 on five occasions between October of 2007 and March of 2010. Documents from the court allege Aker committed the acts in a vehicle, in an outbuilding on his Kentucky property, along the side of a road and in the Vanceburg Christian Church where he served as the minister.Aker was the minister at the Kentucky church from 2006 to 2011.last_img read more


Goalkeeper Ter Stegen to pen long-term Barcelona contract

first_img Loading… The details are outlined on the front page of Friday’s edition of Diario Sport, which says that an agreement is set to be reached in June on a contract through to the summer of 2025.The German goalkeeper’s current deal at the Camp Nou runs through until the summer of 2022, after he penned a freshly extended contract in 2017.With a buyout clause of €180m, there is no great concern at the Camp Nou about the situation but they have had to push back their forecasts of an agreement.In December, Diario Sport said a new deal would see the player’s contract run through until 2025 – surpassing even those deals handed to Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann while ESPN have said it is a priority for club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.The 27-year-old has demonstrated he is one of football’s elite goalkeepers with a series of world-class performances for the Blaugrana, whom he joined from Borussia Mochengladbach in 2014 for €12m.Read Also: Juventus midfielder only wants to join BarcelonaTer Stegen has been described as a tall, agile and consistent goalkeeper, with quick reflexes, good decision-making and excellent shot-stopping abilities; he is also strong in the air, good in one-on-one situations, and effective at communicating with his back-line courtesy of his strong personality.He initially was number two to Claudio Bravo at the club before establishing himself as first-choice, and is currently above summer arrival Neto in the pecking order.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Barcelona are set to agree a new long-term contract with goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen after months of deadlock.Advertisementcenter_img Promoted ContentBest Car Manufacturers In The WorldCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Is This The Most Delicious Food In The World?What Happens When You Eat Eggs Every Single Day?Some Impressive And Almost Shocking Robots That Exist6 Incredibly Strange Facts About HurricanesBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of Anime5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksTop 10 Most Romantic Nations In The Worldlast_img read more


Henderson upbeat about next season

first_img Henderson, who is expected to take over the armband when Gerrard leaves for the LA Galaxy at the end of the season, expects the summer transfer window to provide a further injection of talent which will help provide a boost for the new campaign. And if, as expected, Liverpool fall short of the top four, the 24-year-old England midfielder insists they will not allow the Europa League to hamper their domestic prospects. Jordan Henderson believes Liverpool will be able to cope without influential captain Steven Gerrard next season as they have quality players forming the nucleus of a good squad. Press Association Manchester United’s surprise home defeat to West Brom has offered a glimmer of hope Liverpool could yet close the four-point gap in the remaining three matches and sneak into Champions League qualification but much more likely is a place in Europe’s second-tier competition. If that is the case Henderson said the players will embrace it for what it is worth – a chance to win silverware. “You have seen it in the past when teams have gone into the Europa League their league form as struggled a little bit,” he added. “We have to make sure that doesn’t happen really but the more competitions we are in the better because we want to be winning trophies. “I think everyone will still be looking forward to it if we get into that.” Victory over QPR ended a miserable fortnight in which Liverpool lost an FA Cup semi-final and dropped crucial points in the race for the top four. “It has been difficult obviously not having performed and not winning as many games as we would have liked,” said Henderson. “But we have to keep going and working as a team and keep trying to improve on the areas we need to improve on and try to win as many games as we can until the end of the season. “It is important to get back to that winning mentality. That was the main objective.” Gerrard was the match-winner in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League victory over QPR, heading in three minutes from time after earlier missing a penalty on his penultimate appearance at Anfield. “It is typical Stevie. He will be disappointed with the penalty but he erased it very quickly, got on with the game and came up with the goal,” Henderson said. “I was pleased for him because I am sure he wouldn’t have been able to get that (miss) out of his mind all night. That just shows his character. “Sometimes that can affect people but he gets on with it and he came up with the winner right at the end. “I have said many times before he is a big loss to the team: he is our leader and a big influence on games so you will miss big players like that but at the same time we have to move on when he does go. “I think we have the players who can improve and have a really good go next season. “We have quality players. Obviously bringing in people in the summer we will welcome because the better the players we have here the better it is for us in terms of competition to get into the team and push on and try to win trophies and try to play in the Champions League. “We have great players here, we just have to keep improving as a young squad and I am sure come next season we will be raring to go again.” last_img read more


Harry Arter hails Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe for sticking to principles

first_img Eight matches without a win – since defeating Sunderland on September 19 – left many commentators pondering whether Howe might have to sacrifice Bournemouth’s attractive style of play to stay in the top flight. But the Cherries fully merited victory through Glenn Murray’s goal in a result which Howe described as the best in a history which has seen the club flirt with extinction. Midfielder Arter told Cherries Player: “A lot of people have spoken about changing the way we play and every great team never changes the way they play if they’ve had a few indifferent results. “The manager’s key to that, that’s why he’s going to be one of the best managers in the country. “It’s good that our philosophy, which has been criticised, has come out on top. “To come here, the champions last year, and to perform the way we did was unbelievable.” The performance was in the planning and the execution, Arter says. “These are the sort of games you want to get promoted for and the grounds you want to come and play at,” he added. “In a way they’re free games you’re never expect to win. You come here as a learning experience, probably more learning than you hope to get a result. “(But) we put pressure on ourselves to win. The manager started his game plan on Monday and it wasn’t just by luck. We worked hard for that performance.” It was also a second clean sheet of the season, after the one against Sunderland. Goalkeeper Artur Boruc returned from a six-week injury lay off and denied Chelsea time and again. Like Arter, Boruc was pleased the Cherries’ style was rewarded. “We are keen to always try and play our way,” he said. “That is to keep the ball, pass out from the back and play open, attacking football. “But it’s important as well that we can make it count. We did that and I am sure that will be most pleasing for all of the lads.” “It’s a big result for the players and the club. “Personally I am delighted to keep a clean sheet – that’s very important to me. “Chelsea played well and had a lot of possession, but we were able to go down the other end, take our chance and get a goal.” Next for Bournemouth is Manchester United on the south coast. Midfielder Matt Ritchie said: “I wouldn’t have thought they’d fancy it. We’ll try to make it a tough game for them.” Harry Arter lauded manager Eddie Howe for sticking to his tactical philosophy after Bournemouth earned a memorable 1-0 win at Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea. Press Associationlast_img read more


Assam Lose to Chandigarh by 7 Wickets in U-23 One Day Trophy

first_imgOur Sports ReporterGUWAHATI: Chandigarh defeated Assam by 7 wickets in the U-23 One Day Trophy tie at Cuttack on Friday. Chasing 200 runs to win Chandigarh reached the target in just 29.3 overs losing three wickets. Mohd Arslan Zabih Khan scored exactly 100 in the game and his opening partner Jagmeet Gurpal Singh contributed 71 runs on the board. Earlier Assam has bowled out 199 runs in 47.3 overs.Also Read: Chandigarh Beat Assam by 21 Runs in Vijay Hazare Cricket TournamentAlso Watch:Watch | Exceptional Step to counter Human-Elephant Conflict in Digboilast_img read more


Big Sky scuttles rest of fall sports schedule over COVID-19

first_imgBig Sky scuttles rest of fall sports schedule over COVID-19 Decisions regarding the Big Sky’s winter sports (men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field) will be made at a later date. “While I am confident that our conference is making the right decision for the health and safety of our student-athletes, it breaks my heart knowing how disappointing this will be to all of them who were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to compete this fall,” Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. Members of the Big Sky Conference are Eastern Washington, Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Southern Utah and Weber State.Big Sky schools may continue with permissible athletics activities at their discretion while abiding by NCAA legislation, campus policies, and local and state regulations, the league said. The conference’s Presidents’ Council convened Wednesday to affirm the recommendation from its athletic directors to postpone the entire fall sports calendar.“We thank them for their efforts and appreciate the desire to compete but most importantly, keep us safe,” said Northern Colorado soccer coach Tim Barrera. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditFARMINGTON, Utah (AP) — The Big Sky Conference has voted to postpone all fall sports competition until the spring because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.The decision follows the Big Sky’s postponement of fall football on Aug. 6 when the league became one of the first in the nation to scuttle the sport because of the virus that has claimed more than 160,000 lives in the United States and about 750,000 worldwide.The other Big Sky sports that are now postponed are men’s and women’s cross country, soccer and volleyball as well as men’s and women’s golf, softball and men’s and women’s tennis.center_img Associated Press August 13, 2020last_img read more


Update on the latest sports

first_img— A person with knowledge of the situation says Auburn’s football team has canceled its last two practices because of issues related to COVID-19 after positive tests this week. It wasn’t clear how many players, coaches or others tested positive. — North Carolina State has allowed 12 programs to resume workouts after the school paused all athletics activities earlier this week, but football remains on hold for now. In a statement Friday, athletics director Boo Corrigan said the school plans for another round of testing for the football program and will make a decision on next steps.— North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham says the school will begin football and other fall sports without fans at home because of the pandemic. Cunningham says the restriction will last through September. NFL-SAINTS OWNER-VIRUSSaints, Pelicans owner Benson tests positive for coronavirus The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 it was postponing its fall football season because of concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pac-12 and some smaller conferences soon followed suit.The Big Ten and first-year commissioner Kevin Warren have faced pushback and criticism ever since, including a lawsuit filed by eight Nebraska players who want the decision overturned.In other pandemic-related college sports news:— Seven members of the Kansas State football team have tested positive for COVID-19 in the first outbreak since the Wildcats convened for summer workouts in June. The Wildcats will continue to practice for the season-opener Sept. 12 against Arkansas State. — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt canceled Friday’s practice after what he called “a few more positive tests.” Pruitt had adjusted the schedule for Saturday to allow his players to take part in an on-campus march against racism. Associated Press VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTSAP Source: Big Ten working on multiple options for footballUNDATED (AP) — Big Ten coaches, athletic directors and medical personnel are working on multiple plans for staging a football season, including one that would have the league kicking off as soon as Thanksgiving weekend.A person with direct knowledge of the conference’s discussions told The Associated Press the conference is in the early stages of a complicated process that also involves broadcast partners and possible neutral site venues.Any plan will need the approval of university presidents and chancellors. The person told the AP that the Big Ten will only play if certain benchmarks related to the coronavirus — such as transmission rates, testing capacity and availability, and testing accuracy — are met in each of the 11 states that are home to the league’s 14 schools. NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans has tested positive for COVID-19. The team says Gayle Benson hasn’t been hospitalized and has continued to work from home. Benson has been sole owner of both New Orleans franchises since her husband, Tom Benson, died in March of 2018.PGA-BMW CHAMPIONSHIPMcIlroy, Cantlay share BMW lead OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay share the lead as the only players under par through two rounds of the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields. Cantlay fired a 2-under 68 and McIlroy shot a 69, leaving them 1 under at the midway point. Cantlay holed a 50-foot chip for birdie and holed out a 50-yard wedge for eagle.Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson are one shot back, while Tiger Woods could be two rounds away from ending his season. Woods had to make a 35-foot par putt on his final hole to shoot 75, leaving him nine shots behind.LPGA-WALMART NW ARKANSAS CHAMPIONSHIPThree-way tie at LPGA event Update on the latest sports MLB-NEWSJudge on IL againUNDATED (AP) — The Yankees have placed right fielder Aaron Judge on the 10-day injured list again with a strained left calf just days after the star slugger returned. Judge was activated Wednesday but aggravated the injury in a game at Atlanta and was removed in the sixth inning. In other major league news:— The White Sox acquired speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson from Pittsburgh and reinstated Nick Madrigal from the 10-day injured list. Dyson is batting just .157 this season, but he swiped 30 bags last year. The White Sox sent international signing bonus pool money to the last-place Pirates for the 36-year-old Dyson. And the NBA and players will work with TV networks to create advertising spots during the remainder of the postseason to promote greater engagement in the election process and their communities.NBA-MAVERICKS-PORZINGISPorzingis to miss rest of Mavs-Clippers seriesLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis (KRIHS’-tahps pohr-ZIHN’-gihs) will miss the rest of the Dallas Mavericks’ series against the Los Angeles Clippers because of a torn ligament in his right knee. The team said it is looking into treatment options but added that Porzingis wouldn’t be medically cleared the rest of the series. Porzingis averaged 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in the first three games of the series.NHL PLAYOFFS-SCHEDULE CHANGES In a joint statement released Friday, the sides say they will immediately establish a social justice coalition, made up of players, coaches and owners, that would focus on issues such as voting access and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform. Play stopped Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the court for their playoff game against Orlando to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and acts of racial injustice. There have been no games since, while players met among themselves and with coaches and owners before an agreement to resume was reached. All 13 teams remaining in the postseason scheduled practice Friday.Players are calling on people to vote, hopefully in their home arenas. Many within the league of primarily Black players have focused on the importance of voting and the need for places in inner cities where minorities can do so safely. Madison Square Garden is one of eight arenas ready to open its doors on Election Day. Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rovers said Miami is working hard to make its facility available. Thunder guard Chris Paul pointed out that practice facilities would be helpful if arenas can’t be secured.The players and the league will also immediately establish a social justice coalition, made up of players, coaches and owners. The coalition will focus on issues such as voting access and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.center_img August 28, 2020 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR drivers don’t plan to skip Saturday’s race at Daytona International Speedway to raise awareness of social and racial injustices. But Bubba Wallace says that decision should not be interpreted as “turning away from the dark and evil acts that have taken over our nation.” The 26-year-old Wallace is the only fulltime Black driver in the Cup series and has been a leader in pushing NASCAR for more diversity and its recent ban on the Confederate flag at racetracks. He was the first driver to address any action potentially planned at Daytona as other sports leagues have reacted to the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin. MLB-SCHEDULESmith homers in first game since boycottUNDATED (AP) — Dom Smith was tearful on Wednesday, grateful on Thursday and gleeful on Friday afternoon. Smith belted a tiebreaking solo homer while the New York Mets scored five times in the sixth inning to beat the Yankees, 6-4 in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The homer came two days after he made an impassioned statement about racial injustice in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Mets responded by rallying around Smith on Thursday, staging an on-field demonstration with the Miami Marlins before the two teams boycotted their game.The Yankees led 4-1 until the Mets homered three times in the sixth. Pete Alonso tied it with a three-run blast and Jake Marisnick gave the Mets breathing room with a solo shot.Clint Frazier belted a two-run homer and had three RBIs for the Yankees, who have dropped six straight since a six-game winning streak.The opener of the doubleheader was the first game on Jackie Robinson Day. Robinson first met with Dodgers owner Branch Rickey on Aug. 28, 1945 to discuss breaking the color barrier in baseball, and the 1963 March on Washington was held on the same day. Jackie Robinson Day is usually April 15, the day of his first major league game. The date was moved when the major league season had to be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.Also on the major league schedule: NHL playoffs to resume this weekendUNDATED (AP) — The NHL’s second-round playoff series will resume this weekend with three games each on Saturday and Sunday after players prompted the league to postpone two days of action to protest racial injustice.The postponements of four games to be played Thursday and Friday have led the NHL to push back the potential completion of the second-round schedule by as many as two days should three of the series require a Game 7. RACIAL INJUSTICE-MOTORSPORTSNASCAR plans to race, Wallace says fight for racial equality goes on Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditRACIAL INJUSTICE-NBANBA prepares to restart after protest pauseLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The NBA playoffs are set to resume Saturday, after the league and the National Basketball Players Association detailed the commitments that made players comfortable continuing the postseason. — The Astros-Athletics game in Houston was the 11th to be boycotted by big league players since Wednesday. The two teams took their positions on the field and headed toward the clubhouses after a moment of silence. A Black Lives Matter T-shirt was draped across home plate.— Ryan Yarbrough worked into the seventh inning and two relievers completed a five-hitter in the Rays’ 2-0 shutout of the Marlins. Yarbrough struck out five and allowed four hits over 6 2/3 frames of Tampa Bay’s 12th win in 15 games.— The Blue Jays pulled out a 5-4 win over the Orioles on Randal Grichuk’s (GRIH’-chuhks) two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar (tay-AHS’-kur) Hernandez hit longballs in the fourth inning of Toronto’s ninth victory in 12 games.— The Reds picked up a 6-5 win over the Cubs behind Tyler Mahle (MAH’-lee), who gave up two solo homers but no other hits while fanning 11 over 6 2/3 innings. Eugenio Suarez, Jess Winker and Freddy Galvis (GAL’-vees) smacked solo homers in Cincinnati’s third victory in a row.— The Tigers-Twins doubleheader in Detroit has been postponed because of bad weather. One game will be made up as part of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sept. 4. ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Jackie Stoelting returned from a 14-month maternity break to take a share of the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.The 34-year-old played her first nine holes in 5-under 30 and finished with a bogey-free 7-under 64 to join Anna Nordqvist and rookie Esther Lee atop the leaderboard.TENNIS-WESTERN & SOUTHERNOsaka to face Azarenka, Djokovic vs. RaonicNEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Osaka overcame a faulty first serve and reached the finals of the Western & Southern Open following a one-day break in the tournament prompted by her call for racial justice. Osaka sparked the break by announcing she would drop out of the tournament rather than play a semifinal match Thursday against Elise Mertens. The 2018 U.S. Open champ pulled out a 6-2, 7-6 victory over Mertens on Friday.Osaka will face resurgent Victoria Azarenka, who beat Johanna Konta 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Western & Southern final for the first time since 2013, when she beat Serena Williams.In the men’s bracket, top-ranked Novak Djokovic (JOH’-koh-vihch) overcame more neck problems and advanced to the finals with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 win over Roberto Bautista Agut (ah-GOOO’). Milos Raonic (MEE’-lohsh ROW’-nihch) beat fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 6-3 to reach a final for the first time in 26 months.last_img read more


Over 220 Athletes Benefitted from Sports Ministry’s Relief Fund

first_imgThe N11million donated funds were paid directly into the Ministry’s account domicile with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from where the disbursements were made to the athletes.Following the disbursements, the Ministry has closed the ad-hoc sports relief fund, which was meant to serve only as a pillative for the COVID-19 lock down period.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Over 220 sportsmen and women have benefitted from the Athletes Relief Fund set up by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to provide palliative for them in response to their inability to earn income as a result of disruptions to the sporting calendar by the COVID-19 pandemic.The N11millions private sector donated fund, administered by a committee chaired by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, paid N50,000 to each beneficiary.The committee had set criteria for eligibility to assess the fund, which requires that beneficiary is an Olympic bound athlete, or an athletes that has represented Nigeria in the past one year, or an athlete that is bound or qualified to represent Nigeira, or an athlete confirmed to be in dire need.last_img read more


No. 7 Syracuse wins 99th game of historic rivalry with No. 6 Cornell

first_imgITHACA, N.Y. — There was no rain or snow on Tuesday night, just temperatures in the 40s and lacrosse indicative of an in-state rivalry dating back to 1920. No. 7 Syracuse (7-3, 1-3, Atlantic Coast) won the 99th game of its all-time series with No. 6 Cornell (9-2, 3-1 Ivy League), 14-9 in front of 2,690 fans at Schoellkopf Field. The crowd, which only partially filled the arching grandstand behind the team benches, was loud for both the Orange and Big Red and was treated to another chapter of Central New York’s premier matchup. “The last time we played on this field they kind of embarrassed us,” junior goalie Bobby Wardwell said. “It’s always a big game when we come in here and it’s a great stadium and great atmosphere.“You can always hear their fans and tonight you could hear our fans, too.”When Wardwell was a freshman, the Orange traveled to Schoellkopf and lost 12-6. Then last year, SU bounced back with a 13-12 win on its home turf.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTuesday’s game held two teams trying to land the next punch, and Syracuse pulled away in the second half while a small crowd dotted by orange shirts let out three “We Are SU” chants after each goal. The teams have met every year since 1979, and Syracuse registered double-digit goals in 26 of the last 29 meetings. Randy Staats played in the rivalry for the first time, but his five goals helped the Orange climb into double figures once again while securing an emotional win. “I’m new to it, but it’s definitely very good,” Staats said. “It was good coming in here for the first time for me, and being a part of this experience and pulling out a big win like that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 9, 2014 at 12:24 am Contact Jesse: | @dougherty_jesselast_img read more


Q-BALL: Inside the creation of Syracuse’s margin-based offense

first_img Published on February 20, 2019 at 11:56 pm Contact Nick: | @nick_a_alvarez,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Still, Hillsman is tired of the questions. It’s not going to change his mind. He knows what the stats say. He’s heard everything from “consistency” to “slumps.” He doesn’t care. He has faith in the system.He positioned himself in front of the NCAA national finalist banner that hung on the far wall behind him, and grinned.“You can’t flip-flop back and forth,” Hillsman said. “You’re going to do what you’re going to do. You’re going to play how you’re going to play.”,Cover illustration by Sarah Allam | Illustration Editor Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman bowled his neck and stared straight ahead. It was Jan. 23, and the Orange had just lost to an unranked Miami team at home. SU hit more shots, corralled more boards but struggled from beyond the 3-point line, shooting 5-of-32 from behind the arc.The postgame questions were familiar. Could Hillsman break his team out of a shooting slump? Would he make a change? Should he? He’s answered them, repeatedly. He’s tried fixing SU’s offense a lot of different ways. Putting players in different spots, running more shooting drills, forcing players to stay after practice and shoot 100 3s.But Hillsman can’t correct everything. A coach that could correct it would make a lot of money, he joked. Hillsman isn’t that kind of coach. Each question mark brings a different variation of the same explanation: The Orange, led by Hillsman, will work its way out of this one. So, when Hillsman was asked who he expects to step up after back-to-back losses, he licked his lips, winked and thumped his chest. “Me,” he said before walking away.,That’s the only thing Hillsman has. Faith. He can only have faith in the foundation of his program, because year-after-year, his players have proven he should. Hillsman and the SU coaching staff have learned over the years that their system works. They’re not going to start doubting it now. Shooting slumps end, and that’s where SU’s reign begins. It’s what sunk SU to its worst shooting stretch in recent memory, and what’s risen it to an almost unguardable team when its shots fall. If the No. 18 Orange (19-6, 8-4 Atlantic Coast) are to pull off an upset over No. 6 Notre Dame in front of a potentially record-breaking Carrier Dome crowd, it’ll be the result of a system that was put in place five years ago and has slowly become the identity of the program.A system that originated as spreadsheets on associate head coach Vonn Read’s computer. A system that’s changed the fundamental way Syracuse recruits and develops its players. A system that preaches stats as a barometer of team success. The questions haven’t stopped for Hillsman, but Syracuse will keep shooting. It’s the only way it knows how to operate — the only way it knows how to win.“I think that if you start developing your plan B more than you’re really running your plan A, then you have a problem,” Hillsman said. “So what we’re doing is the thing that we’ve been doing: Shooting the ball, being aggressive, running in transition. And those of you who’ve been here know: We’re going to keep shooting … And then, if they’re falling the right three or four games, it’s going to be an issue.”• • •When Emily Engstler came to Syracuse, many within the coaching staff expected her to be a “program-changing” player. Following the Orange’s season-opener against North Dakota, Engstler looked like the nation’s No. 9 prospect, the highest ranked recruit that the Orange has ever gotten.Threes, layups, blocks, passes from the high post, dribble moves to create space on the elbows. Hillsman saw it all, but most importantly, Engstler could score. In her first game, it came often. She tied for the Orange’s scoring lead with 13 points and proved to Hillsman she had the potential to play “big minutes.” But, during the matchup, Hillsman noticed the holes. Her next step would be adjusting to SU’s pace. Syracuse demands it on both ends.In the last five years, SU has utilized a margin-based offensive system — a simple plus-minus that emphasizes creating open looks earlier in the shot clock, crashing the offensive glass and forcing turnovers. Hillsman and Read have preached before, after and during games, that if they can construct a possession disparity, regardless of its field goal percentage, they’ll win.,At its best, Syracuse can shoot an opponent out of an arena — its nine made 3s a contest rank ninth in the country. And at its worst, it can shoot itself out of a game if the corresponding margins aren’t in its favor. Programs across the nation, including Notre Dame, have predicated their offenses on 3-pointers as teams try to maximize each possession, espnW HoopGurlz’s Dan Olson said. For Syracuse, the system has proven itself, culminating in a National Championship appearance in 2016, but of late, SU’s streaky shooting and lackluster margins have been the root of its failures.“The numbers. That’s something we definitely emphasize,” Read said. “You can win games by getting more shots than your opponents and that’s what we try to do. If we’re shooting the ball well, and we get more shots than you, then we’re really gonna be in a great space.”But the system doesn’t stop and wait for its players to catch up. As the season progressed, Engstler’s minutes decreased. Hillsman wanted her to run, but Engstler felt she did. She nabbed three blocks, including a chase-down, in the first half against Miami, but only recorded one minute thereafter. She leaned back in her chair on the sidelines and sulked. Hillsman didn’t give her a reason, Engstler later said. He usually never does, she said.The reason is instead written in the recent-history of Syracuse’s program. Hillsman said to assess Engstler — and the potential of her development — one must first examine Alexis Peterson. Peterson came to the Orange as the No. 92 recruit in her class, but averaged just three points and one assist per game in her first season with the Orange. She was far from the player she would one day become, and Syracuse was far from the national finalist it would become.,Peterson entered an SU offense that didn’t orient around its guards, former SU player Brianna Butler said. Peterson’s play suffered. But in the coming years, she thrived in her individual development. The scheme SU instituted impacted the development of every recruit it brought in, whether that be a forward or a guard. It forced players to get out of their comfort zone and take shots that they normally wouldn’t take, Hillsman said.So Engstler only had one option: listen. She knew if she wanted to grow the same way one of SU’s great point guards did, she just needed to run.“A lot of the problems I had in the beginning of the year was not running back fast enough,” Engstler said on Feb. 12. “Most of us don’t struggle with that, but ever since it was hurting my time and I couldn’t understand why, I realized, ‘OK, no matter what happens, run back.’“As fast as you can.”• • •The summer before Cornelia Fondren’s junior year, Hillsman and Read told her their offensive system would be different by the time she got back in fall 2014. In previous years, the Orange had an “inside-out” game plan with some run-and-gun elements, multiple former players said. They mostly played through a litany of bigs, notably Kayla Alexander — who graduated two years prior.SU’s offense was centered on finding ways to get her the ball on the block. Alexander was selected eighth overall in the WNBA Draft, leaving Syracuse with a blank slate to revamp itself.Read, who joined the program in 2011, brought a resume that included stints in the Southeastern Conference, WNBA and NBA. Prior to adjusting SU’s system, Read compiled an Excel sheet of about 150 teams dating back 15 years, including Rick Pitino’s time at Kentucky, and presented it to Hillsman. Read noticed that what separated great teams from the rest were a set of margins. Each squad had a corresponding 15-to-16 stats that Read believed led to success. Turnover ratios and offensive rebound discrepancies were tallied and analyzed, eventually leading to Syracuse’s winning formula.“You don’t win games unless you’re doing something else,” Read said. “That’s what we were doing.”,When Fondren returned to campus, preseason practices were dedicated to learning new plays, she said. She switched to the four position — normally reserved for shooters — despite averaging 3.4 points per game as a sophomore. They ran slot action to get open shooters around the perimeter. Syracuse used its bigs in pick-and-rolls, allowing Butler and Peterson to slip free.During practices, they were quizzed on new plays. Coaches pushed players to watch film individually and then tested them to see if they did. Certain schemes, like a pick-and-four slide that featured a forward and center setting a screen for a guard before the forward flared out for a 3, became go-to baskets. Some of the original plays are still run in 2019. On a road trip, Fondren flicked on an NBA game in the team hotel and noticed a professional team executing a similar play to what SU ran prior.To keep track of the team’s goals, two white boards were wheeled into the locker room. One featured a specific, opponent-based scheme that Hillsman would break down before games, Fondren said. The other, current and former players said, displayed Syracuse’s ideal numbers: Shoot 20 more times than the opponent, pull down 10-plus offensive rebounds and produce 10-plus turnovers while committing 10 or fewer.,In practices, Hillsman assured players the strategy would work. “‘If you run this play the right way,’” Fondren recalled Hillsman saying repeatedly, “‘I promise you, I promise you you’ll get this.’” The system produced, and over time, the players bought in.Eventually, a new wrinkle was thrown in: the press. Hosting North Carolina State on Jan. 25, 2015, a pair of Orange guards started a full-court press. SU had tried it sporadically but never implemented it for an entire game, Fondren said. NC State coughed the ball up 13 times and Syracuse dominated the Wolfpack. The next day in practice, Fondren said, Hillsman named the guard press “two-chase,” and said they’d be utilizing it more often.“Once we started pressing like crazy,” Fondren said, “oh, it became a different ballgame.”A season later, the style indoctrinated in a batch of now-upperclassmen, the margin-based offense propelled Syracuse to the National Championship game in Indianapolis. Butler set the NCAA single-season record with 129 3s and SU led the country with a 10.8 turnover margin. The system produced, and after some time, the Orange hung a banner in the Carmelo K. Anthony Center.• • •Isis Young sat in a Greensboro Coliseum locker trying to explain what had just happened. Young was in her first year at Syracuse, and as a pure shooter who could press, she embodied the type of player the system valued. Yet, as teammates slouched around her, she tried to rationalize an embarrassing 85-70 loss to Virginia Tech last March. How the system had failed.“We did what we were trained to do as a team: To knock down shots and make open 3s,” Young said. “There’s always a chance when you’re a 3-point shooting team.“… But the style in which we lost, we live or die by, and today we died.”One year later, Read watched from the sidelines as Gabrielle Cooper, Miranda Drummond and Tiana Mangakahia fine-tuned the offense he helped formulate before a matchup against NC State on Feb. 13. Since its Final Four run, SU hasn’t made it past the second round of the ACC or NCAA Tournaments.This year, the Orange rank No. 52 in assist-to-turnover ratio and have more games below 40 percent shooting than they do games above 55 percent. The shots don’t always fall and Read said they don’t have to at a high rate for Syracuse to have success. But SU has games that challenge his theory. It’s winless both times it shot below 35 percent in a game, and hasn’t lost a game where it made over half its attempts.Following the Orange’s 84-71 loss to Miami, in which SU shot a paltry 28-of-77, Hillsman sneered and confidently looked ahead to the tournament. Syracuse went 3-2 in its following five games matching poor shooting performances with close wins and blowout losses. Against NC State last week, SU connected on 12 3s, created 18 turnovers and still lost. Instead, the Wolfpack’s slow, methodical pace prevailed. After the game, Hillsman’s prescribed remedy was simple: Make more shots.center_img Commentslast_img read more