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The Central A&M boys basketball team went on a second-quarter surge to cut a large Goreville lead to five, but a foul-plagued game kept the Raiders from going on the run they needed to catch the Blackcats in Tuesday's Class 1A Carbondale Super-sectional game.

In other Herald & Review sports news, the spotlight is on quarterback Cam Thomas as Illinois' spring practices open, H&R Executive Sports Editor Mark Tupper talks Mark Smith transfer and more on the latest episode of Riding Shotgun with Tupper, Yu Darvish took the mound for the first time in a Cubs uniform, and Jack Flaherty struck out seven for the Cardinals.

Central A&M falls short at super-sectional

Central A&M was building momentum.

The Raiders rallied from a 14-point deficit midway through the second quarter and trimmed the Goreville lead to five with 2:03 left before halftime using stingy defense from Jameson Smith and the Paradee brothers, Tate and Jacob.

But Goreville closed the first half of Tuesday's Class 1A Carbondale (SIU) Super-sectional on a 7-2 run to take a 10-point lead into halftime on the way to a 74-61 win to advance to the IHSA boys state basketball tournament for the first time in school history.

The Blackcats closed the half with four free throws and hit 29 of 41 for the game in a foul-infested contest.

Read the full story by H&R staff writer Joey Wagner here.

Illini QB Thomas under the spring spotlight

The interaction between new offensive coordinator Rod Smith and QB Cam Thomas is something of heightened interest because Thomas is the only scholarship QB in camp and because the new coordinator is making important judgments about whether Thomas could lead his fast-paced offense in the fall or whether another candidate could win the job.

Based on what Rod Smith said Tuesday, the immediate challenge for Thomas is learning new terminology and proving he can make decisions on the fly.

Read the full story here.

Riding Shotgun with Tupper: Mark Smith transfer and Illini football

In the latest edition of Riding Shotgun, Mark Tupper talks about Mark Smith's transfer and what it means to the Illini going forward, and also talks about the football team's first spring practice.

Check out Riding Shotgun here.

Darvish makes Cubs debut

If Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches in the World Series last year, he seems to have fixed it.

Darvish threw two hitless innings in his spring training debut for the Chicago Cubs, facing his former teammates on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Read the full story here.

Flaherty strikes out seven for Cardinals

Regardless of what's ahead for Jack Flaherty and whether he's needed in the majors to start the season or positioned as the Class AAA Memphis ace, the Cardinals are growing increasingly confident of how close he is to be a fixture for them.

It's at his fingertips.

Flashing a stronger and more diverse array of pitches that he had to begin last year and that he has had this spring, Flaherty struck out seven in four innings of work and became the first Cardinals pitcher to throw a 70th pitch a game this spring. Although the young righthander said he felt like he was "fighting myself early," the command of his sinker, break on his curve, and overall sense of four pitches was clear as he faced the Marlins.

Read the full story here.


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