March 2, 2014

Sports briefs for Sunday, March 2


---- — Western girls win semistate crown

WARSAW — Mid-Indiana Conference girls basketball champion Western beat Norwell 41-31 in the Class 3A northern semistate on Saturday at Warsaw.

The No. 6-ranked Panthers (22-3) pulled away in the fourth quarter. The first three quarters were razor tight — the Panthers led 9-7 after one, 15-12 at halftime and 25-23 after three.

Western showed its usual balanced offensive attack. Jessica Givens and Carley O’Neal scored 10 points apiece, Kiersten Durbin had nine and Caitlyn O’Neal had eight. Durbin was hot early, scoring seven points in the opening quarter.

Western advances to its first state finals where it will meet No. 2 Evansville Mater Dei (26-1). Mater Dei won Class 2A state titles in 2012 and ‘13, beating MIC school Eastern 62-42 in last year’s title game. The Wildcats were bumped up to Class 3A this year under the IHSAA’s success factor.

Ex-Pacer Granger signs with Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Forward Danny Granger has signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, adding more veteran depth for the club’s playoff push.

The former All-Star joined the Clippers on Friday after his contract was bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired him in a trade with Indiana last week. Granger cleared waivers shortly before Los Angeles announced the deal.

Granger could play significant minutes for the Clippers (40-20), who lead the Pacific Division by four games over Golden State. He is coach Doc Rivers’ second major free-agent addition to the Clippers in the past week along with veteran big man Glen Davis.

Despite the Clippers’ stellar record, they’re eager to add depth after several significant injury problems this season. Most recently, guard J.J. Redick has been out for nine games with a bulging disk in his lower back, and his status for the regular-season stretch is uncertain.

The Pacers traded Granger to Philadelphia along with a second-round pick for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Granger had spent his entire nine-season NBA career in Indiana, becoming an All-Star in 2009 while averaging 25.8 points per game.

Granger led the Pacers in scoring for five straight years, but he played in just five games last season while struggling with a knee injury. He then missed nearly the first two months of the current season with a strained left calf before returning to average 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 29 games.

Paul George’s emergence in Indiana made Granger expendable, but he could be a key contributor to the Clippers, who need depth and secondary scoring. Granger chose Los Angeles over several suitors, including Miami, Houston and San Antonio.

Yankees’ Tanaka goes 2 shutout innings

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka allowed two hits and struck out three over two scoreless innings in his first spring training game for the New York Yankees.

The Japanese star entered in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against Philadelphia. Some fans stood when Tanaka walked to the mound to a loud ovation.

Tanaka signed a $155 million, seven-year contract in January. He was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year while leading Rakuten to its first Japan Series title.

The Yankees said the game was carried by three TV networks in Japan.