Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for February 13, 2019

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - Duke pulls off incredible 23-point comeback

It's only February, long before most fans pay attention to college basketball, and I'm no different. But I've certainly been aware of the narrative surrounding Duke and stars Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and RJ Barrett. So last night's game between Duke and Louisville televised in Canada seemed worth tuning into, especially with Louisville winning by nine points at the half. In the second, the Cardinals played even better, extending the lead to 23 and looked sure to hand the Blue Devils just their third loss of the season. All of a sudden, with about 10 minutes remaining in the game, Duke switched to the full court press and completely stifled Louisville's game plan. The Cardinals started turning the ball over, seemingly more than they actually shot the ball, and Duke didn't seem to miss. Zion had 27 points, while Reddish had 22, and Duke won by two points, 71-69, not taking the lead until there were 14 seconds left, to shock the Cardinals and the college basketball world. It was an incredible performance that forshadows how special this year's NCAA tournament could be. 

Second Base - Stephen Culling wins Fort Worth rodeo

Stephen Culling is following up his amazing 2018 steer wrestling season with a hot start to 2019, as he won his second rodeo of the new year last year in Fort Worth last weekend. Fort Worth has one of the biggest rodeos of the winter season, and puts Culling fourth in the standings so far. He won the second round with a time of 3.3 seconds, and tied for first-place in the average, taking home more than $14,000 for his efforts. 

“This is one of the biggest wins of my career. To get a win like this at this point in the season lights a fire under you, and I’m ready to go win more now,” Culling said.

Third Base - Brayden Sims leaves for Canada Winter Games this week

Provincial boxing champion Brayden Sims of Fort St. John and Fivestar Boxing Academy is headed to the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer this week, where he will begin fighting in the 60kg division on Sunday, Feb. 17. Sims is coming off wins at provincials and the Alberta Golden Gloves, and his next step is to do well on the national stage. He'll have two chances in three months — these games, and the national championship in April. 

“It feels awesome to have this momentum going into the games. It’s a big confident booster and I’m just going to keep getting better,” Sims said.

Home Base - B.C. Lions sign Mike Reilly

This one was a bit under the radar, but is a big deal for the CFL and its fans. The B.C. Lions announced yesterday that they had signed former Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly to a four-year, $2.9 million contract. The deal brings Reilly back where he started his CFL career, and him having friends on the team, including Lions quarterback Travis Lulay, was reported to be a big part of the move. However, Reilly said it was all about winning as many Grey Cups as he could before he retires. While I'm not sure the Lions are on the verge of winning a championship any time soon, they were probably closer than the Eskimos were, unfortunately. I lvoed Reilly on Edmonton, he was a great player for us and an awesome voice for the team and city. He gave his all everey time on the field, especially in the eraly years where he got physically beat up every game. But he won the 2015 Grey Cup and I'll always be thankful to Reilly for that and wish him luck going forward. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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