Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for January 9, 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 - Sterling Middleton, Team Tardi, win fourth straight B.C. championship

Fort St. John's Sterling Middleton is once again a B.C. junior curling champion. A third for Team Tardi, he helped the team win the championship for the fourth straight year on Jan. 1, a very impressive accomplishment. Starting Jan. 19 in Prince Rupert, the team will attempt to win their third straight Canadian junior championship, and then hopefully their second straight world junior curling championship. Good things are happening for Middleton and Team Tardi, and there's no end in sight. 

Second Base - Huskies jump back into first place

The Fort St. John Huskies were on a roll to close out 2018, before dropping their final game before the break 6-3 to Dawson Creek. It's safe to say that didn't sit well with them, as they came out in 2019 and were all over the Sexsmith Vipers in a 6-2 win on Jan. 5 at home, moving them back into first place in the process. The team has two more home games this weekend to increase their lead on first place, against the Grande Prairie Kings on Jan. 11 and the struggling North Peace Navigators on Jan. 12. Both games start at 8 p.m.

Third Base - Raptors avoid embarassment against Atlanta

Despite only winning 12 games, the Atlanta Hawks came into Toronto and gave the Raptors all they could handle. However, with the Raptors down late, they got two big dunks from Serge Ibaka and OG Anunoby to pull out the win 104-101. Since the Raptors lost a blowout to the Spurs, Toronto has won three straight, and Kyle Lowry is fully back and making a difference. The team is back on top of the Eastern Conference and looks poised to play better down the stretch. However, it won't be easy, as Philadelphia, Boston, Indiana and Milwaukee are all playing their best basketball of the season, but it will be fun and exciting, and that's all I can ask for. 

Home Base - NFL coaching vacancies start to fill up

With eight NFL head coaching jobs being up for grabs, the search for new coaches was bound to be an intriguing storyline to follow along with the playoffs themselves. Some spots are starting to fill up and it's as interesting as I expected. First, the Green Bay Packers hired Matt LaFleur, as much for who he's worked with then any actual success he's had. LaFleur was most recently the OC for the Tennessee Titans. Yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals surprisingly hired Kliff Kingsbury, the former coach at Texas Tech who was fired this year for having a disappointing record. However, he worked with Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Jonny Manziel, so the Cardinals are clearly hoping he can have a similar impact on Josh Rosen. Elsewhere, Bruce Arians came out of a one-year retirement to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Arians is a good and exciting head coach, but it's not like there's a ton of talent on the Tampa Bay roster so I find this a confusing move for him. Jameis Winston is indeed staying with the team, so maybe Arians can help turn his career around. Recently fired New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles will be the Bucs new defensive co-ordinator. There are still five coaching spots open, and I can't wait to see who these teams turn to. The biggest spot left is the Cleveland Browns job, as strange as that sounds. 

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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