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The Week in Review


The Memphis Showboats are hot. Memphis 901 FC too. The Memphis Redbirds, not so much.

But perhaps no one from the Memphis area is feeling the burn more this week than high school spring sports athletes competing in their respective state championship activities over in the Murfreesboro area.

And no one has been busier covering it all than The Daily Memphian’s preps writer, John Varlas, who spent much of last week setting it all up and is spending the rest of this week reporting from the scene on as much as any human possibly can.

The highlight of Varlas’ pre-championships work: a powerful piece on ECS eighth grader Will Stearns, who isn’t letting cerebral palsy keep him from playing in the state tournament.

Varlas has been reporting on both the highs and lows, including East High long jumper Alyssa Raymond’s redemptive state title — won Tuesday morning on the senior’s final attempt before heading off to compete for Tennessee, no less — and the Sheffield High boys soccer team’s decision to withdrawal from the state tourney before it even got there due to use of ineligible player in a sectional-round win over Crosstown.

The rest of the staff have been hopping too.

Frank Bonner II reported from Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium on the Showboats’ third straight win following an 0-3 start. Before Saturday’s victory over Pittsburgh, Tim Buckley delivered a long-form piece on new Memphis starting quarterback Cole Kelley, who, as a 15-year-old, was shot in the ankle during a 2013 incident in which his young backseat passenger tragically was killed.

Bonner also delivered the news on a couple of Memphis Tigers football pickups from the NCAA transfer portal, one a kicker from Sam Houston State and the other a highly sought-after defensive lineman from Louisiana Tech.

And Buckley wrote both on 901 FC — which is undefeated in its last seven straight USL Championship matches but traded its leading scorer from last season, Phillip Goodrum, to Tulsa FC for experienced top attacker Rodrigo da Costa anyway — and the Triple-A Redbirds, who dropped five of six in an AutoZone Park series with Gwinnett before moving on to this week’s six-game home series with International League-leading Norfolk.

Don Wade, meanwhile, profiled pitcher Michael McGreevy, a highly regarded St. Louis Cardinals prospect who is working with the Redbirds while waiting for a call-up to the parent club.

And in the Memphis basketball world, offseason stories abounded last week too.

Drew Hill brought us a variety of Grizzlies news and notes. Candace Echols completed her three-part Mama Bear Mother’s Day series, including features guard Tyus Jones’ mom, Debbie Jones, and big man Xavier Tillman Sr.’s mom, Tanya Powell-May. Columnist Geoff Calkins weighed in with his plan — guns for sneakers — for how star Ja Morant can start to make amends for his recent wayward behavior.

And columnist John Martin joined Parth Upadhyaya to weigh in on a variety of offseason matters for the Tigers, including NIL issues, transfer talk, incoming freshman Mikey Williams’ future with the program (or potential lack thereof) amid recent multiple felony gun-related charges and star guard Kendric Davis’ pro prospects.

Here’s a look at some of the staff’s work from the past week: — Deputy sportseditor/senior writer Tim Buckley

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Spring Fling: East senior Raymond saves her best for last By
Showboats blank Pittsburgh for third straight win By
Tragedy, failure, triumph: Showboats quarterback has experienced it all By
901 FC strikes a deal as it seeks to extend USL match unbeaten streak By
Redbirds turn to league-leading Norfolk Tides after rough sailing with Gwinnett By
Waiting Game: Redbirds pitcher Michael McGreevy refining his craft until Cardinals call By
Tony Allen pleads guilty in health care fraud case By
Jaren Jackson Jr. teams with SoFlo Snacks on new energy gummy By
Mama Bear: Mom's at the heart of family's 'basketball Jones' By
Calkins: Ja Morant has the chance to cut gun violence in Memphis. Here is the plan. By
Tigers Talk: Upadhyaya, Martin on NIL, Kendric Davis' NBA prospects and more By


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