Blair Borrowman never expected to be faced with the prospect of having a college basketball coach other than Tony Francis.
Then came the news Friday morning that Francis was resigning after eight seasons as the head women's basketball coach at Lindenwood, an NCAA Division II school in St. Charles, Mo.
"That was a shock," said Borrowman, the Western-Payson all-state guard who signed with Lindenwood in November.
Still, she's steadfast in her desire to stay at Lindenwood.
"I don't see any reason to leave," said Borrowman, the 2018 Herald-Whig Player of the Year. "I went to Lindenwood for a multitude of reasons, Coach Francis being one. But that's not a game-changer."
Francis' decision caught many people off-guard. The Lions were coming off their best season since becoming a D-II program in 2012. Lindenwood finished 20-13, won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Francis had a 109-122 record at Lindenwood.
"Things change. That's kind of how life goes," Borrowman said. "Nothing is guaranteed. I went to Lindenwood for the coaching staff but not just that. I went there because I love the school. I got to hang out with some players, and I love the players. I love Coach Francis, Coach (Aryiell) Robinson and Coach (Cody) Llewellyn. That doesn't change."
Nor does it change her faith in Lindenwood being the right place for her.
"I trust Lindenwood that the next coach will be a good one, too," Borrowman said.
Burry wins MVC award
Zach Burry is heading into the homestretch of his collegiate golf career playing some of his best golf.
The Illinois State University senior and Quincy High School graduate finished tied for second at the Tiger Invitational in Columbia, Mo., earlier this week and was named the Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Week for the third time this season.
Burry shot a 7-under 209 and finished in a three-way tie for second in a field of 102 golfers at the par-72, 7,221-yard Club at Old Hawthorne. He was steady throughout, shooting a 3-under 69 in the opening round and following it up with back-to-back 2-under 70s.
The Redbirds finished sixth as a team with three rounds under 300.
"It was good to see some of my hard work pay off a little bit," Burry said. "I thought I stayed focused really well considering the conditions and the ups and downs my round brought me. This tournament can be used for a confidence boost to springboard into the conference tournament and get the team title."
It was Burry's fifth top-five finish of the season and matched his second-best collegiate finish. He finished second at the I-74 Challenge as a junior, and he won the Hoosier Invitational as a sophomore.
"Zach was fantastic this week with under par scores in each of the three rounds," ISU coach Ray Kralis said. "He was very solid in all parts of the game and can take a number of positives into the MVC Championship."
Burry will carry a 72.7 stroke average into the MVC Championships on April 23-24 at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Spraker in starting role
Graham Spraker spent his first season of professional coming out of the bullpen for the Bluefield Blue Jays, the rookie league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Quincy University product was pretty efficient in that role, too.
Spraker made 19 appearances with a 1-1 record, seven saves and a 1.62 earned run average for Bluefield. He was promoted to Vancouver, the short-season Class A affiliate in the Northwest League, for the playoffs and promptly won two games in relief as the Canadians won the league title.
Spraker is taking on a different role this spring. The right-hander has been a starter for the Lansing Lugnuts, a Class A affiliate in the Midwest League. He made his first professional start last week against Great Lakes, earning a no-decision as he allowed two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.
Spraker made his second start Friday night, lasting five innings against West Michigan. He allowed one run and two hits while striking out four and walking one.
Tossick on hit streak for Griffons
Fontbonne junior infielder Matt Tossick, a QHS graduate, is riding a six-game hitting streak going into Saturday's doubleheader against Webster.
Tossick is 7 of 20 with two doubles, one triple and two home runs in the stretch. He also has scored eight runs as the Griffons have won four of six games. His two hits in Friday's loss to Webster marked his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
Tossick has played in all 25 of the Griffons' games and is hitting .281 with a team-leading nine extra-base hits.
Grossmann tosses shutout for Crusaders
The Valparaiso softball team recorded its first shutout in Missouri Valley Conference play last Saturday as Mark Twain product Kenzie Grossmann allowed just three hits in a 2-0 victory over Northern Iowa.
Grossmann even helped herself defensively. In the third inning, the Panthers got a runner to third thanks to a single, a stolen base and an error. Grossmann induced a ground ball back to the circle, which she fielded cleanly for the final out.
She had one strikeout and one walk in the fourth complete-game shutout of her career. It also was her 30th victory at Valpo.