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Manual’s Jordan Reed wants to create like Ja Morant, score like James Harden, and fly his Thunderbolts to 3A championship.

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Manual’s Jordan Reed wants to create like Ja Morant, score like James Harden, and fly his Thunderbolts to 3A championship.

Give Jordan Reed a blank canvas, he’ll fill it from his heart.

Away from basketball, Reed’s No. 1 passion right now is his architectural design class. Different forums. Same principle.

“You can really build whatever you want,” the senior guard from Manual High explained. “Once you understand that, your options are never limited. You could build buildings, houses — really, anything. That’s what was fun to me.”

Whether he’s got a basketball or a pencil in his hand, Reed doesn’t see limitations. He sees opportunities. Windows. Statements.

As a junior, the 6-foot-4 creator played the point, on the wing and even some at small forward for a Thunderbolts squad that went 12-4 in 2020-‘21, 8-1 in league play and fell to Lutheran, the eventual Class 3A champs, in the Great Eight.

Along the way, Reed built one mother of a season stat line, averaging 18.8 points, 7.1 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game. He posted two triple-doubles and four double-doubles. Over the last two seasons, the Manual star has finished either one board or one assist shy of a double-double in five other tilts.

“We kind of talk about Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, about being a great rebounding guard,” Manual coach Omar Henry said of Reed. “He’s kind of big for his size. I always say, ‘You’re bigger than most guys. Just out-jump them.’”

This winter, he’s planning on out-muscling them, too. After playing last season at close to 190 pounds, he’s over 200 now. And over the last year, Reed’s added almost 100 pounds to his squat — it’s in the 325-ish range — along with nearly seven pounds of muscle. He spent five days a week over the summer in the weight room with the football staff, trying to put on bulk without sacrificing the quick-twitch stuff.

“He’s always been able to shoot the ball.” Henry said. “Now he’s added being a high-riser to his game. I think that’s probably going to open up a little bit more of what he does.”

Score. Facilitate. Crash. Harass. Fly. Reed, a silky left-hander, is one of those hoops artisans who patterns his game after Ja Morant. James Harden, too. Only with a twist.

“I’ve got the same step back (jumper) as James Harden. I’ve got the same moves as James Harden,” Reed said. “But I feel I’m way more athletic than James Harden.”

So no, the kid has been never shy on confidence. Or afraid of the big stage. Reed grew up as one of those classic, tag-along little brothers, following around and playing against his elder sibling, Jaedon, another former Manual stalwart who’s now a sophomore forward at Laramie County Community College.

“He definitely bullied me all the time,” Reed said with a laugh. “But he just wanted to see me get better.

“Learning how to finish over bigger people made it easier for me when I played with kids my own age — which I didn’t get to do for a long time. I’ve always played up.”

He’s stepped up, too. In the Thunderbolts’ playoff opener against Highland, Reed dropped 15 points and six assists. In the Great Eight loss, he put up 16 points and four dimes against a Lutheran roster that featured big man Baye Fall.

“This is a special kid,” said Jermaine Mason, the former Denver East and CSU-Pueblo point guard who’s now an assistant coach at Manual. “Jumps well. Just deceptively quick. Long arms. Gets his hands on a lot of things.”

Mason, who grew up playing against the likes of Chauncey Billups, said Reed’s game reminds him a bit of former CU Buffs sharpshooter Stevie Wise.

“He was another lefty,” Mason said. “Stevie was a great shooter, and Jordan, he can really light it up.”

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Denver Manual High School’s 6-foot-4 guard Jordan Reed works to get ready for the upcoming season on Nov. 22, 2021 in Denver.

While their games are different, Mason noted, his and Reed’s demeanors are perfectly matched. And perfectly quiet.

“Jordan doesn’t talk a lot. He’s kind of like me,” Mason said. “It’s weird … we can have a workout and not say that many words. If we had a 30-minute workout, we might get about 20 words out.”

And those words stick. Reed’s Twitter feed was silent as of last Wednesday morning, but the banner picture on his account spoke volumes. It was a shot of Magic Johnson in Lakers gold, ball in his right hand, guarded by Michael Jordan.

“I want to average a triple-double this year,” Reed said. “I know I was pretty close (last year). I’m trying to get 30 (points), 10 (assists) and 10 (boards) a night, yeah.

“My goal is to get eight (points) per quarter. And that (will) help me be able to know I’m at least close to getting that 30.”

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Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to 42-21 wild-card romp over Steelers

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Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to 42-21 wild-card romp over Steelers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns, Travis Kelce caught a TD pass and threw another one, and the Kansas City Chiefs sent Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into his anticipated retirement with a 42-21 blowout of the Steelers in the wild-card round of the playoffs Sunday night.

Byron Pringle caught touchdown passes from both Mahomes and Kelce, and Jerick McKinnon and Tyreek Hill also reeled in scoring catches as the Chiefs (13-5) began their pursuit of a third straight AFC championship in fine style.

They scored on six straight possessions during the middle part of the game, shut down Roethlisberger and the rest of the Pittsburgh offense, and turned next Sunday night’s divisional-round game against Buffalo into appointment viewing.

The Bills had a similarly easy time with their 47-17 victory over New England on Saturday. Buffalo and Kansas City met for the AFC title last season.

Roethlisberger, who admitted the Steelers (9-8-1) were “not a very good football team” this week, wasn’t very good in his own right. The 39-year-old quarterback was 29 of 44 for 215 yards with two meaningless TD passes late in the game, providing the coda to a career that includes six Pro Bowl trips and two Super Bowl wins.

Judging by the final score, you’d never guess the first quarter was all about defense: The Steelers ran 14 plays and went 12 yards, while the Chiefs had more punt return yards (70) than they had from scrimmage (62).

Made sense that the first points would be scored on defense, too.

After the Steelers punted for a fifth straight time, the Chiefs inexplicably had wide receiver Mecole Hardman take a snap rather than their four-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Darrel Williams bobbled the exchange, the ball bounced to T.J. Watt, and the Steelers’ All-Pro pass rusher returned the fumble 24 yards for a touchdown.

The play must have awakened Mahomes, who earlier had thrown his first pick in six career home playoff games.

Or maybe it just made Mahomes angry.

He responded by completing his next six passes, capping a 76-yard drive with a nifty underhand flick to McKinnon that tied the game. Then the brilliant young quarterback found Pringle in the corner of the end zone for a score, and he put an exclamation mark on the half by hitting Kelce with a 48-yard touchdown strike.

In the span of less than six minutes, Mahomes and the Chiefs had turned a seven-point deficit into a 21-7 lead.

It wasn’t quite the 23-0 halftime advantage the Chiefs had in their December blowout of the Steelers, but it sure felt that way. Roethlisberger was 5 of 14 for 24 yards in the first half and Pittsburgh had 55 yards total offense.

Not much of a retirement party if Roethlisberger indeed calls it quits.

As for the Chiefs, their celebration started in earnest after Mahomes led them on a fourth straight TD drive to start the second half. The game was such a laugher by that point that when Tyreek Hill was ruled down just shy of the goal line, Mahomes simply threw his next pass on third-and-goal to offensive tackle Nick Allegretti for the score.

Hill got his TD catch eventually; it came after Steelers rookie Najee Harris lost a fumble for the first time all season.

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Flights sent to assess Tonga damage after volcanic eruption

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Pacific tsunami threat recedes, volcano ash hinders response

By NICK PERRY

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand and Australia were able to send military surveillance flights to Tonga on Monday to assess the damage a huge undersea volcanic eruption left in the Pacific island nation.

A towering ash cloud since Saturday’s eruption had prevented earlier flights. New Zealand hopes to send essential supplies, including much-needed drinking water, on a military transport plane Tuesday.

Communications with Tonga remained extremely limited. The company that owns the single underwater fiber-optic cable that connects the island nation to the rest of the world said it likely was severed in the eruption and repairs could take weeks.

The loss of the cable leaves most Tongans unable to use the internet or make phone calls abroad. Those that have managed to get messages out described their country as looking like a moonscape as they began cleaning up from the tsunami waves and volcanic ash fall.

Tsunami waves of about 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) crashed into Tonga’s shoreline, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described damage to boats and shops on Tonga’s shoreline. The waves crossed the Pacific, drowning two people in Peru and causing minor damage from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California.

No casualties have been reported on Tonga, although there were still concerns about people on some of the smaller islands near the volcano.

Scientists said they didn’t think the eruption would have a significant impact on the Earth’s climate.

Huge volcanic eruptions can sometimes cause temporary global cooling as sulfur dioxide is pumped into the stratosphere. But in the case of the Tonga eruption, initial satellite measurements indicated the amount of sulfur dioxide released would only have a tiny effect of perhaps 0.01 Celsius (0.02 Fahrenheit) global average cooling, said Alan Robock, a professor at Rutgers University.

Satellite images showed the spectacular undersea eruption Saturday evening, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a giant mushroom above the South Pacific waters.

A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska and sent pressure shockwaves around the planet twice, altering atmospheric pressure that may have briefly helped clear out the fog in Seattle, according to the National Weather Service. Large waves were detected as far away as the Caribbean due to pressure changes generated by the eruption.

Samiuela Fonua, who chairs the board at Tonga Cable Ltd. which owns the single cable that connects Tonga to the outside world via Fiji, said the cable appeared to have been severed about 10 to 15 minutes after the eruption. He said the cable lies atop and within coral reef, which can be sharp.

Fonua said a ship would need to pull up the cable to assess the damage and then crews would need to fix it. A single break might take a week to repair, he said, while multiple breaks could take up to three weeks. He added that it was unclear yet when it would be safe for a ship to venture near the undersea volcano to undertake the work.

A second undersea cable that connects the islands within Tonga also appeared to have been severed, Fonua said. However, a local phone network was working, allowing Tongans to call each other. But he said the lingering ash cloud was continuing to make even satellite phone calls abroad difficult.

He said Tonga, home to 105,000 people, had been in discussions with New Zealand about getting a second international fiber-optic cable to ensure a more robust network but the nation’s isolated location made any long-term solution difficult.

The cable also broke three years ago, possibly due to a ship dragging an anchor. At first Tongans had no access to the internet but then some limited access was restored using satellites until the cable was repaired.

Ardern said the capital, Nuku’alofa, was covered in a thick film of volcanic dust, contaminating water supplies and making fresh water a vital need.

Aid agencies said thick ash and smoke had prompted authorities to ask people to wear masks and drink bottled water.

In a video posted on Facebook, Nightingale Filihia was sheltering at her family’s home from a rain of volcanic ash and tiny pieces of rock that turned the sky pitch black.

“It’s really bad. They told us to stay indoors and cover our doors and windows because it’s dangerous,” she said. “I felt sorry for the people. Everyone just froze when the explosion happened. We rushed home.” Outside the house, people were seen carrying umbrellas for protection.

One complicating factor to any international aid effort is that Tonga has so far managed to avoid any outbreaks of COVID-19. Ardern said New Zealand’s military staff were all fully vaccinated and willing to follow any protocols established by Tonga.

Dave Snider, the tsunami warning coordinator for the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, said it was very unusual for a volcanic eruption to affect an entire ocean basin, and the spectacle was both “humbling and scary.”

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated the eruption caused the equivalent of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. Scientists said tsunamis generated by volcanoes rather than earthquakes are relatively rare.

Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, who chairs the New Zealand Tonga Business Council, said she hoped the relatively low level of the tsunami waves would have allowed most people to get to safety, although she worried about those living on islands closest to the volcano.

“We are praying that the damage is just to infrastructure and people were able to get to higher land,” she said.

The explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano, about 64 kilometers (40 miles) north of Nuku’alofa, was the latest in a series of dramatic eruptions. In late 2014 and early 2015, eruptions created a small new island and disrupted international air travel to the Pacific archipelago for several days.

Earth imaging company Planet Labs PBC had watched the island in recent days after a new volcanic vent began erupting in late December. Satellite images showed how drastically the volcano had shaped the area, creating a growing island off Tonga.

___

Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report from Kensington, Maryland.

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Bench erupts in second half as Timberwolves down short-handed Warriors

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Bench erupts in second half as Timberwolves down short-handed Warriors

The Timberwolves have followed up winning streaks with losing streaks and vice versa all season, establishing no semblance of consistency and going back and forth around the .500 mark all season.

They were on the verge of doing so again Sunday. Losers of two straight entering the contest, Minnesota was struggling with a Warriors’ team that didn’t have Draymond Green nor Steph Curry, and had Klay Thompson on a tight minutes restriction.

But then they flipped the switch in the third to build an advantage and eventually cruise to a 119-99 victory at Target Center.

Minnesota was able to play its second unit, the culprit in the Timberwolves’ loss Thursday in Memphis, which was excellent over the final 24 minutes. Everything looks a little better for Minnesota when Malik Beasley is hitting shots, and he knocked them down in bunches in the second half.

Beasley registered five triples over the final two quarters to finish with 16 points. In his return to action after missing one game with an ankle injury, Jaylen Nowell continued to flex his scoring prowess, finishing with 17 points on 6 for 9 shooting.

Naz Reid scored nine points on 4 for 5 shooting.

Karl-Anthony Towns did a lot of the heavy lifting for Minnesota (21-22) through the first three frames. The center finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes.

He and Beasley’s offensive eruption late in the third quarter helped Minnesota flip what was a three-point deficit in the middle of the third quarter into a 10-point lead heading to the final quarter. From there, Finch was able to rely on the reserves to not only maintain the advantage, but extend it to the point where the game was no longer in doubt.

The Wolves led by as many as 27 in the fourth quarter.

Andrew Wiggins tallied 12 points and four assists, while Jonathan Kuminga, whom Golden State selected with the No. 7 pick in the most recent draft — the first-round pick acquired in the D’Angelo Russell trade — had 19 points and seven rebounds.

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