BASKETBALL

Red Claws can’t hold early lead, fall to SkyForce

Keith Benson had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Bubu Palo added 22 points as the Sioux Falls Skyforce cruised to a 127-107 win over the Maine Red Claws Friday at Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Red Claws (23-16) led 27-24 after the first quarter, but the Skyforce scored 44 points in the second and took a 68-58 lead at halftime.

Jalen Jones scored 20 points to lead Maine, while Cameron Ayers and Demetrius Jackson each added 12.

BOXING

GOLDEN GLOVES: Josniel Castro and Liz Leddy of the Portland Boxing Club qualified for the national championships by winning New England titles Thursday night in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Leddy earned her sixth New England championship with a unanimous decision over Kelsey Kaiser of Waterford, Connecticut, in the lightweight division (132 pounds). Leddy will represent New England at the national championships in July in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Castro won the men’s welterweight title (152 pounds) with a unanimous decision over Xavier Vega of Lawrence, Massachusetts. The victory sends Castro to the national tournament in May in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Two other PBC fighters – Sasha Lamour and Lindsay (Kyajohnian) Francois – lost in the finals. Lamour dropped a unanimous decision to Yamarco Guzman of Methuen, Massachusetts, in the men’s middleweight division (165 pounds), and Francois lost a unanimous decision to two-time national champion Rashida Ellis of Lynn, Massachusetts, in the women’s light welterweight division (141 pounds).

Gabriel “Tito” Morales of Portland was defeated in Wednesday’s semifinals – losing a 3-2 decision to Joseph Valdez of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, in a featherweight bout (123 pounds).

DOPING: Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin was suspended indefinitely and fined $250,000 by the World Boxing Council in a doping case.

HARNESS RACING

HONORED: The U.S. Harness Writers Association selected Maine’s Obrigado to receive the Dan Patch “Aged Trotter of the Year” award.

Obrigado, who was bred and raised by Mike Andrew of Gorham, was a Maine champion at 2 and 3 years old and has won his last 21 starts.

Since he was purchased in the fall of 2013 by Linwood Higgins of Scarborough, Obrigado has become one of the top trotters in the country.

TENNIS

DUBAI CHAMPIONSHIPS: Top-ranked Andy Murray reached his second final of the season with a dominant 7-5, 6-1 win over seventh-seeded Lucas Pouille.

MEXICAN OPEN: Australia’s Nick Kyrgios used 25 aces to defeat top-seeded Novak Djokovic 7-6 (9), 7-5 to reach the semifinals at Acapulco.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR: Kevin Harvick took the pole for the second race of the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup season, turning a lap of 190.398 mph in the third round of qualifying, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.

Ryan Newman will start on the outside of the front row in Sunday’s race with a speed of 189.870.

They were followed by Kyle Busch (189.850), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (188.854) and Brad Keselowski (188.783).

Kurt Busch, the winner of the Daytona 500, was 13th.

– Staff and news service report