Nokomis Regional High freshman Cooper Flagg was named the Gatorade Maine Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year on Wednesday.

Flagg, a 6-foot-8 forward with point-guard skills, led Nokomis to the Class A championship – the school’s first state title in boys’ basketball. Flagg averaged 20.5 points, 10 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.7 blocks per game as Nokomis went 21-1.


FRENCH OPEN: Novak Djokovic will be allowed to play at the French Open even if he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 as long as the coronavirus situation in France remains stable, organizers said.

Russian tennis players, including top-ranked Daniil Medvedev, will also be admitted to play in the tournament, but as neutral athletes because of the war started by their country in neighboring Ukraine.


Djokovic was deported from Australia in January after a legal battle over whether he should be allowed to enter the country, forcing him to miss the Australian Open. He told the BBC last month that he was willing to miss upcoming Grand Slam tournaments as well if they required him to get vaccinated.

GRAND SLAMS: All four Grand Slam tennis tournaments will now use a 10-point tiebreaker when matches reach 6-6 in the final set.

The Grand Slam Board announced the trial move, taking effect immediately, on behalf of the Australian, French and U.S. Opens and Wimbledon.

The Australian Open already uses the 10-point tiebreaker. The French Open, which begins May 22, was the only major to not use a deciding tiebreaker. Wimbledon had employed a seven-point tiebreaker from 12-12, and the U.S. Open used a seven-point tiebreaker from 6-6.

BNP PARIBAS OPEN: Rafael Nadal became the second player in ATP Tour history to start a season 18-0, edging Reilly Opelka 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in the fourth round in Indian Wells, California.

Only Novak Djokovic has gotten off to better starts since 1990. The Serb went 26-0 to begin 2020 and 41-0 to open 2011.


Nadal, a three-time champion in the desert, advanced to the quarterfinals against wild card Nick Kyrgios, who advanced to his first ATP Tour quarterfinal since winning Washington in 2019 when 10th-seeded Jannik Sinner withdrew because of illness.

Taylor Fritz fired 14 aces in outlasting Alex de Minaur, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Fritz next plays Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals. Kecmanovic overcame 14 aces by No. 6 seed Matteo Berrettini in a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory.

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria beat John Isner, 6-3, 7-6 (6).


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: U.S. international Christian Pulisic converted one of Chelsea’s rare chances and Cesar Azpilicueta added another goal to help the embattled Premier League club progress to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win at Lille, and 4-1 victory on aggregate.


• Villarreal scored three second-half goals in a convincing 3-0 win at Juventus to advance to the quarterfinals.

Substitute Gerard Moreno converted a penalty, then Pau Torres was left unmarked to redirect a corner kick, and Arnaut Danjuma added another on a spot kick.

Villarreal advanced 4-1 on aggregate.

U.S. MEN: Forward Josh Sargent will not be on the U.S. roster for the Americans’ final three World Cup qualifiers.

A 22-year-old from O’Fallon, Missouri, Sargent was on the roster for the first three qualifiers in September, starting at El Salvador and Honduras, and appearing as a second-half substitute against Canada.

He has four goals in 28 matches in his first season with Norwich, including two in 25 Premier League games. Sargent scored twice in the League Cup against Bournemouth on Aug. 24 and twice against Watford in the league on Jan. 21.


Seeking to return to the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the U.S. plays at Mexico on March 24, hosts Panama three days later and closes at Costa Rica on March 30.

ENGLAND: Liverpool reignited the Premier League title race and came within a point of the top spot with a 2-0 win over Arsenal, scoring two second-half goals to extend it winning streak to nine games.

Diogo Jota and substitute Roberto Firminho found the net within eight minutes of each other after a flat first-half performance from the visitors at Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool now has 69 points, one behind Manchester City, which slipped up with a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace on Monday.

• Tottenham striker Harry Kane scored for the fourth straight Premier League game in a 2-0 win at Brighton that kept his team in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

• The owners of the Chicago Cubs said that they will make a bid to buy Premier League club Chelsea.


The Ricketts family went public with its interest in the buyout with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich forced to sell up after he was sanctioned by the British government and banned by the Premier League over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the war on Ukraine.

• West Ham defender Kurt Zouma is being prosecuted by an animal charity for kicking and slapping his cat in abuse caught on video.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took Zouma’s two pet cats into care after footage of the abuse surfaced on social media last month.

UK law allows organizations such as the RSPCA to use specialist lawyers to bring private prosecutions against individuals, with such cases heard in court and sometimes taken over by public prosecutors.

West Ham fined Zouma two weeks’ salary – the maximum amount possible – when the incident came to light, but Manager David Moyes has continued to pick the defender when fit.

GERMANY: Axel Witsel scored late to give Borussia Dortmund a bad-tempered 1-0 win at Mainz in a postponed Bundesliga game to cut the gap to leader Bayern Munich to four points.


American forward Gio Reyna, who came on in the 69th minute as a substitute, set up the winner by floating a free kick to the far post for Witsel to score in the 87th.


WORLD CUP: Mikaela Shiffrin increased her lead over Petra Vlhová in a close race for the overall title by winning the downhill at the World Cup Finals in Courchevel, France.

Shiffrin had barely raced downhill this season – two World Cup events in December and then last month’s Beijing Olympics. Her best result was 18th. The American put down a clean run on the new Eclipse course to earn the victory and 100 points. Vlhová finished out of the scoring places in 16th.

Shiffrin’s 74th career World Cup victory was only her third in downhill. She now leads Vlhová by 156 points with only three races left this week.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde edged Olympic champion Beat Feuz in their tight duel to win the season-long downhill title.


Kilde’s fourth place in the World Cup Finals downhill proved enough to maintain his narrow points lead over Feuz, who finished third, 0.54 seconds behind race winner Vincent Kriechmayr. Kriechmayr led at every checkpoint down the new, steep Eclipse course at Courchevel to be 0.34 faster than Marco Odermatt, who sealed his first overall World Cup title.


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Olympic champion Nathan Chen withdrew from the world championships because of what he called a “nagging injury” that he’s been dealing with after winning at the Beijing Games.

The three-time reigning champion will be replaced on the U.S. team by Camden Pulkinen next week in Montpellier, France.

“I am disappointed to have to withdraw from worlds,” Chen said in a statement. “I have been training for this competition since returning from Beijing. I have a nagging injury that I’ve been dealing with and I don’t want to risk further injury by practicing and competing next week.”

The 22-year-old Chen was one of the stars of the Winter Games with his thrilling “Rocketman” free skate clinching the gold medal that eluded him four years earlier in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Chen also helped the Americans win a team silver medal, which could become gold pending the outcome of a doping investigation involving the Russian team.


Chen has not lost at the world championships since 2017, when he finished in sixth place.


SAUDI-BACKED LEAGUE: Greg Norman and his LIV Golf Investments announced an eight-tournament schedule that will offer $255 million for the total prize fund and a format that includes individual and team play.

Missing from the announcement was the names of who would be playing, which would affect their PGA Tour membership.

LIV Golf Investments, funded primarily by the Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund, said it is providing more than $400 million in “seed money” to launch the LIV Golf Invitational series, which blends 54-hole stroke play with a team concept.

Seven events would have a $25 million purse – $20 million for medal play ($4 million for the winner) and $5 million for the top three teams.

The PGA Tour just concluded its richest tournament, with a $20 million purse at The Players Championship, won by Cameron Smith. The tour pays 18% of the prize money to the winner.

The schedule for the Saudi-backed rival league includes four tournaments in the United States. One is at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, which originally was to host the PGA Championship this year until the PGA of America voted to move it after the riots at the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory.

The others would be Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon, which previously hosted the U.S. Women’s Open; Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago, which once hosted a Solheim Cup; and The International, a private club about 30 miles west of Boston.

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