Other Sports

Sports briefs: Jan. 1

Novak Djokovic made a return to David Ferrer during the  finals of an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Djokovic cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Novak Djokovic made a return to David Ferrer during the finals of an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Djokovic cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory. ASSOCIATED PRESS

High school basketball

Scott County wins consolation championship in Myrtle Beach

Scott County used stingy defense to overcome some tired legs and defeat Miami (Fla.) Senior 61-49 in the consolation championship of the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. Scott County won the event for the second time in three years.

"It was our fourth game in four days against some outstanding competition and it was really a battle," Scott County Coach Billy Hicks told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach. "I thought both of us went in hard defensively and at the end I think both teams got really tired and it was hard to make shots."

In the first half, the Cardinals held the Stingarees to 4-for-18 shooting from the field, 0-for-5 from behind the arc, and forced nine turnovers.

"We wanted to get some pressure on the ball in the passing lanes," Hicks told the newspaper. "We wanted to cause some turnovers and we did. They had a hard time scoring on us in the first half."

Senior Isaiah Ivey led Scott County in scoring with 16 points and Hicks credited him for controlling the tempo on offense.

"We didn't have him the first two games here and it would have been very hard to win the last two games without him," Hicks said. "So that's how much he means to our team. He can score against good teams and some of our other guys can't do that.

"He can put the ball in the basket so we needed him out there."

Trenton Gilbert was next for the Cardinals (10-3) with 13 points, and Josh Harris had 10 points and seven rebounds.

■ Lexington Christian beat Buckhorn 63-49 in the finals of the Rock Holiday Classic at Windemere, Fla., on Friday night. LCA beat Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 68-52 and Mandarin, Fla., 70-50 to reach the finals against Buckhorn. Eagles senior guard Taylor Barnette was tournament MVP. Tyler Harville and Jon Lannertone also made the all-tourney team.

Tennis

Djokovic wins exhibition in Abu Dhabi

Novak Djokovic showed he remains the player to beat in 2012, routing David Ferrer 6-2, 6-1 Saturday to win the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The top-ranked Djokovic also beat Gael Monfils and then routed Roger Federer en route to his first Abu Dhabi title.

"This is the best way to start the 2012 season," Djokovic said. "I must say I'm really happy with the way I'm playing. Playing against the top players in the world in this way gives me a lot of confidence."

Earlier, Rafael Nadal overcame an ailing shoulder to beat Federer 6-1, 7-5 for third place in the $250,000 winner-takes-all six-man tournament, a warm-up for the ATP season.

The fifth-ranked Ferrer had upset second-ranked Nadal in the semis but had no answer for Djokovic, who broke the Spaniard five times and took 3-0 leads in both sets.

Djokovic is coming off a year in which he won three Grand Slam titles and had a 70-6 record.

"Usually at this stage, you are trying to find your speed on the court, agility, just dynamics of every stroke," Djokovic said. "But I found it already, to be honest, right away after the first match. ... It's a great way for me to prepare for (the Australian Open)."

Murray hires Lendl as his new coach

Andy Murray hired eight-time Grand Slam winner Ivan Lendl as his coach Saturday in a bid to finally win a major title.

The fourth-ranked Scot will begin working with the Czech-born Lendl as he prepares for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 16.

"It was important to me that any new person joining my team was able to add fresh insight," Murray said in a statement. "Ivan's impact on the game is unquestionable and he brings experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments. I look forward to working with him going forward."

The 24-year-old Murray spent all of last season ranked in the top four but still ended it without a first Grand Slam title.

"I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Andy," Lendl said. "He is a unique talent and I look forward to trying to help him reach his goals."

Baseball

Padres get Quentin from White Sox

Four years after trading Carlos Quentin from Arizona to the Chicago White Sox, new Padres general manager Josh Byrnes is bringing the All-Star outfielder back home to San Diego.

Quentin attended grade school in suburban Chula Vista and was a three-sport standout in high school.

Byrnes made his second bold move in two weeks when he acquired Quentin from the White Sox for two prospects Saturday. The trade is expected to bolster San Diego's anemic offense. Quentin has four consecutive 20-homer seasons, including 36 in 2008.

The White Sox received minor-league pitchers Simon Castro, a right-hander, and Pedro Hernandez, a left-hander.

Two weeks earlier, Byrnes dealt right-hander Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds for four players, including starter Edinson Volquez and Yonder Alonso, the leading contender to start at first base.

Golf

Queen honors Clarke and McIlroy

Northern Ireland golf stars Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy were among the sports figures honored by Queen Elizabeth II in her New Year list, after claiming their first major titles.

The 43-year-old Clarke was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire after ending his long wait for a major victory by winning the British Open at Royal St. George's.

Clarke lifted the claret jug weeks after the 22-year-old McIlroy's eight-shot victory in the U.S. Open at Congressional. The second-youngest major winner since 1934, McIlroy was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

The last word

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu made a fan in Vernon Davis during the San Francisco 49ers' recent Monday night win over Pittsburgh. Davis, a tight end, doesn't face many who tackle the way Polamalu did. In fact, Davis is ready to enshrine the Steelers star as a Hall of Famer already:

"Oh yeah. The way he tackled like that? I mean he just goes exactly for your ankles and locks up like he was holding on for his life. You just can't get out of it. That's probably the only guy to do that to me."

  Comments