Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Warriors split in Yakutat

The Nikolaevsk High School basketball teams split a pair of games at Yakutat Monday.

The Nikolaevsk boys, led by Stephan Nikitenko's 15 points and Peter Tipikin's 13 points, defeated the Eagles 52-44, breaking the game open with a 24-point second quarter.

Anecta Kalugin scored 11 for the Warriors.

The Nikolaevsk girls staged a fourth-quarter rally, but came up short, 39-33, to the Eagles. Lekonita Yakunin led the Warriors with 11 points.

Sabres file for bankruptcy protection

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, becoming the second NHL team in a week to seek relief from creditors.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Buffalo is a step toward resolving the financial problems that put the Sabres under the league's control in June.

The team is for sale, and Monday's filing could be a step toward a possible move.

''It will enable the Sabres to secure financing that will allow them to continue to operate in the ordinary course, subject to league supervision, while the sale process is completed,'' said Bettman, who addressed Sabres employees and the media.

Court papers indicate the Sabres owe their 40 largest creditors more than $206 million.

Officials investigating prep phenom's car

CLEVELAND -- State high school officials are investigating whether LeBron James broke any eligibility rules with his new car.

James, expected to be the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft if he goes pro, has been driving a Hummer H2 that he reportedly got as an 18th birthday gift from his mother, Gloria.

Clair Muscaro, commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, said Monday he was awaiting a return phone call from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School principal Dave Rathz to discuss the case.

OHSAA spokesman Bob Goldring said Muscaro requested a detailed written report on how the car was obtained.

The Hummer has a base retail price of $49,190.

Muscaro wants to know who bought the vehicle for James, and make sure the purchase didn't violate an OHSAA bylaw that says an athlete forfeits his or her amateur status by ''capitalizing on athletic fame by receiving money or gifts of monetary value.''

Rathz was in a meeting and did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

The school released a statement Monday evening saying it had been contacted by Muscaro's office and that the administration ''will cooperate fully and has asked for a thorough and prompt resolution.''

In addition, the school said the association emphasized that the investigation is focused on James' amateur status, not whether St. Vincent-St. Mary or its coaches or staff have violated regulations.

If it is proved that James broke a rule, Muscaro said the two-time Mr. Ohio would be stripped of his amateur status.

''If there is any chance that it was provided by an agent, he would immediately lose his eligibility, and as far as we're concerned, that would be when he accepted the car,'' Muscaro said. ''Once a player loses his amateur status, if he plays after that, his team would have to forfeit those games.''

Gloria James obtained a bank loan to pay for the vehicle and did nothing to compromise her son's eligibility, sources close to the team told The Plain Dealer.

The newspaper, quoting anonymous sources, said the silver/platinum SUV was shipped from California and contains three televisions and a hookup for computer games.

Gloria James and her son's coach, Dru Joyce, declined to comment Sunday after James scored 30 points to help No. 1 St. Vincent-St. Mary beat Detroit Redford 76-41.

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