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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Fight leaves Central Lafourche’s playoff position in limbo

Fight leaves Central Lafourche’s playoff position in limbo

The Central Lafourche boys’ basketball team is plenty good enough to make the playoffs.

Everyone knows that.

But after an incident in the final game of their regular season, the team’s status for postseason play is very much in limbo.

The Trojans led East St. John by 20 points at halftime of Friday night’s game in Reserve – the final game of the regular season for both teams.

As teams attempted to enter the locker room for halftime, a brawl broke out between players on both sides, which ended in officials declaring the game over.

A day later, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association stepped in and ruled the contest a double-forfeit, declaring that the outcome was a forfeit loss for both sides.

But that’s a problem for the Trojans’ playoff future.

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association ruled initially after the incident that every, single Central Lafourche player who attended the game against East St. John would be suspended for the school’s next basketball-related contest, which in this case, would be a playoff game.

Under that scenario, the Trojans would be left having to compete in the postseason with junior varsity or freshman players – if they’re even allowed to compete at all.

Precedence shows they may not even get the chance, regardless of the initial ruling.

The LHSAA has dealt with several early stoppages because of fights in recent years and the governing body’s punishment phases have been pretty standard for all such situations.

In virtually every incident, the LHSAA forces both teams to accept a forfeit loss – like the Trojans and Wildcats have had to do in this instance.

Teams then usually have to forfeit their next game, too, which would knock the Trojans out of the playoffs without even having a chance to compete.

The LHSAA executed that ruling earlier this season after a fight ended a game early between Bonnabel and Helen Cox.

They also have precedence for doing the same in playoff situations, as well. The LHSAA forced a forfeiture in the football State Playoffs last year after a fight at the end of a game.

The LHSAA will hold a sportsmanship hearing on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Baton Rouge to decide the Trojans’ fate.

LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine is expected to be in attendance, and LHSAA Assistant Executive Director Keith Alexander will preside over the hearing, as well as three members of the association’s executive committee.

The hearing will be open to the public.

If allowed to play, the Trojans will be at home in the opening round of the Class 5A State Playoffs either on Thursday or Friday night.

If removed from the tournament, the team will end its season on a wild note.

The LHSAA is withholding all of its basketball brackets for all teams while waiting to decide a final ruling regarding the Trojans.