Any disciplinary action that might be taken against Harrisburg High School or Seton Academy as the result of Saturday night’s hotly contested 2A state championship basketball game have been put on hold for several days.
The title game, which Harrisburg won, 50-44, featured the ejection of a Seton player and a technical and bench warning to Harrisburg. After the game, the Sting declined to participate in the trophy presentation.
As the result, the Illinois High School Association issued a statement noting its disappointment with the lack of sportsmanship displayed by the competing teams. The statement also noted that the IHSA would be contacting both schools on Monday.
Harrisburg Athletic Director Jay Thompson said he had indeed talked to IHSA officials Monday.
“It’s pretty much on hold,” he said. “They’ve instructed us to answer a few questions and report back to them this week.”
Thompson said he has not been in contact with anyone from Seton Academy.
In the meantime, officials from Seton have apologized for the team’s behavior after the game.
“I would like to offer an apology for my actions following the 2A State Championship game on Saturday, March 9," Seton Academy coach Brandon Thomas told the Chicago Tribune. “While my actions have given the appearance of poor sportsmanship, it was not my intent. I am truly saddened that this situation occurred and that it has diminished the hard work and effort put forth by our young men and that of the school administrators and coaches who supported us through-out the season.”
Seton’s principal, Marianne Lynch also issued a statement to the Tribune.
“Seton Academy echoes the disappointment of the IHSA at events at the Title 2A state championship game and will cooperate fully with its investigation,” she said in the statement. “It was a complex situation and we believe it will be understood better when the full context is heard. Seton’s mission is to develop the spiritual, academic, moral and social aspects of all our students. We are committed to upholding these values, and are taking this matter seriously.”
IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha said those statements were not made to the organization.
Troha said the situation will be reviewed at the IHSA board’s regular March meeting, which is scheduled for this week-end. One or both schools could be subjected to IHSA penalties such as probation or coaches being suspended for part of next season.
“I think right now nothing has been ruled out at this point,” Troha said.
Harrisburg superintendent Dennis Smith issued his own statement late Monday afternoon.
“Harrisburg School District takes strong exception to any implication that the Harrisburg High School state champion-ship team or coaches displayed unsportsmanlike conduct or promoted behaviors counterproductive to fair play and competition,” Smith said. “It was an intense, state tournament championship game. Emotions were high. The officials in charge of the game issued warnings and technical fouls as necessary.
“We were not perfect. What happened on the court could have happened in any of the thousands of games that make up a single high school basketball season. But after careful review, the district is convinced that Harrisburg players, coaches and fans were not part of any behavior that would rise to a public scolding by the IHSA.”
Any decisions made at Saturday’s board meeting would likely be made public next week.