MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — One of the area’s top high school basketball teams plans to head to court in a last-ditch effort to salvage its season.
St. Thomas More is trying to overturn a decision that suspended the entire varsity roster, forcing the school to forfeit its next game. The St. Thomas More head coach said the school’s legal team will file a temporary restraining order Tuesday night.
The school is trying to get the WIAA to reconsider the confiscation. But time is running out because the playoff game they think they have to play is set to go Wednesday night without them.
Head Coach John Hoch said: “I think we know we’re facing some real challenges.
Hoch says the school is going to court because the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association won’t hear the school’s appeal.
After a fight in the last minute of Friday night’s game, officials penalized all players with an unsportsmanlike foul. The WIAA used this to suspend the Cavaliers’ entire roster, forcing them to forfeit the following night’s playoff game against Brown Deer.
But the Cavaliers say video of the incident will absolve them of the harsher penalties. Hoch said: “It’s been very emotional for them the last four days. It’s been very difficult, a roller coaster ride, I would say a lot more downs than ups.”
With the STM unable to field a team, Dominican was chosen to take her place against Brown Deer on Wednesday night.
But the temporary restraining order would prevent the Dominican-Brown Deer game from being played without St. Thomas More.
Players were still struggling to deal with suspensions, although Hoch continued to hold practices this week.
Senior Ethan Emmons said: “I’m a senior, I never thought my season would end like this. I thought we handled the situation as best we could.”
Hoch acknowledges that the school faces a daunting task and that as school president, he must consider the impact a legal battle can have on the school as a whole. “I have to make sure that I’m not just thinking as a basketball coach, but also in the best interests of the school. Because sometimes the further you go…you want to make sure you’re thinking about the best interests of all children in the school, and of the school itself, and of the reputation of the school.”
But he thinks there have been injunctions before, but probably with a low success rate. “Our goal is to get our guys to play at Brown Deer High School. And when that will be, I don’t know, and how exactly that would work, I don’t know.”
St. Thomas More wants the WIAA to review cellphone video taken from the stands and video of the game that was streamed online for fans, hoping it proves the Cavaliers don’t deserve suspensions.
But while the WIAA declined interview requests, it sent out a rule that protests against decisions made by game officials are not allowed in tournaments.
Hoch says Saturday was the last time the school spoke to anyone from the WIAA on the phone, and since then there have been only a few limited emails.
He said: “I don’t think we’ve been treated fairly, and that’s why we’re taking such extreme measures.”
Hoch believes the WIAA will have to respond to the temporary restraining order if a judge grants it. He said he just wished the incident had never happened and was very disappointed.
Dominican and brown deer must tip at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.