WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Pender and Laney High School boys' basketball teams will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs.
The teams were ruled ineligible by the NCHSAA after a bench-clearing incident during a Dec. 7 game in Burgaw.
Pender Athletic Director Matt Davis and Laney AD Fred Lynch confirmed the teams will miss the playoffs.
An NCHSAA rule states a team is not eligible for the state playoffs if it has three or more players ejected for fighting during a season.
“Due to an unfortunate incident involving our team and Pender in December, our men’s basketball team has been disqualified from the state playoffs.” said Laney AD Fred Lynch in an emailed statement. “Our men’s focus is to continue to have a successful season and compete for the conference championship.”
Sources say not all players involved in the incident threw punches, but the NCHSAA rule states a player leaving the bench area during what it calls a fight is considered an ejection for fighting.
Pender and Laney appealed the NCHSAA decision but their appeals were denied.