Two Tennesee Girls’ Basketball Teams Tried Desperately To Lose To Each Other, Both Get Banned From Postseason

Two Tennessee girls’ high school basketball teams tried valiantly to lose to each other Saturday evening, and both teams wound up losing in bigger ways than they could have imagined, the Washington Post is reporting.

The girls’ basketball teams from both Riverdale and Smyrna were guaranteed a spot in the post-season. However, both would have benefited from loss in Saturday’s game: the winner would have risked facing Blackman — one of the best high school girls’ basketball teams in Tennesee, if not the country — in the regional playoff bracket. The loser would have been given an easier spot in the bracket that determines who goes to the state playoffs.

At first, the teams’ attempt at throwing the game was at least somewhat subtle, according to the referee.

“Riverdale started off the game in a 2-3 zone, which is very odd for Riverdale who usually plays 32 minutes of man to man full court pressure. After a few minutes I think that the Smyrna coach realized what was going on and subbed his second team in. Riverdale followed suit and did the same.”

Eventually things got ridiculous, and obvious.

“In the 3rd [quarter] I finally called both coaches together when a Smyrna player was about to attempt a shot at the wrong basket (but there was a 10 second violation call before they attempted the shot) on purpose. That is when I called both coaches together and told them we are not going to make a travesty or mockery of the game. WE ARE NOT GOING TO START TRYING TO SHOOT AND SCORE FOR THE OTHER TEAM.”

Twitter user @CousinTrevvv was at the basketball game in question, and he tweeted some rather condemning video of both sides trying to tank.

Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) executive director Bernard Childress sent letters to both schools Monday, informing each team that they were banned from postseason play, and fined $1,500, according to ESPN.

“This situation defeated the purpose of educational-based athletics.”

Smyrna principal Rick Powell, and his counterpart at Riverdale, both lobbied to have the girls left out of the punishments, arguing that the attempts to throw the game were done at the coaches’ behest. Both principals asked the TSSAA to allow the girls to play in the postseason, and to apply the suspensions only to their coaches. The request was denied.

“I hate it for the kids because of the actions of the coaches. We pleaded with the TSSAA. We hated that they were penalized. But that was their decision.”

Do you believe a postseason ban is fair punishment for both girls’ basketball teams trying to lose to each other? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[Image courtesy of Business Insider]