WAXHAW, N.C. -- A girls’ basketball team made up of fourth, fifth and sixth graders was kicked out of a tournament after winning a game.
Tournament organizers say it is because the team’s coach violated rules of play and a code of ethics encouraging sportsmanship.
Charles Thompson, coach of the Waxhaw Wildcats, says he didn’t do anything wrong.
On a basketball court in Waxhaw, Wildcats player Kayla Young showed NewsChannel 36 how she tied Saturday's game between her Wildcats and Wesley Chapel Weddington Athletic Association's team with a couple seconds left.
"Stole the ball and went up for a layup and got fouled,” Young said.
The Wildcats were the seventh seed, playing the second-seeded WCWAA team.
But that didn't matter to the underdogs. The Wildcats scored two baskets in overtime and won 19 to 15. Earlier this year, the Wildcats lost to that same team.
"Everybody was going berserk, in the crowd, on the bench, just happy,” Young said.
But then the WCWAA ruled the Wildcats were out of the tournament.
This, Waxhaw Athletic Association Commissioner Rick Giarla says, is the reason why as it was explained to him:
"Our parents were unsportsmanlike, that they were creating havoc in their gym.”
In an email, WCWAA commissioner Tom Reitz says:
"As usual, the kids always suffer as a result of what the adults do and that is sad."
Reitz says the Wildcats broke the rules of play and he's had discussions with the Wildcats’ coach throughout the season about it.
This is another part of the emails between Reitz and Giarla:
"Prior to the season even starting, you agreed to play by the WCWAA rules and you asked me for the rules for WCWAA so that we all were on the same page and there would be no question at any point, be it at your gym or ours."
Giarla says they were never warned about infractions during the regular season and says the Wildcats didn't violate the WCWAA's code of ethics, which encourages good sportsmanship.
He says there weren’t any technical fouls called, the team wasn’t out of line and neither were parents.
Young says the Wildcats won fair and square.
She says it was the WCWAA team being unsportsmanlike when she nailed the game tying free-throws.
"They intentionally sent two girls down there to scream in my face to distract me,” she says. “But it didn't work. They didn't want us to win, they just didn't."
The Wildcats plan on showing up to Tuesday’s semifinal game, hoping to play, but expecting that they won't.