By Brian Cain
A first year championship bid for the Louisa County fifth grade boys developmental basketball team was derailed after the team was disqualified for violating a playing time rule.
Anthony Banks, head coach of the Louisa team, said that he received word of the ruling on Tuesday from Ben D’Alessandro, Virginia Basketball Academy executive director.
“They disqualified us because they said our players played more than the allotted time allowed per player,” Banks said.
Banks said that the Western Albemarle head coach lodged a protest after suffering a 34-27 loss to the Lions in the semi-finals.
The rules state that “coaches will play each player the same amount of time each game,” except in cases of “disciplinary action by the coach, whether based on failure to meet practice or game expectations, in-game injuries, and in-game teaching moments.”
Teams of 10 players compete in four, six-minute quarters and each player is expected to play 12 minutes.
Banks said that he was informed that one of his players logged more than 16 minutes of playing time, but he contends it was closer to 14 minutes, adding that it is difficult in game situations to substitute players without compromising the flow of the game and the team’s performance.
Rico Smith, Louisa’s assistant coach, said that one Louisa player was absent and another had an ankle injury which affected playing times.
According to Smith, D’Alessandro, who was not officiating the game, called a time out with three minutes remaining in the game to inform coaches that player’s total times played needed to be within two minutes of each other or there would be repercussions.
“What I don’t understand is that no where in the rules does is say that a team will be disqualified if all the players times aren’t equal,” Smith said.
The Louisa head coach said that some of the opposing players exceeded the allotted time limit after Western Albemarle started to lose and responded to the allegations by submitting a counter protest.
But he said that VABA reviewed the game video and sided with Louisa’s opponent.
“It really bothers me,” Banks said of the decision. “They’re just kids trying to play basketball.”
Despite the disqualification, Banks said that he is proud of his team.
“They deserve a lot of credit,” he said. “They worked hard and did what they had to do.”
This was the first year that Louisa fielded a team for the Virginia Developmental Basketball League, which is organized through the VABA—a Charlottesville-based organization.