Amityville stripped of basketball title due to ineligible player

Amityville's boys basketball team celebrates its 74-73 overtime

Amityville's boys basketball team celebrates its 74-73 overtime victory over John Glenn in the Class A championship game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Amityville High School's boys basketball team has been stripped of its Suffolk County Class A title for using an ineligible player, according to Ed Cinelli, executive director of Section XI, Suffolk's governing body of interscholastic athletics. The team also will not be allowed to continue playing this season.

The player in question, who appeared briefly in two playoff games, is "a junior varsity eighth-grade student, who was not cleared to play on the varsity level," Amityville acting superintendent Mary Kelly said in a statement.

Don Webster, assistant executive director to Cinelli, said the player had met the physical requirements to compete at the junior varsity level but hadn't met two of the six requirements for an eighth-grader to play on the varsity.

Amityville defeated Glenn, 74-73, in overtime Saturday for the Suffolk Class A championship.

"The state handbook is very clear that when a school uses an ineligible player in any contest, such contest would be forfeited to the opposing school," Cinelli said.

Glenn will replace Amityville in the ensuing playoffs, Cinelli said.

"Participation by an ineligible player in a sectional tournament, state semifinal or final," Cinelli said, "should also result in forfeit and the school would be disqualified from the tournament and their last opponent would advance in their place."

Glenn will play Southampton in the Suffolk Class ABCD championship game, which was moved from Tuesday to Wednesday, according to Glenn athletic director Lou Tuorto. Late Tuesday night, the game was scheduled for 5 p.m. at Ward Melville.

Glenn will play the Valley Stream South-Hewlett winner in the Long Island Class A championship game at Hofstra on March 8 at 5 p.m. for the right to advance to the state tournament in Glens Falls.

"You don't ever want to see the county championship come down to a technicality, but we all have to follow the rules," Tuorto said. "There was a violation of the rules and we were made aware of it. So I called Section XI and asked them to check out the information that was brought to my attention. I have an obligation to report the allegations to Section XI and let them deal with the situation."

Amityville athletic director William Maisel declined to comment. Basketball coach Jack Agostino did not return calls for comment.

Cara-Mia Williams, mother of Amityville senior Leland Williams, expressed her disappointment Tuesday night.

"When I got the call this morning, I felt like somebody died," she said.

"All the hard work and it was taken away from us. It was frustrating because there was nothing I could do. My son is a senior and this was a chance for him to have a college coach look at him and maybe get a scholarship. What am I supposed to do?"

With Bob Herzog

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