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Saturday November 28th, 2020 9:28AM

Gainesville boys basketball team will miss Lanierland after suspension from Ky. tourney

By AccessWDUN staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Lanierland tournament has been going for 55 years -- and the Gainesville boys basketball team has been part of every one of those competitions -- until now.

Due to an altercation that took place on Monday in the "King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic" tournament in Louisville, the Red Elephants have been suspended from taking part in the 56th Lanierland -- which will begin on Dec. 28 at Johnson High.

According to the the Courier-Journal of Louisville, the game between Gainesville and Miami Senior (Fla.) was halted due to a fight -- which resulted in both teams being ejected from the "Bluegrass" tournament. The incident also triggered GHSA bylaws, which means that the Red Elephants were automatically suspended two contests, which included the opening round of Lanierland.

"I talked with GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips last night and based on his investigation with Bluegrass tournament director Lloyd Gardner, the GHSA decided to suspend our basketball team for two games," said ‚ÄčGainesville High School athletic director Billy Kirk. "Once the suspension is lifted, we will go back to region play as normal."

Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wanda Creel released a statement, saying she was disappointed in a situation that led the Gainesville High School boys basketball team to be suspended from the "King of te Bluegrass" holiday tournament in Kentucky.

In an email statement released Tuesday, Dr. Creel said:

“We are disappointed that the situation in a competitive environment became disorderly.  We support and value teammates standing together. However, we believe that disputes should be solved in a manner that are non-confrontational and productive.  Georgia High School Association rules state any players removed from a game cannot participate in the next two competitive games.  We all have made mistakes.  Our belief is that our Gainesville High School Boys Basketball Team can move forward and respect and honor the difficult lessons learned from this experience.”

Kirk also noted that school officials are disappointed. 

"For us not to be able to participate is a big blow from the community standpoint. Lanierland is a big deal and we feel absolutely horrible about this," he said.
 
Kirk added that the GHS girls team will defend its 2014 Lanierland title, and the GHS community will be supporting them in the upcoming tournament.
 
It is unclear how the loss of the Gainesville boys team will effect the Lanierland brackets, as officials were still determining late Tuesday how to handle the gap created by the Red Elephants' withdrawal. The No. 2 seed for this year's tournament, Gainesville was scheduled to open play Lanierland against No. 7 seed North Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 28.
 
So far, no specific details on the fight itself have been released.
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