Maori Davenport to play in area tournament

Published 8:42 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

Maori Davenport will officially be playing in the postseason.

A hearing to rule on the dismissal or transfer of the case regarding the CHHS senior standout’s eligibility has been set for Feb. 22.

Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan issued the order Friday after holding a scheduling conference with the two parties.

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If Reagan denies both of the AHSAA’s motions, another hearing will be held on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 on whether Davenport will remain eligible.

Until then, a temporary ruling by Reagan granted in January will allow Davenport to continue playing with the team as the defending state champions once again enter postseason play on Feb. 5.

Of course, if the judge rules in favor of the AHSAA, those postseason games could be forfeited, but CHHS Principal Brock Kelley said the administration, players and coaches are not worried about that possibility.

“We continue to support Maori and the entire lady Trojans team,” Kelley said. “As of right now, the litigation process is a second thought for everyone. No matter what happens or what decision is made in the near future, it has been an honor to watch No. 23 play the last couple of weeks of her senior year. I know Coach Jones and the lady Trojans are taking one game at a time and are preparing to defend a championship. I know I speak for almost everyone who associates themselves with Trojan Nation, that walking off the court for the last time knowing you fought the good fight is way more valuable than a championship trophy. So for now, Maori plays, championship or no championship.”

The hearing on Davenport’s eligibility was originally scheduled to be held today in Pike County Circuit Court, but the AHSAA filed motions on Jan. 24 requesting that the case either be dismissed or transferred to Montgomery County.

In response, the Davenports’ counsel filed a motion to have the hearing delayed as more witnesses are gathered and set aside two days for the hearing instead of one. The plaintiffs also amended their original complaint to contest the AHSAA’s claim that the court does not have jurisdiction over the organization, arguing that the association acts more like a state actor than a voluntary private organization.

The regional tournament will be finished before the hearing date, meaning Davenport will be allowed to play the tournament in its entirety.

If the case is not dismissed or transferred to Montgomery County, the permanent hearing on Davenport’s eligibility will begin on Feb. 25, the same day as the beginning of the state tournament.