Eighth-grade girls basketball team left out of LBA tournament

Seventh-grader Amalya Otero attempts a shot during the first game of the LBA tournament. The seventh-graders played instead of the eighth-graders but were unable to win the tournament.
Photo courtesy of LBA

On December 4, the London Basketball Association (LBA) hosted the LBA Midseason tournament at ASL. The boys eighth-grade team was able to play, the girls eighth-grade team, however, was not present at this tournament.
According to the middle school athletics director Mr. Akay Mustafa, ASL has always had spots for both girls and boys teams. “Traditionally because we host, we tend to not have to register. Everyone expects us to be in it. In

the past years, we have had the luxury of having two spots and this year there was an additional school and all the girl’s spots were filled, and when we discussed that with the LBA… it was seen as we’re not going to be able to put an additional team in.”

Since there was only a space for one girls’ team from ASL, a decision had to be made to decide whether the seventh or eighth-grade girls would represent ASL at the tournament.
Mr. Mustafa said that he made the decision after discussion with a few other people, and he made his decision based on the amount of playing each team would have this season. “Seventh-grade girls have two jamborees but one of them traditionally has not been the strongest because the other teams play their sixth graders.”
Mr. Mustafa also said that the reason for giving the tournament slot to the seventh-graders revolved around the playing experience for the season. If the LBA tournament was taken away from the eighth-graders, they would still be able to look forward to an Aberdeen experience. “They play in quite a competitive tournament, and their jamborees tend to be quite good.”
What also impacted the decision of Mr. Mustafa were the time constraints if the girls were to play. The eighth-grade concert began at 6:45, meaning that the players would’ve had to finish the final by 6:30 and then rushed off to their concert. Due to the rush that a late finish could have caused, Kolbrun Gunnarsdottir, a player on the eighth-grade girls team, gave insight on how she and the team felt after learning that they were not going to play in the LBA tournament, “I was upset because eighth-graders in previous years… had done really well and I wanted to live up to that legacy. I understood that it was a scheduling mishap and I’m glad that the seventh graders at least got to play… My teammates felt the same way… They were upset because they were excited to play in the tournament and it was something we had been looking forward to.” The eighth-grade girls, while disappointed at missing out on an opportunity to represent ASL, are understanding of the mishap and have moved forward with their season.

About Leo De Giorgi ('24)

Sports Editor 2019-20

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