The FHSAA is conducting an inquiry into the Cooper City boys’ basketball program, which will have ramifications on the Cowboys’ postseason eligibility and the BCAA Big 8 boys basketball Tournament next week.
According to sources, the inquiry centers on two players who allegedly followed their AAU coach to Cooper City when they transferred to the school last fall. M. Denarvise Thornton, Jr., the FHSAA associate executive director for eligibility and compliance services, would not go into detail on the matter but confirmed the inquiry, which he expects to be completed early next week.
“We received some information that we shared with the school [Cooper City] and asked the school to respond to it with its findings,” Thornton stated.
If the claim made by a rival school is true, it would be a violation of a FHSAA bylaw prohibiting high school players from following coaches during a calendar year.
As a result, the Cowboys could be forced to forfeit its victories and miss the postseason.
Cooper City (11-7, 4-4) is third in District 12-8A behind top seed Cypress Bay (13-8, 6-2) and South Plantation (10-12, 5-3).
When asked by phone, Cooper City athletic director Paul Menga said ‘no comment’ on the inquiry.
As BCAA Big 8 implications go, Blanche Ely, Boyd Anderson, Pines Charter, McArthur and St. Thomas Aquinas are expected to qualify. The next three spots could be decided among Flanagan, Cardinal Gibbons, and Cypress Bay. Each team has a 10-3 county record.
Should Cooper City forfeit its victories, Cypress Bay would gain a victory and therefore improve its seeding in the tournament.
Expectations were set higher than a tossed teammate at the FHSAA Region 4 cheerleading championships at Dillard High, but three Broward County teams topped the regional leaderboards. Coral Springs Christian captured the large varsity division crown. South Plantation won the small co-ed division and Coral Glades topped the small nontumbling group.
“In districts two weeks ago, we had top score,” said Tanya Jones, coach at Miramar. “We had the highest score of Broward County. The girls really performed. Compared to today, we had a bobble here a bobble there. The performance wasn’t to their standards. That’s what I would have to say.”
The Patriots patted each others shoulders after an admittedly subpar showing. Miami St. Brendan won the extra large varsity division. Seminole Ridge won the large nontumbling division, Florida Christian won the large varsity division and Dade Christian claimed the small varsity division.
“Our division, the top three teams were back-to-back,” Jones said. “I feel as though we should have came out in at least second place. I congratulate Coral Glades. They set the bar. I think my girls should have come out second. The score is the score.”
Coral Glades edged Kings Academy (West Palm Beach) 172.7 to 171.85, and Miramar tallied 161.9 in the small nontumbling division.
“The crowd brings the nerves,” said Alexis Mitchell, a Miramar captain. “It brings the hype, the nerves and excitement. So walking onto the stage its real. Our expectations were a little higher. We expect to do better, but at the end of the day, hard work pays off and we are proud of ourselves.”
Western, Stranahan, and Plantation each placed second in its respective divisions.
“I think the girls did very well,” Western coach Carrie Norton said. “I think they did the best they can do and have done all season. They have been working really hard.”
The FHSAA state finals are Thursday through Saturday in Kissimmee.
Hialeah Educational vs. Curley, 3:30
Hialeah Educational vs. Community, 4:00
Princeton Christian vs. Archemedian, 5:00
Calusa Prep vs. LaSalle, 7:00
N.W. Christian vs. Doctors Charter, 7:00
Dade Chri. vs. Westminster Chri., 7:30
Hollywood Hills vs. Westland Hialeah, 7:30
HML vs. Mourning, 7:30
Somerset vs. Mater Lakes, 7:30
Varela vs. Coral Park, 7:30
Hebrew Aca. vs. Miami Country Day, 7:30
South Dade vs. Braddock, 7:30