The Mountain Brook boys basketball team may end up losing by winning.
Mountain Brook, a public high school from Alabama, pulled off the stunner in the City of Palms Classic Thursday night by upsetting USA TODAY Super 25 No. 2 ranked IMG Academy in the quarterfinals.
McEachern, Georgia, also pulled an upset of defending champion and No. 4 ranked Fort Lauderdale University School on Thursday, setting up a semifinal of underdog showdown with the winner facing the Oak Hill Academy vs. Philadelphia Imhotep winner for the championship on Saturday.
Problem is if Mountain Brook and Oak Hill win, Mountain Brook is not allowed to play Oak Hill in the tournament title game due to Alabama High School Athletic Association bylaws. Members of the AHSAA are not permitted to play teams that are not members of a state athletic association, which Oak Hill, a small boarding school with an enrollment of 150, is not a member in Virginia.
Tournament vice present Donnie Wilkie, who has been part of the Classic since 1985, said the tournament bracket was set up the best it could to avoid these conflicts. Wilkie was still trying to work for solutions as the 7:15 p.m. semifinal tip times tonight approached.
If Imhotep or McEachern win, the championship game dilemma will solve itself.
“It would be really unproductive to even talk about it at this point. We have to wait and see what happens,” Wilkie said.
“There’s one situation that potentially could result in co-champions, but we haven’t really decided what we’re going to do yet.”
Mountain Brook coach Bucky McMillan declined to comment since the situation is still fluid but said he would talk after tonight’s games.
“According to AHSAA policy, Mountain Brook informed the tournament committee, before attending the event, that (it) could not and would not play Oak Hill Academy,” Jamie Lee, who oversees basketball for the Alabama association, wrote in an email. “I can not comment on possible penalties if a violation occurs.”
The City of Palms was almost in a no-win situation as Georgia had the same bylaw as Alabama. Georgia High School Association Executive Director Robin Hines said that rule was rescinded last year for basketball.
“It only applies to football,” Hines said. “As long as the tournament was sanctioned by the GHSA there should be no problem.”
The City of Palms is sanctioned by Georgia.