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Clark Montessori hoops wins appeal, will play

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Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 16:45:46-05

CINCINNATI — The Clark Montessori boys basketball team is still in the Division III sectional tournament and will play Roger Bacon in the sectional final Saturday night.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association told WCPO.com the school was granted an appeal and was successful in proving it was not aware of a player in violation of the state's residency rule.

The student-athlete was not named but was ruled ineligible due to a parent's residency situation. The school proved it was not aware of the violation, so therefore only the student-athlete was ruled ineligible and not the entire team.

Cincinnati Hill Christian Academy, which lost to Clark, 48-44, in the sectional semifinal Wednesday, was told to prepare for the sectional final Thursday. The Eagles held a practice Thursday night.

The OHSAA's initial decision was that it was a team violation that impacted the tournament. However, Clark was granted an appeal and was successful.

"I found out like everyone else," Clark coach Darnell Parker said. "I'm excited for our kids and our school."

The Cougars (12-12) will play Roger Bacon (17-7) at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Western Brown.

Roger Bacon boys basketball coach Brian Neal was not happy with what he said was a lack of communication from the OHSAA regarding his team's opponent.

Neal told WCPO.com the school received its info from Clark and did not receive a courtesy call from the OHSAA. However, CHCA received a call from the OHSAA preparing the Eagles for a possible game Saturday.

Neal left practice Thursday and received messages saying Clark was pulled from the tournament.

Roger Bacon organized two practice schedules to prepare for CHCA and Clark. The differences were three or four aspects, Neal said. He is a firm believer in worrying about his own team first and foremost.

"My biggest complaint is that Roger Bacon is kind of forgotten and not communicated with,"Neal said.

"All the information we received was from Clark and not the OHSAA."

Neal said the OHSAA needs to have a better plan in place for communication in these situations. Neal said he found out updates through "blogs and Twitter accounts - that's not the way it should work."

OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried apologized for any miscommunication with Roger Bacon.

"I know we were staying in communication with Clark Montessori and CHCA. We had several lines of communication open with those two schools. If we did not communicate effectively with Roger Bacon we apologize for that and we will need to take a look at our process of doing that.

"Between speaking with Clark Montessori and Cincinnati Public Schools and the attorneys, it seemed like we were in constant communication all day yesterday. However, if none of that communication was going to Roger Bacon, that was unfortunate."