(updated as of 6:27 p.m.)
HAMMOND - The Salmen girls basketball team defeated St. Michael the Archangel 63-34 in a Class 4A semifinal game at SLU's University Center that was delayed because of a court decision over an ineligible player.
(updated at 5:02 p.m.)
HAMMOND - In yet another twist of fate, second-seeded St. Michael the Archangel is facing No. 6 Salmen in Friday's Class 4A girls basketball semifinal at SLU's University Center.
The scheduled start time is 5:02 p.m.
St. Michael was informed at 4:06 p.m. that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association had won its appeal with Baton Rouge's First Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Wednesday's decision to put No. 3 Vandebilt Catholic of Houma out of the playoffs because it used an ineligible player.
The parents of the player ruled ineligible obtained a temporary restraining order late Thursday, which put VCHS back in the playoffs. Third-seeded Vandebilt (28-5) had walked onto the court to warm up on Friday just before 4 p.m.
Both teams then left the court. St. Michael coach Tami Reynolds-McClure told media LHSAA Assistant Executive Director B.J. Guzzardo had informed her of the opponent change.
The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge granted the LHSAA's request and vacated Thursday's ruling by a state district judge in Houma. The appellate said the 32nd Judicial District Court "lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action." The appeals court added that a judgment rendered by a court with no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action or proceeding is "void."
The plan was to start the first of three The Advocate/Southeast Regional games as soon as possible after the scheduled 4:30 p.m. start time.
Friday started with the LHSAA's appeal of the temporary restraining order being denied in Houma. The LHSAA then won its appeal right around 4 p.m.
LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said the appeals ruling came moments after his office had learned that a temporary restraining order was acquired on behalf of Salmen to stop a St. Michael-Vandebilt Catholic game from being played.
"We had just heard about the TRO for Salmen," Henderson said. "And about two minutes after that, we heard our appeal was granted. So Salmen and St. Michael will play as soon as possible."
Reynolds-McClure had minutes to shift gears and face a Salmen team that drew applause by coming on the court for warmups just after 4:30 p.m.
"I've been coaching for 20 years and I've never been through anything like this," Reynolds-McClure said. "It's so unfair for the (St. Michael) kids. It's been all about the other two teams. We're going to go out and do the best we possibly can."
Salmen coach Kevin Anderson declined to comment, other than to say: "We're just here to play, and that's all I know."
(updated at 4:15 p.m.)
St. Michael coach Tami Reynolds-McClure told The Advocate that her team will play Salmen in the Class 4A girls basketball state semifinal game within the next 30 minutes.
(updated story at 4:03 p.m.)
The Class 4A girls basketball state semifinal game between St. Michael the Archangel and Vandebilt Catholic appears to be on hold.
LHSAA assistant executive director B.J. Guzzardo came to the scorer's table at the University Center and met the game officials.
The game was supposed to begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
More updates will follow.
(Original story at 2:09 p.m. )
Uncertainty still clouds the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's Class 4A girls basketball semifinal game set for 4:30 p.m.Friday.
Second-seeded St. Michael the Archangel of Baton Rouge is in and as of 2 p.m. the Warriors were scheduled to play No. 3 Vandebilt Catholic (28-5) in the first game of the LHSAA's The Advocate/Southeast Regional in Hammond.
Houma-based VCHS was removed from the playoffs by the LHSAA on Wednesday because of an ineligible player but was reinstated Thursday night after the parents of the player ruled ineligible got a temporary restraining order to block the ruling/semifinal ban from a state district court located there.
Executive Director Kenny Henderson said the LHSAA lost its appeal to the court in Houma early Friday but has filed a writ in Baton Rouge that could be heard prior to game time.
If the LHSAA's Baton Rouge writ is granted, sixth-seeded Salmen (27-4), the team that defeated Vandebilt in Monday's quarterfinals, would play St. Michael.
All three teams held shoot around practices at the tourney site, SLU's University Center Friday morning. Henderson said the LHSAA has no plans to delay the game.
"We were hoping the writ would be heard by now," Henderson said. "Our attorney (Brad Lewis) got hung up trying to get back from Houma. It's taken some time."
(Advocate staff writer Joe Gyan contributed to this report.)