Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

2016 Year In Review: Gilbert Quiets the Controversy on The Court..

Dupont Middle-  “So they decided to settle it on the court…  That’s where all disputes or controversies surrounding youth sports should be settled anyway”, said one gentleman in attendance at the Oceanway versus Gilbert playoff game. Well actually, the game was the playoff to the playoff game as the winner would face DuPont Middle next in order to advance to the championship.

The Mathew Gilbert Panthers and Oceanway Buccaneers play in the same division in the Duval County Middle School Conference. They along with the Kirby Smith Comets were the best three teams in their division in 2016. Yet these divisional foes played through their regular seasons with Gilbert winning the division via a better record. (Middle School Basketball Season Finale) But Gilbert was alleged to have cheated, by allowing a student who attends another school to play on the Duval County Public School team. The player in question attended Valor Academy, however Valor has a campus that did not offer baskeetball at the particular time that the said youth signed up for basketball at Gilbert. Duval County Public Schools prohibits any student who attends his current school to participate in a sport at a different school, unless the sport is not offered at the youth’s current school.

Based on this rule, Oceanway was chosen by district officials to represent the North division in the middle school playoffs. That was before protests and outrage ensued from many parents, administors and coaches concerning the matter. They were upset at the ruling, and insisted that the youth in question did meet rule requirements. A similar situation occurred last year with the Highlands Middle Girls Basketball team, in which they were not allowed to participate in the post season tournament due to a player playing for Potter’s House earlier in the year. Instead of following last year’s decision, officials decided to have a one game playoff to decide who would advance to the official playoff tournament. This year Highland’s Girls are undefeated and are expected to win it all, and after Thursday’s game,  Gilbert is heavy favorites to do the same.

The Panthers defeated Oceanway 51-41 in front of a spirited packed crowd at DuPont. Gilbert’s Jordan Jackson hit five three pointers in the game to lift them over the Buccaneers Thursday night. Gilbert will face DuPont tonight for the chance to meet Fletcher in the title game Saturday!

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