UPDATE Player suspensions threaten postseason

Mindy Carls

"A discipline problem with a group of students" may cost the Orion girls basketball team its chance to play in the postseason, according to Nathan DeBaillie, athletic director and dean of students at Orion High School.

The Chargers' fate is in the hands of the Illinois High School Association, which is expected to notify OHS of its decision by Monday, Feb. 1, DeBaillie said. Orion is scheduled to play Ridgewood in regional semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 10, in Woodhull.

OHS suspended nine players, effective Wednesday, Jan. 27, when the Chargers visited the Knoxville Blue Bullets, the athletic director said. According to school policy, he cannot release the names of the suspended players or describe what led to their suspensions.

The suspensions left the varsity with only one senior, Kelly Hutton; one junior, Brittany Scott; and one sophomore, Randi McMullin.

To have enough girls to play, seven freshmen have been added to the varsity roster. They are Ann Samuelson, Laura Hamilton, Morgan Dahl, Anni Keleher, Abby Taets, Cassidy Clark and Katie Garrity.

The IHSA limits the number of tournaments in which freshmen can play, and the Orion freshmen have reached the limit, the athletic director said. Postseason play is considered a tournament.

Meanwhile, without enough girls to field both sophomore and varsity teams, OHS has canceled all of the sophomore games remaining in the season, DeBaillie said.

"We will continue on with the varsity girls basketball schedule," DeBaillie said. "Some starting times may change."

Orion is scheduled to play at Wethersfield on Saturday, Jan. 30. The varsity game will start at 12:15 p.m., and afterwards the coaches of both teams may have the freshmen girls play a game.

Varsity games next week include a home game with Erie at 7 p.m. and a road game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at Rockridge.

There are two games left on the freshman schedule, and the girls will be able to play those games, DeBaillie said.