Poly disqualified itself from the state Class 4A, Region II playoffs yesterday after its principal discovered the fifth-seeded Engineers used an ineligible player in Wednesday's 95-85 win over fifth-ranked Woodlawn, the region's top seed.
Two days earlier, Douglass High similarly forfeited its 59-57 Class 3A, Region II victory Monday over Centennial, which lost Wednesday's semifinal, 50-38, to No. 3 Walbrook.
Poly issued a statement that said its principal, Dr. Albert W. Strickland, "was told that a member of Poly's varsity basketball team, who played in the game, had not attended school on March 3 [Wednesday.]"
The statement continued: "In conducting a thorough investigation of this matter, the student's absence was confirmed, thereby making him ineligible to participate according Baltimore City Public School Rules. Dr. Strickland has communicated this information to the state association, to the principal of Woodlawn High School, and to his area superintendent and told them that Poly has forfeited the game."
Ned Sparks, the state association's executive secretary, confirmed Strickland's conversation with him early yesterday. "We discussed the situation, and it's a violation of their [city] rules, not state rules," Sparks said. "The particular rule that the
city has, every school has. I've alerted the other schools, and the results of the game have been changed. They will play High Point [tonight at 7 p.m.] at Woodlawn."
No. 2 seed High Point (19-4) won the other semifinal, 96-75, Wednesday over visiting No. 3 seed Lake Clifton (18-5), The Sun's No. 2 team.
With the forfeit victory, Woodlawn's official record stands at 23-0.
"We came in unfocused, and Poly outplayed us. It's a shame for Poly," Woodlawn coach Rod Norris said. "Now we're playing a team that's got a similar style of defense, but the athletes are a little bit better. Sometimes, it takes a loss to understand what we need to do. It's a nice thing to look forward to."