On Friday night, Maori Davenport finally returned to the hardwood.
According to reports from AL.com, Pike County Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan granted an emergency motion and ruled that Charles Henderson’s star basketball player could play in Friday’s game against Carroll High School. She scored 25 points in her return, which was met with signs of support and raucous of applause.
"It just felt like I belonged there," she said, according to ESPN. "It's like I left a place and I came back right where I belonged."
The judge's ruling says Davenport was eligible to play pending a hearing in Reagan's courtroom. The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s spokesman Ron Ingram had this to say about the lawsuit, “We’re aware of the litigation and in discussions to formulate an appropriate response.”
Davenport’s parents had filed a lawsuit on Thursday in the Pike County Circuit Court, in hopes that their daughter would be reinstated for the rest of her senior season.
Davenport’s name has been in the news all week because Steve Savarese, the executive director of the AHSAA, ruled the 15th best player (per ESPN rankings) in the country ineligible. The 6-foot-4 forward/center is committed to play at Rutgers University next season.
Davenport cashed an $857.20 check she received from USA Basketball as a member of Team USA's gold medal-winning team at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The check was a stipend for players who play for Team USA. Due to a clerical error made by USA Basketball, which did not check with the AHSAA beforehand, that stipend exceeded the maximum allowed for an amateur player in Alabama. And while Davenport returned the entire sum, Savarese and the AHSAA refused to reinstate her.
The case has garnered national news as powerful figures in the sports world like Kobe Bryant, Billie Jean King, Chris Paul, the WNBA, Dawn Staley, C. Vivian Stringer and ESPN College Basketball Analyst Jay Bilas have all called for Savarese and the AHSAA to let Davenport play.