The mood for Friday's two basketball games between Lake and Scott Central was not the same as it was a week ago.
"When we got here tonight and played, I wondered how the atmosphere was going to be, and it was dead," said Scott Central Girls Basketball Coach Chad Harrison. "Nobody was cheering. Everybody was just sitting here. It was almost like being at a funeral."
With the state's immanent takeover of the Scott County School District approaching, teams such as Harrison's two-time defending state champion Rebels, could be banned from post-season play just days before the season ends.
"My daughter came home today from school. She said, 'you know, this might be it,'" said Angela Vivians, step-mother of Scott Central forward (and Mississippi's all time leading scorer) Victoria Vivians. "She was saying friday, next friday's game -that's her senior night- she was saying that might be her last game."
Scott Central, Lake, Morton and Sebastopol are part of a financialy solvent, B disrict, and no one in the Lake gym was happy about the potential ban on students who have been making good grades.
"Our kids work hard in their sports," said Rebel fan Kim Cager. "And they should be not punished for something that adults have personal issues with. "
Harrison echoed those sentiments.
"The kids have done what we've asked them to do. We've asked them to go to class [and] perform on state tests. They've done that. We're high-performing. And now, we're going to reward them by taking everything away from them, and I think that we're sending them the wrong message about the whole process."
Harrison said the rule was created to take over school districts with failing students, and that the state never envisioned punishing one as academically successful as Scott County. He and others said the only way to survive is take action.
"We've challenged everybody, and we are still challenging people to call their lawmakers,"
Lake High School Principal Jordan Kemp strongly urged Scott County residents to write to the capital, hoping leaders will make a change in the rule before the MHSAA tournaments begin.
"Contact our representatives. Contact our senators," said Kemp. "They are working to try to pass some legislation that can help [the student-athletes]. Right now, that's our best hope of being able to keep playing ball past next friday."