It’s the worst news that a high school basketball team can ever receive.

Especially a highly talented, competitive team like Atlantic City High School.

As a result of an incident that occurred on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, it has officially been determined that the Atlantic City High School Boy’s Basketball team will not be able to participate in the upcoming NJSIAA Playoffs.

Atlantic City High defeated Mainland Regional High 49-48, in an emotional and highly competitive game, that featured two of the best teams in the Cape Atlantic League.

The state of New Jersey (NJSIAA) has an unambiguous rule that if three players leave the bench during a tense moment of play … that team is declared ineligible to play in the state tournament.

Atlantic City did have 3 players leave the bench during such an incident. Therefore, they are banned from playing in the state tournament this year.

Mainland Regional High had two players leave their bench during the late 3rd Quarter tension.

Mainland Regional remains eligible to play in this year’s state tournament and Cape Atlantic League Championship if they qualify.

The Atlantic City High School ban will also extend to the Cape Atlantic League Championship game.

Mike Gatley, Director of Athletics for Mainland Regional High School is one of the most proper and classy professionals that I have ever known in the sport of basketball.

We caught-up with Gatley, who shared the following:

The NJSIAA has established an equity index that requires all member schools to adhere to protocols of sportsmanship and behavior in every athletic contest. Mainland, not only supports, but models and embraces, following proper contest procedures as the foundation to our education-based athletic programs and as prescribed by our state athletic governing body. The health, safety, and well-being of all those participating, officiating, and visiting our campus is of paramount importance and our number one priority, said Gatley.

This is the second consecutive year that an on court incident has occurred involving the Atlantic City High School Boy’s basketball team.

Directly quoting former Atlantic City Board of Education Member John Devlin (from last year), there was a "riot-like atmosphere" that was in effect on Thursday, February 2, 2023 at Atlantic City High School.”

The unruly incident took place during the Atlantic City High School versus Atlantic City Institute of Technology boys basketball game.

Devlin confirmed that Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and Atlantic City Superintendent of Public Schools, La Quetta Small were both in attendance at the February 2, 2023 game.

Atlantic City High School has not yet commented about this latest development.

It’s heartbreaking for the student athletes and community, as the Atlantic City High School Boy’s Basketball team would have been highly competitive in this year‘s NJSIAA playoffs.

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