Principals agree to play games, not forfeits

The Christ the King and Bishop Ford girls basketball teams will not have to forfeit the games it canceled against Nazareth following Nazareth coach Apache Paschall's death, according to CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens principals committee chairman John Lorenzetti. The principals of the three schools agreed to play the games later this season.

"At the meeting, the three principals sat down and talked and keeping the Christian and Catholic philosophies, everyone felt it was in the best interest for those games to be played," Lorenzetti said. "We are working out the schedule as we speak.

A principals committee meeting occurred on Monday that was going to rule on the request for forfeits, but Lorenzetti said the three principals of the schools in Christ the King's Peter Mannarino, Bishop Ford's Frank Brancato and Nazareth's Providencia Quiles decided among the three of them to play the games. He said there was no group vote taken.

If Christ the King and Bishop Ford were voted to forfeit the games, the league constitution does allow for a forfeiture of the season and the next season, but Lorenzetti stressed that that doesn't mean that would have applied to this situation. He said that each case is treated on an individual basis and he's grateful that it did not come to that.

"I'm thrilled. I think that's the way it should be," Lorenzetti said of the decision. "I think sporting events should be decided on the court and not in committee meetings and whatever else. I'm thrilled that they agreed to play."

After Paschall died on Jan. 3, the Lady Kingsmen hoped to play their scheduled league games against Bishop Ford on Jan. 5 and Christ the King on Jan. 7. Ford's administration canceled the game because it believed it was too quickly after to play while CK believed Paschall's funeral was going to be the day of its game.

Nazareth's coaches and players were not too pleased that the games were canceled against them as they wanted to play to honor their coach. Paschall lead the team to the New York State Federation Class AA title last season in his first year at the school.

"I think it's disrespectful," Nazareth co-coach Ron Kelley said at the time. "He was our coach, our friend and our confidant, and my mentor and a father figure to our girls here. If we choose to have the game and play the game, then I would think everybody would try to respect our wishes in doing so.

"If God forbid this happened to somebody else, I would say, anything you want us to do, we'll do. That would be my answer. These young ladies have been through a tragedy. I think that what they want to do is what we should be doing."

After the cancellation of the games, Nazareth requested that the league make Bishop Ford and Christ the King forfeit the games. The Eligibility and Infractions Committee made the recommendation that Bishop Ford and Christ the King should have to forfeit. The principals committee meeting was scheduled for last Wednesday but was postponed until Monday.

Nazareth co-coach Lauren Best did not seem too pleased with the decision. Nazareth already beat both opponents by at least 30 points each and will go for the clean sweep soon.

“They didn’t follow the rules,” Best said after her team beat Molloy on Monday night. “The rules state one thing and they got away with one. They should have gotten the forfeit. We’re a competitive team so we’re going to play but that’s not what the rules state.”

Christopher Hunt contributed reporting to this article