Arlington team advances while legal battle with TSSAA continues

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Arlington High School Lady Tigers defeated Collierville in a basketball playoff game Monday night but part of the team’s future could be decided in a court of law Tuesday morning.

The team is challenging a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association ruling that initially kicked them out of this year’s playoffs and bans them from next year’s postseason too.

The ruling came down last week because of an incident involving coach Ashley Shields’ son. Deputies say he punched Dyer County coach Derek McCord in the parking lot after an Arlington home game March 2nd. The TSSAA says one Arlington player drove Shields’ son from the scene.

Several Arlington parents hired a lawyer to fight the ruling and request a temporary restraining order so the team could keep playing while the issue is worked out in court. A judge granted that request, allowing the girls to compete in a playoff game against Collierville Monday night.

Alisha Boutain’s daughter is a freshman on the team.

“The parents got together and it’s just one of those things that we wanted the girls to see us fight,” Boutain said.

Jonathan Dupree’s daughter is a junior on the team. He hopes the judge will reverse the TSSAA ruling particularly because of the implications for next year’s playoffs when his daughter will be a senior.

“Some of these girls are still working trying to gain the attention of some coaches and get scholarship offers,” Dupree said, “If they lose on the court that’s one thing… but they shouldn’t be held accountable for something that’s beyond their level of influence.”

Arlington now moves on to the state tournament which starts Thursday. 

The TSSAA ruling includes a two game suspension for coach Shields but, for now, she’ll continue to coach while the issue is worked out in court.

WREG will let you know the results of a hearing Tuesday morning.

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