Suspended team denied reinstatement for playoffs

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CHICAGO -- Members of a suspended high school basketball team asked Chicago Public Schools to reconsider the punishment so they could compete in the playoffs, but were denied.

The suspensions were handed out after a fight broke out when North Lawndale College Prep beat John Marshall Metropolitan Tuesday at Westinghouse College Prep. The fight was captured on video. Some players apparently exchanged words in the handshake line, and that sparked the altercation.

CPS suspended both schools for three games on Thursday. As a result, North Lawndale College Prep was not allowed play in the sectional championship game Friday night and St. Joseph automatically advanced to the IHSA Super-Sectional.

The North Lawndale College Prep basketball team says they are devastated by the decision, because it takes them out of the running for the state championship.

The team consists of 16 players, many of which are honor students.

CPS released a statement after the suspension was issued, saying, "Chicago Public Schools does not tolerate unsportsmanlike behavior from our student athletes before, during or after competitions. The conduct of both teams is unacceptable and contrary to the goals of our athletic programs, which are intended to help students develop a strong work ethic, teamwork mentality and leadership skills."

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