The Wilcox (Ga.) County High basketball team made ignominious Georgia state history on Friday when it became the first squad since 1941 to forfeit a state tournament game before it had even been played.
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a handful of other Georgia news outlets, the Wilcox County Patriots were forced to pull out of their scheduled Georgia High School Association Class A first round playoff matchup with Randolph-Clay (Ga.) High after the school suspended nine different players for the game, leaving them unable to field a complete team.
While no official reasons were given for the suspension of the nine players, the Journal-Constitution reported that the players were banned in connection with an off-the-court incident the night before the suspensions were handed down.
"Due to an unfortunate situation last night involving the majority of the boys basketball game, we will be forced to forfeit the boys basketball game tonight," Wilcox County principal Chad Davis wrote to the GHSA just hours before the playoff opener was to take place.
To say that Wilcox's sudden departure from the playoffs was unforeseen would be a dramatic understatement. The school had reached at least the quarterfinals of the prior three state tournaments, landing a spot in the semifinals in both 2009 and 2010.
The current Patriots were ranked No. 5 in Georgia's Class A entering the state tournament before the forfeit ended their season prematurely.
Now, sadly, the 2011-12 Wilcox County squad will be known more for a shocking last minute forfeit than any of the 20 wins the team racked up in an impressive season.