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HS Basketball Team Shut Out For Wearing Breast Cancer Awareness Jerseys

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While the rest of the nation struggled to figure out the color of a dress, Narbonne High School's girls basketball team got locked out of their deserved spot at the L.A. City finals over the color of their jerseys. If there's one thing this debacle taught us, it's that high school basketball rules are serious.

Narbonne High's girls basketball team competed against Palisades in the City finals Saturday night. They won, 57-52. However, L.A. City Section announced on Monday that the Harbor City team would not only forfeit that win, but also be removed from both the City finals and CIF State playoffs, the Daily Breeze reports. Why? They wore pink.

Pink isn't one of Narbonne's school colors—the ladies typically fly green, gold and black. However, they chose pink lettering as a nod to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's annual "Play 4 Kay" fundraiser, which raises money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Yow had coached basketball at North Carolina State before she died of breast cancer in 2009. Seems like a harmless gesture, but stepping outside the boundaries of team colors is punishable by probation and forfeiture of games, according to the Article 1305 of the L.A. City Section Goldbook. Teams may only wear alternate colors if they apply for a waiver.

Narbonne Coach Victoria Sanders is puzzled by a couple of things. For one, she doesn't understand why the girls are being punished for an oversight they didn't even know about. For another, the girls wore the exact same uniforms in a previous game against University High where they won 60-52. Following that game, no one said anything. Since then, that win has also been changed to a forfeiture.

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This isn't Narbonne's first tangle with the very strict high school girls basketball rules. They were already on probation for allowing a player to participate in a game last year after she'd been automatically disqualified for committing two technical fouls in a previous game.

City Section Commissioner John Aguirre commented on the decision, telling the Times that the rules are the rules. "I'm going to be consistent," he said.

The ruling not only disappoints the players, couches and parents, but also the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Executive Director Mark Pilon told the Times, "It's very unfortunate this happened to young girls in sports."

Standing by the rules is, of course, Palisades coach Torino Johnson. Though he told the Breeze he was in disbelief when he heard that Narbonne's win over his team had been declared a forfeiture, he did say, "But as a coach and leader we have rules and have to be held accountable to those rules."

Update, 1:15 p.m.: Narbonne is back in the playoffs. Coach Sanders is out for the rest of the season, and Narbonne will not be permitted to host any playoffs games next season.