A youth basketball association in Virginia was in the spotlight after a boys team made it to the tournament and was disqualified for having a girl on their team.
For Kymora Johnson, basketball is more than a game.
"I like competing and playing against other people and challenging myself to get better,” she said.
The 10 year old said she was excited to travel to Myrtle Beach over the weekend with her team, the Charlottesville Cavaliers. The team was supposed to compete in the National Travel Basketball Association championship tournament.
Kymora said she was ready for the team to go all the way.
The Cavaliers never got the chance.
The team was disqualified heading into the semi-final round after a team they had beaten complained about Kymora being on the roster.
At that point, the team had already played five games. Kymora said she competed in four of them.
"So what we have a girl on the team?” said Jessica Thomas-Johnson, Kymora’s mother. “If she can compete with these boys, as she's done since she was 5 years old, and hold her own and drop threes and break ankles, then who are you to tell her she can't play with them?"
Kymora, her mother and her coach all said when the Cavs checked in, they were told that each team was allowed one girl on the roster.
"He said you are eligible to play, you're good, you're fine,” Kymora said. “You can sit back down."
However, the NTBA denied that was the case. It said the rules clearly state that girls and boys must play with their own gender in the championship tournament.
“Once we realized the coach chose to play her, they unfortunately had to be dismissed from the tournament since they played with an ineligible player,” the association said in a statement.
"I was like in shock and I just wished my teammates got to play, and I could have sat out," Kymora said.
Kymora said she joined the Cavs in kindergarten when there were no travel team options for girls her age.
According to her mother, Kymora played in the NTBA championship tournament without incident over the past three years.
By Sunday, word of the team’s disqualification had spread and support grew.
Kymora’s teammates said they wore pink shirts in a silent protest.
As for Kymora, she said she’s just focusing on her game because she’s won’t be done playing any time soon.
"[I want] to go all through high school and college and try to make it professionally,” she said.
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