The Hiawatha High School boys basketball season came to an abrupt end after Friday night’s loss to Hinckley-Big Rock.
School officials decided this past Thursday to cancel the remainder of the season – before playing last Friday’s game – because of an incident in the visitor’s locker room at Indian Creek High School on Jan. 30, according to Hiawatha basketball team parent Janet Webster.
Webster said that team members were told that, after Hiawatha left Indian Creek following varsity and freshman/sophomore games that night, urine was found on the floors and toilet seats in the locker room along with two bags of popcorn spilled on the ground.
Webster said varsity team members were told by school officials that there were photographs of the locker room, taken the morning of Jan. 31, showing the damage.
Hiawatha officials then asked the students to admit who was involved in the incident before a deadline, Webster said. When only one student – from the freshman/sophomore team – came forward, school officials decided to cancel the remainder of the season, according to Webster.
“They said there was too much urine to be one person,” said Webster, whose son is a senior on the varsity team. “They apparently, in the investigation, decided there was more than one person. I don’t know how you can determine what it was after it had dried.”
Webster said that the administration demanded that all of the members of both the varsity and freshman/sophomore teams write letters of apology to Indian Creek.
School officials notified LaMoille athletic director Brent Ziegler by e-mail last Thursday that they would not play this Friday’s season finale at LaMoille. They then told Ziegler that Hiawatha also will not be playing in next week’s Class 1A Polo Regional.
“I’ve got an open date now and it screwed up my senior night,” Ziegler said.
Ziegler has been calling area schools trying to find a replacement for his senior night but has not found an opponent.
Polo athletic director Terry Jenkins, a former Hiawatha coach himself, said on Tuesday that he had not heard anything from Hiawatha. The IHSA also said they have not been notified about Hiawatha pulling out of the regional.
Hiawatha is scheduled to face Paw Paw in the regional play-in game at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Polo.
“[The players] are begging for the parents to do whatever they can do to get the season back,” Webster said. “They want to play in the postseason. They won only like two games, and you have got to give the kids credit because they aren’t quitting. And to have this ripped out from under them is very disappointing.”
The Little Ten Conference is also concerned about the matter and the reasoning for the LaMoille senior night cancellation after last Friday night’s Hiawatha home game against H-BR – which was played a day after the punishment was decided – was still played.
“I haven’t heard anything except rumors at this point,” said Little Ten Conference secretary Greg Burks. “But I guess it’s a done deal. LaMoille is upset with that decision as they are now scrambling for an opponent for senior night.”
Hiawatha superintendent Christine Demory declined to comment about the incident or the team’s future, saying only “Hiawatha’s focus has always been and will always be what is in the best interest of its students.”
Hiawatha varsity boys basketball coach Tyler Whitebread and Indian Creek athletic director Ehren Mertz declined to comment on the matter. Calls and e-mails from the Daily Chronicle to Hiawatha High School principal Chris Lewis and athletic director Jeremy Schaaf were not returned.
Daily Chronicle reporter Nick Gerts contributed to this report.