It’s been a difficult year for seventh grade basketball player, Sydney Phillips, to say the least.
The 12-year-old who attended St. Theresa School in Kenilworth, NJ was all set to join the boys’ basketball team due to the fact that the small school didn’t have enough ladies to form a girls’ team.
“I’ve been playing since I was 2 years old. I like the rush of the game, the challenges of the game. There’s always something new,’’ she told The New York Post.
Phillips, however, was denied the opportunity to play because according to her family, other adults didn’t want a girl on the team.
Evidently, the school claimed that she didn’t fill out her paperwork on time even though there were no return dates on the forms. So, her family decided to sue the school, not for the money per se, but for the chance to play.
A judge ruled against the Phillips’ family in the case, but told them they could come back to the court with more evidence.
Things came to a head this week, and Phillips and her younger sister were actually expelled from the private school.
The New Jersey school that expelled a seventh-grade girl after she sued for a chance to play on the boys basketball team blocked her and her sister from entering the building Thursday, with police, two priests and a deacon waiting outside, the girl’s father says.
Sydney Phillips’ father, Scott Phillips, told NBC 4 New York he tried to take his daughters to St. Theresa’s School in Kenilworth, despite being informed Wednesday night the girls were no longer welcome.
“They said that the children had been expelled, and that they were now trespassers,” Scott said.
Amid all of the chaos, however, the WNBA’s New York Liberty stepped up.
They invited Phillips and some of her friends to the team’s practice facility, where they got to participate in drills and meet some of the players.
Take a look:
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) February 2, 2017
“I’m really happy to just see that our organization is one that’s committed to shining a spotlight on situations like this and making her and her family feel the love and support of the Liberty,” Director of franchise development and former Liberty guard Swin Cash told For the Win.
It’s great that the Liberty showed up for Phillips, and sent the message that a girl’s place is on the court.