By the roar of the crowd, you could tell last night's district playoff between Michael Krop Senior High and Carol City High was fueled with a lot of emotion.
Just a day after a dramatic courtroom victory for the kids from Krop, they escaped with a close 56-53 win over Carol City on the basketball court in enemy territory.
A technical setback had initially disqualified Krop -- the number one team in the state -- from heading to the playoffs, after the Florida High School Athletic Association learned that school officials failed to file necessary paperwork for star player Bryan Delancy.
Delancy, a 19-year-old Bahamian national, is in South Florida on a student visa, and due to a complaint made to the FHSAA questioning his eligibility to play, the association said Krop would have to forfeit the 19 games Delancy played.
But the team's attorney disputed that decision, battling it out in a Miami-Dade courtroom Wednesday, wher Krop came out victorious after a circuit court judge granted the team a temporary injunction to compete.
With the legal battle over, Krop took to the hardcourt Thursday night in Miami Gardens against its rival. In the end, Delancy and his teammates, who obviously had a lot on their minds after a long week, toughed out a win in the tight game.
"We're happy to win the game," said Krop coach Shakey Rodriguez. "I thought that we...were very sloppy, we missed a lot, it wasn't a typical performance by us."
While some fans praised the students' performance, others were still crying foul.
"It's unfair to the other kids who were supposed to take their place," said parent Betty Jones.
"The kid's the right age, in the right grade, he's been here for three years, I think it's correct that they're able to play," said fan John Kirkpatrick.