A Texas high school girls basketball team has apologized for winning big. The Covenant School, a private Christian high school in Dallas, defeated Dallas Academy last week in a blowout: 100-0.
"I was really frustrated, especially at halftime," Dallas Academy junior Lauren Click said. "I actually did ask my coach, 'Do we have to go back out there?'"
During the lopsided Jan. 13 game, spectators said the Covenant School ran up the score, playing aggressive offense, even with their 59-0 lead at halftime. The girls kept on the pressure until they scored the 100th point.
The Dallas Academy, a small private school with 20 girls, is for students with learning disabilities. With eight girls on the varsity team, these young women are used to challenges on and off the court. Despite hours in the gym practicing each week, the Bulldogs haven't won a girls basketball game in five years.
"We are not quitters and we don't give up," Click said. "And we try hard at whatever we do, even if we are losing 100 to 0.
The girls hold no illusion that they would be able to play varsity basketball at a more competitive school like Covenant, whose star player is featured on YouTube videos. But the girls still enjoy the chance to get out on the court and compete.
"I was frustrated, but we got through and we did it," said Eleanor Callan, a Dallas Academy player. "I think we did a really good job, and I'm proud that we did what we did. We played really hard, no matter what the score was."
The team decided to turn a losing situation into a learning one, starting with a lesson in defense.
"We figured it can't get worse so we might as well start learning from them," said Shelby Hyatt, a Dallas Academy player.
Above all, coach Jeremy Civello said he is proud that the Dallas Academy Bulldogs persevered.
"I told them at the game ... that I probably would have quit at their age," said Dallas Academy's athletic director Jeremy Civello. "The fact that they didn't, I don't think there's anything these girls will face in their lives that they are going to back down from."
Once the lopsided victory became public, the Covenant School issued an apology and asked the league to allow it to forfeit the game because "victory without honor is a great loss."
"It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened," the school said in a statement posted on its Web site. "We humbly apologize for our actions and seek the forgiveness of Dallas Academy, TAPPS [Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools] and our community. The school and its representatives in no way support or condone the running up of a score against any team in any sport for any reason."
But the Dallas Academy Bulldogs might already be the big winners. They've taken away valuable lessons about sportsmanship, teamwork and perseverance.
"These girls play from the bottom of their hearts," said Renee Peloza, a Dallas Academy mother. "They play because they want to play. They play because they enjoy being together."
Click said she plays for more than a winning score.
"Sports are basically about learning leadership, learning how to deal with other people," she said. "It's definitely just not about winning. But we get closer every year."