Controversy in Pike County after Maori Davenport ruled ineligible for high school season

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TROY, Ala. (WTVY) - The basketball court holds a special place in 18 yar old Maori Davenport's heart.

The 6 foot 4 Charles Henderson High School Senior is a Rutgers commit, and a top 20 player in the Class of 2019, breaking state and 5A High School records year after year.

But she doesn't just play, Maori has started every game on the high school women's varsity team since middle school.

Post coach, mentor and Assistant Head Coach Rachael Taylor says, "When I see her playing defense, that's when she shines.. because it is like the beast comes out.. you know she is blocking shots, and she is happy when she is doing that."

But her chance to be a beast for her final high school season has been cut short.

After playing for the USA Women's Team last August, Maori was ruled ineligible for her senior season by the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

The ruling comes after a mix-up when Maori received and deposited a check for about $850 as compensation for her time on the team, not knowing it was against the Amateurism Rule.

Head Coach Dyneshia Jones says, "The Head Coach of the USA Basketball team even called her parents and told her she would be receiving a check and it was okay.. So from that standpoint they thought it was fine."

But in fact, it was not.

Maori deposited the check in AUgust when she received it, and by November, an audit began.

So Maori returned the money in full, hoping the AHSAA would reverse the ruling and allow her to finish her season.

They refused, and because she played in the first 4 games of the season, those games were marked a forfeit.

Charles Henderson High School kept fighting for Maori, appealing the controversial decision twice, but both times it was not enough.

This decision caused controversy in the sports world, catching attention from National Networks like ESPN, CBS Sports, and the WNBA to name a few -- all in support of the teen and getting her back on the high school courts.

Maori has missed more than 15 games since the season has started.

This decision has not effected her commitment to Rutgers University, but she is no longer ranked both nationally and statewide.