The Missouri State High School Activities Association is looking into complaints of the Dora Falcons switching players to shoot free throws after a pair of videos from Saturday’s Cabool Tournament Championship began making their rounds on social media.
“We are gathering as much information as we can right now,” MSHSAA Communications Director Jason West said about the calls his office has received about Saturday’s game.
The plays in question come at the free throw line and centers around Dora’s talented triplets in a tightly contested, 63-61 Falcons win over Licking.
The first one shows Dora’s #34 Auston Luna get fouled in the far corner of the court. As he walks to the make-shift team huddle at the top of the key, his brother #20 Bryson Luna goes to the line to take his shots. Auston, who was fouled, runs over to the bench.
The second video shows #34 Auston Luna is fouled again, this time at the elbow. He then hands the ball to #23 Mason Luna who throws it to the ref and takes the free throw line. Again, Auston heads to the bench.
Rick Luna, the Dora head coach and athletic director, has been hunting since the Cabool Tournament and hasn’t seen the videos from Saturday night when we reached out to him.
“Was this planned,” Chad Plein asked Luna on the phone.
“No, no,” Luna insisted.
The coach’s only knowledge of the incidents is what a friend told him over the phone. The coach even joked about if it was a plan, it was poorly constructed.
“The two free throws they’re talking about,” Luna says referring to the information his friend gave him, “(Dora) went one-for-four shooting those free throws and we won by two.”
“Winning isn’t everything,” Josh Murray a parent from Licking who helped spread the videos on social media said about the events. “You shouldn’t compromise the integrity of the sport for just another win.”
Over the years, West admits, he’s heard of schools changing free throw shooters before. By Wednesday afternoon, MSHSAA has spoken with one of the referees at the game as well as others involved.
The governing agency is also studying the rules and what education it gives referees. MSHSAA’s goal, to make sure something like this, no matter who is playing, doesn’t happen.
“Is it a technical foul to the player?” West says if a team is caught during the game switching out shooters, “A technical foul to the coach? A technical foul on both?”
And when it comes to education for the referees, when one ref reports the foul to the desk what’s the responsibility of the others on the floor?
As far as the possibility of changing Saturday’s outcome in Cabool once all the information comes in, MSHSAA says it cannot do that. Only when players are ruled ineligible for a game they played in can the state take wins away.