"We don't play to win, we play to have fun," one player for Dallas Academy said. The team lost to The Covenant School 100-0 last week.
A Dallas school whose girls basketball team beat another team, 100-0, has apologized, calling its win "shameful" and "a victory without honor."
The Dallas Academy's athletic director, Jeremy Civello, said The Covenant team kept its first-string players in the game almost until the end and didn't let up until the 100th point in the fourth quarter.
"They were a very good team," Civello said. "Whether they were intentially running up the score, I couldn't answer that."
A parent who attended the game praised the Covenant players, but said spectators and an assistant coach were cheering wildly as their team edged closer to 100 points.
"I do think they ran up the score," said Renee Peloza, whose daughter plays for Dallas Academy. "I think the bad judgment was in the full-court press and the 3-point shots."
Dallas Academy has eight girls on its varsity team. It is winless over the last four seasons. The academy specializes in teaching students struggling with "learning differences" such as short attention spans or dyslexia.
There is no mercy rule in girls basketball that shortens the game or permits the clock to continue running when scores become lopsided.
There is, however, "a golden rule" that should have applied in this contest, said Edd Burleson, the director of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which oversees private school athletics in Texas.
In a statement on its Web site, the board chair and head of The Covenant School said it formally apologized to the other school after the story first appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Thursday morning.
"It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened," the statement said. "We humbly apologize."
In asking to forfeit the game, the elite north Dallas Christian school also said, "A victory without honor is a great loss."
Jim Richardson, headmaster at the Dallas Academy, said he accepts the apology and that the two schools remain friends.
At a shootaround Thursday, several Dallas Academy players said they were frustrated during the game but felt it was a learning opportunity.
"We don't play to win, we play to have fun," said Lauren Click, a junior on the team. "I was pretty relieved the game was over."
Team members also said they are excited about some of the attention they are receiving from the loss, including an invitation from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to see an NBA game from his suite.
"Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing," said Shelby Hyatt, a freshman on the team. "Keep trying, and it's going to be OK."