Girl in New Jersey plays first game on boys basketball team after judge's ruling

ByCandace McCowan WABC logo
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Girl in New Jersey plays first game on boys basketball team
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Candace McCowan has the story from Kenilworth.

KENILWORTH, New Jersey (WABC) -- It's the moment Sydney Phillips had been waiting for - her appearance on the St. Theresa's boys' team. On Sunday, her battle was on the court - a court she is adjusting to.

Phillips had to fight to even play - she originally played for the girls' team last year, but the team stopped playing, because not enough girls were interested. When Phillips wanted to play for the boys' team, she was denied. The school said in legal documents that she was barred because she filed her application late.

However, after suing, a judge ruled in Phillips' favor - bringing her to Sunday, her first game with the St. Theresa's boys' team - and she blew away some of her opponents.

"I'm really impressed for a girl being that aggressive on a basketball game, I was really impressed," said Javier Geronimo.

"Man, I was like, 'what - she's going to be better than me!?'" added Ryciere Scott.

For Phillips' dad, the game was just as mental as it was physical.

"I was very proud of her, very proud of her. It was a lot of pressure on a 13-year-old girl, and she handled it like a professional," he said.

"I wish I could've played earlier during the season, but I still get two games," Phillips adds.

She is just one of the players who came with her own cheering section - and while her team lost on Sunday, she still won.

"I think I did fine - I had 22 percent of the points, so that's good," she says.

Phillips hadn't even practiced with the team before the game. They will have at least one more game in the playoffs.