Dora High School receives national attention for swapping free throw shooters


By Shari Harris,
Co-Publisher
  Missouri high school basketball has been rocked by the news of Dora High School cheating in the championship game of the Cabool Holiday Tournament, where they defeated Licking High School in a very close 63-61 win. National news sites from Good Morning America to National Public Radio have commented on the incident. The Missouri State High School Activities Association is looking into the matter, but report they are unable to overturn the results of the Dora-Licking game under these circumstances.
  Auston, Bryson and Mason Luna are sophomores on the Dora Falcons varsity basketball team. The triplet brothers are easy to confuse during a game. Video of the championship game vs. Licking shows Auston Luna, on at least two occasions, walk to the sideline to talk to his coach after being fouled, while one of his brothers shot his foul shots.
  Players who closely resemble each other increase the difficulty for other teams defensively and for referees. Triplets are a definite challenge, and the number on the jersey is imperative in the identification of who’s who on the floor. But in the excitement of a close matched game that Saturday evening, the referees, the opposing team and the crowd did not notice the swap.
  The Dora High School coach denied knowledge of the swap to Ozark Sports Zone. With triplet players, a coach may even be excused for not noticing such a swap. But Dora coach Rick Luna is not just their coach. As a father and a coach, he watched his son/player get fouled, then come to the sideline for a conversation with him while the other players lined up for the free throw.
  Whether the deception was a plan to give Dora an edge competitively or not, it leaves questions about the integrity of the Dora program. Referees and other coaches will be watching jersey numbers closely for the rest of the season (and possibly throughout the triplets’ playing careers).
  Dora High School is a Class 1 school in District 3, along with Bakersfield, Bunker, Couch, Eminence, Koshkonong, Newburg and Winona. The 2018-2019 MBCA Boys’ Basketball Poll #2 on December 17 had Dora listed in second place in Missouri class 1 schools. The win over a larger class 3 school, Licking, who was ranked 6th in the state and was undefeated prior to the December 29 game, stood to elevate Dora’s status in the state. A win with this controversy swirling around it may prove to do more damage than good for the Falcons.

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