By all accounts, it has been a fantastic week for the Lincoln High School boys basketball program.
Two days after upending top-ranked Class 4A program Jackson at the King Holiday Hoopfest in Bellevue, and moving up to No. 4 in the Class 3A rankings, the Abes got even better news Wednesday.
Guard Ahmaad Rorie is back.
The California signee was ruled eligible to play right away. He scored eight points Wednesday as the Abes won, 68-42, at North Thurston to improve to 14-1.
Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton said the two-time News Tribune All-Area guard will play in a reserve role for the time being.
“We’ve got a great thing going right now,” Shelton said. “We told him his role will be different than it was last year. Last season, we mainly had a two-headed monster. This year, we are a super-balanced team with a bunch of guys who have gained confidence.”
Rorie spent two seasons (2010-12) at Clover Park High School, leading the Warriors to the Class 2A title as a ninth grader in 2011. Last season, he transferred to Lincoln. Paired with Colorado-bound Tre’Shaun Fletcher, the Abes finished third at the 3A tournament.
In late May, he told the Abes he was leaving to attend Montverde Academy in Florida, which has been one of the top programs nationally.
Rorie played for half the season, but left the private school and enrolled at Lincoln after the winter holiday break.
On Tuesday, an emergency West Central District eligibility committee was formed to listen to Rorie’s case. The ruling came down at 3 p.m. Wednesday that he would be eligible for the rest of the season, as well as any postseason.
“There was a hardship case on the (course) credits that were needed to graduate down there,” Lincoln athletic director Michael Merrill said. “He found out about it after the school year started … that he wouldn’t be able to complete them in time for graduation in a full year. Because he is going to Cal, he had to come back here to graduate.”
When asked about the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s “50 percent rule” – a player’s requirement to be on the team for at least half the regular-season games to be eligible for the postseason – Merrill said it had been waived in Rorie’s case.
“It’s because he was part of the association (Florida High School Athletic Association), and that school is registered with them,” Merrill said. “So because he had playing time there, it transfers here as part of a reciprocating agreement.”
Shelton will now have to readjust his lineup to accommodate Rorie.
Shelton said he was surprised Rorie came back to Lincoln.
“Once he was gone, I thought he was gone for good,” Shelton said. “For him, I wished it would have worked out down there.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442