Organisers refuse to move game for Jewish basketball team

A Texas school's basketball team have been denied its chance to compete in a state championship because the game has been scheduled for Shabbat.

Pupils at the Orthodox Jewish Robert M Beren Academy in Houston were left celebrating after they reached the semifinals of the state contest.

But their victory was short-lived after organisers refused to change the time of the match from 9pm on Friday – after sunset – despite an appeal lodged by the school to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

Edd Burleson, the association's director, said that when the school first joined the league they were advised that this problem could arise.

"If schedules are changed for these schools, it's hard for other schools," he told the New York Times.

The school's basketball coach, Chris Cole said. "One reason this is a big deal to many, is that no Orthodox Jewish team, from what we've heard, has ever won a state basketball championship."

Last updated: 5:38pm, February 28 2012