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Appleton North player unable to celebrate with 3-year-old brother: Hug blocked by WIAA has many crying foul

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GREEN BAY — When it comes to the game of basketball, it’s one thing to have a blocked shot, but a blocked hug has many crying foul — especially since it involved a three-year-old and his older sister, after her team just won the state championship.

Appleton North High School senior Sydney Levy’s three-year-old brother greeted her with open arms courtside after she was awarded a medal following the state championship game. Their dad was recording video of the moment, which ended abruptly when the WIAA associate director stepped between the siblings — blocking the hug, and sending them in separate directions.

The video, tweeted out by Nic Levy and shared on Facebook, got thousands of re-tweets and shares — and broke hearts across social media.

Sydney Levy later said in a statement to WBAY:

“Obviously it was disappointing that I didn’t get to hug my brother, but just because the video was of us and the fact that he was a three-year-old little boy, doesn’t mean we are the only ones affected. I had teammates who had family travel from all over who didn’t get to celebrate with them, so that was disappointing.”

WIAA officials said they reached out to the family to express their regret, but they said they were simply following the rules.

“We have always taken the approach that the floor, the court or the field — that’s where the players and coaches belong,” Dave Anderson, WIAA said.

In an email to WLUK, Deb Hauser — who is seen in the video — says it is policy no one is allowed on the court:

“It is not possible for us to know the individual traditions and rituals of all the schools, teams, family’s and players involved in the state championships we sponsor and for the safety of all involved, spectators are kept off the playing surface at all of our state championships. We hope that all the teams and players have ample opportunity for hugs and celebrations over a great season following their on-court ceremony.”

Nic Levy has posted the following response on Twitter:

In a tweet, Resch Center officials said the WIAA’s policy of not allowing the public onto the court after games is consistent with its own policies.

WBAY spoke with Appleton North High School’s athletic director on the phone, and he declined a request for an interview, citing the positive story of his team’s win. He said the attention should be on the girls, and not a blocked hug.