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2 prep coaches suspended for encouraging teams to lose game

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) Two Tennessee girls basketball high school coaches have been suspended for trying to get their teams to lose a game in an attempt to avoid the top-ranked squad and improve their chances of advancing in the state tournament.

Rutherford County Director of Schools Don Odom announced Wednesday that Smyrna's Shawn Middleton and Riverdale's Cory Barnett wouldn't be permitted to coach at their schools or at any other Rutherford County Schools athletic program during the 2015-16 school year.

Odom said Smyrna principal Rick Powell already had decided to remove Middleton as coach.

Smyrna and Riverdale were banned from the playoffs Monday. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association executive director Bernard Childress wrote that the teams ''made a mockery'' of Saturday's game with intentional turnovers off various violations and missed free throws.