We’ve already heard that the city of Chicago has taken drastic measures to cut down on violence at high school basketball games by banning opposing fans from attending or having teams play to completely empty gyms. West Virginia might want to take a cue from that concept after a girls game got out of hand on Friday night.
When the dust settled in a bench-clearing brawl involving the players and fans of Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson High Schools, two fans were kicked out of the gym, another was arrested, and all but four players on each team were ejected. The fracas happened with East holding a 57-56 lead with two minutes left in the game. And that’s not all.
The game resumed at 57-56, but one East player and two Wilson players fouled out in the final minutes, leaving the teams to play 3-on-2. I guess the Wilson girls had to just go exclusively to the pick-and-roll there at the end. Also, tough luck there for both teams that the only players who didn’t get tossed were the ones in foul trouble. East ended up winning the game 67-62 (and it would’ve been pretty sad if they lost it, with the power play and all).
Yeah, this was basketball as it was meant to be played.
So how did the melee start? Predictably, each coach claims that the other team started it. The REGISTER-HERALD of Beckley, W.Va., talked to both men.
Let’s start with East’s Jim Justice:
“One of our girls and one of their girls went after a ball, and from my vantage point, their player threw her arm back and swung at our girl. Then our girl swung at her. The referee at that point dives between the two girls. Well, I’m going out on the court, and all of a sudden here comes the whole Woodrow bench. I mean, this was on my side of the court. They ran the length of the court.”
Your rebuttal, Wilson coach Bernie Bostick?
“Well, basically, from my vantage point — and we’ll have to watch the tape — one of their girls punched one of our girls and our girl retaliated,” Bostick said from the team bus. “Then their bench emptied, then our bench emptied. When they finally got order restored, our fans and their fans got into it. One of our fans was taken out in handcuffs.”
That fan reportedly got into some sort of altercation with a sheriff’s deputy. That guy (or gal) deserves some special recognition. It takes real creativity to stand out from the crowd so much that you’re the only one arrested in a chaotic free-for-all.
I don’t know what’s more surprising — these girls deciding that it would be a good idea to start a brawl and ruin a one-point game, or the girls of Dallas Academy somehow refraining from cracking skulls once they got down 98-0.