High School Basketball Brawl
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
The sign above the door says no food or drinks in the gym. But no fans should also be added. After Friday's fight, although the sign on the door says "no passes out," it should read, 'no fans in.'
The video on a security camera is silent... about the same amount of noise that will be present for the rest of Palatka High's School's home basketball games. A flagrant foul with 24 seconds left and Palatka down by 18 points against Atlantic High School sparked the brawl.
"It was kind of calm," says Palatka High School mother Tangela Gordon. "But as soon as I got out into the parking lot, I just saw police officers coming from everywhere."
"It's been a nightmare," says Palatka High School Athletics Director Wilson Edwards.
He has held his post ten years and never seen anything like it. He says with all the emphasis on sportsmanship, this is a big step backwards.
There were two fights between opposing players and one involving fans. So Edwards banned all fans from the last home boy's game. Principal Karen Hughes extended that to the last three home girl's games to send a message.
"You are not going to come to one of our basketball games and rush the court in a situation like this," says Edwards. "Because all it does is escalate the situation and makes it a very dangerous situation."
So the only basketball a fan will see the rest of the regular season is from gym class. And parents have a mixed response.
"If that's what she thinks, that's probably the best way," says Palatka High School mother Jill Metheny.
"This is way too extreme," says Gordon. "We as parents and people in the community that like to see the boys play. We like to come out and watch them."
The bleachers are closed for now, but except for a girls tournament next week, they hope to open at least one more time if either team makes it into the playoffs and has a home game.
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