Fight at basketball game investigated

February 02, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Officials cleared the Mount Hebron gymnasium after a brawl last Saturday afternoon during a boys basketball game between Mount Hebron and Oakland Mills.

Mount Hebron assistant coach Chris Robinson allegedly was assaulted during the melee and later sought medical treatment at a local hospital. He was released the same day.

One Oakland Mills player was ejected from the game, and two Oakland Mills players have been suspended from school.

Oakland Mills principal David Bruzga, an eyewitness, said the incident began with 3:40 left in what had been a heated game, and that it lasted approximately two minutes.

"A confrontation resulted from a blocked shot and trying to defuse that situation resulted in physical contact between coaches and players," Bruzga said. "We are still trying to determine responsibility and disciplinary action is being taken where warranted."

He said he could not give details of school disciplinary actions.

Mount Hebron principal Sylvia Pattillo said: "All I can say is that there was a fight and the school system is investigating and taking appropriate action."

School officials, including Bruzga, have viewed a private videotape of the incident.

"Certain things on the tape are conclusive, but there are different interpretations of what happened," he said. "There was punching on both sides."

Although Bruzga and two Mount Hebron school administrators were on hand, there were no security personnel as is normal at county games. The game had been rescheduled from Jan. 19 due to inclement weather.

Oakland Mills head coach Dave Appleby was in New York, where his father died Saturday. Assistant coach Joe Lewis was in charge.

None of the coaches involved would comment on what happened.

The referees decided to resume play without spectators after a 50-minute delay. Mount Hebron, leading by one point when play stopped, went to the foul line and shot four free throws

The Vikings, now tied for first place in the league with Atholton, went on to win, 69-66. Oakland Mills is 1-4 in league play.

Shortly before the fight, Oakland Mills standout Michael Hill was hit in the temple by the elbow of a Mount Hebron player and no foul was called. Hill was being treated in the locker room when the fight broke out.

Mount Hebron athletic director Mark Cates, who was there, said about 700 fans were in attendance.

"It was an intense game but nothing out of the ordinary," Cates said. "As far as I know no players went to the hospital after the fight."

Sources say the incident began when an Oakland Mills player committed a hard foul against a Mount Hebron player, knocking him to the floor and then standing over him and taunting him.

The Mount Hebron player stood up and confronted the Oakland Mills player and the two started arguing.

Mount Hebron coaches Scott and Chris Robinson were nearby and intervened. Scott stepped in front of his player and Chris stepped in front of the Oakland Mills player.

Just as Chris Robinson stepped in, however, the two players shoved one another while the Oakland Mills bench cleared from the other end of the gym.

An Oakland Mills player, running from the bench, rammed into Chris Robinson's back with his hands, pushing him into a group of Oakland Mills players that had gathered around. A melee ensued with the coach and players falling to the floor.

A Mount Hebron player hit an Oakland Mills player with a forearm to the back of the head and stood over Chris Robinson in a protective manner.

That section of the fight lasted about 15 to 18 seconds before it subsided.

Then coach Chris Robinson stood up. The Oakland Mills player who had pushed him from behind was being restrained by a teammate, but broke loose and then punched a Mount Hebron player.

Chris Robinson again tried to protect his player by standing in front of him, but the same Oakland Mills player who had shoved Robinson before, shoved him again -- this time into the bleachers where Robinson struck his head.

A new fight broke out that lasted another 15 to 18 seconds.

County Supervisor of Athletics Don Disney was summoned from his home to the gymnasium immediately after the fight.

Disney indicated that throughout the melee coaches from both sides, as well as some adult spectators, were attempting only to break up the fights and were not part of the fight.

Disney made that observation based upon his viewing of the videotape, but said he could make no further comment on the incident other than to say it was being handled by administrators at the schools.

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