With 2:21 left in the third quarter of Gainesville’s basketball game against Celina, a fight broke out that sent players, coaches and fans spilling out onto the floor to break up the chaos.
Punches were thrown, but there were no major injuries and no arrests were made at the game.
As a result, the game was cancelled and Celina was awarded a 43-22 victory.
Gainesville head coach Jeffery Wolf said he only saw the end of the fight and it was hard to figure out exactly what happened.
“I really didn’t see what happened and I saw the end of it after players were going to the ground,” Wolf said. “Deep in my heart, our players weren’t trying to be dirty at all. They were just playing aggressive and playing hard.”
Wolf said he was disappointed the game had to be concluded, but understood why the decision was made.
“Of course, I never want a game to get called,” Wolf said. “Since I’ve been here, our goal is to instill in our kids to be professional and do the right thing. Every day, that’s our number one goal. Both teams had parties responsible. We want to represent Gainesville well, but in no way am I condoning what happened in any manner. I’m at a loss for words, really.”
Wolf said he had never seen a fight during a game before or had a game cancelled due to a fight.
Due to the double-digit lead by Celina along with several other factors, it was recommended by the referees to cancel the game.
Assistant coach Joshua Murray said it was hard to tell who was involved because fans were coming down from the stands and getting involved.
Murray also said he didn’t think the proper steps were taken by the referees to keep the game from getting out of control.
“We were trying to break up fans from students and students from students,” Murray said. “Personally, in my opinion, I don’t think the refs managed the game very well, especially in the second half. Whenever you allow extreme foul calls not to be called, you’re not controlling the game. At that point, you’re letting the kids dictate the attitude and energy of the game. Then basically, you’re leaving the game in 16 and 17-year-old kids’ hands.”
The Gainesville players that were involved will be suspended at least a game. Gainesville travels to Sanger on Friday, Jan. 24, when the Leopards continue district play.
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip