The boys basketball seasons at Landry-Walker and McDonogh 35 high schools have been put on hold after a game that began as a showdown between two of the top basketball programs in Louisiana ended with a violent brawl involving both players and fans.
Cellphone footage of the fight, which broke out just after the closing buzzer, appeared online Tuesday night. People are seen fleeing the melee to loud screams as a knot of young men careens into the side of the bleachers, punches flying. It took coaches, referees and officers about 10 minutes to break it up.
Eddie Bonine, head of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, said his agency spent most of Wednesday investigating the incident but is still gathering facts. Bonine said the schools have 48 hours to submit formal reports.
“The whole thing is a big mess, and both schools are suspended until we get it sorted out,” he said.
It was only the latest burst of violence to interrupt a high school sports event in Louisiana.
The LHSAA held a hearing Wednesday morning to adjudicate a similar brawl during a football game between Bogalusa High and Amite High last month. The fight has already resulted in Amite being removed from the playoffs, but further sanctions could follow, pending recommendations from the LHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and a final decision from Bonine.
In October, sideline fisticuffs between a defensive end for Lake Area High School and Edna Karr High School’s quarterback prompted referees to end a game in the third quarter.
The basketball game Tuesday was played at Landry-Walker, and the fight broke out just as the game ended. Someone in the stands came onto the court to fight a McDonogh 35 player, and it quickly escalated as fans rushed the floor, some trying to break it up and others joining in the brawl.
Pt.1 35 vs LW pic.twitter.com/cD0ctzBWfA— $$$ (@TankkDawggg) December 16, 2015
There were no injuries and no arrests, according to the New Orleans Police Department, although one man was seen wearing handcuffs in the immediate aftermath.
Coaches from both schools declined to comment on the incident.
The Orleans Parish School Board and the Algiers Charter School Association released a joint statement on behalf of the two schools Wednesday.
“This was an unfortunate event between one player and fans that quickly erupted,” said Henderson Lewis Jr., superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools. “We commend the actions of the adults in attendance, including the NOPD, coaches, parents and community members, as they supported efforts to defuse the altercation and bring a quick resolution to the situation.”
The OPSB and the charter group’s leaders met to discuss the incident Wednesday morning and decided that they will move forward based on the recommendation of the LHSAA.
“We are disappointed in the unacceptable behavior displayed at this event,” said Adrian Morgan, CEO of the Algiers Charter School Association. “We will cooperate with the LHSAA investigation to ultimately determine the appropriate disciplinary actions.”
The LHSAA, the governing body for high school sports in the state, said it will decide on penalties as soon as it gathers all the information.
McDonogh 35 is scheduled to play in the Country Day tournament that begins Friday, but the Roneagles may miss the tournament as they await a ruling from the LHSAA.