Both sides agreed that there were no punches thrown during an incident that took place at the Albany-Evangel Christian Class 3A regional-round boys basketball playoff game.
That factored into an LHSAA sportsmanship committee’s decision not to level either school with hefty penalties.
After a hearing that lasted more than four hours, the committee placed both teams on administrative probation for one year in boys basketball and ordered them to split the cost of Wednesday’s hearing at the LHSAA office.
“It was pretty much what I expected,” Albany Principal Jill Prokop said. “I think both schools had issues that needed to be addressed. We’ve learned from this. We’ll take care of our sanctions and move forward.”
The game held March 3 at Evangel was stopped with 3:24 remaining when an altercation took place involving two Albany players who moved toward the Evangel student section.
Some fans from both teams spilled onto the court, but video evidence showed no punches were thrown.
Albany had five players ejected, the two involved in the incident and three who left the bench. Evangel was leading at the time the incident took place and the game was eventually ruled a forfeit, allowing ECA to advance to the quarterfinals.
Under LHSAA rules, players who leave the bench are automatically ejected. The committee was pleased with the actions Prokop took by suspending the players involved in the incident from school for two days and then from spring sports.
AHS coach Chris Carter was not sanctioned because Prokop had him take two LHSAA online coaching courses.
The committee revoked the coaching card of an Albany fan for one year. The fan, Mark Thompson, was ejected just before the incident involving the players took place.
Evangel coach Reni Mason was commended for his actions. Mason had all ECA players leave the court as the incident took place. However, the school was cited because its students were standing on the court during the game and for coaching boxes that were not the regulation size.
The LHSAA will inspect Evangel’s facilities before next basketball season to confirm that the changes to the court are made.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I think it’s a very fair ruling,” Evangel Principal Bud Dean said. “We had done some internal review, and it fit what we thought would happen on our side. There’s stuff we’ve got to improve and take care of.”