While most high school teams are playing in regional playoffs, two Indiana high school basketball teams had their season cut short after a massive on-court brawl due to a flagrant foul. The brawl started when Griffith High School was leading Hammond High School with a score of 4-0. With an opportunity to dunk, Griffith player Anthony Murphy went up for a dunk when a Hammond player fouled him pushing him to the wall perpendicular to the baseline floor. Milliseconds after, players and audience members rushed to the floor, starting a melee.
“It’s the worst flagrant foul I’ve ever seen since I’ve been coaching,” Gary Hayes, Griffith’s 68-year-old coach said according to The New York Daily News. “It was like a tackle in football. [Murphy] went into the wall like a rag doll.” With the help of the local police department, the brawl was ceased and the game was called off due to the violence. According to Sports Illustrated, both teams’ seasons were cut with penalties that had to be paid by athletes, along with paying $500 for every forfeiting away game in their season. The Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) also put both teams on probation for the 2015-2016 school year along with coaches being put in education programs.
“I think it was appropriate to cancel both teams’ seasons. The athletes should know that they have to keep their cool during a game. Breaking the rule of ‘no fighting’ should result in a severe punishment to prevent students
and athletes from being too violent for future references,” senior Travis Nguyen said.
As for providing safety for both the players and the audiences, it was fortunate that the police department was watching the local basketball game, providing as much safety as possible during
the brawl. To provide future safety for instances like this, the IHSAA plans to put emphasis on maximum security for players and people who are involved with the game because they realize that the health of the athletes and the crowd is more important than winning the game itself.