2 Indianapolis High School Girls Basketball Teams’ Seasons Suspended After Huge Fight

January 19, 2016 Updated: January 19, 2016
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INDIANAPOLIS—The girls’ basketball teams at Ben Davis and Pike High Schools will not play again this season after the state governing body announced penalties Monday stemming from a bench-clearing brawl late in Saturday’s game.

Commissioner Bobby Cox made the announcement after meeting with the principals,athletic directors and coaches at both schools.

The bigger question is this: Will the penalties stick?

Last winter, Cox imposed the same penalty, cancelling the rest of the season and a ban from the state tournament, when the boys’ teams at Griffith and Hammond High Schools in northwestern Indiana also had an in-game fight.

But before the postseason tournament began, a court injunction was imposed that allowed both teams to compete and Griffith went on to win the Class 3A state title.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether school officials at Ben Davis or Pike might take a similar tack.

In announcing the decision, the IHSAA cited “incidents” that occurred during the game and that fans also rushed onto the court.

“This unfortunate episode between these two schools in no manner reflects the pride and tradition of their respective girls basketball programs, yet an egregious and dangerous event has transpired which calls for swift, stern and consistent correction,” Cox said in a statement. “The IHSAA takes no pleasure in the issuance of these sanctions, nevertheless remains staunchly committed to proper sportsmanship and decorum in the interscholastic athletic setting.”

The postseason ban will require the Class 4A sectional pairings to be redesigned as a four-team tourney. Decatur Central is scheduled to host Sectional 11.

Ben Davis and Pike, which are located in suburban Indianapolis, also will not be allowed to collect any money from the sectional tournament.

In addition, varsity and junior varsity players from both teams who were at the game must complete an online sportsmanship course before they can compete again, coaches from each team must complete an online course about teaching and modeling behavior before they can coach again, and both teams will be on probation next season.

Saturday’s game also will be recorded as a double forfeit.

Both schools will be allowed to play their remaining junior varsity and freshmen games and any players not present Saturday or who can clearly be identified as not leaving the bench area by school administrators will be eligible to play in those games.