The North Beach Hyaks boys’ basketball season ended Friday when the team was disqualified from post-season play following a bench-clearing brawl during their game at North Beach Thursday night against the Chief Leschi Warriors, who were also disqualified from further play in a ruling by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA).
The last regular season game for both teams had high stakes – the winner would host a first round play-in game next Tuesday, while the loser would end up in a tie with Raymond for the final play-in slot. The Warriors led 23-12 after the first quarter, but the Hyaks began whittling away at the lead and were trailing 28-21 with just over five minutes left in the first half.
In an official statement released Friday, North Beach School Superintendent Andrew Kelly, who was at the game, described what happened next:
“…one of the Chief Leschi students, in an open court drive, went for a layup. The officials called a foul on the North Beach player. It was a “standard” foul, not an intentional/flagrant foul. Both players fell to the ground. When the official turned to the scorer’s table, both players, one from NB and one from CL engaged in a physical confrontation. Immediately following this confrontation both benches cleared and several adults came onto the floor.
“The officials determined that all of the participants who entered the floor were negatively engaging in the conflict. While this was certainly the case for some of the players, the vast majority of people were trying to break up the altercation between both teams. Numerous North Beach staff members, including myself as the superintendent, stepped in to regain control. Similarly, the coaches from both teams also stepped into help.”
Video of the incident was sent to the WIAA, which issued a ruling Friday that declared the game was a double forfeit, that several players from both teams were disqualified for the next four games and that both teams in their entirety were disqualified from their next game.
That meant that neither school could field a team in next Tuesday’s district tournament play-in games, so both teams’ seasons were ended. Eighth place Raymond and ninth place South Bend were moved into the sixth and seventh place positions, the last two playoff slots for the Pacific 2B league.
Kelly’s written statement gave additional details: “Following the altercation, I identified myself to the officials as the North Beach Superintendent. The NB Athletic Director, HS principal, and Chief Leschi Athletic Director were all present. The officials directed me to “clear the gym.” (Remove all the fans from the gym.) Prior to doing that we worked to ascertain exactly what the rules are in a situation like this so I could accurately communicate with all fans from both schools.
“I announced to the fans that:
1) I had been informed by the officials that the two boys in the original altercation had been ejected from the game.
2) The WIAA rules state that if “bench” players who haven’t checked into the game, come onto the floor, they too are ejected.
3) The two previous applied rules meant that at most only four remaining players were eligible to compete.
4) I shared that the video that we had of the game would be turned over to the WIAA and league officials would resolve in terms of outcome for the game.
5) After the above explanation, we informed everyone that the game would not continue and asked fans and families to head home.
6) Law enforcement was notified in hopes of their assistance in ensuring that everyone exited and made it home without incident.
“The North Beach leadership worked with Chief Leschi AD/Coach to ensure that everyone exited the school and was headed home.”
KOSW radio was broadcasting the game and commentators Darrell Prowse and Bill Green both noted on the air and in interviews the next day that it appeared several North Beach students left the stands and entered the fracas.
Kelly’s statement did not address that directly but he did write, “The North Beach School District stands behind the WIAA Sportsmanship expectations 100% and expects all of our student-athletes and fans to create a positive environment at each of our contests…. We’re also reviewing video to ascertain who/if any adults from the North Beach community negatively contributed to the events. Anyone, student, fan, parent, etc. who can’t embrace our expectations for sportsmanship will not be allowed to attend subsequent events.
“The district is thankful to the staff and community who interceded in a positive way to support the safety of our kids.”