High School Sports

After bench-clearing brawl, two HS girls basketball teams disqualified from playoffs

J.F. Webb and Granville Central are out of playoffs after a bench-clearing fight at Granville Central on Jan. 26, 2018.
J.F. Webb and Granville Central are out of playoffs after a bench-clearing fight at Granville Central on Jan. 26, 2018.

Two area girls basketball teams – J.F. Webb and Granville Central – are no longer eligible for the N.C. High School Athletic Association girls basketball playoffs after their bench-clearing brawl that included some spectators on Jan. 26.

Granville County Schools public information officer Stan Winborne confirmed that both teams will forfeit the game, which was not completed. The boys game that was set to follow immediately afterward was not played.

By NCHSAA rule, a team is eliminated when three players are ejected for fighting, and that includes players who leave the bench during an altercation even if those players throw no punches.

Winborne said there were “several” ejections on both sides and confirmed that both are banned from the NCHSAA postseason.

Winborne said in a statement that “the behavior of the students and spectators who participated in these acts of disruption and violence is absolutely unacceptable, and will not be tolerated” and that all players who left the bench will be suspended for “at least the next four games and will receive additional in-school disciplinary consequences.”

Another brawl broke out Wednesday, when Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy visited Carver High School, according to local reports. Police used pepper spray to subdue the incident, the reports said.

Granville school administrators and law enforcement are still reviewing the videos with more punishment possible, Winborne said, and there more security and law enforcement will be considered for future events.

The NCHSAA said it does not comment on ejections or teams that have been ruled ineligible for fighting.

Entering the week, both Granville Central and J.F. Webb were projected by The News & Observer to make this year’s playoffs.

Granville Central’s girls were a win away from clinching the Northern Carolina 1A/2A Conference’s 1-seed in the 1A playoffs while J.F. Webb was in line for a 2A wild-card spot by virtue of its fourth-place standing in the overall league.

By NCHSAA rule, ineligible teams vacate their automatic bids, meaning that teams that finish below are not bumped up. So Louisburg, which trails Granville Central in the 1A half of the split conference, and Southern Vance, which trails J.F. Webb in the 2A race, must finish higher than the ineligible teams to get into the playoffs.

J. Mike Blake: @JMBpreps