Bench-clearing brawls normally result in the cancellation of the game, but for two California basketball teams, their on-court fracas also resulted in two forfeit losses apiece for the school rivals.
The harsh punishment could come back to hurt both teams later in the year, but the players from Vallejo (California) High and Jesse Bethel (California) High have only themselves to blame for a game that got out of hand early in the second quarter.
As the Vallejo Times-Herald reported, the game was moving at a frenetic pace until Vallejo's Tajai Johnson was fouled underneath the basket, leading to a heated confrontation between a couple Vallejo and Bethel players. It didn't take long before both benches cleared, as players, coaches and fans tried to smooth the situation over.
Cooler heads prevailed in the game, but as the refs noted, the damage had already been done. According to California Interscholastic Federation rules, a player or coach is supposed to be removed from the game if they leave the bench during an on-court fight.
Due to the fact that all players and coaches left the bench, the referees at the game said they had no choice but to cancel the game.
"Both players had a foul and both teams started having words," Clarence Isadore told the Vallejo Times-Herald. "Once we got things under control the refs said that anytime a player or coach leaves the bench during a fight it's an automatic ejection."
To make matters worse, both teams given two forfeit losses apiece by the Solano County Athletic Conference. All players and coaches were suspended for at least one game, meaning both schools had to forfeit their upcoming game. But the athletic association also decided to give Vallejo and Bethel another loss for the canceled game.
I can understand the decision to issue a loss for the upcoming game, but based on the reports, it sounds like the coaches and players rushing the court were trying to break up the fight.
However, based on the history between these two two -- they've apparently had some heated exchanges in the past -- it was probably smart that the athletic association decided to cancel the game instead of finishing it at a later date.
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