A disturbing week in the Pittsburgh-area basketball community concluded with a particularly strange event: A heated rivalry game played in front of no spectators.
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, WPXI and other Pittsburgh media outlets, the annual rivalry basketball game between Beaver Falls (Pa.) High and New Brighton (Pa.) High was played on Friday afternoon at New Brighton High in front of exactly zero fans. It's not that there wasn't interest in the contest. Rather, fans weren't even allowed at the game, a decision that followed a violent incident between students at the two schools earlier in the week, with a teenager stabbed and multiple players from both teams implicated with taking part in the fight.
"After the incident, we felt this was in the best interest of both schools involved," Beaver Falls athletic director Jim Carbone told the Post-Gazette.
Beaver Falls player Corey Jefferson -- whom the Post-Gazette noted was a seldom-used contributor for the team -- has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the stabbing and was subsequently kicked off the school's team. Meanwhile, you can see plenty of great photos of the New Brighton basketball team in action from Sabella Sports Shotz.
Jefferson was arrested and later released after posting $10,000 bail. While Jefferson is apparently the only player who was removed from either program because of his involvement in the skirmish, a handful of other players from both teams were handed suspensions in connection with the earlier fight.
"All I can say is six players were suspended for the game and for Friday's game for conduct not in the best interest of the basketball team," Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega cryptically told the Post-Gazette.
In the end, an undermanned Beaver Falls squad pulled out a 43-31 victory against a similarly short-handed New Brighton team, though it goes without saying that few were focused on the game's outcome as much as they were with trying to avoid similar violent incidents between the schools in the future, even if at least one parent voiced his confusion as to why parents weren't allowed to watch the game, either.
"I don't understand why they stopped the parents from coming," Bill Broomfield told WPXI. "It was the kids. Why ban the parents when it was the kids fighting?"