Chalk this up to another reason not to rush the court after a big victory.
With little on the line but pride, a Connecticut basketball face off devolved into a bona fide student brawl, with student fans of both schools, and at least a pair of student athletes, squaring off following a strange game clock mishap.
As reported by the Hartford Courant, two West Hartford High Schools — Hall and Conard — were separated by a single point following a late Hall bucket. Conard coach Jared Leghorn immediately called timeout with 2.2 seconds remaining, and the referees acknowledged the game stoppage, but the whistle was somehow missed by the clock operator in Hall’s gym. The subsequent final buzzer sent the Hall crowd cascading on to the court in delirium.
There was just one problem: because the timeout was granted, the game wasn’t over. As Conard players attempted to gather themselves around their coach, the Hall fans and players continued celebrating, sparking a fracas between fans of the two sides. At least two players also engaged in a shoving match, as you can see in the far right corner of the video above.
Police officers were eventually forced to intervene and get both sides to separate. After 10 minutes, the players were brought back to the court to play out the game. Conard would get off a final deep shot in the closing seconds, but it fell short, sealing Hall’s 43-42 win, officially.
For his part, Leghorn said that he was convinced the Hall players and fans thought the game was truly over and the farrago was unintentional, though that hardly made it easier.
His counterpart at Hall agreed.
“What I could see was the fans came on the court, thinking the game was over; teenage boys being dumb and making dumb decisions on both sides,” Hall coach Bryan Moretti told the Courant. “It was such an emotional game, and I will stick up for all the players. Who knows what was said or done to them out there or if they were forced to protect themselves.”
Intentional or not, West Hartford superintendent Thomas Moore insisted that there would be significant penalties to students who were found to be responsible for any of the on-court fighting after the game.
“I will do all I can to make sure that people who embarrass their schools and their classmates, if they can’t represent the schools properly, there will certainly be consequences,” Moore said.