When it was all over, the firefighters had to be called to ventilate the school from all the pepper spray used by local police. If that phrase sounds more befitting a civil rights protest than a high school basketball game, well, you may not be in Pittsburgh.
On Tuesday night, Monessen and Clairton, two suburban Pittsburgh rivals, found themselves entangled in a brutally nasty brawl. The entire ugly incident started when players for the two teams traded punches in front of the Monessen bench.
According to Pittsburgh ABC affiliate WTAE, 11 different police departments were called to the scene at Clairton High after fans from the stands immediately intervened, sparking full-on bedlam that featured some 60 people squaring off with one another inside a high school gymnasium.
One Clairton Police officer and an unidentified player for one of the two teams were injured in the skirmish, though neither of those injuries were considered serious, per WTAE. No one was arrested on the scene, but that seems unlikely to hold true for long; video evidence from the fight is being reviewed by Clairton police and Clairton school officials are also investigating the brawl.
“It was chaos,” videographer Zachary Simmons told WTAE. “Chaos was everywhere. “The second a punch was thrown between players on the court, the whole gym took the opportunity to take it out.”
While there’s no question that the game didn’t end the way either team expected or hoped, there was one silver lining for Monessen: The game was called with 4:24 remaining in the fourth quarter and the road squad holding a 54-45 lead, handing Monessen a victory without a full evening of work.