A volleyball playoff game that started between two Valley high schools Tuesday before being halted after crowd members reportedly heckled players with racial taunts finally came to a close Friday.
The stands were mostly full at Desert Heights Prep Academy, the neutral site where the playoff game continued about 4:45 p.m. between Salt River High School and Caurus Academy of Anthem.
While the game was staffed with security guards due to Tuesday’s incident during the match, those in attendance Friday were enthusiastic and respectful. Spectators rooting for Salt River, which is located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, also appeared to outnumber others in the stands and some carried signs supporting the school.
“I’ve never had such a big turnout for one game,” said Sialik King, captain of the Salt River team. “It was very nice to see that us, as indigenous people, could come together for this game.”
On Tuesday, the Salt River volleyball team traveled to Anthem to play Caurus Academy, a charter school, in the playoff game. The game was stopped with Caurus leading 2-1 in the fourth set, however, after crowd members began imitating Native American chants and made racist gestures, according to some people who attended the game.
An investigation of the reported incident was launched by the Canyon Athletic Association, which oversees competition between non-traditional schools.
The CAA, after meeting with representatives of both schools, opted to continue the came at a neutral site Friday. Caurus ultimately won the game 15-9 in the fifth set and will advance to the quarterfinals Saturday at San Tan Charter Academy.
CAA also ruled no sanctions would be handed down to either team and announced it would establish a new interscholastic committee that will develop new cultural competency policies for its member schools to follow.
Representatives of both schools spoke afterward.