Boys Basketball: Fight after buzzer mars AAA championship game

A fight broke out shortly after the AAA boys basketball championship game on Friday night at Kezar Pavilion. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Bonta Hill

The unfortunate circumstances following the championship game between Washington and Mission certainly scarred an amazing event at Kezar Pavilion.

A scrum broke out into the stands that eventually spilled out onto the court shortly after the final buzzer, which led to a fan punching a Washington player, while the player was being restrained by coaches and teammates.

Players and coaches from both teams were involved in the altercation, although most appeared to be making an attempt to maintain peace.

“It was a fun game for 32 minutes, but unfortunately we had those problems for the next two minutes,” said Mission head coach Arnold Zelaya. “The funny thing about the whole situation was it was my guys running over there to protect their guy. Most of these guys are from the same neighborhood, and are good friends.”

San Francisco police officers and CIF-San Francisco Section Commissioner Don Collins sent both teams to their respective locker rooms as they cleared the gym of the 1,300 in attendance, and only parents and faculty of both teams were allowed to watch the award ceremonies.

The reasons for the altercation are still unknown, but Collins was unabashed about the punishment for those involved.

“Earlier this season, we had an incident with Lincoln and Marshall. It took us over two weeks to find out what happened. We suspended seven people, some for as many as three years,” Collins said. “We will find out what happened to the best of our ability. If we find some people, we will issue out harsh suspensions again. These people have no place in a recreational setting, an athletic setting, a scholastic or interscholastic setting. We don’t want them there, and if we have to take firm action with three year suspensions, we’ll take firmer actions. We will look for them, we will find them, and suspend the heck out of them.”

Washington head coach Jolinko Lassiter was in the middle of an interview with Comcast’s broadcasting crew when the fight broke out.

“If Don Collins decides to suspend people, we fully support his decision,” Lassiter said. “I don’t have much information on what happened afterward.”

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34 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    A typical ghetto attitude! shameful! I feel sorry for real people watching and enjoying a nice game.

  2. Johnny Drama says:

    One would think a gym directly next to a police station would be a safe place to watch a game.

  3. ed ruppenstein says:

    to say this is a typical ghetto attitude is ridiculous. i doubt you were even at the game. if you were you would probably realize a large portion of the crowd were not from the “ghetto”. this was a very passionately played game that brought out fierce competition and stirred emotion. probably not very different than the emotion that causes fights in spirited football practices, basketball practices or games.
    regardless of what you may see in a picture, video, or read how can you determine where the participants are from unless you personally know them. and i might ask what ghetto do you hang in? i mean seeing how you so informed as to what is typical. what was primarily on display last night was passion, loyalty and effort from determined young athletes and fierce support from their friends and fans. this was a fight. no weapons and many just trying to make sure no one was hurt!.

  4. Aaa says:

    Why is the fight getting more attention than the game sanfranpreps?

    • jbalan says:

      @ Aaa

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about… The game story is on top in our featured box… Do you not see that?

  5. Observer says:

    @Aaa What are you smokin? Looks to me like the Game is getting more play on the front page

  6. Hi says:

    the game was too good to end like this. there were excitement from beginning to end. but having to see a fight at the end was not necessary at all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    @ed I just don’t see it in other high school games, i’ve been to few games but there were no
    fights. I understand the passion and loyalty of every fan for a team, but start a fight in a high school game come on!! There were a lot people decent people in stands for sure but if cared enough to read the whole
    comment i felt sorry for the decent people who are there to watch an exciting well contested game. Whoever
    started the fight has the ghetto attitude. I’m sorry misunderstood my comment!

  8. Dizzy says:

    typical urban youth cannot prove that they can all come together as a community without fighting over something totally irrelevent to life. talk about hood pride, all they’re doing is embarrassing themselves and everybody they are affiliated with.

  9. aaa basketball fan says:

    if it would have been Wallenberg versus Lowell there would not have been a fight, with just as much passion from the players and fans……conclude what you want to conclude from that. There should never be a fight at a high school event. Just like players feed off the coach’s the fans feed off the players….to much attitude on and off the court…its high school basketball for gods sake.

  10. ed ruppenstein says:

    aaa basketball fan. during the girls game there was a fan ejected. a lowell fan. also citing lowell and wallenberg as pillars of proper behavior may be misguided. as one who has been an observer of aaa sports since 1969 i do recall wallenberg’s baseball program being suspended for a bit due to a hazing incident that essentially was a sexual assault. i also recall a few years back lowell athletes coming to washington and starting a fight. and let us not forget the highly publicized attack outside the pavillion after an SH game. my point is we are very quick to judge. and let us not forget bay area icon ed debartolo jr. hitting a green bay fan after a loss. this event and the whole idea of it being a “ghetto thing” or “attitude” is misguided. i have also been exposed to the threatening of coaches by grown adults in the suburbs of moraga and orinda. was that a “ghetto” attitude?

  11. JJ says:

    With the technological advances nowadays, the fight should be on Youtube pretty soon. “CAN’T WAIT” !!!!!!

  12. WCAL Alum says:

    And the fight outside the SI/SHC football game a few years ago was ensighted by (drumrole please) – ta da two Washington students!!

    I think SF Prep is covering this because they got heat from readers that last time a AAA game ended in a fight and they didnt cover it.

    Going to these AAA games when evrybody comes out – it would be news if nobody got out of control. I wish Mr. Collins luck in administering the penalties.

  13. WCAL Alum says:

    Yes. You guys do a tremendous job. By the way, congratulations to Washington for winning the AAA championship for first time in many years.

    Alas for balanced coverage, is the first fight after a AAA championship game since the infamous 1969 AAA Championship SH over Wilson. SH got out of AAA next year.

  14. not ghetto says:

    public schools..

  15. Pepto Bismol says:

    no comment. :’0
    sad people can’t handle themselves
    i wud be pissed if i was a Wash player and worked hard all season and the students couldn’t see the award ceremony same goes for Mission players.
    I went to the championship game last year and there was definitely not 1300 people must have been a good turnout this year.
    They shud move the championship game to USF lik the Bruce because it is more separated than Kezar and the layout can help better with security too

    but after this year AAA is goin be pretty weak i think anyways (besides mission) so who cares.
    (also to the haters i do not go to mission)

  16. aaa basketball fan says:

    Wow Ruppunstien I did not state “pillar” for any school I simply said there wouldnt have been a fight which I believe most people would aggree to. We are also talking about a fight after a high school basketball game bringing up the wallenberg incident has nothing to do with this blog, if we start going off track things get lost. Also there was no Fan thrown out of the girls game, . And lowell did not “go” to washington and start a fight it was a basketball game played at washington. We all realize that this is a few idiots and it is not what these schools represent or try to represent. But if you didnt notice the attitude on and off the court at times then you must not be paying attention. Or your part of it

  17. lol aaa basketball fan is retarded says:

    haha aaa basketball fan you really dont understand whats really going on and your comments just make you sound way more ignorant you should really listen to ruppenstein because hes been around way longer and has seen much more than you have

  18. ed ruppenstein says:

    so what is everyone’s synopsis? this happened because of where people live? are we saying folks from certain schools or their fans are inherently more violent? folks from some schools are more violent? folks from certain neighborhoods are more violent? closely involved over the years with kids from both wash, mission, and the criminal justice system. my point is this could happen everywhere or anywhere and does.

  19. ed ruppenstein says:

    and lets be real. a college player in a fight? a 3 year suspension? unheard of and ridiculous.

  20. ed ruppenstein says:

    there was a fan thrown out of the girls game. it happened in front of me and was done at the behest of the ref. you must have missed it. me involved? not hardly. at the other end. a former aaa coach, champion athlete, and father of children who competed at wash and mission i think it is ridiculous to say this happened because of people with a certain attitude or from a certain school. and are you saying the coaches or administrators at either school promote this?

  21. BasketballRockFan says:

    Bottomline: GREAT game by both teams, kudos for both of you reaching to the Championship game, and congratulations to the Eagles for winning.

    Fans/Spectators… you all need to CONTROL yourselves and stop ruining GREAT events! If you can’t help yourselves… Stay HOME!

  22. @ed says:

    Haven’t seen any comment regarding a college player being suspended because of the fight! 3 year suspension where did that come from?Do you know the player?

  23. bb fan says:

    if you want people to stop judging you, stop the ghetto stuff. i know you all can get along but it always some idiot that want to act up. dumb!

  24. Bonta says:

    Not to single out Lowell or anything, but a student of their’s did get kicked out of the game for flipping off the Washington student section. One of the refs came over to the scorers table came over and asked Don Collins and his security team to throw the kid out. He not only flipped off the student section of Washington’s, but the ref as well. Just goes to show, it doesn’t mater what color you are, what school you go to, it comes down to the individual.

  25. GCJ01 says:

    @Bonta…I AGREE. Certain people go to games just to cause problems. It does not matter what you are, who you are, or where you’re from, it all boils down to the individual.

  26. ed ruppenstein says:

    well said bonta. and wcal fan the incident i was referring to wasn’t after a football game. i just think there is a bias on display when people make assumptions that kids or fans from one school or one neighborhood are capable of bad and from another school they are not.

    the 3 year suspension is something don collins said could happen and i know at least 2 year suspensions happened after the lincoln / marshall incident

  27. ed ruppenstein says:

    in fact the 3 year suspension is mentioned above. i am just saying leaving the bench for a fight doesn’t get this kind of punishment, even in college or the pros

  28. Pepto Bismol says:

    @Bonta
    i think there is big difference from flipping somebody off and putting a fist in someone’s face
    neither two are acceptable but i think flipping someone off isn’t close to as bad as starting a fight

  29. hoops fan says:

    Although, Bonta and Ed make valid assertions on social economics, I’d completely agree w/Pepto. I was sitting directly behind the Lowell section when the student was escorted out. There is a big difference between being an obnoxious fan and a fan that poses a physical threat to a student athlete. The comparison between the two are taken out of context in that sense. Both, though are examples of fans being overzealous and excessively invested on the teams that conflict may arise. It’s not like the fans involved had premeditative plans of getting in a fight, Sometimes, emotions get the best of you, and people make poor decisions. It’s not secluded to any specific neighborhood or lifestyle.

  30. The dog said what? says:

    Somebody flipping off a ref or a student body rooting section can certainly escalate into a fistfight. The behavior is a matter of degree.

  31. Bonta says:

    @hoops fan – Very well said. But I was initially responding to a comment stating that a game between Wallenberg and Lowell would’ve been played in front of “saints.”

    While flipping people off might not be as physically threatening as to what happened after the men’s game, its just as classless. For the ref to stop play, walk over to security, and point someone for being an idiot is ridiculous. And the kid goes to Lowell, not your typical “ghetto school.”

    My whole point was that classless things happen at all schools. Fights, fans getting kicked out for obscene gestures, it happens everywhere. No place for it. Heckling, I’m not opposed to, but flipping off the refs while sitting courtside? That’s idiotic.

  32. bethemary says:

    in 1969 Sacred Heart’s 130s beat Polytechnic and the varsity beat Wilson in the AAA High School championship games played on the same day at Kezar…we have not come far, I’m sad to say as both teams were escorted to the locker rooms immediately after the final buzzer so as to avoid the full blown riot that all three school block clubs and faculty tried to quell as they stood with linked arms….one punch was thrown and bedlam ensued. I was 13 years old and have never been so frightened in my life. The SFPD “Tact Squad” road in and tear gas was thrown…real scarry stuff…..and 42 years later..here we go again. What a shame we haven’t learned.

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