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.”