Court fight stops Camden County Basketball Tournament
🏀 A referee whistled a foul toward the end of the second quarter which upset some members of the Camden Panthers who chased after Eastside Tigers players
🏀 The game was a suspended with Camden leading 30-17
🏀 Camden High School is the defending South Jersey Group 2 champion
CHERRY HILL — A fight on the court between members of the Camden and Eastside High basketball teams during the final game of the Camden County Tournament final Thursday night led to the game’s suspension.
Basketball action in the tournament's inaugural championship game at Cherry Hill East came to a halt when a referee whistled a foul towards the end of the second quarter which upset some members of the Camden Panthers who chased after Eastside Tigers players, according to a Cherry Hill Courier-Post report.
Video posted by the newspaper shows spectators coming out of the stands and onto the court to join the fracas.
A livestream video of the game showing the fight has been taken down.
Another video of the fight shows Camden coaches and players trying to contain a player from going back onto the court as it fills with spectators and small scuffles. CBS Philadelphia reported police presence was increased outside the school.
Camden was leading at the time 30-17.
In a statement Friday afternoon Camden school district Superintendent Katrina McCombs said she has withdrawn both Camden and Eastside from the NJSIAA tournament. Camden is the South Jersey Group 2 defending champion.
“This initiative is being taken to ensure that our scholar-athletes know that accountability for their actions is paramount not only in basketball but also in the larger game of life. In short, the district and the students fully understand the infractions that took place at last night’s game.”
The Panthers are the sixth ranked boys high school basketball team in the country, according to the website MaxPreps with a 22-2 record. They are the defending South Jersey Group 2 champions are ranked second for the upcoming playoffs. The Tigers are ranked fifth.
McCombs said both teams have had tremendous seasons and worked hard.
"We are not taking away any of the prior success they have had this year but we want them to know their actions have consequences," McCombs said.
The NJSIAA said that it welcomes the decision but said that per their rules both teams would have been eliminated from tournament play regardless.
Lindenwold and Clearview will get forfeit winds over Camden and Eastside respectively and advance to the next round of the tournament.
Camden Public Schools Senior Communications Director Sheena Yera, in a statement, said no one was seriously injured by the altercation.
"Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students and fans. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured," Yara said in a statement. "This incident is not an indication of who we are…And, we expect our student-athletes to compete with sportsmanship. The district will take all the necessary steps for appropriate disciplinary action."
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association issued a statement about the altercation and the fatal stabbing in the concourse of the Cure Insurance Arena during the Mercer County Tournament.
“The NJSIAA is monitoring the situations related to yesterday’s basketball games in Camden and Mercer County, while awaiting additional information from authorities and all involved schools. Certainly, our hearts go out to the family and friends of the stabbing victim in Mercer County," the organization said in a statement.