Incident goes to MPSA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

Huntington athletic officials submitted a film to MPSA officials of an altercation during the end of the boys’ basketball game at Ben’s Ford Friday.

Huntington athletic director Bo Swilley said he submitted a film from the contest to the MPSA office in Jackson earlier this week after a fight erupted in the closing seconds of the contest.

The matter will go to the association’s disciplinary committee before any ruling will be made.

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&uot;We met with one of their coaches, and they viewed the film,&uot; Swilley said. &uot;There has to be a hearing. (Ben’s Ford staff were) very cooperative. I felt they were doing everything they could. I believe you have to investigate and make sure you don’t have these situations again.&uot;

Referees put an end to the contest with eight seconds left and the Eagles holding a 64-57 lead.

The incident began when a Ben’s Ford player went over a Huntington player’s back and hit his face on the court floor. One Ben’s Ford player apparently shoved Huntington junior Mike Ferguson, and head coach Brandon Gousset said afterward fans from both sides were involved before both retreated to the locker room and &uot;a lot of punches were thrown.&uot;

Swilley said Wednesday the incident stemmed from the final play before a punch was thrown when both teams were ushered to the locker room. One Huntington player, Jacob Bonnette, was struck by a Ben’s Ford player but was the recipient of just a glancing blow.

&uot;The whole thing was about 30 seconds long,&uot; Swilley said. &uot;Basically, what happened was there was a foul called on one of their players. He fell and hit his face, they checked him out and he went see his dad. Then he started to run for our kids, and the officials called the game.

&uot;When they went to the locker room, he swung at Mike Ferguson and hit Jacob Bonnette. You go through one door to get to the dressing rooms. That’s where part of the problem was.&uot;

Parents and fans rushed to the floor after the incident began, and film apparently shows one fan shoving Ferguson. Both sides, however, were trying to separate the two teams as were coaches and school officials from both sides.

Since the locker rooms are adjacent to one another, Swilley and Gousset ordered their team to the bleachers while Ben’s Ford players could go in and dress.

&uot;We didn’t have other than me and my head coach on the floor trying to separate the kids,&uot; Swilley said. &uot;Our kids weren’t involved in anything as far as what was going on. The Ben’s Ford folks were on the floor trying to separate their kids from our kids. Most people involved were basically trying to make sure it didn’t break out to anything more than it was.

&uot;I was pleased with our parents and pleased with our kids. Our parents were

not involved. We conducted ourselves very, very well.&uot;

MPSA director Les Triplett said he has yet to see film from the incident, but &uot;my disciplinary committee chairman has.&uot;

&uot;When we have an incident like this, that (committee) will hear both sides and render a decision,&uot; Triplett said. &uot;We’re just in the preliminary stages of that right now. You hope within a week or week and a half you can get everybody together, but this is a tough time because we’ve got so many meetings going on.&uot;