Prince George's Boys' Basketball

No. 2 Jackets Top Largo, But Fight Mars Ending

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Second-ranked Gwynn Park's 75-63 win at No. 15 Largo last night came to a premature end with 35.8 seconds remaining after a hard foul, then escalated into a melee involving fans and players.

Gwynn Park was in command when Yellow Jackets junior Corey Anderson was fouled hard underneath the basket. Officials signaled a technical foul, and Anderson had to be restrained and removed from the gymnasium by two police officers and another person whom Gwynn Park Coach Mike Glick identified as a family member.

Anderson's reaction, coupled with the officials calling off the game, triggered a bench-clearing shoving match between the rival squads. Fans from both schools quickly became involved, with punches being thrown by fans and players.

Police officers, school officials and coaches from both schools helped restore order as the teams were sent to their locker rooms.

Police officers on the scene said there were no arrests and no serious injuries.

"In 15 years of coaching I have never been a part of anything like that," Glick said. "It's just an unfortunate ending, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it was a hard-fought game."

The game included three technical fouls and was physical from the outset. Largo's 6-foot-11 senior center, Maurice Sutton, was ejected with 2 minutes 59 seconds left in the first quarter following an altercation that left Gwynn Park senior Ronnell Leggett (16 points) with a cut over his right eye.

Largo Coach Lewis Howard said Sutton's ejection set the tone.

"There's two sides to every story," Howard said. "And the side of the story that I'm sitting on is that the kid hit him first."

By rule, Sutton -- who was in the locker room during the game-ending brawl -- will not be able to play in Largo's next game.

According to Prince George's County Athletic Director Earl Hawkins, any further suspensions will be issued by the schools' principals.

"The only thing I can say is that the code of conduct is always enforced," Hawkins said. "If they are at school and at a school activity, the code of conduct must be followed."

Led by 6-2 senior guard Harold Washington's 24 points, Gwynn Park (21-0, 17-0 Prince George's 3A/2A/1A) clinched the 2A South Region's top seed. The Yellow Jackets will also play in next Wednesday's Prince George's County title game against Laurel, to be played at Wise High School.

Gwynn Park has now accounted for half of Largo's losses this season. The Yellow Jackets won, 80-50, at home on Jan. 18. "They beat us at their place handily," Howard said. "Tonight was going to be a dogfight, and it was going to be that barring ejections and technical fouls or what have you because it's a competitive game in a competitive atmosphere."

Largo Forward Aaron Martin scored 23 points to lead the Lions (17-4, 14-3).

"It doesn't really matter how it ended," Howard said, "because hopefully they will bring home the 2A state crown and we will bring home the 3A state crown and all this was a glorified practice."

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