published Friday, February 25th, 2011

Brainerd, Howard knocked out for fight

Barring a last-minute appeal, the high school basketball season is over for the girls' teams at Brainerd and Howard following a fight on the court immediately after Monday's game.

During their District 6-AA tournament consolation game at East Hamilton School, a player from each team began to argue. After the final buzzer sounded, the argument quickly escalated into a fight and players from both teams rushed in, leaving coaches, administrators and five security officers to break them up, according to East Hamilton athletic director Brad Jackson.

After receiving information from both schools, Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Executive Director Bernard Childress placed both programs on restrictive probation for the rest of this school year as well as next year.

For the duration of the penalty, neither team will be eligible for postseason play, eliminating them from this year's region tournament. Nor will they be allowed to play in next year's district or region tournaments, according to a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association official.

In addition, each school will be placed on state probation for two years and fined a total of $2,000 -- $1,000 for each team's restrictive probation and $500 per year for two years' state probation for both schools. The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association waived the $1,000 fine for this year.

Although the game had ended when the fight began, and other players already were beginning to walk toward each other to shake hands, the fact that they turned back onto the court and joined the fight is the reason for such a severe penalty, officials said.

The two Brainerd players involved were suspended from school for the rest of the week by school administrators and head coach Carolyn Jackson added 10 hours of community service for those two as additional punishment.

"I don't condone any fights and in 38 years of coaching at Brainerd this is the first one I can remember my team being involved in," Jackson said.

"Tempers flared and now we're done this year and I hate that the whole team is being punished for something a couple of kids did," she said. "We'll appeal it, but basically all we can hope for is to be allowed to play in the postseason next year."

Howard girls' coach Ashley Wilburn deferred to athletic director Mark Smith for comment. Smith could not be reached for comment.

According to Brad Jackson, the two teams were told to leave the gym as soon as they finished dressing and were escorted by officers to their buses to avoid any further problems.

"Luckily we had plenty of security for the number of people we had in the gym that night," he said. "After the first fight, other groups of girls from the teams started fighting, and we had four Hamilton County sheriff's officers and a city officer on the floor to break them up."

Brainerd won Monday's game and was slated to play at Polk County tonight in a Region 3-AA quarterfinal game; Howard was scheduled to play at top-ranked McMinn Central in a region quarterfinal. Polk County and McMinn Central will receive forfeit wins and automatically move into the semifinals.

"Word started to leak out about a brawl they had, so I was worried about what was going to happen," McMinn Central coach Johnny Morgan said. "Once I heard what happened, I had a hunch we wouldn't be playing them."

Although Monday's incident didn't involve any players from East Hamilton High, this is the second fight in three weeks to happen inside the school's gym. During a regular-season game between East Hamilton and Hixson, a fight broke out in the stands involving fans from both teams.

Eight Hixson players left the court and bench area and rushed into the stands. Those players later were dismissed from the team, and Hixson was put on two-year probation and fined $1,250 this year and another $1,000 for the second year of probation. East Hamilton's program was not punished.

about Stephen Hargis...

Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...

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befair said...

TSSAA " Be fair" to both Howard & Brainerd girls basketball teams.You hate to make this a Black and White issue,but 2 weeks ago East Ridge & Hixson high schools had a fighting issue,the TSSAA didn't give those schools that harsh of a punishment. So TSSAA " BE Fair" to the black schools also.

February 25, 2011 at 6:21 a.m.
rosebud said...

Front page? Above the fold? Seriously? A fight between two girls on a basketball court that took place four days ago? If this is such a huge story why wasn't it reported before now?

February 25, 2011 at 7:24 a.m.

I'm confused with the comments of befair. All four schools have diverse race players on their teams so what is the black and white issue? Or, are you wanting to make it a race issue, when there is none?

February 25, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.
tntoak said...

@befair - if you had read the article, the fight at the Hixson-east Hamilton game was in the stands, and Hixson's players went into the stands. And if you had read the article, you'd have seen that Hixson was not let off easy:

"Eight Hixson players left the court and bench area and rushed into the stands. Those players later were dismissed from the team, and Hixson was put on two-year probation and fined $1,250 this year and another $1,000 for the second year of probation."

It seems to me that you're trying to make this an issue or race, when it's an issue of the conduct on the court that is the real problem here. Ignoring the facts of both cases to try to make that claim only undermines any credibility you might have.

February 25, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
tynerhigh said...

First of all...... I see it as a race issue because hixson and east ridge are predominantly white schools. Even though they do have mixed races on the team. It still does seem as an issue becuase their players left and went in the stands. The game was over and lady tigers left from hand shaking and started fighting. What's the difference. Howard and Brainerd should not have had a crucial punishment. So @Befair.. I think you are correct as for the other two people yall need to realize racial problems have not left America. You never know whats going on so like he said and like ima say they need to BE FAIR!!!!!!!

February 25, 2011 at 3:34 p.m.
LadyRamz said...

For those who said this wasnt a racial issue, NOPE TRY AGAIN!!...Hixson and East Hamillton ((especially East Hamilton)) have ALWAYS been white schools and for the TSSAA to give Howard aand Brainerd the punishment they did has got to do with race. I personally don't see the difference in Hixson going into the stands and fighting vs Brainerd and Howard stop hand shaking to fight. If it was Signal Mountain or McCallie or Baylor are yall trying to say they would of gotthe same punishment??...So yess race has all to do with just like East Hamilton zoned the school to only white neighborhoods would be included....and @tynerhigh girl u meant east hamilton not east ridge lolz...

February 25, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.
tynerhigh said...

Oops my bad lol! Yea i meant east hamilton

February 25, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.

Something to consider on the racial theory.... Bernard Childress, the person responsible for the punishment is African American.

"Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Executive Director Bernard Childress placed both programs on restrictive probation for the rest of this school year as well as next year."

February 25, 2011 at 7:45 p.m.
wildcatforever said...

There is not an issue of race between the two incidents that happen with Hixson and East Hamilton and Brainerd and Howard girls. The TFP needs to print the complete happenings between Hixson and East Hamilton and the real punishments that both teams received. East Hamilton student section and fans are the worst in the area. They started the incident between Hixson and East Hamilton with their foul language and classless action from the student section. This all started when an East Hamilton parent came from across the gym at EH and confronted a Hixson parent for telling his son to quit using the language he was using towards the Hixson parents and fans. There was not a punch thrown from either side during what took place in the stands. The adminisrtation from Hixson punished the players who went into the stands and the TSSAA placed the boys basketball team on two years probation and fined the school $1250 total over the next two years. Not what th TFP has reported. I heard the EH appealed their infractions and TSSAA resended their punishment. That is not fair to Hixson when they clearly did not start what happened at EH. I think EH needs to be placed on probation and fined also by TSSAA. The administration at EH needs to do some inhouse investigations about their rude fans and student section. This is not just the first time this has heppened. Their fans are the worst in the Chattahooga area.

February 25, 2011 at 8:55 p.m.
befair said...

@Tntoak and bookieturnersghost,Hixson was let off easy, Hixson will be allowed to play in the District and Regional Tournaments; where as Brainerd & Howard are not for the next 2 years. Fighting is wrong, Hixson's players left the playing court and bench to get involved in the fight in the stands. So are you going to sit here say that the punishment was dealt fair to Brainerd and Howard;why the TSSAA didn't ban Hixson from tournament play for 2 years also. I'm trying to make this a race issue ,but why, why the punishments are not the same. Fighting is fighting and it's wrong for all. " BE Fair"

February 26, 2011 at 7:43 a.m.
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