AHSAA removes Carver, Valley from playoffs

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, February 18, 2009

MONTGOMERY — The boys basketball teams at Valley and Carver-Montgomery high schools have been kicked out of the state playoffs after a brawl on the court that escalated into the stands and led to the arrests of a number of youths.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association placed both programs on restrictive probation on Wednesday, barring them from this postseason. A spokesman for Alabama State University, which was hosting the tournament, said 11 juveniles were arrested on multiple charges.

“We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our programs,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese, who reviewed video and met with school and local law enforcement officials.

The fight occurred Tuesday during the fourth quarter of the Class 5A regional semifinal game after Valley’s Enrique Florence was whistled for fouling Roquez Johnson, with Carver leading 52-37. Both benches emptied onto the floor at Alabama State’s Acadome and some fans jumped over railings onto the court. More fighting broke out after the fans were sent back to the stands.

Talladega High School will advance because of the double forfeit.

Kenneth Mullinax, a spokesman for Alabama State, said the juveniles were each arrested on multiple charges, including assault, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and failure to disburse. He said no adults were arrested.

Seven students with Montgomery Public Schools were suspended and each will face a hearing on whether further action is warranted, system spokesman Tom Salter said.

He said Superintendent John Dilworth sent a memo to principals asking them to speak with coaches, players and other students about sportsmanship.

“Certainly it’s a terrible event but we’re trying to use it as an opportunity to teach our students and our fans the importance of good sportsmanship,” Salter said.

George McCulloh, assistant superintendent for Chambers County schools, said officials were still determining punishments for those involved.

“We’re still viewing the video clips we have identifying all those involved and the level of their involvement,” he said.

Savarese said players from both teams would be required to attend a session at the Montgomery headquarters on Thursday. He praised Alabama State’s handling of the situation and the level of security on hand.

“I think this was something that probably if we had had 100 (officers) there, it would have still occurred,” he said. He said AHSAA has requirements for security at every tournament site.