Monessen-Clairton boys basketball game called early after brawl
By: The Mon Valley Independent
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 | 11:27 PM
A Section 2-A boys basketball matchup between Monessen and Clairton ended early after a benches-clearing brawl Tuesday.
The incident took place with 4 minutes, 26 seconds left after players from both teams got tangled up. The scene turned ugly after players rushed the floor and were followed by fans from the stands.
“I saw people from both sides and adults from the stands coming out to join into that,” Clairton coach Matt Geletko said. “That’s very unfortunate to see something like that happen.”
Fans were escorted out of the gymnasium, and the game was stopped.
“I certainly didn’t like the way it ended,” Monessen coach Joe Salvino said. “It ended bad, so anytime something like that breaks out, it’s not a good thing.”
More than 100 people were involved in the fracas.
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Two Clairton police officers who were working the game requested backup, which came from the Allegheny County, Elizabeth Township, Glassport, McKeesport, Port Vue, Lincoln, Versailles, Jefferson, Liberty and Elizabeth borough and township police departments, county spokeswoman Amie Downs said.
Clairton firefighters responded to help ventilate the school after pepper spray was used, Downs said.
One police officer and one Monessen basketball player were hurt. The injuries were not believed to be serious.
Monessen Superintendent Dr. Leanne Spazak said district officials are reviewing videos of the fight.
“From what we know, there was an altercation on the court which was instigated by a Clairton player to one of our players,” Spazak said. “From there, there are Clairton fans beating on our players, and it seems to me that mass chaos happened.”
The district sent extra security and administrators to the game Tuesday, Spazak added.
“I’m so glad we did,” she said. “We heard chatter on Facebook about possible trouble, and we were worried about the safety of our players.”
Spazak said the district is prepared to file charges against the adults involved.
“We have one player injured for sure, and we want to know who these adults are who would attack children,” she said. “It’s unbelievable to me that this could happen at a game.”
After the game, the Clairton School Distirct tweeted (@Clairtonschool): “Clairton City School District is investigating the incident during the boy’s basketball game this evening vs. Monessen. We take this extremely serious and we will be conducting an internal investigation as well as 100% cooperating with the authorities and the WPIAL.
“We are saddened by the incident and remind all those that attend any sporting event (adult and child) that violence will never be the answer.”
The Greyhounds ended up winning, 54-45.