All players for Chicago’s North Lawndale and John Marshall Metropolitan high schools have both been suspended after a brawl broke out during an Illinois High School Association playoff basketball game, Chicago Public Schools officials said Thursday.
CPS said the players were suspended for three games, which means North Lawndale will forfeit Friday’s Class 3A sectional title game against St. Joseph. The forfeit advances St. Joseph to the IHSA Super-Sectional.
“The events that occurred last night at the IHSA Boys Basketball Sectional at Westinghouse High School between the teams and fans from Marshall High School and North Lawndale High School are unacceptable in society, no less a high school sporting event," IHSA said in a statement. "The IHSA fully supports the Chicago Public Schools decision for North Lawndale to forfeit the IHSA Sectional final, advancing St. Joseph (Westchester) to the Super-Sectional round. This was not an easy decision to make, but we believe that it is the correct one. Chicago Public Schools and the IHSA are sending the message that incidents like this at high school contests will not be tolerated."
The North Lawndale College Prep and John Marshall Metropolitan high school match-up in the Class 3A sectional semifinal had just concluded when a brawl moved from the stands to the court, according to police and published reports.
"It was chaotic. Everybody went from corner to corner, fighting," said student Chileo Usher. "The whole gym was fighting. Everybody was fighting."
An official told Comcast SportsNet Chicago the brawl started during the postgame handshake when a player from Marshall struck a player from North Lawndale to start the incident.
Police were called to the basketball court inside Westinghouse High School, on the 3200 block of West Franklin Avenue, at about 8:45 p.m. The teen girl was arrested, charged, and later released to her family.
North Lawndale head coach Lewis Thorpe told CSN that his starting center, Kenneth Perkins, was punched in the face during the brawl. Other members of the team were also hurt, he said.
IHSA said their investigation into the fight continued Thursday, and more penalties could be still imposed.
"We are saddened by the events after yesterday's basketball game," North Lawndale College Prep said in a statement. "We actively promote a culture of peace with our students in order to achieve our mission of successful completion of college. We are investigating to learn exactly what happened, and engaging with our students and community to use this as an opportunity to again teach that the only and best way to respond to violence is with nonviolence."
North Lawndale beat Marshall 70-62 in the contest and will face St. Joseph in the sectional final on Friday.