Girl fights and pepper spray: Beecher versus Northern cancelled Tuesday night

Posted: December 8, 2010 by Marcellus Miller in High School

By Marcellus C. Miller | Great Lakes Hoops

Flint, Michigan (Sorry to say) – For 19 minutes and 19 seconds (just over one half of play for those who don’t know) Northern versus Beecher looked like it would be a classic battle featuring two diminutive stars and one on the rise.  Monte Morris carried the Bucs on his slight shoulders with 23 points, all in the first half.  Not to be outdone, Northern’s Shaquille Smith put up 18 of his own during that same span.  Another player, Dewrell Tisdale Jr. had 11 himself.  Sounds like we were headed for a great finish right?  Wrong…dead wrong…

Right at that point, one of the Flint police (of whom there were 10 on hand) decided that the answer to break up a scuffle between a couple of girls was to spray mace/pepper spray.  Did I mention this was right behind the Northern bench?  To be fair, this was the second fight in just over a minute.  To be also fair, one female was in both.  Why wasn’t she escorted out after the first one?  So, now there were babies in the stands, men, women, and a team full of players and coaches all coughing up a lung and trying to shield their eyes.  The referees had no idea what had happened until I ran out on the court to tell the lead official that the teams needed to head for the locker rooms to at least rinse their eyes out.

The next thing anybody knew was the PA announcer, under instruction by the police (again) to tell everyone the game had been called.  What?  The teams were in the locker rooms and had no clue until parents and JV players rushed in to tell them.  From there it was pure chaos with School board members, athletic directors, principals, etc. trying to figure out exactly what to do.  After what seemed like forever, the game was officially called when it was decided that the police could not get control of the crowd that had been rushed outside and the quality of the air was unsafe due to all of the mace/pepper spray used.  Again I say, what?

So, with the game at 44-43, Beecher, everyone is left to wonder.  Will they reschedule?  Will the kids be punished because of some ignorant youth that didn’t go to either school and an over zealous officer?  That remains to be seen.

Real Talk: – Man Man Morris was the truth tonight.  It didn’t help that Northern played no defense inside (in part due to discipline issues benching three starters).  He knows his game as well as anyone and never seems rushed.  When his running mate Antuan Burks gets back, it will only get better.

– Shaq Smith was not going to be out done.  He scored his points on 7-9 shooting and had several steals.  This guy means business for his senior year.  When his backcourt mate, Richie Lewis, decides to start his season, things will also get better for him.

– JD Tisdale may have caught some by surprise with his best HS game in only one half.  Having grown to nearly 6’4″, look out for this kid.

-Lewis let the idea of playing against his best friend get to him tonight.  He was in foul trouble the entire game and had little impact because of that.

-I have seen many fights in the stands over the years of going to city games.  Never have I seen a group of police not be able to control it, especially with the combatants being female.  What are we coming to?

-I think I have seen it all….

  1. Jared Field says:

    I don’t want to second guess what happened because I wasn’t there, but I’ll go ahead and second guess it: Why in the heck isn’t there a zero tolerance policy for fighting? Why are not people removed after the first instance?

    I remember Lions fans getting escorted out of Ford Field for anti-Millen propaganda for God’s sake. How could the same person be involved in two separate incidents?

    I’ve been around pepper spray before, so I know that once it is sprayed it becomes difficult to stay in the room for very long…even a big gym. This is such a shame for the guys who prepared so long for opening night.

    Young people: Fighting is stupid. You’re embarrassing yourself and your school. If you think fighting is a legitimate means to an end, I hope you’re prepared for your end to be in jail.

  2. Marcellus Miller says:

    Agreed…on all counts. It was handled improperly and it was stupid to begin with. Now it is up to the state to decide what to do with a game where NONE of the officials, players, coaches, families involved had anything to do with the altercations. And it totally changes what was a good game, even if it is replayed from the stoppage point. There will be all kind of factors that are different.
    BTW, I suggested that to restore order to the disorderly, why not put a couple people in handcuffs. generally people don’t want to go to jail and if they see that, amazingly order is restored. Oh yeah, I tasted that spray all night last night…it stays with you.

  3. Skywalker says:

    According to the Flint Journal the game will not be replayed and it counts as a win for Beecher.

  4. Hoopsguru says:

    I sure hope no one in the town of Flint wonders why their city has such a wonderful reputation! Or do they even care? Show some pride people.
    And yes – I was not there – but blaming the police seems to be a pretty typical inner-city response! Big Bad police picking on everyone.

    • Jared Field says:

      My kneejerk reaction is not to blame the police. Someone, however, should have removed the individuals after the initial scuffle.

      The problem with using pepper spray in a big crowd is simple: it’s not a precision instrument. Why not just hem them up and get them out of there?

      I’ve been to games in Flint, Saginaw, Detroit, etc. for years and never seen pepper spray used. And I’ve probably seen two dozen fights.

  5. Hoopsguru says:

    When you are attending an inner-city game where “3 starters were suspended for disciplinary actions” that kind of speaks to the “quality” of some of the folks who might just be in attendance at the game.

  6. Marcellus Miller says:

    Hoopsguru, you probably need to read the notes again. Note that there was NO ONE “suspended”, nor is that a reflection of the audience even if it were true. In fact, that argument is infantile at best. 3 starters were benched for an unspecified period of time for their discipline issues. However, there was no mention of what they were. I will tell you this, many coaches discipline players for being late to practice or missing a practice, regardless of reason. That doesn’t make anyone a bad guy does it? Don’t implicate the crowd by the actions of a few girls. I have been to inner city Flint and Detroit and Lansing games where fights much larger broke out between grown men. NEVER was pepper spray used, NEVER. Even still, we can not judge the actions of all the police by the one who sprayed. Ask yourself why was there only one to spray?

  7. Hoopsguru says:

    My bad – “benched for discipline” not “suspended”. Not too many communites around though where you can write an article about a basketball game that includes 3 players benched for “discipline”, a fight in the stands, and Pepper Spray. With the way Flint’s reputation is, maybe this article should have never been written? Surely there were other games in Genessee County, where kids were not benched for discipline, no fights in the stands, and no pepper spary. Flint needs to give the good stories more press in an effort to salvage it’s reputation.

    • Marcellus Miller says:

      Our focus with this site is to provide information, not just the cookie-cutter, feel good stories, but rather the truth. This is definitely the first time this has happened in my lifetime with a game being called due to actions only of the fans in Flint, and from speaking with older people, they cannot recall one as well. So, I guess we could cover it up or provide information of a potentially historical (albeit negative) moment so that those who are so inclined may try to figure out what went right and solutions to what went wrong as Ms. Fields referenced.

      People saw what happened and the word was going to get out. It was reported in the Journal. In fact, was mentioned on CNN. But the truth of a first hand account needed to be told. Further, the benching of the players had nothing to do with the incident. That was only mentioned in reference to an opponent scoring on the defense, period. To extrapolate that to the behavior of a few narrow-minded fans and even more generally to the fans at large is irrensponsible. I happen to know that the audience included board members, ministers, administrators, etc. Flint doesn’t need storeis to “salvage its reputation” they need people to step up and mentor these troubled youth instead of condemning them from afar. If you treat kids like animals, that is how they will behave. You spray a toxic mist into a crowd, you run the risk that the crowd will get even more unruly.

      I guess the national media should have never reported on the Pistons brawl seeing as how bad Detroit is. Maybe no reporting on the soccer stampedes overseas either. There reputations are bad enough, right? Has the sounds of eliteness….

  8. Kelly Fields says:

    Unfortunately, for the majority of young people, there are not alot of “good things” happening in Flint for them. And furthermore, there are other instances in America that are suffering from the same type of violence as Flint. The behavior is a problem of all urbanity. It is socially driven. It rests and weighs on the mores and values of the community. Where poverty and ignorance reigns, there are sure to be issues of conflict, tension and strife. And where the income and educational levels are higher (i.e. suburban districts) the behavior is abscent.

    I have a son that attends Grand Blanc and I work for Flint Schools. I can say first hand, though, they are only minutes from each other, their worlds are a universe apart. And I for one, want to be part of the solution. So, I reserve my judgement in lieu of trying to figure out how we can all help young people to find a better way.

  9. Hoopsguru says:

    Life was simpler back in the day when people had no more than 8 TV stations to watch, no tweets, no blogs, no news letters, no You Tube, etc – just a daily newspaper to read and local news to watch. There are so many “news” outlets today that EVERYTHING gets reported and in some cases over-reported and beat to death. An example recently is all of the violent hits in football. I would venture to conclude that some of the DBs in the NFL just totally get off watching replays all week on ESPN of them laying out a guy – heck might even be a goal for some of them to make the Top Ten List each week??? In the 1970’s when that happened you basically only saw it if it happened to be a game that was covered on your local TV station (or the one weekly national game on MONDAY NIGHT) and you were watching it live. Sensationalism is bringing our society down by giving too much attention to crap.

    OK – I am rambling – point I’m making is that today due to so many news / media outlets too much CRAP gets reported – things that years ago would have never been deamed newsworthy get hours and hours of coverage 24-7.

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