Report: Pepper spray used to quell ‘riot’ after Akron high school basketball game

By Jesse Reed
Jan 27, 2016; Boulder, CO, USA; General view of a court official holding a Colorado Buffaloes basketball during the second half against the Stanford Cardinal at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Cardinal 91-75. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After the final seconds ticked off the clock in a girls high school basketball game in Akron, Ohio, what’s being described by police as a “riot” broke out between players, coaches and spectators, Jeff Brewer of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

This was no small brawl, either. Police resorted to using pepper spray to gain control of the escalating situation. Joe Vassalotti, director of athletics, student services and security for Akron Public Schools, praised the police for their work quelling the fight:

“Without looking at the video it was an altercation between players as the final second ticked off the clock,” said Vassalotti. “Our biggest concern was the safety of everyone, and I want to commend Akron police and the APS security team for clearing the floor as quickly as possible. The game was clean up until that time, and it’s a shame it was marred by the ending.”

The two schools, Kenmore and North, were embroiled in a championship contest, with Kenmore coming out on top, 64-52. Tensions were obviously high, simply by nature of the prize to be won. However, it certainly seems like there was more to it than simple in-the-moment competitive fervor.

Per Brewer, this isn’t the first time this has happened locally in Akron. Kenmore’s girls team was involved in a brawl in 2004 against Firestone, and Firestone’s boys team tangles with Butchel in an “ugly incident.”

It’s never pretty when players or teams get into fights before, during or after a game. It’s even uglier when fans start getting involved. Perhaps this is a topic that Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James could address, being so influential in his home town.