The NJ State Interscholastic Athletic Association and school officials in both Newark and Paterson have been notified of an out-of-control physical altercation inside a Newark West Ward high school gymnasium on Monday evening.
The situation happened immediately at the buzzer of a game-winning goal basketball game during the West Side High School vs. Paterson Kennedy regular-season game.
According to a preliminary review, the hotly contested match between the two schools went down to the wire with one of Paterson Kennedy's players catching an inbound pass in front of his bench then connecting on a goal a second before the game ended.
The basket secured victory for the Passaic County school around 6:52 p.m.
Video obtained from the incident showed that immediately after the winning basket, a player from West Side High School and another from Paterson Kennedy began pushing and shoving each other, which resulted in punches being thrown.
The video showed that both benches cleared, and spectators ran onto the floor in celebration, causing unsafe conditions.
Fights between players occurred on and off the court, which required West Side's Coach (Principal), Mr. Akbar Cook and Paterson Kennedy's Coach Mr. Tommie Patterson to join the police and school security in breaking up several confrontations.
A parent attending the game said she sensed problems from the beginning of the contest after players' sportsmanship was at its lowest during the game.
"Neither team had good sportsmanship for each other from the start of the game," a parent of one of Paterson Kennedy's players told RLS Media.
"The referees were never able to gain control of players' brash attitudes towards each other, and the coaches didn't seem to notice trash talk and unnecessary roughness," the parent said.
Referees working the game reportedly handed out nearly a half dozen technical fouls, with most of them assessed to Paterson East Side, according to reports.
"The technical fouls situation could have gone either way and at any given time because West Side showed just as much lack of sportsmanship," the Paterson Kennedy parent said.
According to Monday's schedule, the Kennedy-West Side game was the fourth of five games in the "Freedom Fighters Hoops Challenge" played on Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday inside the Dr. E. Wyman Garrett gymnasium at West Side High School.
Sponsored and organized by "NJ Legacy" -an independent entity- matches began at noon and concluded with Paterson Charter School competing with Newark's Central High School.
Besides the Kennedy-West Side contest, all games were peaceful, well attended, organized, and demonstrated sportsmanship.
Police reported no arrests or serious injuries during the altercation, which is now under review by the NJSIAA.