Fan hostility empties gym in North Brunswick victory
Fri. January 04, 2013 at 11:32 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
North Brunswick's Tarik Fisher receives multiple fouls from Whiteville defenders as he drives to the basket on Jan. 4, 2012, at North Brunswick High School. (Photo by Photo by Jeff Janowski)
A near-melee and hostile fans forced officials to empty North Brunswick's gym and overshadowed the Scorpions' 67-58 boys basketball victory against Whiteville on Friday night.
With 6:36 to play and North Brunswick leading 51-40 after a foul call on Whiteville, North Brunswick fans threw two water bottles from the stands at Whiteville's Rayheem McMillian. Both hit him in the head and skidded across the court.
The scene dissolved into chaos for several seconds. Whiteville coach Jerry Singletary rushed onto the floor to restrain McMillian in a bear hug, while players and coaches from both teams tried to keep fans off the court and avoid any altercation.
"It's a complete nightmare," Singletary said. "This is the wildest thing that's ever happened to me in all my years coaching."
Brunswick County sheriff's deputies quickly calmed the situation and cleared the floor. North Brunswick athletic director Randy Fennell immediately ordered every fan in the section from where the bottles came to leave.
But fans from both sides continued to antagonize each other, North Brunswick officials and deputies ordered the gym emptied.
"It was the best idea just to keep the hostility away from the kids," North Brunswick coach Bryan Hayes said. "Our biggest concern was the safety of the kids, and we felt it was just too hostile."
Hayes, Singletary and Fennell all said they'd never had to empty a gym before Friday.
The situation sucked the air out of the final minutes of what had been shaping up to be an excellent game. Just before things went haywire, Whiteville had closed North Brunswick's lead to 11 points. In the ensuing empty-gym play, Whiteville got as close as six points, but never closed to within one possession.
The game's ugly turn also overshadowed a big win for North Brunswick. The Scorpions broke a four-game losing streak with the win and got a game-high 21 points, eight rebounds and four steals from senior Adam Jacobs.
In fact, North Brunswick led from the outset and Friday's win puts the Scorpions in good standing in the Waccamaw Conference.
"I'm ashamed and embarrassed that it happened," Hayes said. "But it was really out of my hands, and really out of coach Singletary's hands. We feel like we handled it the best we could as a school."
Girls: Whiteville 58, North Brunswick 31
Whiteville's girls team won its third straight game by dismantling North Brunswick, 58-31.
The Wolfpack opened a 24-5 first-quarter lead and never looked back. The Wolfpack wasn't bothered by North Brunswick's presses and traps, and instead generated a few turnovers of its own.
Jordan Ray and LaDavius McMillian led Whiteville with 15 and 17 points, respectively, and Jenna Watts added 13. Deidra Jordan was dominant in the post for Whiteville with eight points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks.
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