The fallout continues from the fracas in Tuesday’s Greenbrier East-Woodrow Wilson girls basketball game.
The Eagles returned to the court Thursday without five players serving the first of a two-game suspension during a 58-44 win over Hurricane.
Beckley’s Elizabeth Cadle, Jamara Walton, Olivia Zolkowski, Sierra Conley and Victoria Staunton were suspended for leaving the bench during a timeout with 5:45 to play in the fourth quarter.
It was during that break when Beckley assistant coach Gene Nabors approached administration regarding the behavior of a fan, Steven Damon. A fracas ensued and Nabors has since been cited by West Virginia State Police for obstruction of an officer. Damons was issued a summons for disorderly conduct, while Nabors’ son, Donte Nabors, was summoned for disorderly conduct and obstruction of an officer.
The contest was suspended with the Spartans leading 56-50. The game will not be finished and has been ruled a win for Greenbrier East.
Afterward, West Virginia Gov. and Greenbrier East head coach Jim Justice told a reporter from The Register-Herald, “I hate to say it any other way, but honest to God’s truth is the same thing happened over at Woodrow two different times out of the Woodrow players. They’re a bunch of thugs. The whole team left the bench, the coach is in a fight, they walked off the floor, they called the game.
“The game was over when they walked off the floor — it’s just as simple as that. They don’t know how to behave and at the end of the day, you got what you got.”
Due to the suspensions, the Eagles moved their originally scheduled senior night from Thursday to next Wednesday against South Charleston. Cadle and Staunton are the only two seniors on the roster — and both will be allowed to play against the Black Eagles after they sit out Monday’s contest at Westside.
“Our kids were concerned about Gene,” said Beckley head coach Brian Nabors, who is also Gene’s brother. “They love coach Gene. To me, there’s exceptions to rules. If those kids were leaving the bench to fight and start a commotion, I could understand. We know those things have taken place and that’s why that rule is in place and I understand that. But the bottom line is it’s very unfortunate that this has happened and we’re just going to have to deal with it and move forward.”
Both Brian Nabors and Gene Nabors coached in Thursday’s win over Hurricane, though the head coach expressed disappointment over having to push back senior night.
“Those kids deserve a special night and it wouldn’t make sense to have a senior night and announce their names with them not being present,” Brian Nabors said. “This is tough. Those two kids mean a lot to me and they’ve been nothing but committed to this program. They deserve better and we want to try to send them off in a respectful way.”
According to rule 3.7.c. in the Basketball Official’s Packet provided by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, the suspensions are standard procedure. The rule states, “Any coach, student, or bench personnel ejected by an official will be suspended in additional contest(s): the suspension will be assessed based upon ten (10) percent of the allowed regular season contests or post season progression in a playoff tournament for each sport.”
“The suspensions of the kids came from the officials who said the girls left the bench and entered into the fray,” said Bernie Dolan, Executive Director of the WVSSAC. “Those are standard rules in that anytime somebody is ejected from a game, that’s the consequence. Had they finished, those girls were out.”
The Spartans and Eagles split two regular season meetings and Tuesday’s outcome is likely to go a long way toward determining the top seed in Class AAA Region III, Section 2. Seeding is determined by coaches’ votes and will be revealed Monday.
Greenbrier East returns to the court Saturday at Parkersburg South for the first time since Tuesday’s incident.
There is a strong probability Beckley (14-4) and Greenbrier East (16-2) will meet again in the sectional title in two weeks. Normally, the higher seed hosts in sectional play.
Alhough there has been talk of the Eagles and Spartans playing on a neutral court should they square off again in the near future, Dolan says both schools would have to agree to moving the game to a neutral court.
“They decide it at the sectional level,” Dolan said. “My understanding is it’ll be played at the higher seed and it doesn’t matter who it is. Fortunately there are a number of games between now and then so hopefully we can move past it. I’m sure it’ll be a heated atmosphere, but what sectional final is not?”