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IHSAA cancels Pike, Ben Davis girls basketball seasons due to fight

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox has ended the seasons of two varsity girls basketball teams after an in-game fight.
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IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox has ended the seasons of two varsity girls basketball teams after an in-game fight.

Players from Pike and Ben Davis got into a fight during the game Saturday (January 16). The teams will not be eligible for the IHSAA tournament this season and will be on probation for the 2016-17 season. 

"When we have these things occur, it's unacceptable and we hope the message is it's not going to be tolerated," Cox said.

The commissioner says tensions were running high through the entire game before the fight. 

"It was a physical game, a lot of fouls were called," Cox said. "I think our contest officials did everything in their power to keep that game under control. The coaches did as well."

The commissioner said the discipline was not the most severe his organization could have imposed. He added that discipline of individual players will be up to their school's administration to decide.

Cox said it is "heartbreaking" to watch videos of fights during high school games. Last season, boys teams from Hammond and Griffith high schools had their seasons canceled after an in-game fight. That decision was later overturned by a court, allowing the teams to participate in the state tournament.

"There's gonna be a day when somebody's gonna be catastrophically injured," said Cox. "One of the police officers that was involved in this was injured. In this particular one. And this is an individual who is trained in protecting themselves."

He said the IHSAA will continue to work with member schools, athletes and fans to stress the importance of sportsmanship on and off the court.

The Ben Davis Lady Giants Basketball team posted a message on their Facebook page Monday night, saying: "Very unfortunate incident last Saturday. Totally unacceptable behavior from both teams. We will take our punishment and move on and grow from the experience. The Lady Giants will be back next year."