CHICAGO (CBS) — A playoff game between two Chicago high school basketball teams Friday night ended in a brawl on the court and both teams being disqualified from the state tournament.
Farragut’s Donovan Jones, his team ahead of North Lawndale 54-50 with 40 seconds left in the game, went up for a dunk and was undercut. It was a move that triggered the brawl.
A season of hard work led up to one game and ultimately to a fight that knocked Jones, his teammates and the opposing team out of the tournament. Jones landed in the hospital for a checkup Saturday.
“I came down on my neck,” he said.
“My feet flew to the back of my head,” Donovan said. “I really messed myself up.”
He said he was hurting Saturday, but his injuries pale in comparison to the disappointment he’s left with when it comes to his future.
“I wanted to make this run and maybe even be looked at by more college coaches,” he said. “We been working as hard as we can.”
“Blood, sweat and tears for this,” his father Gerald said.
A parent from opposing North Lawndale said the undercut was not intentional, and the fight that followed was started by a Farragut player.
With coaches instructed not to talk to media, CBS 2 turned to the Illinois High School Association, who ruled the game a double forfeit.
“That could have been a life changing decision right there,” Gerald said.
IHSA stands by its decision and released the following statement:
“These are never easy decisions to make, but we believe it is the correct one. It is vital that we continue to send the message that incidents like this at high school contests will not be tolerated. They are unacceptable in society, no less a high school sporting event.”
The decision means DePaul Prep will advance directly to the state semifinals in Peoria next week.
But the Jones family is hoping the IHSA will take second look.
“I’m really, really hoping that this is not the end for my boy,” Gerald said.
“They need to look into it more,” said Donovan.
For North Lawndale this is history repeated. Their team was suspended for three games in 2015 for a fight after a sectional semifinal win.