Fight mars North, GP girls contest
Punches were thrown and three players were ejected — which will result in at least one-game suspensions for each — in a raucous Southern Oregon Hybrid girls basketball game between North Medford and Grants Pass Friday at Heater-Newman Memorial Gym in Grants Pass.
North Medford won the game, 49-45, but it will be without two of its best players when it hosts rival and co-league-leader South Medford Tuesday. Both teams are 3-0 in the SOH.
Sophomore post McKensey Peters, who was at the center of the fight, and senior post Alyssa Maurer, who left the bench but didn't make it to the fracas, were the Black Tornado players ejected.
The Cavers' Maricela Aguilera, a senior point guard who mixed it up with Peters, was also ejected.
The ruckus began when Peters and Grants Pass senior guard Courtney Smith went for a loose ball. Bodies hit the floor, and there was pushing as players tried to get up. The shoving escalated to hair pulling, by one account, and punches followed.
Grants Pass coach Scott Wakefield, who had viewed film of the incident, and North Medford coach Kailey Bostwick, who received accounts from her players and the team's fans, had different opinions of what transpired.
Each said their players were pushed and reacted to aggression by opposing players.
Peters, Aguilera and Smith, who was not ejected, were the primary figures, said the coaches. As tempers flared, Peters punched Aguilera, and Aguilera retaliated with at least one punch of her own.
"It all happened so fast," said Bostwick.
Bostwick and Wakefield both called it a sad, unfortunate display, and each said it was inexcusable that emotions flared to the point of physical confrontation.
The North Medford coach added that while "it's a bummer" the Black Tornado will be without key players in its next game, the consequences are appropriate for their actions.
Bostwick said she sensed early on that, as intense as the play was, the game could get out of the hand if the referees didn't gain control. She said she told an assistant coach as much.
There were 54 foul shots taken, including 37 by North Medford.
Bostwick and Wakefield were each warned by the officials in the first half to temper their comments, and Wakefield received a technical foul in an isolated instance well before the fight.
North Medford (9-5 overall) trailed at the time of the incident, said Bostwick, but "came back and pulled it together."
Maryssa Becker led North Medford with 16 points and nine rebounds and was 6-for-6 at the foul line.
Smith scored 13 points and Kyndra Syfert 12 for the Cavers, who are 4-9 and 0-3.
NORTH MEDFORD (49) — Straub 2, Williamson 0, Maurer 2, Peters 5, Leming 0, Erb 5, Allen 6, Ellis 7, Murphy 6, Becker 16. Totals: 13 23-37 49.
GRANTS PASS (45) — Daniels 2, Luker 2, Jordan 0, Syfert 12, Dean 0, Smith 13, Aguilera 2, Davidson 0, Bice 0, Johnson 5, Edgar 9. Totals: 18 6-17 45.
North Medford 8 12 10 19 — 49
Grants Pass 11 7 17 10 — 45
3-point goals — Grants Pass 3 (Syfert 3). Fouled out — Daniels, Smith, Edgar. Technical fouls — Grants Pass coach Wakefield, Peters. Ejected — Peters, Maurer, Aguilera.
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