December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Girls basketball: Parents’ skirmish following Saturday loss to Strongsville means no Monday game for Elyria High

ELYRIA — The Elyria-Avon Lake girls basketball game scheduled for Monday night at Elyria High was postponed because of a weekend outburst and fight involving Elyria parents with fans and coaches from Strongsville.

Strongsville defeated the Pioneers 46-33 Saturday night in a Northeast Ohio Conference game on the Pioneers’ court.

No players on either team were involved, according to several sources.

These sources also said that, in the course of the conflict, the mother of an Elyria player struck a Strongsville assistant coach and that the coach’s husband demanded to press criminal charges.

Elyria police were called to the scene and took statements, according to witnesses. The witnesses included reporter Steve Walker, who covered the game for The Chronicle.

EHS athletic director Heather Beck did not respond to a telephone message seeking clarification. Amy Higgins, a spokesman for the Elyria school district, said by phone that she was not knowledgeable about details of the incident.

And veteran coach Brian Arth, in his first year with the Pioneers, declined to comment because the matter is unresolved.

But several sources said Monday’s game was called off while an investigation continues. The investigation, they said, is expected to result in the season-long exclusion from EHS girls games of any parents or other non-players who were involved.

Donald Boddy, longtime president of the Elyria Board of Education, said Monday night that he and his wife were in Washington, D.C., over the weekend and had not heard about the incident until informed by The Chronicle.

But Boddy confirmed that the exclusion from games of persons involved in fighting or other untoward incidents at school-sponsored events is consistent with district policy.

Walker and others said the Elyria parents were vocal and negative toward Strongsville players from the start of Saturday night’s game.

One or two Strongsville players, they said, wore cosmetics. These players were referred to derisively during the game as “Miss Maybelline” and “Cover Girl,” one source reported. This source described the behavior as inappropriate for a high-school sporting event and said it continued when the game was over.

Walker said that one of the Elyria women involved was interviewed by police in the school parking lot and was overheard denying she had played a role.

Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or basketball@bobdaniels.info.