An easy victory for the Windham Bombers turned into one of the more chaotic scenes of the 2012-13 season Tuesday night.
Ahead on visiting Warren JFK 88-49 with 3:51 remaining in regulation, a minor scuffle broke out on the court between players. The dust-up turned surreal, however, when Warren JFK pulled its team from the court before the game's officials left the court, refusing to return to finish the game.
After an extended delay, it was determined that the game would be ended prematurely with the Bombers earning the victory.
Windham head coach Marty Hill said the scene was unlike anything he had experienced in his 38-year career.
"That was a bad decision (by JFK)," Hill said of the Eagles' decision to leave the court in protest. "We were ahead by 40 points and that wasn't all because of the officiating."
Warren JFK's decision to leave the court was, in part, prompted by the 25 fouls called against the Eagles (3-13) -- including five technical fouls.
Head coach Shawn Pompelia was ejected from the game at the start of the fourth quarter after earning his second technical following an argument with the officials on the equality of calls.
Eagles assistant coach Marlon McGaughy who himself picked up a technical earlier in the game, was in control of the team at the time his squad decided to leave the court, and he said that his decision was made for the safety of his team.
"I've been coaching a long time and I've never seen anything like this," McGaughy said. "I don't want my team to get disrespected and I felt like we were getting harassed and threatened by some of the fans. I was doing what I did for safety reasons.
"There was a brawl on the court and I had a couple of kids trying to get off the bench to join in," McGaughy said. "I wanted to just get our kids out of there."
Windham athletic director Jeff States said that, in addition to JFK's players, the game's officials refused multiple requests to return to the court following the initial scuffle.
Hill said he was told the officials were concerned for their safety.
"We were told that some (JFK) fans were accosting the referees," Hill said. "There was apparently two fans and one of them grabbed an official."
Warren JFK athletic director John Gillen said the officials leaving the court was actually what prompted the abrupt conclusion of the game.
"I've never seen anything like that before," Gillen said. "I talked with the officials and they said they weren't coming back out. When that happens, a game is officially over."
As for the game itself, four Windham players finished in double figures. Senior guard Matt Knight led the way with 22 points and was joined by teammate Cameron Pozsgai with 21. Pozsgai knocked down two 3-pointers as part of a seven 3-pointer effort by the Bombers.
Hill said that he was upset that the game's bizarre conclusion was the story of the night because of how long his team has had this game circled on its calendar.
"We're 17-1 now on the season and, outside of our local paper, no one knows that," Hill said. "This was a big game for us. We've had a lot of close games with JFK in the past, and our kids were really fired up to prove something.
"I just don't want (how the game ended) to be the story of tonight when we played a great game," Hill added.
I am very proud to be a Bomber. Not sure why the coach felt his team was being harrassed or threatened. Sitting behind their bench, I heard no such thing. Unfortunately, it was JFK fans who went onto the court after a ref. Our boys played great and earned this win.