Players, Mast review post-game altercation


Daphne Yu

Pushing the defense out of the way, senior Vencel Tigue makes a move during practice after school. Photo by Patrick Smith
Pushing the defense out of the way, senior Vencel Tigue makes a move during practice after school. Photo by Patrick Smith
After last night’s nail-biting basketball game between cross-town rivals RBHS and Hickman High School where the Bruins lost 78-74 at the end of three overtimes, Kewpie fans stormed the court in jubilation.
A misunderstanding during the Kewpie celebration allegedly led to an altercation between a Hickman parent and RBHS senior guard Vencel Tigue, as seen in the video here (starting at 1:19).
Tigue, also seen at 0:36, said he was attacked by a parent. Tigue said the parent of Hickman junior guard Chris Clark believed Tigue was trying to injure Clark. However, Tigue said he was only trying to prevent his teammate, junior point guard Nick Norton, from getting hurt in the chaos.
Right after the final buzzer sounded, Norton was caught in the Kewpies’ rush and had fallen to the ground. Because he was facing away from the Kewpie fan section, Norton was oblivious to what was happening behind him as HHS fans ran down the bleachers, he said.
“I didn’t know the crowd was coming. I was just getting in line for the big-game handshakes and then suddenly I got pushed in the back, and the crowd swarmed over towards [Hickman’s] bench and somebody from behind knocked me down. That’s when everybody fell to the floor,” Norton said. “[Junior guard] Travon [Tumey] and [Tigue] tried to come in and help me out and soon they actually got me out. The only way [Tigue] could have helped was what he did, which was to get on top. I was so far in the middle there was no other way he could have gotten to me. I was on the floor; I couldn’t move, so that was the only way [Tigue] could get to me, by getting on top of everybody else. He was mostly pulling people off of me and trying to get to my arms and pull me out … [But] he never threw a punch.”
Tigue first realized something was wrong when another RBHS player, junior guard Travon Tumey, headed toward the mess.
“I noticed Travon — he started walking towards them, and I was like, ‘Why is Travon in the mosh pit? There’s no reason for a Rock Bridge fan to be in the mosh pit,'” Tigue said. “So, I start heading there, and I see Nick piled down on the ground, and that’s when I started climbing on top of people trying to get my boy out.”
Only a few seconds after getting his team to safety and wading through the crowded court to collect his belongings, Tigue himself was attacked.
“I didn’t know what was going on because she came from behind me, so I was shocked,” Tigue said. “I understand from the parent point-of-view why she acted the way she did, but the way she reacted to it, I felt like, could have been better done.”
RBHS Athletic Director Jen Mast said there will be no charges against the parent or Tigue to her knowledge, and Tigue and his family are not interested in pursuing litigation. However, the district will review the case and determine the next stage of any inquiry, Mast said.
“We’ve reviewed a lot of the evidence to try and piece together what happened and what [the] perceptions were at that time, and I think it was a perception issue. We understand what the parent thought at the time, which is not necessarily what happened, but we understand why she was upset,” Mast said. “It was what looked like an assault that was happening on the floor. She’s a mother of a [Hickman] player, and she believed her child had been assaulted, and so she was coming to find why. I haven’t talked to the person, so that’s all I can tell.”
To prevent further misunderstandings or dangerous events from occurring, Mast said, students should stay in the bleachers after any victory, no matter how excited or happy they are. While Norton was not injured last night after being crushed by the crowd, someone next time may not be so lucky.
“The biggest thing we’ve got to try and do is to keep students from rushing the floor,” Mast said. “Once that happened [last night], there was very little we could do. It could cause a problem on the floor … having so many highly emotional people all in one spot … even though everyone was pretty well-behaved in that situation. [No rushing] is always in our policy at Rock Bridge, so that’s the biggest thing we’re trying to do. We made sure we’re aware of who’s where, as we always do, but it’s the rushing of the floor that makes dangerous situations.”
By Daphne Yu
additional reporting by Morgan Nuetzmann
Were you at the game last night? What is your view on fans rushing the field after big victories?