Teammates and coaching staff rushed in between players after a shove following the Hart Indians boys’ basketball home game with the Valencia Vikings.
Following the final buzzer, several of the victorious Vikings ran to the opposing side of the court and waved goodbye to the Hart student section.
The Indians were lined up for the postgame handshake, but after seeing the Vikings wave, the home team walked off the court.
The Vikings eventually returned for the handshake but with no team to handshake, more controversy ensued.
Valencia forward Bryce Bedgood grabbed a basketball and went to dunk on the rim once more, well after the final buzzer had sounded. The dunk prompted Hart’s Riley Scott to charge at Bedgood and shove him in the back.
The two, and other players who charged in, were separated.
“I’m frustrated with my son’s decision to dunk after the game. It just put a sour taste in their mouth,” Valencia coach, and Bryce’s father, Bill Bedgood, told The Signal in a phone interview.
“Hart didn’t want to shake hands after that. I told my guys, ‘I thought you guys played great during the game but I wish we made better decisions after the game.’”
Valencia had to rush out of the gym with the possibility of tempers flaring further. The Vikings were slated to play Lynwood the next day but forfeited that game in response to the incident.
“None of our kids made contact with anyone,” coach Bedgood added. “We were kind of pushed and chased out of the gym. That’s the price you pay for doing something after the game.
I support the decision (to forfeit the next game), something has to happen for bad sportsmanship. We want to discipline and correct our kids. We want to make them better examples.”
According to Hart High School Principal Jason d’Autremont, the situation was handled at the school level and was not escalated to the William S. Hart Union High School District office. He commended his staff and student section for handling a bad situation well.
“I want to commend our students that were at that incident,” d’Autremont said in a phone interview. “Especially the student section for not engaging in physical altercations with players or other fans. With the heightening tension at the time, things could’ve gotten pretty bad. They showed some level of restraint to not escalate the situation. We expect good sportsmanship at our events, these are school events, and for the most part our kids have done a good job of upholding that standard.”
Valencia High School Principal Pete Getz met with d’Autremont on Monday to discuss the issue.
“There were efficient efforts from both schools’ staff, assistant principals, and coaches,” d’Autremont said. “We made a bad situation much better than it could’ve been. Other than a few adult interactions that we are still investigating, the consequences we’ve set out are pretty much the extent.”
Scott, Bryce Bedgood and one other player will be forced to sit out the first half of their next Foothill League contests as a consequence for their actions on Friday.
While no major changes can happen overnight, Getz and d’Autremont also discussed options to try to prevent future altercations like Friday’s incident.
“When Dr. Getz and I met on Monday, we did discuss as a league and district some steps moving forward,” d’Autremont said. “I don’t know if we can implement anything this year but we will be talking about it at the next meeting. At our site, we have started discussion with our staff to make sure comments and bad behavior is minimized.”