Updates at 5:42 p.m. with WTVD identifying the fan, with comments:
WTVD in Durham has identified the fan as Tyrell Thorpe, 20, a graduate of South Granville High School. Thorpe told WTVD he had no intention of causing trouble in the Reidsville huddle.
"They were trying to say I was trying to jump them," he said. "That I was trying to fight them. How would I do that when there's one of me and 10 of y'all?"
His mother, Bronzella Mallory, told WTVD that Thorpe got the sign – "Y'all can't jump like Kobe," referring to South Granville's Kobe Jones – from a teacher.
"The school was in the process of winning," she said. "And he was pulled by a law enforcement, which caught him off balance. And when he turned around, one of the coaches grabbed him and pushed him, and he fell into the crowd of Reidsville High School students, and they all jumped him."
Updates at 4:49 p.m. with email response from Granville County Public Schools:
Dr. Stan Winborne, the assistant superintendent of operations and human resources and public information officer for Granville County Public Schools, answered several questions from staff writer Joe Sirera via email regarding the incident at the Reidsville-South Granville boys basketball game on Tuesday night. Winborne wrote:
- "This is an adult male fan who grabbed a sign from a staff member. Law enforcement is considering bringing charges against this individual and are considering bringing criminal charges against other adult fans from the opposing team as well. The district plans to issue a trespass order to prevent the individual from attending future athletic games."
- "GCPS students were NOT involved in the incident in any way."
- "We commend law enforcement for their quick actions to protect the safety and well-being of all those in attendance."
- "Sportsmanship will continue to be a key aspect of ALL GCPS athletic programs. We are extremely proud of the way our students-athletes handled the situation last night. They should be considered role models for how they responded."
Updates at 3:36 p.m. with reporting from staff writer Joe Sirera:
The N.C. High School Athletic Association has offered a limited response to the events that took place Tuesday night at South Granville High School.
James Alverson, the NCHSAA's assistant commissioner for media relations, publications and special services, confirmed that the organization has reviewed video of the incident.
"We review any incident when the video is sent to the NCHSAA," Alverson wrote via email.
"We do not comment on violations by or penalties assessed against member schools," he added.
Alverson said no technical fouls would be assessed in the game, meaning Reidsville will have the ball, trailing 72-66 with 19.1 seconds remaining, when play resumes at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Updates at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday with comments from Reidsville basketball coach Jason Ross, as told to Jim Sands of RockinghamNow.com:
“My disappointment was the individual that came from the student section with a sign — based on my observation on video and my personal observations in the gym — he ran past at least two to three law enforcement officers and none of them did anything to stop his forward motion," Reidsville basketball coach Jason Ross said. "He actually did a half loop around the gym and approached my huddle. The crowd got loud because everyone was watching him and I was thinking to myself, ‘I know he’s not about to run into the huddle.’ And sure enough, he ran by police officers and they gave a half-hearted attempt to stop him – and the next thing I knew, he was in my huddle – making physical contact with my players and that was very disappointing because he should have been stopped as soon as he started making his way towards my huddle. ...
“From my perspective as the coach at Reidsville High School, the coaching staff and the players from South Granville were top-notch. They had absolutely nothing to do with the incident that occurred with the fan that came from the student section in their gymnasium.”
The game is scheduled to resume at 6 p.m. Thursday at South Granville, according to RockinghamNow.com, with the home team leading 72-66 with 19 seconds remaining. No spectators will be allowed in the gym.
The Reidsville-South Granville boys basketball game in the Class 2-A state quarterfinals tonight in Creedmoor was stopped with 19 seconds remaining after an altercation and after pepper spray was released inside the school gym.
It's not clear what caused the altercation, whether there was more than one and who used pepper spray. The News & Record did not have a reporter at the game and was monitoring the broadcast by the Reidsville Radio Network.
Players were removed from the court and the gym was cleared with South Granville leading 72-66, according to the broadcast by the father-and-son announcing team of Allan and Blake Kelley.
A video posted tonight on Facebook shows footage of several minutes of the game. During a timeout, a fan carrying a sign from the South Granville side of the court ran the length of the court and then across the baseline and appeared to get into the huddle by the Reidsville players. The fan appeared to elude a law enforcement officer on the baseline, but the officer recovered and pulled the fan from the huddle and made a tackle on the court.
Another incident appear to occur seconds later near the Reidsville bench, and by that point multiple spectators and law enforcement officials were on the court. After the second incident, a fan can be heard complaining about pepper spray and coughing.
The Kelleys reported a strong presence of law enforcement officials after the incident, with EMS workers and firefighters as well. The announcers said they were about 30 feet from the incident, and the Kelleys and others near them could be heard coughing or clearing their throats during the delay with pepper spray still hanging in the air in the small gymnasium.
After a delay that the Kelleys estimated at close to an hour, Reidsville coach Jason Ross told them that the teams would resume the game Thursday at a time to be determined. The game will be played with no spectators and only essential personnel.
The Kelleys praised the quality of the game and the sportsmanship that took place before the incident.