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South Bend Tribune (Indiana)

Some late-game, on-the-court jostling escalated into a thrown punch by a South Bend Washington player during the closing minutes of Saturday night's Texas Roadhouse Holiday Girls Basketball Classic championship at Washington High School.

A video of the retaliatory punch by Washington's Breonda Green to Oregon-Davis player Lexi Minix surfaced on YouTube.

In less than 24 hours, the video had received more than 7,400 views. It was the driving force for several national media outlets and websites to pick up the story.

The video shows Minix push Green away after the whistle is blown. Green then turns around and hits Minix in the head as she's walking away, sending her to the floor.

Oregon-Davis head coach Terry Minix told WSBT that Lexi, his daughter, was unable to attempt her free throws and was on the bench the rest of the game. He said she did get checked out at a hospital, but the coach would not comment on her condition as of Sunday morning.

Later Sunday, when contacted by WSBT, Oregon-Davis superintendent Greg Briles contradicted Terry Minix's statement. Briles said Lexi Minix was not taken to the hospital. He said she was checked out by two registered nurses who determined the injury, at worst, was a mild concussion, according to the WSBT report.

The Tribune made several attempts to contact Terry Minix Sunday night, to no avail.

"It was a tight game the entire way. The kids were competing, and it got out of hand," Washington head coach Maurice Scott said.

After Green struck Lexi Minix, the video shows both head coaches approaching midcourt and exchanging heated words. At that point, a person later identified as an Oregon-Davis assistant coach approached, yelling at Scott and placed his hands on him. IHSAA rules prohibit assistant coaches from going onto the floor.

"I was trying to talk to coach (Terry Minix) when the assistant coach starts going nuts," Scott told WSBT. "I said, 'We're coaches. We've got to control this.' (The assistant) got aggressive. That's when the crowd went nuts."

Several members of the crowd spilled onto the floor, but police officers and school officials were quick to control the chaos.

South Bend Community School Corp. Athletic Director Kirby Whitacre was working the event and played a role with other administrators from both schools in helping restore order.

"We had plenty of security, and fans on both sides did a nice job restraining themselves,'' Whitacre said when contacted by The Tribune Sunday afternoon. "Order was restored quickly ... the response was quick and effective.''

"It was a sectional atmosphere ... It was probably one of the most hotly contested games I've seen in years,'' Whitacre said. "I think it was a physical game, but I don't think it was a dirty game. It was one of those games where every time there was a loose ball there were players diving on the floor. ... It was played at a very, very hard level.''

Washington closed on a 23-16 run to end the game for an 84-79 victory that gave Class 1-A top-ranked O-D its first loss in 11 games. Washington, a Class 4-A school, is 10-3.

According to Whitacre, Green will be suspended for at least the next game because of the ejection. A report of the incident will be filed by game officials to the IHSAA. The IHSAA may accept the one-game suspension and consider the issue over, or may want more information and can request video from each school. The game was taped by each school.

"We don't tolerate that, no matter what," Scott said of Green's actions. "She's a kid who made a mistake and needs to learn. As a team we all need to learn."

Multiple social media sites indicated that former Washington and Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins, had also been ejected from the game for unruly behavior, a claim Scott says is untrue.

"We had her escorted out of the gym after the game was over to protect her," Scott said of Diggins, who is his stepdaughter.

Scott says it's a common practice when Diggins attends games.

"We do that every game just to get her out. Otherwise she would never be able to leave," he said, referring to the number of requests for pictures and autographs.

Diggins was honored prior to the game, along with the 2007 state championship team, and Diggins' uniform No. 4 was retired.

Sunday, Diggins tweeted, "I stick up for my family at ALL times ... UNAPOLOGETICALLY!"

Diggins' high school coach, Marilyn Coddens, told WSBT that Diggins watched the rest of the game in the stands.

"I know for a fact that she was in no way in any confrontation," Coddens said.

The YouTube video shows both varsity coaches getting into a heated discussion, at which point Coddens says the whole basketball team, as well as several people in the stands from both teams went down to the court - Diggins included.

"There was no trash talking, no ugliness, nothing," Coddens said.

"Skylar would never curse at a kid," Scott adds. "She was yelling at the refs to control the assistant coach and keep him away from her dad."

Scott had not spoken with Minix as of Sunday afternoon but said he planned to do so.

As far as social media are concerned, Briles told WSBT that Oregon-Davis players "have been told it needs to stop."

He said the school system is not looking to pursue any criminal charges.

"Hopefully, all the young ladies learn a lesson from what happened," he said.

 

December 31, 2013
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