A high school basketball rivalry reportedly turned ugly when fans from Battle Creek Central (Mich.) High School allegedly attacked cheerleaders from visiting Benton Harbor (Mich.) High School following a boys’ basketball game last week.
The Herald Palladium reports that Benton Harbor cheerleading coach Ronnella Booker made the allegation during a meeting sponsored by the local Racial Equity Committee.
“As we proceeded to the bus and we stepped outside the school, we were hit with trash,” Booker said. “Grown men attacked us.”
Benton Harbor beat Battle Creek by the score of 81-52.
Booker said that many of the cheerleaders involved didn’t come to school the next day, because they were sore from having to defend themselves from fan attacks. Booker said that fans had thrown drink bottles, and grabbed at the cheerleaders’ jewelry.
Interim Superintendent Patricia Robinson told the Herald Palladium that she had been made aware of the incident by Benton Harbor athletic director Michael VanHoven. Robinson said that an investigation is underway.
According to Booker, VanHoven had warned her that there might be trouble, but she was also given assurances that the cheer squad would be escorted to and from the team bus. That didn’t happen. While members of the basketball team were escorted to the bus, the cheer squad was not.
“Our girls need safety, and our community needs to know what happened to us,” Booker said.