An associate varsity basketball coach had to make the decision to forfeit a game over the weekend after a common foul devolved into an unsafe environment for his team.
According to The Courier-Tribune, Wheatmore (N.C.) High School’s Austin Biggs committed a common foul Saturday during a non-conference game against Parkland High School.
Associate head coach Brandon Thalasinos, who was filling in for head coach David Spell, said that after the foul, Biggs was grabbed by the throat, while another player punched him in the face. Thalasinos immediately went onto the floor and brought Biggs back to the bench, while his assistant coach for the game helped keep the rest of the team on the bench as well.
While the referees discussed the situation, Thalasinos says that the Parkland crowd became volatile, screaming insults at the Wheatmore players. Thalasinos said that even the Parkland coaches began hurling obscenities at his team.
Thalasinos, who spent 10 years as a deputy for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, said that when about 15 Parkland fans came out of the stands and onto the floor, he could feel things getting out of hand.
“It was very clear very fast we were not in the middle of a basketball game,” Thalasinos said. "(As far as an unsafe environment) it was a 10 on a scale of one to 10. I felt like I had to do what I did for the safety of our kids. Their coaching staff was verbally abusive instead of trying to diffuse the situation.”
Thalasinos says that when he informed the referees that his team would forfeit the game, the abuse got worse, and he and his team had to be escorted to their bus by a police officer.
“I took quite a bit of abuse walking to the bus,” Thalasinos said. “I have thick skin. I can take it. I apologized to the officer who was walking with me and she said, ‘For what? You didn’t do anything.’ There was a slew of curse words I heard getting on the bus. I was very concerned for our players.”
There was no video footage of the incident, because the person running the camera turned off, as she feared for her own safety because of the fans’ comments.
Wheatmore was credited with a loss for having submitted the forfeit.