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Parents only: No spectators allowed at Taft vs. Woodward basketball game after fight

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Jan 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-01 00:12:28-05

CINCINNATI — Parents and cheerleaders will be the only people allowed in the gym when the next Taft and Woodward basketball game tips off on Friday, according to the Cincinnati Public Schools.

Two parents or guardians per player will be permitted into the game and tickets will not be available online for purchase, the district said.

The decision was made "after altercations involving spectators" sprung up during the previous boys basketball game between the two teams.

"I just honestly think it was in the flow of the moment, both teams knew this was a really big game and they just let the emotions get to them," said Robert Witt, senior at Taft High School. "They don't want people fighting, they say you fight, and then you get suspended, you lose your education, you fight at a basketball or football team, you lose your scholarship, that's where you are going to go."

Woodward and Taft last played one another Jan. 3; Taft won the game 90-84. Friday's game will be the last home game for Woodward and the district said it will continue with the pre-planned Senior Night.

"A lot of seniors are heartbroken because they're only allowed to have two people there," said Carolyn Pritchett, a para-professional at Woodward High School. "The answer isn't what they wanted, but I think they should allow the student body to come and just make sure that, you know, have enough security around so this won't occur again."

Those who want to watch the game will be able to do so virtually, streaming on CPS' Athletics YouTube page.

"I can go with that, I can go with that," said Jammal Hampton, a grandparent of a student at Woodward High School. "I wouldn't say it went too far, but I can understand because it's been a rivalry for a long time."

The district did not elaborate on what the altercations during the last game were or how many students from either school may have been involved. There is at least one video circulating social media that shows multiple people fighting on the court after the basketball game on January 3rd. Multiple sources told WCPO there was also another fight that took place in October during a football game between the two schools.

"I think they should sit down, talk about it, and give the kids another chance, I think everybody deserves another chance," said Jenny Babineaux, parent of a Taft student.

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