CINCINNATI — A high school boys basketball game ended prematurely Wednesday night after an "unsportsmanlike act" late in the third quarter of the Oyler at New Miami matchup.
An Oyler player appeared to have kicked a New Miami player after fouling him with 2:28 remaining in the third quarter, according to game footage recorded by Butler County Sports Report. The game ended without resuming afterward.
Cincinnati Public Schools spokesperson Frances Russ issued a statement late Friday afternoon:
"During the third quarter, a hard foul occurred, followed by an unsportsmanlike act on the part of an Oyler player. Cincinnati Public Schools and Oyler High School do not condone such conduct, and administrators and coaches met with the Oyler student following the game. His actions were addressed in accordance with CPS student athletics policies.
"Subsequently, it has been reported on social media and elsewhere that, during the game, racial comments were directed toward Oyler players. CPS takes these reports seriously and is investigating.
"On December 4, 2020, the Board of Education implemented an anti-racism policy which has as its central purpose the elimination of racism in all of its forms in programs and activities of Cincinnati Public Schools. Critical to the implementation of that policy is ensuring that the young Black men and women of Cincinnati Public Schools know they are supported and heard."
The New Miami Middle School/High School Facebook page also posted a statement late Friday afternoon from superintendent Rhonda Parker.
"Wednesday evening there was an event that occurred during the Home Basketball Game between New Miami High School and Oyler High School that resulted in an injury to a New Miami player. As a result, the basketball game was ended by a school official. The events that took place during the game are under investigation. Both high schools are following their school district policies, and the issue is also being investigated by local law enforcement.
New Miami will not comment further, as this is an open investigation and involves minor-aged students. Thank you."
New Miami defeated Oyler 50-30 in the non-conference game, which was streamed by Butler County Sports Report.
Butler County Sports Report editor Chris Vogt, the solo broadcaster for the game Wednesday night, told WCPO Friday afternoon he was disappointed to see how it ended.
"I know the representation of high school basketball from point A to point B. That's just not what you want to see," Vogt said. "And I do hope that high school basketball in this area can make amends and hopefully we can learn from a situation like this."
Vogt, who has operated the Butler County High School Sports Report since July 2018 and covers 13 Butler County high schools, expressed dismay live on the broadcast, too.
"It was unfortunate that the situation did occur," Vogt said. "Calling the game leading up to that instance — there wasn't really an ounce, a mindset, that would've led up to that situation.
"It surprised me on the broadcast. Seeing (New Miami senior guard) Deanza Duncan going up for a layup, he was relatively fouled with force. That did kind of put Deanza on the floor a little bit harder than a typical foul would (for a layup)."
The video shows players scrambling on the court and spectators standing up in the bleachers.
"The Oyler player did stand on top of Deanza, and then I saw him — he did kick him (Duncan) in the face," Vogt said. "That's what kind of threw me for a shock there. The entire game was going decently well. There wasn't really an instinct that I felt led up to a situation like that. I felt as though the entire game was called great by the refs. When you are concentrating on broadcasting a game, you really don't focus on your outside surroundings much. You're just focused on the task at hand and that's providing a broadcast for those who want to watch it."
Vogt said once the situation in the gymnasium improved, the Oyler team walked over and gave New Miami players fist bumps in a friendly gesture before the Madhatters left the gymnasium.
"That was a reassuring sign," Vogt said. "That was good to see after that situation."
New Miami (5-2) is scheduled to play host to Miami Valley Christian at 6:30 p.m. today, according to the school's Facebook page.
Oyler (2-8) is idle and will have its Friday night game rescheduled.