Normandy And U. City Avoid Controversial Hoops Playoff Game

UNIVERSITY CITY, MO. (KTVI) – A long running feud between two area high schools nearly led to a state basketball playoff game taking place under lockdown, with no fans, and only direct parents of players being allowed inside.  The potential game between Normandy and University City was only averted when U-City lost a preliminary game to MICDS Monday night.

There have been scrapes between the schools for years, and there was a fight on the court between the teams in the 2011-2012 season, but the final straw came in December.  U-City played a game at Normandy, and afterward, officials say their busses were attacked by Normandy students as they left campus.

“We had bricks thrown through the bus windows as they left,” University City athletic director Pat Oligschlaeger said.  “They did leave the parking lot, but it was out on the road.  After that the superintendent decided that was the last straw and that we weren’t going to play them in anything anymore.”

Qiana Luckett, whose son plays for U-City, says it was frightening.

“They had to stop the bus.  Kids were throwing rocks at the bus.  It was just horrible,” she said, adding, “I just thought maybe it would be better because last time it was just chaotic.”

Better, she believes, for a game to be played with no fans inside.

The Missouri State High School Athletic Association says it was approached about concerns about putting the two schools together again, and acted with the decision to eliminate fans.

“Some bad apples have ruined it for everyone,” spokesman Jason West said.  “So it is very disheartening.  Hopefully this does send a message to the membership and the school s that if we can keep thing in order something like this won’t have to happen again.”

He says a request has been made by both schools to keep them out of the same districts in the future, and to prevent them from meeting until late in state playoff matchups if they have to play at all.  He says the entire scenario is unprecedented in MSHSAA history.

“It’s an unfortunate situation we’ve come to where this is warranted.”

While the basketball issue is now moot, we asked U-City’s Oligschlaeger about what might happen if the two met in football next fall.

He pointed out that a football game was played this season with no problems.  He hopes they wouldn’t have to go to the extreme of emptying the stands, something that would be tougher with football, which is played in front of larger crowds.

“We’re hoping that if we play them in district football we can get enough security that we can handle it.”

On Tuesday, both districts released a joint statement regarding the potential basketball game.  The districts said, “While we will not be paired against each other in basketball playoff contests this year, our athletes and the spectators who come to support them are committed to displaying sportsmanship-like behavior when they interact with each other.  We believe that it is unfair when one or two incidents are generalized to represent the behavior of all students from the School District of University City and the Normandy School District.”

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