ORANGEBURG — Going into the Orangeburg County Sweet 16, Coach Amelia Miller could see several quality teams from throughout the southeast that the Lady Griffins could prove themselves against. In their opening match up against Calhoun County, they ran all over the Saints.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t all they did in the game. With the Lady Griffins steamrolling the Saints, some of the trash talk that naturally takes place in athletics became too much. According to one individual in attendance, a Calhoun County player grabbed the jersey of a Fairfield Central player and punched her in the face.
This resulted in both teams leaving the bench. The resulting fight cost the girls both the chance at a tournament win and it potentially hurts them going forward as the South Carolina High School League considers suspensions.
One parent in attendance said the whole situation could and should have been avoided had the officials done their jobs.
“The referees saw the escalation building up and they didn’t stop it,” the parent said.
Fairfield Central Principal Tracie Swilley expressed her disappointment with the players involved.
“My expectations for the girls and all the students at Fairfield Central is to have class and demonstrate Griffin pride at all times. Nothing less than that will be accepted,” she said.
With the incident being reviewed by the SCHSL, several decisions are still pending at this time.
“Despite what the league does, I have my own consequences because my girls know my expectations,” she said. “We will have class, we will have sportsmanship, and we will maintain Griffin pride at all times.”
On Monday night, Coach Miller took the players who had not appeared to have been involved in the scrum along with several of the JV players for their second tournament game. Miller said she was especially disappointed because coming in they knew that Scotland High School (N.C.) was a well recognized program.
Early on, it looked like the Lady Griffins would pull off a big win. Without the quality depth she has with her varsity unit, however, Fairfield Central would eventually fall 59-51 in overtime.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.