Foul on the court! Fight breaks out at WCHS


Photo by Jeremy Chung.

WCHS and Blake High School personnel break up the fight that involved both players and spectators. The incident has led to reexaminations of security presence at sports events.

By Jeremy Chung, Assistant News Editor

Fights happen at WCHS, but to what extent does it reach a point of concern? Many asked this question after a fight during the WCHS versus Blake High School boys varsity basketball home game on Jan. 31. 

After a wave of new COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year, WCHS basketball games were finally allowed to host in-person fans at around 25 percent capacity during the game, marking the first time spectators would be allowed this season. WCHS came into the game with an undefeated record of 13-0, while Blake’s record was 7-5.

Throughout the game, there were many physical and chippy encounters between the two schools. This reached its apex when with two minutes left, WCHS junior Tre Stott was seen hurling a punch towards Blake senior Max Mathura, causing other Blake teammates to intervene and start a brawl that eventually spilled into the stands, with referees, staff members and parents stepping in to stop the fight.

Multiple videos of the fight taken by spectators and the NFHS Network surfaced on Instagram, with some, such as the one posted by @capitolhoops, gaining over 1,000 likes and 14,000 views.

“We are dismayed and disappointed by the behaviors displayed in this incident which do not represent the R.A.I.S.E. Core Values of MCPS Athletics, nor the values and expectations of Winston Churchill High School and our Churchill Athletics program,” Principal John Taylor said in a statement sent to the WCHS community a day after the game.

After the fight was broken up, spectators were asked to leave the game and personnel decided not to let the game continue, which gave WCHS the win. WCHS immediately began a joint investigation alongside Blake High School and MCPS Athletics administrators, interviewing spectators and players to determine consequences of the fight.

“When we’re doing an investigation, we are trying to figure out if there is something we are not seeing? Is there something that happened that we didn’t know about? Is there something we don’t understand about the situation? So we are trying to get the best of our knowledge of what happened so we can appropriately assign consequences and move forward,” Taylor said.

After the fight, Taylor and others reportedly called Montgomery County police and took statements from those involved.

“My understanding is that the police were involved and took statements from several individuals that night [to decide] whether or not they want to press charges,” Taylor said. “[MCPS has] no control over that.”

However, a parent involved in the altercation, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it is most likely that Montgomery County Police will not investigate the situation.

“When the police arrived, I had to ask three different officers before any of them would even talk to me,” the parent said. “The police only wanted to get everyone off the property, and they were very clear that they were not doing any investigation.”

After MCPS’ investigation, it was determined that Stott was the only player from WCHS who would have consequences for his actions: a three-game suspension. WCHS administrators did not reveal details about punishments for the players and coaches from Blake High School. The Observer reached out to Blake players and administrators, but all have declined to comment.

There were consequences to this altercation with one of our players being ejected and suspended for one game,” WCHS Athletic Director Jesse Smith said. “We decided because of the seriousness of the incident that further game suspensions were merited, and he had two additional games added. Because our coaches and players did the proper thing and remained out of the incident, we had no other suspensions.”

Some people, including the parent, have accused WCHS of not properly investigating the situation, believing a more thorough investigation should have been done, or perhaps the administration was too soft on coaches who should have received more significant and severe consequences.

“In the letter that the principal sent out where he said they would be reviewing the videos and contacting everyone for interviews, it seems that was just something to say that [Taylor] thought would calm parents down, but it doesn’t seem that he had any intention of doing what he said,” the parent said. 

One coach that many believe should be heavily reprimanded is Blake’s junior varsity boys basketball coach Freddie Davis. In a separate section of the fight, Davis was seen hurling another adult towards the ground and throwing several punches before being pulled away by his colleague. 

From his Instagram account, @coachdavis2, it seems as though Davis is still coaching at Blake. No source has confirmed if Davis faced any consequences and he did not respond to the Observer’s request for comment.

One of the fight’s main problems highlighted was the lack of security and referees at the game, with one referee not wanting to be involved in the altercation and walking away from the action.

I think [officials] did the best they could at the moment, but there was basically no security, and it could have been much worse,” the parent said. “It was sheer luck that [the fight] didn’t get worse.”

Due to the priority system MCPS uses to determine the security presence at each game, the shortage of officials was compounded.

“There is a priority level given to every game usually determined at the start of the season. For example, in a home game vs. Wootton [High School], we know there is going to be big crowds, so we might arrange to have police, multiple administrators, multiple security, all of that,” Taylor said. “It was not a rivalry game, so it’s none of the indicators that we look forward to determining if we have police officers or if we have other people there, so we did five or six security members there.”

Overall, incidents at athletic events have been widespread across MCPS, and this fight was no different. In the future, more actions need to be taken to prevent anything like this from happening again.

“I think our coaches making sure that they go over with the players exactly what the expectations are is important, and I think making sure we have all of our staff know what to do if it happens and how to respond in the situation,” said Taylor.

For WCHS basketball player Tre Stott, he hopes to put this situation in the past and look at the positive side as the WCHS Basketball team heads to the state playoffs after being crowned County Champions.

“I’m ready to become a better me, not just for myself, but for the people who always keep it real,” Stott said. “No matter what, I’m going to stay on my 10.”