Carver & Valley basketball teams meet again

Both teams met behind closed doors Thursday.
Both teams met behind closed doors Thursday.
AHSAA Exec. Dir. Steve Savarese announced Wednesday that both teams will be eliminated from competition.
AHSAA Exec. Dir. Steve Savarese announced Wednesday that both teams will be eliminated from competition.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Carver and Valley High School boys basketball teams have kissed and made up, in a way.

Both teams met behind closed doors Thursday after a brawl that put them, and Alabama, in the national spotlight earlier this week.

When the dust settled eleven juveniles faced criminal charges. Those that didn't face charges have now been suspended from their respective school.

Montgomery Public Schools spokesman Tom Salter says seven students have been suspended pending a hearing. The hearing could yield more suspension time, or even expulsion.

Derrick Martin is all of six feet seven inches tall, and a member of the Carver basketball team. Today he got a taste of wisdom.

"If you make mistakes you always gotta face the consequences..." Martin admitted. He is not one of the 11 juveniles who are in trouble.

In fact, he says he tried to break up the fight on the hardwood. But in the quiet confines of the Alabama High School Athletic Association building, Martin and other players got what one describes as a 'stern message' on thinking before acting.

"Two groups of well-mannered, focused, just quiet kids," said guest speaker Donald Jackson. "You could tell from body language, from mannerisms, from actions that they are not the kids that we've seen, the image that we've seen painted for the last 36 hours."

The Chambers County School District would not allow WSFA 12 News to interview any of Valley's players, but Assistant Superintendent George Mcculloh says he's convinced healing is well underway.

For Carver coach James Jackson and Valley coach Marshon Harper, the reconciliation actually began immediately after the brawl when both men hugged on court. Thursday's session behind closed-doors simply closed an ugly chapter.

"Right now we wanna teach our kids, that we're in the healing process now," said Jackson.

As part of their punishment both teams were eliminated from the tournament.

After the meeting, both teams climbed onto school buses back to their respective schools.

LOOKING BACK on WSFA 12 News Coverage

The Alabama Athletic Association has eliminated both the G.W. Carver and Valley high schools' boys basketball teams from the AHSAA Central Region Basketball Tournament.

Both teams are now on "restrictive probation" and officials are calling the game a "double forfeit".

The AHSAA's Steve Savarese says he, along with several speakers, will meet with both teams on Thursday, though he declined to discuss what they would talk about in the meeting.

Savarese says the girls' teams are not affected by this decision and will continue in the competition.


The day after a semifinal basketball game made national headlines for ending in a huge brawl, charges are being filed.

So far eleven juveniles are facing multiple charges including assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct - which includes inciting a riot as well as failure to disperse. More suspects and charges could be named in the coming days as investigators review WSFA 12 News video of the chaos.

Chambers County School Superintendent George C. McCulloh, didn't need to see the video to understand the impact. He was watching the game from the stands.

The brawl involved basketball players from Montgomery's G.W. Carver High School and Valley High School (Chambers County), as well as fans who began beating people on the court and in the stands.

McCulloh issued an apology to Alabama State University, the Athletics Department and Carver High School for his district's part in the fight.

ASU was hosting the game as part of the Alabama High School Athletic Association's Central Region Basketball Tournament, which runs until Saturday.

AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese obtained a copy of the brawl from WSFA 12 News late Tuesday evening. "...I'm not going to overreact," Savarese said. " We're going to look at all the facts and look at the video, and we'll assess the situation and make some decisions."

Superintendent McCulloh said he was working with the AHSAA and Valley's principal to review the tape. "Our athletes and our student fans are aware that they must abide by the Chambers County Code of Conduct while at school functions whether on or off campus," he said. Each identified individual would be punished according to the county's code of conduct.

WSFA 12 News was able to get reaction from Carver's principal, Gary Hall. "It sends a bad message to our little kids, " Hall said of the event. "My son was in that situation and he's asking me 'Daddy what's going on?'" Carver's top educator said folks could rest assured he would "get to the bottom of it." He also apologized to ASU for the situation.


Carver High School was winning the game 52-37 and tensions were running high in the fourth quarter. Around 3:45pm the hard foul that apparently started the mess was called. Several players began pushing each other and the scuffle quickly escalated to an all-out melee when fans rushed out of the stands and onto the court.

One unidentified player wearing Valley's orange shorts could be seen rushing down the court, shirtless, throwing punches at others. Many other players and fans were on the ground being kicked and punched as police officers tried to regain control of the Acadome.

Head coaches from Valley and Carver haven't commented, though they were seen hugging after the chaos subsided.

Savarese tells WSFA 12 News "...from what I've seen in just the short clips, I'm very disappointed for student athletes of our state, because, uh, very disappointed [for] what we taught 'em today."


The tournament was being held in the ASU Acadome, a stadium which holds approximately 7,000 spectators. There were around 3,000 people in attendance during the fateful game.

Kenneth Mullinax, Director of University Relations for Alabama State University, said " one was hurt. We had some over enthusiastic high school fans who got involved in an altercation..."

"Over enthusiastic" might be an understatement to describe the scene, as WSFA 12 News cameras captured video of players and fans being repeatedly kicked, punched and shoved throughout the event.

While the exact number of police officers and security guards is unknown, video shows a scene in which officers struggled to regain control of the spiraling situation, some even appearing to give up and step back as fans in the audience rioted.

The stands were eventually cleared, however, and a few hours later the tournament started with a new game, something Mullinax says will continue through Saturday as planned.

Mullinax insisted the event was safe and family friendly, and urged people to come out and enjoy the games.

Alabama State University is hosting the Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Region Basketball Tournament for the third consecutive year. Forty-eight area high schools are competing for a spot in the state finals to be held in Birmingham.


Officials initially called the Carver-Valley game in favor of Carver as there were not enough eligible Valley players to continue. However, on Wednesday the AHSAA said it was eliminating both teams from competition and placing them on restrictive probation.