Apology issued after melee caught on video at girl's basketball game

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Shocking video at a high school basketball tournament in Savannah over the weekend appears to show a referee getting attacked.

After he called a foul against one team, he says a mother came out of the stands onto the court where everything unfolded.

It happened over the weekend at an AAU basketball tournament at the Jenkins Athletic Club.

"I've refereed the City of Savannah leagues in places where the fans weren't as kind, but they never got this far. Never got this far," said Marcus Fowles, the referee at the game.

Mayhem broke out at a girls' basketball game over the weekend where one of the referees is taken to the ground by whom he believes is a parent of the GLA Shockers basketball team from Eatonton, GA.

We sat down with that referee to hear his side of the story.

"When she came out of stands, I sit there and I blow the whistle, technical foul. You have to leave the gym," he continued. "She tells me I don't have to go anywhere. While we're arguing and all that, she takes a swing at me. When she takes a swing at me, that's when I back up. When I start to back up, if you see in the video, you'll see Jake Simmons the coach come from behind and hit me in the back of the video. And that's when I hit the floor."

That account is difficult to see in the actual video but the GLA Shockers director told me there's fault on each side of the court.

"It was not right for him. She didn't swing at him. What he did was push her and drew up his hand like he was ready to box her," said Darius Little, from Eatonton, GA.

Little says one of the contributing factors for this fight is he claims the referees including Fowles were not certified.

"When you have someone hosting a tournament, that is taking $900 to $1,500 from these organizations. But they want to pocket the money and don't want to pay for certified officials. You are going to have stuff go on like this no matter where it is," Little said.

The Georgia High School Association confirmed Fowles is a certified official.

"She told him she wasn't going anywhere. Then, the gentleman came from behind. The other coach came over and started stomping on him, so at that time, my assistant coach helped me grab one of the guys to get them off him," said Savannah Lady Warriors Coach, Curtis Foster. "Then, my assistant coach grabbed the referee and then I went and tried to grab the other coach to try and take him back because it was ridiculous. I've never seen anyone get beat down like that."

Fowles claims the woman who ran on the court was joined by her husband, Little, the director of the team.

When asked if the woman in the video was his wife, Little responded, "I plead the fifth on everything."

A police report was filed by Fowles Monday, a day after the incident took place. In the report, it names Jake Simmons, Darius Little and Ranada Little as suspects in this simple assault report. Little says they should have handled it differently.

"I hold accountability for my organization for not keeping their composure and being humble and just letting the game get over and just pulling the kids and walking away," Little said.

He claims the mother of a player, Ranada Little, came onto the floor complaining about a call and says she tried to throw a punch at him. This account is difficult to see in the video.

Fowles tells the officer he was threatened by them and was told they were waiting for him in the parking lot. The referee says the lack of security at this tournament did not mediate the situation.

"He had no security at all at the Jenkins Athletic Club. It was a hostile environment all weekend. We had fans going at each other. We had players going at each other. You know we can control what goes on on the floor. We can't control what goes on in the stands," Fowles said.

The coordinator of the tournament is D1 Speck, who hung up and did not return any calls.

We are continuing to reach out to everyone involved to hear their side of the story.

Jenkins Athletic Club Director Billy Covington released this statement following the incident:

"For nearly 90 years, part of our ongoing mission at the Jenkins Athletic Club is to provide youth athletic programs and facilities for the community... We absolutely do not condone this extreme behavior at any of our sporting events. For us, this is an isolated incident and not one we have ever experienced."

Tuesday night, the visiting team gave an apology.

The Savannah Warriors coach says his team will never play them again, apology or not.

"It's about the kids. I mean, what kind of example are you showing to your kids? You are telling these kids it's right to do that when someone is not wrong, or if there is a bad call or something? You can't tell your kids, 'oh you just go jump on the referee.' That's not a way we should be teaching our kids today," Coach Foster said.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.