By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The BVI Basketball Federation League opening Sr. Division game between the Virgin Gorda Mystics and the Latinos ended prematurely with 9 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock in the second half and the Mystics leading 27-14, after the Latinos’ Ruben Reyes triggered a fight, sending the Multipurpose Sports Complex into pandemonium on Saturday night.
Reyes was ejected after a technical foul. A fan in the stands said something to him that triggered a fight which spilled onto the court and several fans got involved during the commotion. There were two to three fights during the fracas that lasted about seven to eight minutes and officials and some fans tried to calm the situation after BVI Basketball officials called the game off in favor of the Mystics.
Many fans recorded the melee on their cell phones which was widely circulated on social media.
On Sunday, the BVI Basketball Federation sent a strong message as Reyes became the first player banned entirely from all basketball related activities in the territory by, after instigating a mass brawl that prematurely ended the Sr. Division game.
Vice President Keith “88” Malone, said it’s not the start that they expected from the league that had troubles getting off the ground.
“The Federation has made the drastic measure of suspending that player who had an altercation with a fan and then ended up in a brawl,” Malone said on Sunday evening. “As of today, he’s banned from the league, he’s banned from the gym and we are also stressing on any other league that’s going on, that he also be banned from those leagues. Basketball is bigger than anyone of us and he’s not going to dampen the sport.”
Reyes is currently on a three year suspension that expires in 2018, from a 2015 unsportsmanlike conduct incident in the Hon. Julian Fraser Save The Seed Basketball League.
“In speaking to some members of that organization, we have stressed to that organization that he’s banned from our league and also highly recommended that he be banned from theirs as well,” Malone stated. “The Federation is the governing body of all those other leagues and we just can’t have any player, any fan, anyone tampering with the basketball spirit here in the Virgin Islands.”
Malone said the BVI Basketball federation now has zero tolerance regarding bad behavior.
“That goes for anyone, any team any person that enters the arena,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about the betterment of the youths, the betterment of basketball and possibly education for the youth. We are not going to have come and disrupt basketball like that.”
Referee Rhennie “Gumba” Phipps, one of the officials calling the game, said when the commotion started he got out the way so he couldn’t comment on much.
“But what I’ll leave you with is that players have to be disciplined and we need to do a better job in disciplining our players,” he said. “Over the years, there have been situations where players disrespect referees, disrespect fans, even their own teammates and coaches and we have to put a stop to that and I think it escalated to a point tonight that we see its really out of control.”
Meanwhile, the opening game saw And One pulling out a 110-75 victory over the Jr. Mystics of Virgin Gorda. Demoi Dagou led And One with 23 points, six assists and four steals. Lestin Wiltshire followed up with 20 points and Kemoi Walters added 18.
After a scoreless first quarter, Kasean Wyllie had the Jr. Mystics’ top score with 17 points. He pulled 12 rebounds and had three steals and three assists respectively.
Young Stars on Sunday, fended off the Mavs, 68-65. J’Quan Scatliffe had 22 points to lead Young Stars. Noel McKelly had 16 for the Mavs.
Franklyn Penn dropped in 28 points and Jomori Dagou followed up with 26 as Legs ran past the Future, 89-76. Penn also had eight rebounds, dished out four assists and had four steals. Dagou finished with six assists and five rebounds.
Devante Brewley was the Future’s top scorer with 19 points.