St. Thomas More appeals team's suspension from postseason following fight
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Top-ranked St. Thomas More boys basketball is appealing WIAA decisions that led to its forfeit in the state playoffs over the weekend.
The WIAA suspended the entire varsity roster of Thomas More based on the officials' report of its Friday night playoff game against Fuller Collegiate Prep. With STM leading by 30 with about a minute to play, a Fuller player stepped over an STM player that was on the floor. The STM player got up and shoved the Fuller player who then shoved back.
According to the officials' report, every player from both teams then left the bench area. Officials ended the game, awarded the win to St. Thomas More, and penalized all players with an unsportsmanlike foul. The WIAA used that report to suspend the entire STM team, causing them to forfeit the next night's playoff game against Brown Deer.
However, video shows not every player left the St. Thomas More bench and several of the players that were already on the floor, in the game, walked away from the altercation that eventually included fans/parents.
"We wanted to deescalate it, and so then to stop preventing something more. From the corner of our eye, we just see a full swarm of players coming. Your first instinct is to protect our players and protect ourselves," said St. Thomas More senior Ethan Emmons.
STM head coach and school president, John Hoch says the team retained an attorney and is appealing the WIAA decision. The team continues to practice in hopes that it will get to play against Brown Deer.
Hoch says his players were de-escalating the situation and none threw any punches. He says three of his players were hurt during the altercation. He says he asked the WIAA to look at the video but they would only refer to the officials' report. WIAA says that is by rule.
"It's really been a roller coaster, because we were really excited going into the playoffs. We had had a really good season and we thought we could advance far into the playoffs." said Hoch. "Then I think there was shock when this whole thing occurred. We had never been through anything like this. It had never happened in this building before. Anything like this in the history of the school. I think there's a glimmer of hope, but still just a lot of uncertainty and not a good feeling overall about this."
As of now, Brown Deer is scheduled to play Dominican in a sectional playoff game Thursday night.