Fight, Gunfire Mar Games
It was an eventful weekend for the Jeff Davis High School girls basketball team Friday and Saturday.
Friday in Alma, the Lady Jackets defeated Bacon County 40-37 and, after a fight broke out between the Bacon cheerleaders and the Lady Jackets, the boys game was cancelled with some three minutes remaining in the first half.
Saturday, the JD girls fell to Vidalia 48-30 in Vidalia. And as the team bus was driving through Vidalia after the game, a pickup truck pulled beside the bus and someone in the truck hit the windows of the bus with four gunshots.
According to Lady Jacket Coach Nikki Perry, during the first half of the boys game in Alma, a security guard told a group of teenage Jacket fans in the stands that if they stood up, they would be expelled from the gym. One youngster, in his excitement with the game, stood up and applauded a Yellow Jacket play and the security guard promptly threw him out of the gym.
Following that, a group of Bacon County students came over to the Jeff Davis side of the gym, behind the Jeff Davis teens and the two groups began jawing back and forth.
Coach Perry said a woman, who she later learned was the school principal, came over to the stands and pointed out four teenage boys from Jeff Davis High telling them they had to leave. The security guard came over and Perry defended the youngsters, saying she was sitting right next to the boys and their behavior did not warrant them being forced to leave the gym.
With that, Perry said the security guard threatened to arrest her and then told Perry she would have to leave the gym.
So Perry rounded up her players to get them to get their belongings from the dressing room. But Bacon County’s cheerleaders were standing in front of the dressing room door and, as the Jeff Davis players filed past them, three of the players were attacked by the cheerleaders.
Mayhem ensued as coaches and parents struggled to separate the girls.
With that, the remainder of the boys game was cancelled.
Yellow Jacket Boys Coach Bo Boatright said the remainder of the game will not be played unless it will determine seeding positions for post-season play.
Saturday’s incident was frightening for the young Jeff Davis players. After the bus was hit with the gunfire, a traffic light forced the truck to stop and Coach Perry was able to write down the license plate number on the vehicle.
After calling authorities, Perry was instructed to meet police in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Vidalia so she could make a report. But Perry said the pickup truck also turned into the parking lot at the opposite end of the lot from the school bus.
Perry said they began to hear more gunshots from the other end of the lot and her players took cover on the floor of the bus, phoning their parents to tell them what was happening.
One of the parents apparently contacted the Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Department and a Deputy met the bus in Alston and escorted it back to Hazlehurst.
Perry said the shots to the bus were probably from a pellet gun as the bullets did not break the windows of the bus but merely cracked the panes of the windows.