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Fight at a high school basketball game

One arrested in fight at basketball game

Three Millville players face dismissal

10:27 PM, Dec. 19, 2011

MILLVILLE — A former student was charged with aggravated assault and three players face removal from the Millville High School basketball team following an “altercation that was at the brink of turning into a potential riot” at a game, the school district’s superintendent said.

“We’re not going to put up with it. That is not the kind of district we have,” Superintendent David Gentile said in response to the incident that occurred just before 8 p.m. Friday at a home game between the Thunderbolts and Atlantic City High School.

No one was seriously injured and police averted what came close to being a melee among several fans and players of both teams, according to Gentile, who was not at the game but was briefed by staff.

Police arrested a former student, Shaquille Battle, 18, of the 300 block of East Main Street. He fought with Millville police officers arresting him after he refused to leave the building, authorities said.

Battle swung at police and pushed off a wall with his feet as officers tried to restrain him, according to Detective Sgt. Harold Duffield Jr. A police officer’s glasses were broken during the incident, according to Duffield, though it wasn’t clear if the officer was punched by Battle.

He was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, failure to disburse, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. Battle was held in Cumberland County Jail on $50,000 bail.

At one point, a player who had been ejected from the game reportedly rushed back into the gym toward the Atlantic City side before he was restrained.

The school district Monday was continuing a probe into the incident, according to Gentile, and more students could face disciplinary measures. Officials did not identify the three players who may be kicked off the team.

Athletic Director Dave LaGamba said the school would like to move all varsity home games to 4 p.m., starting with this Thursday’s matchup against Middle Township. He said the school also is considering prohibiting fans from sitting in bleachers behind the player benches.

“It’s not what we’re about, and we don’t want to have these things happen,” Gentile said.

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