2007-03-23 / Sports

Garden Brawl May Turn Out Lights For PSAL

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

The lead story on the CBS 11 p.m. news Sunday night wasn't exactly the feel good story the Department of Education and the PSAL wanted about the boys and girls championship basketball games held at Madison Square Garden.

The fallout of the various skirmishes which broke out into brawls during the boys' game featuring Abraham Lincoln and Boys and Girls have put the PSAL in a delicate situation.

Some of the major action that occurred in the stands happened in Lincoln's 77-50 win over Boys and Girls. There weren't many reports that occurred in the girls game, in which Murry Bergtraum defeated John F. Kennedy.

The video showed teenagers, who may have represented the four schools whose teams played at the Garden that night, fighting with other teenagers, school security officers and NYPD officers.

Images shown on CBS 2 include an unidentified girl slapping a boy and four officers using force to arrest a student.

Skirmishes reported throughout the building and outside the Garden were just as rough. There were reports of shots fired at a nearby parking garage and brawls extended to the 42nd Street Times Square area and the subway station.

The New York City Police Department arrested 21 people and most were charged with disorderly conduct, weapons charges and resisting arrest.

Recently, at a March 15 in a press conference, the PSAL and Madison Square Garden announced a three year contract to host the city championships.

Now that agreement might be in jeopardy even as the PSAL enacted emergency counter measures to prevent the brawls from occurring next year.

The PSAL announced an end to nighttime championship games and ticket sales for the title games held at the Garden will be restricted to the participating schools.

The crowd they will get if they sell to only students, families and school staff will be significantly smaller than the 13,826 they had last Sunday night.

And it's no guarantee that Cablevision, owners of Madison Square Garden, will allow the PSAL to host an event next year. Precedent was set in 1964 when an ugly scuffle in the PSAL championship game between Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin High School was serious enough to ban the event for 25 years.

"We have offered our assistance to the NYPD to help identify event attendees that may have continued to engage in disorderly conduct after leaving the Garden," a statement released by Madison Square Garden said.

"Given the security concerns, we will be evaluating whether to host this event in the future."

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