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Fans banned from Warren tourney because of two fights

11/21/12      Gurnee  Waukegan Lake Forest Academy face off an fairly empty gymnasium during their

11/21/12 Gurnee Waukegan and Lake Forest Academy face off in an fairly empty gymnasium during their basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 21. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 21, 2013 1:58AM

GURNEE —Police used pepper spray during one of two fights and arrested 11 at a holiday tournament basketball game at Warren Township High School’s Almond Campus on Tuesday night.

“It was ready to go up for grabs and then it did go up for grabs,” Gurnee Police Chief Kevin Woodside said Wednesday of the melee.

Tuesday’s incident resulted in major changes for the rest of the tournament, which is being held at Warren and Mundelein high schools.

Wednesday’s two games involving Warren, North Chicago, Waukegan and Lake Forest Academy were played in front of sparse crowds.

The only people allowed at the Wednesday night games were two parents of each the players.

“There will be no outside fans,” said Warren High Athletic Director Mark Pos. “Everybody is on a pre-pass list. We have checkpoints when they first come into the parking lot and again when they enter. Our priority is to create a safe and secure environment for the four teams that are playing.”

As for the games scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Warren, they now will be played at Mundelein.

“As far as the rest of the tournament, all four games on Friday (two) and Saturday (two) will be played at Mundelein,” Pos said.

That means there will be four games at Mundelein on both Friday and Saturday, with games times at 1, 2:30, 4:30 and 6 p.m. both days.

The first fight broke out right as Warren and Lake Forest Academy basketball players came out of the locker room after half-time during the Warren/Mundelein Holiday Tournament.

Woodside said an officer noticed a young man from North Chicago talking aggressively with another North Chicago youth in the stands, and then he took off his sweatshirt and appeared to be ready to fight. North Chicago and Waukegan had just played the game before in the tournament.

The officer grabbed that youth and started walking him to the door when the second individual began struggling with a second officer and was laying on the floor with his hands under his body so the officer could not handcuff him, the chief said. It also appeared he was trying to hide something.

The first officer secured his suspect and helped the second officer. Once they got him handcuffed and standing they noticed a black handgun on the floor. It turned out to be a very real-looking BB gun.

The first youth, a 16-year-old, was referred to the Depke Juvenile Center, Vernon Hills, on charges of disorderly conduct. The second youth, also 16, was referred to the juvenile detention center on charges of disorderly conduct, unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest, said Woodside.

“The tone of the crowd (after that incident) led the school to decide to clear the gymnasium. The crowd was agitated,” said Woodside. At this point, the players had been sent back to the locker room. The rest of the game was played without fans.

Outside the school, more problems flared up and police used pepper spray to break up the second fight.

Ranesha Gibbons, 18, of the 1800 block of Hervey St., North Chicago, was charged with mob action and another eight juveniles — four from North Chicago and four from Waukegan — were arrested for disorderly conduct and referred to the juvenile center in Vernon Hills.

Warren Coach Ryan Webber was coaching his first game as the Blue Devils’ coach. “I definitely won’t forget my first win at Warren,” he said.

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