‘They knew what they were doing’: Orange Glen coaches react to tortillas thrown at team after loss to Coronado High
CORONADO (KUSI) – The Coronado Police Department and the California Interscholastic Federation are investigating what’s being called a racist act after a basketball game between Coronado High School and Orange Glen High School. It happened minutes after Coronado High beat Orange Glen for the CIF Southern California Boys Basketball Division 4-A Regional Championship in a game that came down to the final seconds.
Witnesses say a fight broke out between benches when people threw tortillas towards a group of predominantly Hispanic team members from Orange Glen.
“You know, they’re trying to calm the situation down between coaches and players, then all of a sudden tortillas started flying towards our group,” said Lizardo Reynoso, an assistant basketball coach for Orange Glen who called the act deliberate. “They knew what they were doing. They were throwing tortillas at a school that’s predominately Hispanic and Latinos. They were sending a message, to be honest with you.”
Orange Glen Head Coach Chris Featherly told KUSI the rivalry between the two teams has been heated all season. He said it came to a breaking point when his bench was approached in an aggressive manner by Coronado staff.
“When their coach decided to have some choice words for my staff and my coach and my kids, I just didn’t take lightly to it,” Featherly said. “I just think it was ridiculous that it was even happening, I thought it was tasteless and disgusting. It’s just completely disrespectful.”
Coronado Head Coach JD Laaperi did not respond to KUSI’s request for comment on the story but tweeted out the following message Saturday night:
“Unfortunately a community member brought tortillas and distributed them which was unacceptable and racist in nature. I do not condone this behavior. Coronado High School does not condone this behavior and is already taking appropriate action.”
The Coronado School District said they have identified the students responsible and have vowed swift disciplinary action. The school board will meet tomorrow to decide how those responsible will be held accountable.
“Not only was it, you know, their fans or student body or whatever. It was, you know, players. You know, it’s shown on film that players are throwing it too,” Featherly said. “That reflects leadership, in my opinion. I could never see myself letting my players or my staff get away with it, let alone making a comment to the team that just fought their hearts out and lost the state championships.”
KUSI’s Hunter Sowards was live at Coronado High School with more on the situation.