SPRINGFIELD — Ron Ingram has coached a lot of games. None of them have affected him quite like MacArthur’s game Saturday at Springfield Lanphier.
Ingram’s Generals suffered a heartbreaking 62-59 loss as MacArthur tried to keep pace atop the Central State 8 standings with the Lions and Springfield Southeast. MacArthur fell behind before coming back late to make it close, Ingram’s nephew, Keenan Ingram, took an elbow to the head that later required stitches, and an altercation between players caused fans to run on the floor and resulted in a MacArthur player being ejected.
Toward the end of the game, Ingram’s head started hurting badly and he began sweating profusely. After the game, in the locker room, he started feeling cold and his headache began hurting down the back of his neck. His chest also felt tight.
Ingram, 57, was taken to the the emergency room at Springfield’s Memorial Medical Center.
“The game was so stressful, just with the way it was played, Keenan getting elbowed, the incident with the players and the fans running on the floor and going out there trying to break it up,” Ingram said. "I think I just overdid myself."
Ingram stayed at the hospital overnight and was released Sunday evening. He said the hospital ran several tests and doctors told him he’d suffered an episode of angina.
“I still have a headache in my eyes, but it’s way better than last night — it’s not pounding,” Ingram said on Sunday night. “I’m feeling much better than last night.”
Ingram won’t coach practice on Monday and will watch Tuesday’s home game against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin from the weight room while assistant coach Tarise Bryson coaches the team.
“I don’t know after that, but I have to be careful and take care of myself,” Ingram said. “I’ve had a lot of emotions — I’ve been depressed, scared, nervous … I’ve never been through something like this before. I’ve never been hospitalized before.”
Ingram said the altercation caused him a lot of stress, especially as he had flashbacks to the in-game fight from his first year as MacArthur’s coach in 2014 — also at Lanphier — that resulted in a double-forfeit and several players being suspended.
This time, cooler heads prevailed after the altercation, which came with 2:34 left in the third quarter, and the game continued.
Ingram said it started when MacArthur’s Armon Brummett set a screen on Lanphier’s Larry Hemingway and was called for an illegal screen.
“In the process, the Lanphier kid grabbed Armon’s waist and slung him to the floor, but he fell, too, and landed on top of Armon,” Ingram said. “(Hemingway) pushed himself up on Armon’s chest and that set Armon off.”
Ingram said the two players stood and looked at each other, but no punches were thrown. Each player received a technical foul from officials.
“They were face to face and some words were exchanged, but it got broken up — if you look at the tape, there weren’t any punches thrown,” Ingram said. “Some adults came out of the stands, but police got to them before they got to the skirmish.”
MacArthur’s MJ Bond was ejected for leaving the bench and running on the court, but Ingram said Bond was playing peacemaker, not agitator.
“He was helping break stuff up, trying to get everyone back to the bench,” Ingram said. “The rule is you can’t leave the bench, so he was ejected, but I’m not upset with him. I wish he wouldn’t have done it, but he was trying to help break it up.”
Ingram said he wasn’t sure what disciplinary action, if any, would be taken. He said Bond would likely miss Tuesday’s game.
“I’ll talk to (MacArthur principal Cordell Ingram and athletic director Jason Crutcher) on Monday about it,” Ingram said. “But this wasn’t our guys’ fault, and it wasn’t a fight.”
Ingram said Keenan Ingram took an accidental elbow from a Lanphier player that hit Keenan in the eye and caused a gash. He was taken to the emergency room once he arrived back in Decatur and received stitches.
Ingram said that play had nothing to do with the altercation. He said while he was relieved the incident didn’t escalate to the level of the 2014 fight, he feels like something needs to be done to prevent future altercations at Lanphier.
“We’ve joked around before that one of these days we’re going to have to play the game at Lanphier with no fans,” Ingram said. “At the end of the day, something is going to have to be done, because it’s always something there. There’s no other combination of teams this happens with — not us and Eisenhower, us and Southeast, them and Southeast. And these guys all know each other. I don’t know why, but it’s always something there.
“In this case, though, I have to tip my hat to the kids on both sides. If it wasn’t for the fans running on the floor, it wouldn’t have been as big a deal as it was.”