GODFREY • Tempers flared out of control as the Alton and Riverview Gardens boys basketball teams erupted into a brawl that spilled into the student section Friday at Alton High School.
Late in the third quarter, officials suspended the game and gave both teams a forfeited loss.
According to Alton athletics director Jeff Alderman, because both teams' benches emptied and engaged in an altercation, the two teams will be suspended for tomorrow's Redbird Tipoff Classic finale and given two losses.
In a statement later from Alton High School, all games in the remainder of the tournament have been canceled.
In addition to the Alton/Ritenour and Riverview Gardens/Carbondale, the game between O'Fallon (2-1) and Althoff (1-2) has also been canceled. Carbondale (4-0) and Ritenour (2-2) have been awarded forfeit wins from their games scheduled for Saturday.
Further discipline will be determined after all investigations have been concluded.
Tempers flared between the sides at halftime before the teams went to their respective locker rooms, according to Riverview Gardens coach Milton Stith, who believed the situation was under control.
But during the third quarter, with Riverview Gardens trailing 64-43, tempers flared again, this time it took officials and Madison County officers intervening to control and diffuse the situation.
"I don't know to what extent words were spoken," Stith said. "I know it got physical and we lost control of the bench. Tempers flared and punches were thrown and subsequently, this is what we have."
Stith was apologetic after the game.
"It was a heated competition and tempers flared," Stith said. "What I will say is that the Alton program is first class, their athletic director is first class and they have my apology if anything happened that we could have prevented, and I take full blame for it."
Alton (2-2) used a 17-0 run in the first half to build 42-23 lead over Riverview Gardens (1-3) while it dealt with foul trouble.
The Rams mounted a comeback in the third quarter, cutting the lead to single-digits before the Redbirds started to pull away late in the third quarter before the brawl.
Alton senior Donovan Clay led all scorers with 20 points. He also ripped down 10 rebounds and had four blocked shots to go along with three assists.
Riverview Gardens senior Mike Hogans scored nine of his team-high 12 points in the third quarter.