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Alton board decides to let basketball season continue after Tip-Off brawl

A frame taken from video footage of the brawl between Alton and Riverview Gardens shows a scrum of players moving toward the bleachers as a referee is knocked down. The fight resulted in a double forfeit and a cancellation of the Alton Tip-Off Classic’s remaining games.
A frame taken from video footage of the brawl between Alton and Riverview Gardens shows a scrum of players moving toward the bleachers as a referee is knocked down. The fight resulted in a double forfeit and a cancellation of the Alton Tip-Off Classic’s remaining games.

The Alton Redbirds are headed back to the basketball court.

At a special Alton District 11 Board of Education meeting Wednesday it was decided that the Alton High School boys basketball season will resume following an altercation late in the Alton-Riverview Gardens game Friday at the Alton Tip-Off Classic.

With a large crowd gathered on Wednesday, Alton superintendent Mark Cappel and board members met in closed session before returning with the decision that Alton’s season will resume on Thursday with a practice session..

Any disciplinary action that was, or will be, taken against the Alton players involved was not made public.

Cappel issued the following statement regarding the situation.

“We have thoroughly investigated the incident that occurred at last Friday’s basketball game. Because of student confidentiality, we will not be sharing any information on disciplinary actions or related consequences associated with the incident. I want to share that, while it is extremely regrettable that this occurred, it is an isolated event that should in no way serve as a representation of our athletic programs or the character of our athletes. The Alton School District’s Athletic Programs have established and maintained a rich history of sportsmanship, honor and excellence. We will continue in striving to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again in the future and that our students and student-athletes are equipped and empowered to make good choices at all times.”

Expected to be one of the top Class 4A teams in southern Illinois, Alton had been impressive in winning its first two games at the Tip-Off Classic and held a 21-point lead late in the third quarter against the Rams when the altercation took place.

Players from both teams began shoving, punches were thrown As the fight escalated and moved toward the bleachers at Alton High School, some players entered the stands and engaged in fights with fans.

After order was restored, officials made the decision to end the game and clear the gymnasium. Tournament officials then decided to cancel all three games Saturday between O’Fallon and Althoff, Alton and. Ritenour, and Carbondale and Riverview Gardens.

Alton and Riverview Gardens forfeited their games on Saturday, giving Ritenour, Mo. and Carbondale automatic wins.

On Monday, with the investigation ongoing, the decision was made to cancel the Redbirds’ home game with Jerseyville.

Alton (2-3) will return to the court on Tuesday when it opens Southwestern Conference play at O’Fallon.

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