An altercation between the Alton Redbirds and Riverview Garden Rams boys basketball teams Friday has resulted in the cancellation of the final day of the Alton Redbirds Tip-Off Classic.
The fight broke out late in the third quarter Friday with Alton holding a 21-point lead. Players from both teams were shoving and throwing punches on the court. A scrum of players moved toward the gym bleachers. Some players entered the stands and engaged in fights with fans.
After order was restored, officials made the decision to end the game and the gym was cleared. Alton officials have since canceled the remaining three games including those between O’Fallon and Althoff, Alton and. Ritenour and Carbondale and Riverview Gardens, each of which was to be played Saturday.
Alton Athletic Director Jeff Alderman said the Ritenour and Carbondale will receive forfeit wins. Alderman also issued the following statement regarding the altercation on Friday.
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“Due to the unfortunate altercation tonight at The Alton Redbird Tip-off Classic, the remainder of the classic games have been canceled. There will be no games on Saturday, November 24, 2018. The altercation occurred during the Alton vs. Riverview Gardens game resulting in a double forfeit loss for each team.
“In addition, both teams, by leaving the bench area to join the altercation, Alton and Riverview Gardens will forfeit Saturday’s games resulting in a forfeit win for Carbondale and Ritenour. In concern for everyone’s safety, all other games for Saturday are canceled too. Further discipline will be determined after investigations are concluded.’’
A technical foul called against Riverview Gardens’ Schuyler Pimentel, and his subsequent ejection from the game, sparked the melee. Madison County Sheriff’s deputies working the game helped restore order.
Althoff coach and athletic director Greg Leib, whose team hosted Carbondale on Friday, said he was surprised by the events at Alton on Friday.
“I didn’t see what happened since we were playing Carbondale at home. I only know what I’ve seen and read on social media,’’ Leib said. “Alton (coach) Eric Smith does a great job and his kids play hard. We’ve never had any problems playng Alton and have respect for their team and program. The same with Riverview Gardens.
“It was just an unfortunate situation that got out of hand.’’