Bench-clearing brawl forces early end to high school basketball game

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Referees ended a high school basketball game between Hermitage and Henrico early Tuesday night after two players sparked a bench-clearing brawl that eventually included spectators.

With 1:46 remaining in the third quarter of what was the first game of the season for each team, a Hermitage player went up for a layup, and a Henrico player blocked his shot. According to Henrico Head Coach Vance Harmon and confirmed by Hermitage Athletic Director Chris Rollison, both players went to the ground and began to scuffle there. One player punched, elbowed and bit the other player. Then, as many as ten Hermitage players left their bench and as many as two Henrico players also did so. Harmon and Rollison say anywhere from 50 to 75 spectators then left the bleachers on both sides of the court.

Eventually, referees, coaches and administrators were able to separate the two teams and get the spectators off of the court. The referees sent both teams to the locker room as they attempted to sort out the mess. According to Rollison, both sides decided to cancel the rest of the game, and it was officially over with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter. Henrico held a 60-46 lead at the time.

Harmon said the punch, elbow and bite were all severe enough to break the skin, and that the incident may result in charges being filed. 8News is not identifying the players involved, as at least one is a minor. Charges have not yet been filed.

During the 2014-2015 season, a similar brawl occurred between the Thomas Jefferson and J.R. Tucker boys basketball teams. That fight also ended the game in question, and the Virginia High School League suspended multiple players for multiple games as a result.

Rollison said that since the game did not continue, there were techincally no ejections, but discipline will follow. Administrators from both schools will review video of the incident along with the VHSL to determine what discipline will be levied on which student athletes.

Stay with 8News for the latest on this developing story.

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