SBCSC to reschedule 2nd half of Washington vs. Riley boys basketball game canceled by brawl

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:35 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Senior night was cut short at Washington High School after a fight broke out in the stands during halftime in their boy’s basketball game against Riley High School on Thursday night.

The fight didn’t involve players on either team, and there were no serious injuries or arrests.

School administrators confirm that they intend to reschedule the second half of this game. They’re still working out the details of when the restart will take place, but what happened on Thursday night certainly wasn’t how they hoped Washington’s senior night would go.

A school administrator says the people who started this brawl were adult spectators who were not associated with any of the South Bend Community Schools.

“Unfortunately individuals outside of our building and outside of our community decided to bring violence and chaos into our buildings. That’s something that we as a district don’t tolerate and we will continue to have clear expectations that we want the community to be welcomed into our buildings,” said SBCSC Assistant Superintendent of Academics Brandon White.

A mix of school staff and building security are seen walking off-screen to break up the fighting as soon as it starts.

20 seconds later, school resource officers add to those numbers trying to stop the brawl.

By the time the last punch was thrown, a little more than thirty seconds had passed. That’s all it took to shut down the Great Western Forum.

Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) Commissioner Paul Neidig told us what it will take to let these teams finish out this game.

“The National Federation of High School Playing Rule would allow this game to be picked up from right when it was ended. So, we would start with the book, and who was in the game when the game was over, and we would begin a second half, and this game will be able to be completed in its entirety at another date and time to be decided by the schools involved,” Neidig said.

The efforts to de-escalate the situation drew some pretty high praise from the IHSAA.

“There was a presence by the school. There were many adults there for the event. There were police officers and SROs there for the event. They recognized something was going on in the crowd and immediately moved to that area to address it. South Bend should be commended for their management of this,” Neidig said.

White says the school corporating will find a way to give their seniors the sendoff they deserve and decided who takes home the McCollough Cup.

“We are planning and currently looking at ways that we can reschedule this game. We will do whatever we can in our power to restore somewhat of an experience so our students can continue to be celebrated,” he said.

The South Bend Police are working with the schools to follow up on any further action stemming from this incident.

SBPD says their main priority when responding was to de-escalate the situation and make sure everyone made it out of the building safely. They said trying to identify and arrest people at the same time would have only made things less safe.

Anyone who has any information on who initially started the violence is asked to reach out to Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.

Meanwhile, South Bend Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd issued the following statement on Friday regarding the incident. In it, he says the violent behavior is a disgrace and that the district will review all security and admittance procedures to ensure its athletic events are safe.

Ryan Varga, the head coach of the Washington Panthers, issued a statement regarding the incident on Twitter.

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