2 teams involved in Ind. basketball brawl have seasons canceled

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A bench-clearing brawl broke out at a high school basketball game in Griffith, Indiana, causing some adults to get involved. (WLS)

The respective boys basketball seasons for Hammond and Griffith high schools at all levels have been canceled for the remainder of 2014-15 season, including the state tournament, IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox announced Tuesday.

The decision - among additional penalties - comes as a result of incidents on Saturday night at Griffith High School during the varsity boys basketball game between the two schools, an IHSAA release said. With Griffith leading 40 in the first quarter, a Hammond player shoved a Griffith player from behind as he was attempting to score, causing him to hit the wall headfirst, the release said.

Within seconds, players and coaches from both teams left their benches and some spectators entered the playing floor - pushing, shoving and punching, the release said. The game was called by game officials with 5:32 remaining in the first quarter, and Griffith police were called to help restore order at the scene, the release said.

Parents say tension was brewing before the game started. The Griffith Panthers were hosting the Hammond Wildcats.

"The fight escalated to have both benches clear on to the court," said Chief Greg Mance, Griffith Police Department. "Some parents, administrators and officers working security also went to on floor to break fight up."

Police say punches were thrown. Griffith police say they are taking the melee seriously. Students and adults may face possible disorderly conduct or battery charges.

"We are reviewing the video that was taken, trying to identify the people involved and present to the Lake County prosecutor," Chief Mance said.

For the small town of Griffith, the fight is disappointing to residents and parents. They say after years of a mediocre team, this year the Panthers were the team to beat.

"Structured sports is all about team work and having fun, I think what happened last night is completely uncalled for," said Griffith resident Kayla Wolak.

"None of these kids are going to the NBA, they should all take a chill pill and relax," Griffith resident Chris Cioroianu said.

Parents say kids must put in all in perspective.

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sportsbasketballschool fightfightGriffithHammond
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