The Bonanza and Sierra Vista boys basketball teams started Friday evening competing for a spot in the championship game of Mountain View’s Vegas Invitational.
The night and the tournament ended early for both teams.
Trash talking between players led to harsher words and pushing and shoving just after the first-half buzzer, and officials suspended the game. The Southern Nevada Officials Association ruled the game a double forfeit later Friday.
Both teams will sit out Saturday’s final day of the tournament.
“In talking with the officials, they suspended the game, and in my view rightfully so,” SNOA commissioner Marc Ratner said.
With Sierra Vista set to take a 34-29 lead into halftime, words were exchanged between Sierra Vista senior Antonio McCoy and Bonanza senior Trent Savage in front of the Bengals’ bench.
The players shoved each other, and with both teams already emptying onto the floor to head to the locker room, players quickly congregated but no punches were thrown.
As Bonanza coach Dan Savage and Sierra Vista coach Eric Markuson attempted to separate their players and get them off the floor, officials suspended the game, ruling a bench-clearing incident.
“I thought we had the right crew, a state tournament-caliber crew on the game, and they handled it appropriately,” Ratner said.
Markuson was Bonanza’s boys coach from 2012 until December 2015. Dan Savage was the girls coach at Bonanza at the time and was asked to take over the boys program.
Trent Savage was a freshman at Bonanza at the time.
“I think my son was targeted because I replaced (Markuson),” Dan Savage said. “And several times during the game, it was clear that players were overly aggressive or overly physical. And it boiled over.”
Markuson declined comment.
“Before the game, I told my guys, ‘This is their Super Bowl. This is their World Series. This is their biggest game of his coaching career,’ and I’m sure he implored that to his kids, and that’s fine,” Dan Savage said. “And I told my guys, ‘This is the semifinals of the Vegas Invitational and nothing more.’ Those emotions were clear.”
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4602.