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Spirited High School Basketball Game Ends With 'Near Riot,' Authorities Say

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FRANKLINTON, N.C. — Two local high school basketball coaches have been charged with inciting what authorities called a "near riot" after a close game earlier this month.

The incident took place at Franklinton High School's gymnasium on Feb. 17 when Southern Vance County High School ended a North Carolina conference championship game with an intense two-point win over Warren County High School.

Emotions were high after the game and witnesses said opposing coaches started arguing and shoving. Franklinton police officers had to use pepper spray to break up the crowd that gathered.

Some fans had to be treated for exposure to the spray, and one person was taken to a local hospital for an apparent anxiety attack.

Franklinton High School Principal Charles Fuller watched the melee unfold and said he thought officers did what they had to do to control the situation.

Warren County High School Assistant Coach Arketa Banks and Southern Vance County High School Head Coach Mike Rotolo were charged with disorderly conduct, accused of inciting the crowd. They are both scheduled to appear in court in April.

Administrators for both schools declined to comment on the incident, calling it a personnel matter. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is investigating the incident.