A rivalry between local basketball fans heated up this week when Wando High students said they were punched and kicked after "Tebowing" during a game against West Ashley High.
Two teenage fans were beaten -- one to the point of vomiting -- as they walked outside after the game, which ended in a 20-point rout by Wando. Neither required hospitalization.
The mother of one victim said West Ashley students felt taunted when Wando fans participated Tuesday night in the act of "Tebowing" -- mimicking Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow by dropping to a knee and placing a hand to the forehead in prayer.
A 17-year-old Wando fan told police that as he and a friend left the gym and began walking through a breezeway, some West Ashley fans jumped them.
"They were scared for their lives," said Lara Isaac, the 17-year-old's mother. "No one was manning the exits to make sure this wouldn't happen. The kids who did this apparently knew that."
The incident marked the second consecutive year that the contest has turned violent, raising concerns that security isn't sufficient. In January 2010, a Wando parent was charged with punching a West Ashley teacher.
Security had been beefed up this time, with seven Charleston police officers and more than 15 administrators stationed inside the West Ashley gym.
Jason Sakran, a spokesman for the Charleston County School District, said any surveillance video of the beatings likely would not be released because the case involves juveniles.
"We have numerous athletic events every year and extra supports on hand for large games such as this," he said. "Tuesday night's game was no exception."
Charles Francis, a police spokesman, said the video would likely reveal whether officers took the proper actions.
"Officers did break up a fight after the basketball game," he said. "The (school resource) officer reiterated to me that an officer wouldn't stand by and not do anything if they saw someone being assaulted."
Isaac said the police presence outside wasn't enough.
Her son was chased into a parking lot by a group of boys, according to a police incident report. He tried to defend himself, but his attackers slammed him to the pavement and kicked and punched him.
He came home with a torn shirt, scraped knees and elbows and a welt on his forehead.
The other boy was punched in the stomach so many times that he began vomiting in the bushes outside the doorway. Isaac said Wando athletic officials came to that boy's aid.
Richard Luden, West Ashley High's athletic director who said he wasn't aware of the fight, said security again will be a focus in the teams' second matchup of the season, at Wando on Jan. 27. But violence shouldn't be a major concern for students and parents, he said.
"I don't know why it rears its head during these basketball games," Luden said. "I felt we did everything on our end of it."