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Woodland Hills player charged in altercation in playoff game

| Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

The Washington County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that it filed juvenile charges against Woodland Hills senior Shakim Alonzo for his role in an altercation during a WPIAL Class AAAA playoff basketball game against Peters Township.

Alonzo, 17, punched Peters Township junior center Gabe Pritz in his left ear late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game at California (Pa.) University, causing cartilage damage. Pritz needed 11 stitches.

"The process, because he's a juvenile, is done out of the public view," said Steven Fischer, chief of staff for District Attorney Gene Vittone. "Anything from this point forward, there's not going to be any ability to find out what steps are going to happen or the disposition of any case that goes forward."

Alonzo has claimed that he and his teammates were subjected to racial slurs and taunting throughout the game.

Alonzo, Woodland Hills athletic director George Novak and superintendent Walter Calinger did not return phone messages yesterday. Woodland Hills will hold a news conference with Alonzo, Novak and district officials at 11 a.m. today.

In a statement Thursday, Peters Township again denied that its players used slurs.

"While accusations have been made regarding the use of racial comments that could have led to the assault on the Peters Township player, accounts given by our coaches and players, as well as officials in the game, indicate that is not the case," the statement read.

Peters Township officials acknowledged that a student uttered racially insensitive language in the locker room after the game and since has apologized to teammates. The student has been disciplined by the school. The statement also said Peters Township and Woodland Hills will file incident reports with the WPIAL.

The Pritz family issued the following statement: "No words were exchanged between Gabe and Shakim the entire game. They competed cleanly and intensely through 3 1/2 quarters of play. In Shakim's own words in his apology to Gabriel, he stated, 'You were a cool dude on the court I had no problem with, therefore I had no reason to hit you.'"

With 3:38 remaining in the game, Alonzo, a Cincinnati football recruit, was given a double-technical foul and ejected for throwing a punch that missed a Peters Township player. Instead of leaving the court, Alonzo circled back toward the Peters Township bench and, after breaking free from Woodland Hills coach Mike Decker, ran toward the Peters Township side of the court. He then punched Pritz.

Peters Township's Trenton McPherson also was ejected after he threw a basketball at Alonzo during the altercation. He will have to serve a PIAA-mandated one-game suspension in the Indians' next game — a quarterfinal game against Central Catholic at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Canon-McMillan.

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