Player: Racial slur prompted punch in Woodland Hills-Peters Township game
Woodland Hills senior Shakim Alonzo said Sunday that racial slurs provoked him to punch an opponent during a playoff basketball game the day before, resulting in a bloody altercation that delayed the contest for 10 minutes.
"There was a bunch of racial slurs and a bunch of contact," said an apologetic Alonzo, a Cincinnati football recruit. "I was trying to tell the refs about it, but they weren't doing anything about it ... and I just kind of lost it."
Alonzo hit Peters Township's Gabe Pritz in the side of the head with 3:38 remaining in the game, leveling the junior center. Pritz returned, wearing a headband of gauze, but later was taken to a hospital, where he received 11 stitches to his left ear.
Alonzo was given a given a double-technical foul and ejected.
Peters Township coach Gary Goga was appalled that Alonzo claimed racial taunting.
"He can claim whatever he wants," Goga said. "It's not a racial incident."
Peters Township rallied to win the WPIAL Class AAAA playoff game, 67-56, at California (Pa.) University.
Both teams will be required to send incident reports to the WPIAL, and the Board of Control likely will question school officials before rendering a decision about punishment, said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley. The next Board of Control meeting is Tuesday, but the WPIAL will allow the schools to handle in-house discipline before the league puts the incident on the docket, O'Malley said.
"Both will have an opportunity to respond in writing," O'Malley said. "Once those incident reports are filed, then we'll look at what occurred."
Alonzo was involved with a player under the basket when he alleges the player elbowed him in the stomach and used a slur. Alonzo threw a punch that missed and was ejected.
"(A Peters Township player) ran into me, shouldered me, and hit me in the stomach and said, 'How do you like that, N-word?' and that's when I like lost it," Alonzo said.
After walking off the court, he reversed path and headed for the Peters Township bench. He was intercepted by Woodland Hills coach Mike Decker and his mother, who came onto the court in an attempt to calm her son.
Alonzo broke free and headed to the Indians' side, where he punched Pritz.
"My neck is a little bit sore, and my whole upper half of my body is sore ... and on my left ear, they had to reconstruct the cartilage and stitch over top of it," Pritz said Sunday.
Decker could not be reached for comment.
Alonzo said Pritz was not his intended target, but that didn't make Pritz feel any better.
"Things were being said to both teams, by both teams," he said, "but I myself did not hear one racial slur the entire game."