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Woodland Hills' Alonzo says he was provoked

| Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

Woodland Hills senior Shakim Alonzo on Sunday alleged 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 lot that happened, but there was a bunch of racial slurs and a bunch of contact that had nothing to do with basketball going on,” said an apologetic Alonzo, a University of Cincinnati football recruit. “I was trying to tell the refs about it, but they weren't doing anything about it, and it was happening all game, 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 to the game 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 when told Alonzo claimed his players were racially taunting him.

”He can claim whatever he wants,” Goga said. “There's attention being taken away from what happened, and it's not a racial incident. It's not. Gabe says nothing, and he got blasted. Someone is trying to take away the focus that there was a brutal attack.”

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 representatives from both schools before rendering a decision about possible 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 WPIAL 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 and look at the reports as to what the schools chose to do.”

Alonzo was involved with a Peters Township player under the basket when he alleges the Indians player elbowed him in the stomach and used a slur. Alonzo turned around and threw a punch that missed the player and immediately was called for a double-technical foul and ejected.

”I was just standing there when (a Peters Township player) ran into me, shouldered me, and hit me in the stomach and (allegedly) said, ‘How do you like that, N-word?' and that's when I like lost it,” Alonzo said.

After walking off the court and toward the locker room, he reversed path and headed for the Peters Township bench. Before he could get there, he was intercepted by Woodland Hills coach Mike Decker and his mother, who came out of the stands and onto the court in an attempt to calm her son and settle the situation.

Alonzo tried a couple more times to get to the Peters Township bench and finally broke free and made a beeline to the Indians'' side of the floor, where he punched Pritz.

Pritz remained on the floor for 10 minutes before being taken to the locker room. He returned and finished with 30 points, but he still was feeling the effects yesterday.

”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. “He got me. I've pondered why and what happened that set something like that off, but in that kind of game, how intense it was ... things like that can happen, and it just so happened that it happened to me because I was the closest person to him.”

Decker could not be reached for comment last night.

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.”

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