Police consider charges after WPIAL playoff punch

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Police at California University of Pennsylvania said today they are considering filing criminal charges against a high school basketball player over a punch thrown during a playoff game at the university Saturday.

University police Chief Bob Downey said his office will consult with the Washington County District Attorney's office this week to determine whether to file charges against Woodland Hills standout Shakim Alonzo, a senior ejected from a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round playoff game Saturday against Peters for throwing an elbow in the fourth quarter and then punching Peters's Gabe Pritz in the head.

"We will file what they deem to be the appropriate charges, if any," Chief Downey said.

After being blindsided by the punch, Mr. Pritz lay on the court for several minutes, bleeding from the ear. Team Trainer Andrew Traber said he was later taken to the hospital, where he received 11 stitches.

Mr. Pritz did not suffer a concussion, Mr. Traber said, and returned to the game and finished with a game-high 30 points for the Indians, who won the game, 67-56.

Chief Downey, who had three officers at the game and two outside of the university's Convocation Center, said Mr. Pritz's family indicated to one of his officers that they would like to pursue charges.

He said his officers conducted interviews and a brief investigation on Saturday.

Woodland Hills coach Mike Decker said Mr. Alonzo, a University of Cincinnati football recruit, was "out of control."

"I'm completely embarrassed by the situation," Mr. Decker said. "That's not the way I coach and that's not the image I want my team to portray."

Peters coach Gary Goga was surprised at Mr. Alonzo's behavior.

"I saw my player get blatantly hit with as cheap of a shot as I've ever seen," he said.

In his two years on the job, Chief Downey said he never recalled filing criminal charges against an athlete for an incident during a sporting event, but said the issue could "get a little sticky."

Summary charges of harassment could be filed, Chief Downey said, or possibly simple assault, which is a misdemeanor.

"That's why we're consulting with the DA," he said.

Janice Crompton: jcrompton@post-gazette.com or 412-851-1867.


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