AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — Amherst basketball player Justin Carey says Monday’s game at South Hadley got intense.
“It was pretty hostile. Their crowd got into it with our players,” Carey said. “They were saying some derogatory things.”
It also seems Amherst Assistant Coach Eric Wheeler was too.
Principal Mark Jackson says he told an Amherst player to run off the court into South Hadley Coach Jeff Guiel because he was outside his coach’s box. The goal was for Guiel to be given a technical foul, but the Amherst Head Coach shot the idea down. Later in the game, Jackson says Wheeler tried again.
“That same assistant coach whispers in the ear of the kid something to the effect of ‘take him down. Make contact and take him down and put him out of the game,’” Jackson said. “So the kid complied, and not just once but twice.”
Carey says that led a small melee between the teams. The whole incident was caught on camera. Superintendent Maria Geryk says Wheeler is no longer an assistant coach.
“We take seriously the responsibility of the adults to be role models for our students, whether that’s in the classroom or on the court,” Geryk said. “This student specically and all the students who will know of this situation need to learn from and become stronger human beings and adults.”
Students say whatever happened monday night, they just hope it didn’t affect the reputation of Amherst High School.
“I think that’s ridiculous,” Senior Eric Schleeweis said. “It shouldn’t happen. It’s a high school game.”
“I love my team and I’m proud of the guys and that’s not who we are so I just wish it never happened,” Carey said.
Officials say players involved will also be disciplined for their actions. Amherst School officials don’t believe the Amherst head coach knew of the player’s second instruction from Wheeler.
An apology letter has been sent from Amherst to South Hadley school officials.
You can CLICK HERE to read the entire statement from the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District.
Click below to watch video of the hit, courtesy of MassLive.com’s Jay King: