Mo Valley boys basketball team involved in fight with Williamsburg

For the second time in less than three years, the Moshannon Valley High School athletic program has been involved in an on-field incident that is certain to draw an investigation from PIAA District 6.

Friday night’s Inter-County Conference North Division boys basketball game between the Black Knights and Williamsburg was ended with 12.4 seconds remaining after a punch was thrown, clearing the benches and threatening to bring fans from both teams onto the court, multiple sources told the Mirror.

By rule, the incident must be reported within 24 hours to the PIAA, and Mike Hudak, the head of District 6 officials, said he had received a preliminary account of what happened. Dave Adams, Eugene Parker and Frank Swalga were the officials.

“The committee will have to look at this situation if it did happen, see what happened and see what needs to be done,” said District 6 chairman Dave Crumrine, who hadn’t been aware of the incident before being contacted by the Mirror early Saturday afternoon.

Mo Valley led the game early but trailed by double figures as the clock wound down. Swalga called an intentional foul on a Williamsburg player near midcourt and ejected him.

After the free throws, Mo Valley substituted and its player while leaving the court came in contact with a Williamsburg player, after which he turned and struck the Williamsburg player in the face. The Moshannon Valley player was ejected, and the officials decided to end the game at that point with the Pirates leading 62-47.

“Any time a game is stopped,” Hudak said, “there’s going to be a hearing.”

Moshannon Valley athletic director Tom Perry was not at the game but said he received a call at approximately 9:30 p.m. telling him what happened. Perry confirmed he was told that fans – he said from both sides – came out of the stands in a confrontational manner.

Joan Kephart, a teacher at Mo Valley, served as the role of game manager.

Moshannon Valley has armed security on site, and Perry said the Williamsburg team was escorted to its bus after the contest as a precaution.

“I talked to Mrs. [Debbie] Appleman, [the AD] from Williamsburg. I feel and she feels the same way that the incident, both teams precipitated it,” Perry said.

Appleman couldn’t be reached for comment on Saturday. Williamsburg coach Mike Farrell said he was not at the game for health reasons, leaving Mitch Yeager to guide the Blue Pirates.

No matter where fault is found, Perry is concerned. Mo Valley was placed on probation after four Knight players were ejected from a district playoff game in 2011 for unsportsmanlike conduct. “When you have a history, a bad history, as we do, any incident is going to stir those memories up,” Perry said.

And it could lead to further discipline against the school, even though Mo Valley’s probation was removed after the school put in place a sportsmanship program in 2012 that met with PIAA approval.

“I’m sure part of the conversation will be let’s look as a committee at what they told us they were going to do to be proactive in regards to sportsmanship and see if they followed through on that,” Hudak said.

According to Hudak, reports will have to be filed by both schools and the officials, who also are subject to disciplinary action depending on what the investigation uncovers. Hudak said the district even could call a special meeting to look into the matter.

Moshannon Valley was scheduled to play Harmony in a Moshannon Valley League game Saturday afternoon, but the game was postponed.