Punch fells Central hoopster
A Manchester West basketball player will face disciplinary action for punching a Manchester Central player and making an inappropriate gesture to fans in the stands during a game at Simon Gym on Tuesday.
Alfred Nyonee of West, a sophomore who transferred from Central last summer, was ejected in the third period for punching Manchester Central sophomore Brett Hanson on the side of the head. The punch was so hard that Hanson fell to the hardwood and remained down for a few minutes as a trainer rushed to the court to treat him.
The trainer allowed Hanson to return later in the game.
The punching incident and ejection were confirmed by Manchester Public Schools athletic director Dave Gosselin and Manchester West faculty manager Sarah Dumais. Neither attended the game. Dumais was informed of the incident Tuesday night by a West High School administrator who attended the game and, later that evening, by Blue Knights head coach Dan Bryson.
Gosselin also confirmed that Nyonee made an obscene gesture toward the Manchester Central cheering section after sinking a free throw in the first half.
Gosselin said Nyonee will face a two-game suspension by the NHIAA because he was ejected and "must complete an online sportsmanship examination" with the NHIAA. Gosselin said it's possible Nyonee could face further disciplinary action from the Manchester School District "for his inappropriate actions."
Dumais said she will meet today with Gosselin, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tom Brennan, Bryson and Manchester West interim principal Keith Puglisi.
"We have zero tolerance for that type of behavior and the matter will be handled internally by our school administration," said Dumais.
Bryson, who said he wouldn't comment on Nyonee's actions until after he meets with school officials today, said Wednesday night, "I don't condone what happened Tuesday."
The Union Leader could not contact Nyonee or his family, and Bryson said he did not a phone number for his player.
Before he threw the punch, Nyonee had committed an intentional foul from behind on Central's Troy Pelletier, who was pushed forward while driving through the lane for a layup.
Moments after the foul was called, Nyonee suddenly belted Hanson on the side of the head and was ejected by the referees.
Bob Duffley, an assistant men's basketball coach at Southern New Hampshire University, whose son plays for the Little Green, was in attendance.
"I was sitting behind the Central cheering section during the game," said Duffley. "This was a case where some of the Central kids knew Nyonee and were chanting at him. They were getting after him pretty good. I think things came to a boiling point and unfortunately, the kid lost it a little bit."
Duffley added, "I did see and hear one referee in the first half tell some kids in the stands to 'knock it off' as Nyonee was inbounding the ball in front of them. So at least one ref was aware of something going on."
The game, won by Central 80-50, was taped by local community outlet MCTV. Peter Capano, chief of Manchester Parks and Recreation, who serves as the weekly play-by-play broadcaster for city basketball games on MCTV, said Nyomee's obscene gesture and the punching incident could be edited out by the station. "That's the station's call," said Capano.
Manchester Central boys' basketball coach Dave Wheeler did not respond to a phone message Wednesday night asking for comment.