Prep basketball: Minus coaches, Riverside routed by Beckley
QUINCY, W.Va. -- When the term "lockdown" is used in basketball, it typically applies to a staunch defensive effort by a particular player or team.
Riverside High School gave new meaning to the word Thursday night, carefully controlling any media access in covering the Warriors' 88-45 loss to visiting Beckley.
"We don't want anybody talking to parents or players, or anything like that," Riverside Principal Valery Harper told an area television cameraman as he tried to gain entrance to the game, which was played less than 24 hours after Riverside Coach Dusty Herscher and his staff were suspended indefinitely by Harper.
Harper confirmed the suspensions of Herscher and assistant coach Matt Kelly late Thursday morning, adding that she had hoped to know more about the long-term resolution of the matter by the end of the day.
By game's end at close to 9 p.m., no new developments had taken place.
Harper said Thursday afternoon that she could not disclose the nature of the suspensions due to personnel guidelines.
By Thursday night, the tone had become more protective. After initially refusing to allow any media access to the game, Harper softened her stance, allowing for media members to cover the game, which the Class AAA No. 3 Flying Eagles led 29-9 at the end of the first quarter and 48-26 at halftime over a Warriors team coached by Riverside girls basketball Coach Scott Garretson.
"We just don't want anybody approaching parents over the matter that's happened while the game's going on," Harper said. "We want everyone to enjoy the game.
"If you want to talk to people after the game, you're more than welcome to."
Garretson spoke briefly after the game while a Riverside vice principal Andrew Johnson stood close by listening in to the interview.
The interim coach said he did not know how long he would be serving in the new role, but that he would be glad to serve as long as necessary.
As for the team, Garretson said he did not notice any negative demeanor stemming from Herscher's suspension.
"I thought they were motivated, and ready to play," Garretson said. "They seemed to be looking forward to it. I don't know that it was even a distraction to them."
Though Harper could not divulge the reason for Herscher's suspension, sources close to the team have stated that the Warriors used an ineligible player in a Jan. 30 win at Parkersburg, then instructed players on the team to lie about that player's eligibility if they were questioned about the situation.
Beckley, which won its 10th consecutive game, had five players score in double figures led by Chase Hancock's 18 points. Freshman center Nequan Carrington and senior point guard Andrew Johnson each had 14. The Flying Eagles hit eight 3-pointers in the win, seven of them coming in the first half.
Tyus Wood led the Warriors with 10 points.
Herscher is in his second year as the coach at Riverside. The Warriors were 8-16 in his first season on the bench, and are 7-13 after Thursday's loss and a forfeit applied to Riverside's record for the use of the ineligible player against the Big Reds.
Herscher did not return a message left for him by phone Thursday afternoon seeking comment.
Kelly took to Twitter to defend himself after the news broke early Thursday afternoon, saying the allegations were, "totally off the wall and def false."
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.