Parkland coach speaks about on-court incident

Parkland coach speaks about on-court incident
February 21
01:20 2019

A recent basketball game between Parkland High School and Wheatmore High School located in Trinity, has caused a lot of debate in the last week or two. The game was called with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter with Parkland leading 17-5, but what preceded that has caused more controversy from both sides.

Following the game, there were serious claims made by Wheatmore acting coach, Brandon Thalasinos, saying that Parkland was an “unsafe environment” along with claiming one of his players was attacked.

Those claims were vehemently refuted by the Parkland coaches and players. There were even whispers of this being an example of prejudice against Parkland, whose team is primarily made up of African-Americans.  

Following those initial claims from Wheatmore, a video was released that showed a different story than what was first told. Parkland players, coaches, staff and parents were upset by the way the team was portrayed, especially since there was no evidence backing up those claims. The only thing the Mustangs wanted was for everyone to get the story correct.

“We watched the film and we were there obviously, but it was jump-ball situation and then the referee blew the whistle and in basketball in a jump ball situation, no one wants to let the ball go,” said Whit Holcomb-Faye, Parkland basketball assistant coach. “Both players were fighting for the ball at first and I think our player came away with the ball and then the Wheatmore player kind of had him around the neck and then shoved him away.

“As he shoved him away, another one of our guys came in and grabbed our player because he is our star player and didn’t want him to get into trouble. Then another one of our players ran up on the Wheatmore player that did the shoving. Our player did run up to him and it was kind of fast, so I kind of understood why he pushed him, but it was kind of like a double fist push to the face almost.

“I just felt like the Wheatmore player was involved in two situations and was really the only person that did anything, so he should have been the only one that was ejected.”

After the altercation was over, Austin Biggs of Wheatmore and Jordan Timmons of Parkland were ejected from the game. Holcomb-Faye stated that he agreed with the ejections of both players initially, but after watching the film he said, “Timmons really didn’t do anything. Yes, he ran over there, but he didn’t touch anybody.”

After order was restored, the officials had a huddle with both head coaches and informed them of the players that had been ejected. Timmons of Parkland left the court, but Biggs lingered for several minutes.  Holcomb-Faye says the Wheatmore coach objected to his player being ejected and then informed the referee that they would forfeit.

Wheatmore and Parkland matched up earlier this season, but there were no physical altercations during that matchup that would have carried over to this game, Holcomb-Faye said. The big difference in this game was that Thalasinos was not the head coach during the first game. He was not even supposed to be the coach for the second game, but the new head coach of the team was away at a funeral, according to Holcomb-Faye.

The days following the game, there were several reports from various news outlets, somewhat portraying the Mustangs as the aggressors. Holcomb-Faye says the team was frustrated at the inaccurate reporting and just wanted to make sure the true story was told at some point.

“I read exactly what he (Thalasinos) said we did and we knew that it was a total lie,” he said.

“Then we started seeing things on Facebook talking about the entire Parkland community and it’s just not fair to these kids and their parents when they are nothing like that.

“Parkland has a history I guess and there are kids there that do whatever, but the basketball team and the community are not run like that.”

Holcomb-Faye said he has received several messages via social media from Wheatmore parents and fans giving their support to the Parkland team.  

What bothers Holcomb-Faye the most is the unwarranted negative stigma that has followed his team after the altercation. He says it was evident during their game against Western Guilford last week. 

“Before the game, they gave a 10-minute speech on the intercom about sportsmanship,”

Holcomb-Faye said. “We have to deal with stuff like that. There was an extra police presence and after the game we were not even allowed to leave out of the front door, we had to leave out of the side door.

“I am really mad about it honestly, because even if we get the correct story out, the label is already there because of the first story. You can’t really get that back. That is what the other schools are thinking, what other people are thinking, what everyone is thinking.

“It’s nothing we can do about it, because some people already thought like that before the Wheatmore incident, so they automatically thought those stories were true.”

Holcomb-Faye maintains they are a hard-working team, but they are not a dirty team. He also spoke about the fundraising the team does every weekend, along with the apology to the team from Dr. Stephen Gainey, Randolph County superintendent. He feels there needs to be just as much attention to the true story as it was toward the initial ones, because that is what people remember.

The Chronicle also reached out to officials from Wheatmore High School twice last week to obtain an interview. No one was available for comment on either occasion.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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