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Tribune-Review (Greensburg, PA)
The result of a basketball game fell a distant second to the health and condition of Greensburg Salem sophomore guard Dante Parsons, who collapsed on Tuesday night.
The gym went silent and the game was stopped with 7 minutes, 34 seconds left after Parsons fell backwards is his chair and dropped to the floor behind the team bench.
The Greensburg Salem and Highlands teams went to the locker rooms. Greensburg Salem moved its chairs aside so paramedics could get to Parsons, who started the game.
Parsons, down for about 15 minutes before standing up woozy and very pale, received a standing ovation as he left the gym on a stretcher.
He was taken to a hospital in Pittsburgh.
Greensburg Salem officials would not comment on what exactly happened with Parsons, citing privacy laws. Spectators near the bench said it appeared Parsons may have had a seizure.
"It was tough to watch," Greensburg Salem sophomore guard Jeff Mankins said. "This happened to him one time in youth football. We just hope he comes back from this."
Highlands won the subdued Section 3-5A game, 62-35.
The fact that Greensburg Salem was held to exactly half its scoring average seemed rather irrelevant as coaches and players left the gym with plans to visit Parsons.
"It's high school basketball but when one of your guys goes down like that, you have 13 guys on the bench and all they're worried about is Dante," Greensburg Salem coach Craig Mankins said. "It was a scary situation."
Parsons was seated along the team bench when he fell backwards. A trainer caught him before he hit his head, Craig Mankins said.
"It wasn't about the game when he was down," Golden Lions sophomore guard Ryan Thomas said. "It was about him getting up."
Highlands coach Tyler Stoczynski gathered his players and put the game's result in perspective.
"Our guys were very concerned," Stoczynski said. "This is something that is so much bigger than basketball. We're glad to get a win, but we're hoping he will be OK."
The Golden Rams (7-3, 1-1) pulled away after a big second quarter. Greensburg Salem (8-4, 1-2), which was averaging 70 points, did not have a field goal in the second quarter and managed just 13 first-half points against another high-scoring team from the section.
Highlands, which came in averaging 68 points, ran its winning streak to four games.
Shawn Erceg led Highlands with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Ryan Signorella added 15 and Korry Myers had 12.
Marvel McGowan led the Golden Lions with 22 points. Highlands used its athleticism and size to keep Greensburg Salem out of the paint and forced tough, contested shots.
"Highlands did a nice job defensively," Mankins said. "We stood around and watched and waited."
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BillBeckner.
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