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Section makes ruling on MHS player

Standout guard Gardner returning to action Wednesday

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Section makes ruling on MHS player

Kiwi Gardner

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED January 9, 2010 3:16 a.m.
The Sac-Joaquin Section ruled that Manteca High guard Kiwi Gardner will serve a four-game suspension, athletic director Ron Inderbitzin confirmed Friday.

Inderbitzin was notified of the section’s decision Thursday.

The suspension is the result of an ejection Gardner was issued in a non-league tournament contest against Inglewood Dec. 28 at Modesto Christian High.

Gardner questioned a foul called on a teammate and was assessed the first of two technicals. The next technical came seconds later after Gardner made unintentional contact with the referee while he followed him to the scorer’s table.
That brief contact has been the subject of what Inderbitzin thinks is overblown and unwarranted attention to the situation.

“A lot of rumors have been going around that are not true,” Inderbitzin said. “Yes, the contact with the ref did occur, but it was not as big an event as people in the community have made it out to be. Too many people came to conclusions before the facts came out.

“Manteca High did its due process, and the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) and basketball coach followed suit.”

Gardner, who averages 26.1 points per game to lead the team, will miss a total of five games including the automatic one-game suspension that came with the ejection during the Modesto Christian tournament.

Inderbitzin was informed on New Year’s Eve that the section will investigate the incident, and Gardner had to miss Tuesday’s league opener against Oakdale and Wednesday’s contest at Lathrop while it was under review.

The section-rendered suspension includes the three Valley Oak League games he missed this week and next Tuesday’s big game at Ceres High, one of the defending champion Buffaloes’ chief rivals for their title. He will return to action Wednesday when Manteca plays host to Central Valley.

The worst-case scenario for Gardner and the Buffaloes would have been at least an 18-month ban from participation of CIF sports had he been proven to have intent to cause harm to the official.

Asuncion is relieved that the section dealt with the incident swiftly and looks forward to moving on from it.

“He learned his lesson when he sat out the next game (after losing to Inglewood, 68-57),” Asuncion said. “It was unfortunate what came out of it, but we have the ruling and we’ll take it from there once he comes back.”
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