The battle for first place in the West Bay Athletic League between the Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo boys' basketball teams will have to wait for another day.
What was intended to be a passionate, rivalry game was instead marred by tragedy Tuesday night in the Knights' gym when referee Pat Boland collapsed early in the first quarter, forcing in the game to be cancelled.
With Sacred Heart leading 6-4, Boland fell to the floor as he went to hand the ball to Menlo's Trevor Williams. Spectators first believed Boland had tripped, but when he failed to move it became obvious something was very wrong.
Menlo trainer Jon Cohen rushed to Boland's side and paramedics were quickly called. At one point, Cohen rushed to get a defibrilator when it appeared Boland had stopped breathing. CPR also was performed to help resuscitate Boland. At one point, the full house of spectators went completely silent as medical personnel worked to keep Boland alive.
Menlo Athletic Director Craig Schoof and Sacred Heart Prep AD Frank Rodriguez quickly cancelled the game and had the spectators ushered out of the gym. Many of the students appeared quite upset and shaken as they walked quietly away from the scene.
Soon after, medical personnel from the Menlo Park Fire Department arrived and began working on Boland, who regained consciousness and was breathing. Once stabilized, Boland was put on a stretcher and taken to Stanford Hospital.
Rodriguez praised Menlo's medical staff, Cohen in particular, saying to Schoof: "Your medical staff saved that man's life."
The pace of the game was feverish from the start, with both teams racing up and down the court. Sacred Heart Prep came in atop the WBAL standings at 6-0 (11-5) and riding a 10-game winning streak. Menlo was 5-1 (12-3) and needed a victory to force a possible three-way tie (with Harker) for the league lead. Harker won on Tuesday to go 6-1, leaving SHP still in first place while relegating Menlo to third.
Meanwhile, more reports on Boland late Tuesday night and Wednesday morning were very encouraging, according to Schoof and Rodriguez.
"Last night he was much better," Schoof said. "He was talking and aware of where he was. Today, they were running tests and he was talking and joking. He had his sense of humor back."
Rodriguez, who was with Schoof on Wednesday morning at a CCS Board of Managers meeting in San Jose, stopped by Stanford Hospital after the meeting to see Boland.
"I popped my head in and he looked good," Rodriguez said.
Schoof said it was unlikely the Menlo-SHP basketball game will be rescheduled this week because of the emotional factor. He still has to speak with Menlo coach Kris Weems to find an appropriate time, which could be as early as next week.