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Riverside boys basketball coaches suspended

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Riverside's boys basketball team was without its coaching staff for Thursday night's showdown against state-ranked Woodrow Wilson.Second-year coach Dusty Herscher and his assistants were suspended indefinitely this week and missed Thursday's loss to the Flying Eagles, the No. 3 team in Class AAA.Riverside Principal Valery Harper said Danny Hill and Scott Garretson - "two individuals the boys are comfortable with and know our schemes" - filled the coaching roles for the game in Quincy. (See game story, Page 4B.)Hill is a former boys basketball head coach and football assistant coach for the Warriors. Garretson helped out with the boys squad during the three-week approved practice period last summer and serves as the school's girls coach.Harper would not elaborate on the reason for the suspension of Herscher and his staff or the likelihood of how long the suspension would last."Right now, we're waiting for the hearing to take place," Harper told the Gazette on Thursday afternoon. "I can't say any more because it's a personnel issue.''Later in the day on Thursday, Harper said that she did hold a meeting with Kanawha County Schools assistant superintendent Mark Milam on the matter, but that no final decision had been made on the suspensions."We did meet,'' Harper said, "and we're working on that situation right now. We're still working things out. Hopefully, we'll have more information [today].''
She expected the final decision to come from Ron Duerring, superintendent for Kanawha County Schools.Even though the reason for the suspensions has not been made public, Harper acknowledged that Riverside's Jan. 30 home game victory against Parkersburg has been forfeited for use of an ineligible player.Fred Aldridge, commissioner of the Mountain State Athletic Conference, confirmed the forfeit, which will change the league's divisional standings (see Page 2B).Riverside's record in the MSAC East reverts to 2-3 instead of 3-2. The league's lineup of place-winner games next week depends on the outcome of its divisional games, as well as the identity of the teams competing in the Night of Champions at the South Charleston Community Center.The Warriors have made progress under Herscher, the former St. Albans standout, who took Riverside to an 8-16 record last year in his first season.Before the forfeit to Parkersburg, the Warriors' record was 8-11, and they still have a chance to post their first 10-win season since 2005-06. The Riverside program hasn't produced a winning record since 2002-03.Herscher did not return a phone call from the Gazette seeking comment.
Mitch Vingle contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or 
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