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High school basketball player punches ref in face mid-game in Nagasaki Pref.

In this frame grab taken from a YouTube video, a basketball referee who was punched in the face by a player is seen surrounded by organizers and others on the scene after falling to the court on June 17, 2018, in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture.

OMURA, Nagasaki -- A basketball player punched and injured a referee in the middle of a boys' semifinal game at the Kyushu high school athletic tournament here on June 17, organizers said.

    The Kyushu High School Athletic Federation and other organizations forfeited the game between Nobeoka Gakuen High School, to which the player in question belongs, and Fukuoka University-affiliated Ohori High School, and declared Ohori the winner.

    The player in question, a foreign student from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa at Nobeoka Gakuen in Miyazaki Prefecture, appeared in the game against Ohori, according to the Nagasaki prefectural high school athletic federation and other bodies. The player apparently hit the referee, a man in his 20s, in the face with his right fist when the referee called a foul in the last 40 seconds of the game. Ohori was in the lead 78-66. The student apparently disagreed with the call.

    The student was immediately removed from the game, and the referee was transported to hospital where he received 10 stitches in his mouth.

    The Nagasaki prefectural high school athletic federation had reported the incident to the All Japan High School Athletic Federation and related organizations.

    Officers from Omura Police Station questioned players and others on the scene on a voluntary basis. According to police, the student apologized to the referee at the police station, and the referee replied, "I want you to continue to play basketball." The referee will reportedly not file a damage report with the police.

    Nobeoka Gakuen High School's boys' basketball team is known as a high school basketball powerhouse, having won national competition championships, and had qualified for the 2018 Inter High School Sports Festival. However, the All Japan High School Athletic Federation and other organizations concerned will consider whether the team will be allowed to participate in the event this year following the incident.

    Masahiko Sasaki, 71, president of the Nobeoka Gakuen school corporation that runs the school, told Mainichi Shimbun, "I feel very sorry for the victim."

    (Japanese original by Shotaro Asano and Akitatsu Katsuno, Nagasaki Bureau)

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