TI Basketball Player Barred From Game After Ice Rescue

TI Basketball Player Barred From Game After Ice Rescue

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Lucas Patchen was one of about ten Clayton volunteer firefighters who rescued a stranded fisherman on a drifting block of ice in Chaumont Bay Saturday morning. 

Patchen also plays basketball at Thousand Islands High School and the ice rescue made him miss the team's bus that morning for a playoff game at Indian River against Sandy Creek. 

Patchen drove himself to Indian River and got there before the game started. 

As he went to the locker room, Patchen says head coach Scott LaLonde stopped him and said he wasn't going to play.

"I showed him a picture that the LifeNet helicopter took of the boat and us out there and he proceeded to tell me that it was an administrative issue and it didn't have anything to do with him," said Patchen.

In a statement, TI Superintendent Michael Bashaw says the district is proud of Patchen as well as all other students who are emergency volunteers. 

The school's policy requires any player not riding on a team bus to call the coach or athletic director. 

A parent must drive their child to the away game site and sign them in. 

Bashaw also says Patchen was "well aware of the rules as this issue arose in the past." 

But Patchen says he was unable to call anyone while on the ice rescue mission. 

He texted his teammates to let their coach know once he was back on shore, minutes before the bus left. 

Patchen also says he's upset with how coach LaLonde told him he couldn't play.

"I was pretty much irritated that the fact that he said that and that I just took my own gas and my own car to Indian River to support the team," said Patchen.

Lucas' father, Michael, says his son shouldn't have been benched for choosing to help save someone's life.

"I think the school maybe should change their policy. The school is supportive of community involvement, so the fire department should fit in perfectly with that," said Michael Patchen.

Superintendent Bashaw says he's willing to consider changing the policy to help students who are volunteer first responders. 

As for Lucas, he says he's staying with the team, which will find out its Section 3 playoff opponent on Wednesday. 

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