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Iowa high school basketball player arrested after punching rival in handshake line, police say

A Carlisle High School senior, 17, was booked on suspicion of felony infliction of willful injury.

A high school basketball player knocked out an opponent during post-game handshakes, leading to the Iowa teen's arrest on a felony charge, officials said Friday.

Moments after Carlisle High School lost, 72-47, to the visiting Nevada High School Cubs, a 17-year-old player on the host Wildcats struck an opposing player "without provocation" in the handshake line on Tuesday as "the victim sustained a loss of consciousness," according to a Carlisle police statement.

NBC News does not usually name minors charged with a crime, even those charged as adults.

The teen was booked on suspicion of causing willful or serious injury after striking the opponent with a quick combo of punches to his gut and face.

"Typically our games are pretty even-keeled, not a whole lot of extracurriculars so this was definitely something we hadn't experienced before," Carlisle Police Chief Matt Koch told NBC News on Friday.

While heated games could occasionally lead to on-the-field confrontations, Tom Keating, executive director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), said he was stunned that violence unfolded in the handshake line.

"You just don't expect to see that," Keating told NBC News. "You may expect to see something during the heat of competition. But when the contest is over and people are just walking through the line, your antenna is not up that something bad can happen here."

It wasn't clear Friday if the player had been suspended or kicked off the team at Carlisle High School, which is about 12 miles southeast of the state capitol in Des Moines.

Keating declined to reveal what action was taken against the player, but he said the IHSAA is "satisfied the school addressed this appropriately."

"You saw the incident and I think when people see the incident and they get an idea of what probably should happen, my guess is the consequences would be severe," Keating said.

Carlisle Community Schools Superintendent Bryce Amos could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday but he decried the attack in a prepared statement.

"This is without question an unfortunate incident that is not representative of the school culture that exists in Carlisle Community School District," according to the statement.

"I want to make it clear that this type of conduct is not tolerated at Carlisle CSD. The district will follow the student code of conduct policy and procedures throughout the investigation of this incident and implement appropriate consequences. All proper authorities have been notified of the incident including IHSAA. Due to student involvement, the district cannot comment any further.”

An attorney and parents for the suspect could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.