Officials have postponed tonight's girls and boys basketball games between Annapolis and Meade high schools, fearful that anger stemming from a recent street killing involving area students could spill over into the gym.
The delay affects only games scheduled between those two schools, based on concerns about a potentially explosive mix, though officials said no threats have been received.
"It was a decision based on erring on the side of caution to make sure the kids are safe," Jane W. Beckett, spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County schools, said yesterday. "It sounded like a better alternative."
Two weeks ago, Alexander Henderson, a 15-year-old Old Mill High School student, was shot in Severn during what police described as an armed robbery outside a party. He died the next day. Another teen was shot and two others were beaten in the attack.
Sidney Jacob Beatty, 16, of Severn, described as a current or former Meade High student, has been arrested and charged with three counts of armed robbery and four counts of assault. Another suspect, LoMichael Delvon Booze, 17, of Annapolis, who is believed to have attended Annapolis High, is charged in an arrest warrant with murder and remains at large. Police consider him armed and dangerous, adding to school officials' concerns.
But, police said yesterday, investigators have not linked the killing or robbery to a school incident or school gang. "At this time, detectives have no information that the incident was related to any school," said Officer Charles Ravenell, a county police spokesman.
Meade High School's principal, Joan Valentine, made the decision to postpone tonight's games, Beckett said. Valentine did not return a phone call. Beckett said the school district has been consulting with police.
David Gehrdes, athletic director at Annapolis High, said the postponement means his teams will have to play three games next week instead of two.
"Obviously it makes it more difficult," Gehrdes said, "but we're all adaptable."
In 1991, county school officials postponed a weekend of sports events at Meade and North County high schools after threats of retaliation were made for the shooting of a Meade student. At the time, an anonymous caller to the 911 emergency line warned of a possible shooting at a varsity boys basketball game.
Instead of playing tonight at Meade, the girls junior varsity and varsity teams will play Wednesday afternoon at Annapolis High and the boys junior varsity and varsity teams will play Wednesday afternoon at Meade High.
None of the games will be played at night, when situations are more likely to get out of hand, officials said.
"It allows just a few more days for some resolution over this," Beckett said of the postponement. "You certainly would end up with hundreds of students from both schools in one closed area."
Sun staff writer Laura Barnhardt contributed to this article.