Charges filed after basketball fracas

Published 6:36 pm Friday, December 11, 2009

AHOSKIE – An incident after a junior varsity basketball game has left two people charged and a local school urging calm.

Wednesday night after the Ridgecroft School junior varsity boys contest with visiting Halifax Academy, a post-game incident occurred between players that escalated when adults became involved in the fracas.

The resulting altercation has left at least one local person, Lawrence “Sonny” Larabee, facing two criminal summons related to the incident. Both are for simple assault.

He was charged by Jonathan Paul Smith of Roanoke Rapids. Larabee in turn pressed charges against Smith for simple assault. Smith will also be served with a criminal summons.

“It was a very unfortunate incident,” Ridgecroft Headmaster Elton Winslow said. “The game was a hotly contested game with both teams being undefeated and the emotions got the best of some people afterwards.

“While I do not believe we instigated it, the reaction both from our players and our fans is unacceptable,” he said. “What could have been simply a minor incident that was dealt with by coaches and headmasters got out of hand when adults got involved.”

Winslow said the entire incident lasted only about a minute before coaches and administrators for both schools were able to separate those involved. The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office was called, but the responding deputies issued no charges. The charges were sought later through a Hertford County magistrate.

“By the time we arrived the situation was in hand,” said Sheriff Juan Vaughan. “My deputies did not see any altercation because it was over. In incidents involving only misdemeanors, the individuals obtain warrants themselves.”

Winslow said the situation was dealt with quickly.

“We handled the situation quickly and chose to cancel the rest of the night’s games to make sure there was a cooling off period before the schools play again,” Winslow said. “While we certainly hope nothing like this happens again, I have urged our students and parents to better keep their composure in situations like this and let the coaches and administrators handle any and all situations that may arise.”