At the first basketball games after the shooting at Frederick High School, many wore black and gold, the school colors, as well as #FHSSTRONG T-shirts Friday evening to show support for the school.
As the Frederick High boys junior varsity and varsity basketball teams competed against Linganore High School, students and parents chatted in the stands, watching the game with little discussion of Wednesday night’s shooting.
The gymnasium was roughly three-quarters full, the normal attendance for a varsity basketball game, according to Sharon Brent, a parent working at the concession stand.
Although the Frederick High boys varsity basketball team lost, the boys junior varsity basketball team narrowly defeated Linganore, bringing the crowd to its feet in the final seconds.
“To the people in the stands, it may seem like a (normal) game ... but we don’t want to be defined (by the shooting),” said Khyree Moten, a sophomore on the team. “We can bounce back from this.”
Junior varsity coach Dave Blumenthal said he was proud of the team.
The win “didn’t hurt,” he said. “Through tragedy, life goes on,”
Two teen boys were shot at about 8 p.m. Wednesday outside the school during a boys junior varsity basketball game, leaving roughly 200 spectators under lockdown for hours as police searched the grounds for the assailants. Frederick police have not released information about the attackers.
Many students and parents attending the boys junior varsity and varsity basketball games Friday said they felt safe at the school and were not concerned that similar violence would occur.
“We felt confident there wasn’t going to be any trouble tonight, and there usually isn’t,” said Rob Mingone, whose daughters attend Frederick High.
While the shooting was disturbing, Mingone said he felt it was an “isolated incident” and did not represent the school as a whole.
“There’s a lot of spirit here,” Mingone said. “The people here are good people.”
Melanie Long, whose son is a senior at the high school and plays varsity basketball, agreed.
“It’s not a Frederick High issue, it’s a public school issue,” she said. “It could’ve happened at any school.”
Sporting gold beads and a black shirt, Long praised school administrators and staff for the way they handled the aftermath of the shooting and continue to show their support.
“We believe in Frederick High School,” Long said. “We back the school 100 percent, no matter what.”
Despite the increased police and media presence, the boys junior varsity and varsity basketball games Friday were “business as usual,” said Deputy First Class Dwayne Freeman, Frederick High’s school resource officer.
Several police officers and May Security Systems guards were present at the boys junior varsity and varsity basketball games, but the sporting events proceeded without any problems.
“Obviously, moving forward, we’re going to err on the side of caution and make sure that we have a strong physical presence at future events. ... It’s also likely going to depend a lot on the outcome or future developments in this investigation,” said Capt. Patrick Grossman, acting Frederick police chief.
In the days after the shooting, students took to social media, encouraging others to attend Friday night’s basketball games as a sign of solidarity.
“Everyone was supportive, and it was like a family,” said Azeen Farahani, a senior at Frederick High, as she described the first day of school after the shooting.