In the game of basketball, it’s never easy to cope with the death of a former player. In the case of 21-year-old Taylor Dawson, her death has brought pain and heartache to many coaches around the Philadelphia Public League.          


Once regarded as one of the best guards around the city, Taylor Dawson was a high school player who played basketball for Palumbo High ( 2015 to 2016 ) and Audenreid High School ( 2016 to 2017 ). She played one and half years at both schools. In her senior year, Dawson tried to play basketball for Imhotep Charter High, but things didn’t quite work in her favor. She never played basketball in her senior year of high school. And unfortunately, Dawson never played basketball in college.                                                  


After high school, Dawson’s life began to take a turn for the worse. According to Audenried head coach Kevin Slaughter, the streets became Dawson’s worst nightmare. Slaughter said Dawson kept getting in trouble with the wrong people.                                      


According to Philadelphia Police, on Wednesday, March 24, around 5:50 PM, Dawson was killed after she allegedly broke into a home of a 38-year-old woman. The woman lives on the 1200 block of Elbridge Street in the Oxford Circle neighborhood. Police say Dawson had gone to the woman’s house to see an 18-year-old female who lives inside the home. For some reason, Dawson wanted to confront the 18-year-old female about something. However, a 13-year-old boy who lives at the house, answered the door. That’s when police say Dawson had forced her way inside the house. At that moment, Dawson was confronted by the 38-year-old woman. Police say the woman is the mother of the 18-year-old female and the 13-year-old boy. That’s when Dawson attacked the 38-year-old woman. She stabbed the woman once in the chest. Then it appeared the woman fought back. The woman stabbed Dawson three times in the chest and two more times in her back. Police say the 38-year-old woman stabbed Dawson in self-defense. The woman was never charged with the fatal stabbing.


When police arrived, they found both women on the living room floor. The officers took Dawson to Einstein Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 6:09 PM. Dawson was 21-years-old. Today, Dawson leaves behind a great basketball legacy.


At Audenried High, Dawson was a great basketball player. She averaged almost 20 points per game. Coach Kevin Slaughter really loved the way Dawson played basketball. She was a leader on the court. She helped Audenried win many games. She led the Rockets to many victories. She helped Audenried become a Public League playoff contender. 


“She was a pure point guard, a natural ball handler and a player who had a high basketball I.Q. She had the talent to be a Division I player.”                                                    


During her time at Audenried, Dawson was a prime time player. She was named Player of the Game many times. Slaughter said he never knew Dawson wanted to leave Audenried High. Dawson left Audenried in September of 2017.                                              

Earlier that summer, Dawson had played basketball for the Philadelphia Black Hawks. The Black Hawks played games in the Lurline Jones Developmental Basketball League.


In the last game of the regular season, the Black Hawks were in a tight basketball game. The Black Hawks trailed the whole game. They had a tough time with the Hunting Park Road Runners. But the Black Hawks kept fighting back. They never gave up. With less than a minute left in regulation play, the Black Hawks managed to tie up game, 41-41. With 5 seconds left in the game, the Black Hawks called time out. During the time out, Black Hawks coach Napoleon Jackson drew up a play that was designed for Taylor Dawson to hit the game winner-jumper. Coach Jackson told Kearah Henry to dribble the ball at the top of the key. He instructed Henry to pass the ball to Dawson who would be wide open in the deep right corner. And just like clockwork, Henry passed the ball to Taylor Dawson. Dawson caught the ball and threw up a beautiful jump shot. As the game clock hit 0:00, Dawson’s jumper swished through the nets. The Black Hawks team won the game, 44-41. The entire Black Hawks team stormed the basketball court. The Black Hawks players staged a big celebration. Dawson’s buzzer-beater was one of the greatest shots in Black Hawks team history.


 “Oh my God, when Taylor Dawson hit that shot, I jumped eight feet in the air,” said Black Hawks head coach Napoleon Jackson. I designed that play exactly for Taylor Dawson. She hit that shot like Stephen Curry.”           


After that game, Coach Jackson never saw Taylor Dawson again. “I never got a chance to really thank her,” said Coach Jackson. “After she made the winning shot, the whole team celebrated and Taylor quickly left the gym. I guess she had somewhere to go. I feel so bad that I never had a chance to thank her. Oh my God, she was such a great player and now she is gone.”                                          


In honor of Taylor Dawson, the Philadelphia Black Hawks plan to wear a patch of Dawson’s jersey number ( # 2 ) in her honor. They will do that in the Crossover Hoops Basketball Tournament. The tournament will be held on Saturday, May 1st, in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The Black Hawks hope to do great in the tournament and advance to the championship game.                                


Despite Taylor Dawson’s tragic death, there are plans for a memorial game to be played in the honor of Taylor Dawson. Coach Kevin Slaughter plans to put together that game during the month of May. Slaughter said he plans to make a big announcement on Facebook and inform the people about the game.                                             

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