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Murry Bergtraum Wins 14th Girls’ City Title in a Row

In September, the Lady Blazers (18-7) were stunned after one of their star players, Tayshana Murphy, who was known as Chicken, was shot and killed in a housing complex in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood.

The team, which had an uncharacteristic slow start to its season before rounding into championship form, walked onto the Garden floor Sunday wearing white warm-up shirts with Murphy’s picture on the front and the name Chicken on the back along with Murphy’s uniform number, 15.

From ESPN: Murry Bergtraum wins title for Tayshana

From the Daily News:

After each member of the Bergtraum girls basketball team was called over to receive her city championship hardware on Saturday, one more name was announced over the sound system at Madison Square Garden: Tayshana (Chicken) Murphy.

Just then, Murphy’s father, Taylonn, emerged from the crowd, accepting the award on her daughter’s behalf. As the team huddled around, each with one finger in the air, a photo of Murphy was brought into the middle of the group.

Remembering the phrase student-athlete applies to those in college AND high school, some interesting background on Murry Bergtraum: Hope for a Bergtraum Comeback Is Far Away, in Student Homes

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for a better year: great college season, fabulous Final Four, enjoyable W season with an exciting playoff run, good futures being built in USA Basketball and an (almost) wide open 2011-12 season win many intriguing players to follow.

The off the court heartbreak of the last four months of the year, though, dominates my memories of 2011: Pat, Kurt and Miranda and Tayshana.

For a retrospective, Brenda and Mechelle give us WSC Radio Show: December 30, 2011: Year in review and opening week of conference play

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From John Leland t the New York Times: Playing With Dedication

PART of sport’s allure is that it shreds the rules that limit the rest of life. Athletes’ bodies defy the odds, and others live vicariously through their victories. At a school like Murry Bergtraum, where only 60 percent of students graduate in four years and nearly three-quarters qualify for free or subsidized lunches, athletes’ triumphs are a promise of possibility. When one athlete falls, a whole world can come crashing down.

Tayshana Murphy, one of five children raised by a single mother and an actively involved father, lived her life tweaking the odds, according to people who knew her. Her father, Taylonn Murphy, 42, remembered accompanying her to tournaments as far away as New Orleans and Orlando, and taking her to the hospital to treat her chronic asthma attacks. “She’d lay it all out on the court, then we’d be in the hospital for three days, sometimes in the I.C.U.,” he said. “That’s the part people don’t know.”

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An update from Pat Griffin’s blog on Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy’s murder: A Long Road to Safety, Let Alone Freedom: The Murder of a High School Basketball Star

It was tragic enough that the promising life of a young Black woman was cut short by a senseless case of mistaken identity. It is scary enough that she, like so many other young Black people in urban areas, was not even safe from gun violence in her own apartment building. Now, the police are investigating the possibility that Tayshana’s murder was not a case of mistaken identity, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but a hate crime.

Tayshana was, according to “sources” cited in the news account, a lesbian. Her friends had placed candles and memorials in the hallway where she was shot, but recently new anti-gay and threatening graffiti was written on the walls. The messages were apparently so hateful and so violent that they were immediately painted over, but still serve as a warning and threat to other residents in the complex. That someone could so hate lesbians that they would desecrate her murder scene memorial with violent anti-gay graffiti is almost as chilling as the murder.

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Too damn young

Heralded Girls Basketball Star Is Shot to Death in Manhattan

Tayshana Murphy, 18, was on the basketball team at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in Manhattan, where she had just begun her senior year. She was ranked on an ESPN Web site as the nation’s 16th-best point guard in her class.

From Glen at Hoopgurlz: NYC grieves loss of Tayshana Murphy

After Hurricane Irene pounded New York City two weeks ago, Ed Grezinsky, the longtime coach of Murry Bergtraum High School’s powerhouse girls’ basketball program, received a text from a somewhat unexpected source.

It was from Tayshana Murphy, someone who had yet to play a game for him, but to whom Grezinsky felt as close as others who’d played four years at Bergtraum. She wanted to know how he’d weathered the storm.

Hardened by 21 highly successful years of molding inner-city kids into champions, Grezinsky sometimes can be described as gruff and distant. But Murphy had broken through. She’d melted his heart.

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