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UPDATE: EKY basketball team keeping teammate's memory alive

By: Michelle Heron Email
By: Michelle Heron Email
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) UPDATE: September 28, 2013

An Eastern Kentucky basketball team makes the life and memory of one of their teammates permanent.

Laughter and tears filled the gymnasium of R.W. Combs Elementary School, all in memory of Taylor Cornett.

The 12 year old and two others were killed in a shooting in the parking lot of Hazard Community and Technical College in January.

“It just feels really accomplished that we did it. We had the ceremony and made it official,” teammate Simone Beverly said.

The school’s girls basketball team worked throughout the summer to dedicate a bridge in memory of their teammate.

“Having something permanent named after you, for a 12 year old girl, Taylor lived a full life. She has a lot of people that love and care about her. She couldn’t have better friends,” Taylor’s mother Missy Cornett said.

The team held a ceremony Saturday to officially dedicate the bridge to Taylor and her family.

“That meant the world to me. They’re awesome. They are really awesome. The outpouring of love from these girls when they see me. They run and give me a hug and I need that. They’re a big part of my life,” Cornett added.

Spend just five minutes with this team and you’ll see the bond they share runs deeper than most. They are a family.

“It was like, we didn’t have to do it alone, because we had each other,” Beverly said.

“It’s just not the same without her out [on the court] though,” teammate Hayley Caudill added.

As Taylor’s family and teammates strive to keep her memory alive, Taylor’s organs are now giving five people another chance to live.

Both of her kidneys, her lungs, heart and liver were donated to people in need.

After the ceremony, the girls were off to a basketball tournament. They say the season is off to a great start.

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UPDATE: August 15, 2013

Spend just a few minutes with the Lady Mustangs of R. W. Combs Elementary School and you will see, they aren’t just teammates, but sisters.

The team kicked off another school year on Wednesday, but this time, without one of their friends.

“[She said] we were going to go to R.W. [Combs Elementary School] and graduate, Perry Central [High School] and graduate, and then we were going to be UK cheerleaders and ball players at the same time,” teammate Simone Beverly said.

Seven months ago, Taylor Cornett, 12, was shot to death in the parking lot of Hazard Community Technical College. Two other family members were also killed.

The shock, still fresh for a group of girls otherwise innocent.

“It took me a long time after they said she might not be okay, to really realize that she wouldn’t,” teammate Camryn Noe said.

“We lost one of our players, that is not something that everybody does,” Beverly added.

The girls worked throughout the summer to turn this tragedy into triumph. They raised enough money to dedicate the bridge in front of their school in the memory of the girl who has inspired so many.

“Now every time you drive by it, you’ll see it, you’ll know, you’ll remember Taylor J. Cornett,” Noe said.

“Even after we all graduate, whenever we’re coming home from college, we’re going to pass by this. All of our houses go by here, we’re going to pass this and we’re going to remember her,” Beverly said.

The resilience from these girls is unquestionable; their strength, unstoppable; and Taylor’s memory, unforgettable.

“They don’t lose their best friend, their teammate. I guess, I’ve just learned how to move on,” Beverly said.

“But she’s always going to be with me,” teammate Hayley Caudill said.

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Four months have passed since the Lady Mustangs basketball team at Robert W. Combs Elementary School lost one of their team members.

12 year old Taylor Cornett was shot to death in the parking lot of Hazard Community Technical College in January. Two other family members were also killed.

The pain from January’s events still are visible when Taylor’s teammates talk about losing their friend.

“She basically lived at my house. She was up there every day. She was very supportive. She was nice, she was caring and she helped me take care of my little brother,” teammate Hayley Caudill said.

The Lady Mustangs packed the Perry County Fiscal courtroom Tuesday for one reason: To dedicate the bridge in front of R. W. Combs Elementary on Highway 15 in Perry County in Taylor’s memory.

Simone Beverly played basketball with Taylor and read the resolution in front of the magistrates.

“It was hard to do that, but I know it was for a good cause and for our really good friend Taylor who was always a friend to us, so we really need to do this to her just to give back,” Beverly said.

Girls on the team say it is just one small way they would like to keep Taylor’s memory alive.

“We just think that it's a wonderful way for us to be able to honor a beautiful wonderful loving little girl that we all miss. It's just great to be able to drive by that road everyday and have something positive to remember,” team parent Elisha Caudill said.

This is just one way Taylor’s teammates continue to support the girl who they say, always supported them.

The team needs to raise $226 total for the bridge dedication. They hope to have the money raised and the sign up by the time school starts in August.

You can donate under the Team Taylor Fund at any Community Trust Bank.


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