News Channel 3
Saturday, March 5, 2011 | Memphis, TN
Central HS Girls Basketball Team Plays in Memory of Slain Alum
- CentralHigh School girls’ basketball team played in memory of Tina Stewart.
- Stewart was allegedly stabbed to death Wednesday.
- Stewart graduated from Central and was attending MTSU when she died.
The girls playing for CentralHigh School Saturday night had more than the state tournament in mind; they played in honor of alumna Tina Stewart, who had been a big sister figure to many of them. Stewart was killed Wednesday at Middle Tennessee State University. Murfreesboro police said that Stewart was allegedly stabbed five times by her roommate, 18-year-old Shanterrica Madden at their apartment.
Madden is also a graduate of Central High School, but the two women apparently did not know each other until being paired as roommates. Madden is charged with first degree murder. Her attorney said that the action was in self-defense.
On Saturday, the Central High School girls’ basketball team dominated a game against Hardin Academy, winning 77-46. They will now move onto the state tournament, played at MTSU, where Stewart was killed.
In honor of Stewart, the team and fans wore purple, Stewart’s favorite color. The girls took a moment of silence before the game, wearing purple shirts with Tina Stewart’s face on them.
“Tina would always come back to visit when she could, and play ball with them, and spend time with them. She was like a big sister to the girls here,” said Cheryl O’Bannon, whose daughter currently plays on the team.
O’Bannon wore purple to the game, as did many other parents, staff and supporters. She said the loss was keenly felt by the girls on the team, even as they are poised to play an important game.
“Every last one of them wants to win the game very, very bad. And especially for Tina tonight,” she said.
Elroy Bond, a neighborhood director for Memphis Athletic Ministries, remembers Tina Stewart from when she played recreational basketball at their center on Cleveland Street.
“Every time she made a move around the top of the wing, you saw that little ponytail bounce, and she was going to move to the hole. So you knew something. She was a very strong and aggressive player,” Bond said.
He said that the loss must be difficult for CentralHigh School coach Niki Bray, who considered each of her players “one of her babies.”
He added that Stewart was one of the dynamic players who helped lay the foundation for a team on the rise.
“We’re here standing behind, not just the team, but we’re standing behind what this is. A fallen teammate, friend, who tragically has come to an end, but who will never, never die in our hearts,” he said.