SPENCER — Millwood's cheerleaders and fan wore purple ribbons Friday night. The Lady Falcons basketball team wore purple bows in their hair.
“Purple was Karisma's favorite color,” said Nikki Cramer, mother of Millwood starting freshman point guard Nykiah Hinds.
The Lady Falcons won another basketball game Friday night, defeating Star Spencer, 68-49, to run their record to 17-4. But there was no joyous celebration afterward.
Earlier in the day, Karisma Taylor, a member of the Lady Falcons freshman basketball squad, died at Children's Hospital.
Taylor, who had severe asthma attacks in the past, had been hospitalized since Monday after experiencing difficulty breathing during the warm-ups of Millwood's freshman game.
A moment of silence for Taylor was held before Millwood's girls and boys' basketball games at Star Spencer on Friday night.
Lady Falcons' basketball coach Arnelia Spears called Friday the most difficult day in her 43-year coaching career.
“It's hard to lose a Falcon, especially a kid in basketball,” Spears said. “When you lose a kid at Millwood, it's like losing family.”
Cramer, who made and distributed the purple ribbons to fans at the Star Spencer contests, said Millwood players, coaches and fans were devastated by news of Taylor's death.
“Today, there have been a lot of tears and hugs,” Cramer said Friday night. “We are going to be there for each other to help us get through this. It's been really hard for (Nykiah). She broke down pretty bad before the game.”