By Terry Toohey
Several Chester players paraded around the court at Cardinal O’Hara holding up Edward Harmon’s jersey amid a throng of fans after the Clippers’ astonishing 63-62 victory over Simon Gratz in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A playoffs Wednesday night.
Despite the thrilling way the game ended, on a long-distance three-point shot by Zahmir Carroll as time expired, this wasn’t a celebration as much as it was a part of the healing process from a tragedy that no one, especially a group of teenagers, should ever have to go through.
Just one day earlier, Harmon, a sophomore forward on the Chester basketball team, was killed, along with 15-year-old Tayvonne Avery, amid a multiple shooting that also left Jermere Clark, also a sophomore forward on the varsity basketball team, wounded.
“They were just out there playing basketball when someone started shooting,” said former Chester great Keith Wood, Harmon’s step-grandfather. “It just makes no sense.”
That’s a sad reality in Chester. Harmon and Avery were the 10th and 11th murder victims in the city.
“Unfortunately, where we live, this is not a new occasion,” Chester-Upland superintendent Dr. Juan Baughn said before the game. “And, unfortunately, we’ve had too much practice at this. … At a time like this, everybody’s in pain.”