This was their way of remembering, that he was still there with them on the bench. A jersey, a white jersey with "Roxborough" spelled across in dark blue and the familiar No. 12 below it that they knew Rashawn Anderson by.
The jersey sat there wrapped over an empty chair at the end of the Roxborough (Philadelphia)
bench. Roxborough won a Philadelphia Public League Division B playoff game Tuesday night, 55-53 in overtime over South Philadelphia — but that really didn't matter.
What did was the fact that the Indians were carrying on after the tragic loss of the 18-year-old Anderson, who was murdered Monday night in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. Anderson was gunned down, police said, by a hail of bullets that struck him seven times near an apartment complex where he lived with his grandmother.
Philadelphia police have yet to apprehend the shooter and said they have no suspects, but have stated the shooting could be linked to a quarrel between two arguing teen-aged factions.
Whatever the cause and whatever stirred it, the Roxborough community has been drastically rocked by the second Roxborough High School student killed within a month, and a family has been robbed of its son, a school robbed of a student, and a team robbed of a valuable player.
Anderson, known as "Shawnee" to close friends and family, was a 5-9 guard with a good handle and was averaging 14 points over the 10 games he played. On Feb. 1, he dropped in a team-high 22 points in a 65-60 Roxborough victory over Bok Tech.
"Shawnee loved playing the game, when he was young, you'd find him going against kids that were five, six years older than him. He just loved playing basketball," said Treshawn Anderson, Rashawn's younger brother. "It's why this hurts so much. You can say we were robbed, we were all robbed of someone very special."
What also will be missed was the way Shawnee could light up a room and make everyone around him laugh.
"That's the kind of kid that he was, he was always having fun and making everyone else around him laugh," said teammate and close friend Lijha Lewis. "He was a good kid. I think hearing about it hit us all hard. We were making plans together to play in college. Now it's all gone. We have to go on without him, but we're playing for him."
Shawn Anderson, Shawnee's father, said his son was going to try and play at a community college with the hopes of transferring to a four-year college.
"I think that's what makes this so hard to understand, Shawnee got along with everyone, and he was loved by a lot of people," Shawn Anderson said. "He had plans for his future. He wanted to play in college."
Anderson was the second Roxborough High School student killed in the last month. On Jan. 19, another Roxborough High School student, Christopher Foster, 18, was found n the Germantown section of Philadelphia shot to death. No arrests were made in that shooting either, and police have stated there were no connections between the two shootings.Joseph Santoliquito can be contacted at JSantoliquito@yahoo.com.