Riverview’s Emily Alcorn Taylor remembers time on court fondly

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Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 4:05 PM


As a working mom with a young family, Emily Alcorn Taylor doesn’t spend much time thinking about her Riverview basketball career these days.

But the memories came rushing back after Taylor received word she was among those scheduled for induction into the Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame on May 20 at The Pittsburgh Shrine Center in Harmar.

“I left basketball behind, and getting that phone call kind of rekindled all of my memories of that time,” Taylor said. “I remember playing like it was yesterday, specific games and specific plays. I feel like that call conjured up a lot of good times for me.”

Taylor lives in Atlanta with her husband, Nate, and three daughters: Margaret, age 5; Grace, 3; and Abigail, 11 months.

“We’re never short on things to do, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Taylor, who works for a large financial services company.

A 2003 Riverview graduate, Taylor set girls school career records with 1,724 points, 382 steals and 610 rebounds. Her 596 points during the 2002-03 season also shattered the school mark.

“I just had a competitive spirit,” said the Oakmont native. “I loved playing the game. …No one had to tell me to go out there and practice. For home games, I went to the gym at 5 o’clock for an 8 o’clock game. I did my warm-up routine just to get prepared for the game. Now that I see it from a parent’s perspective, you can’t teach that to a kid. A kid has to want to do it.”

Taylor said she started to get serious about basketball in junior high school.

“At the time, I was the ball girl for the varsity team,” she said. “I would travel with the team and get the water bottles and gather up the basketballs. I rode the bus with the varsity team. I just remember looking up to those girls and waiting for my shot to play varsity.”

When the time came, Taylor developed into a four-year starter who wanted to be “anywhere the ball was” on the court.

“I loved to shoot 3s, but I liked to take the ball to the hoop,” she said. “I liked when we pressed, to get a steal and a breakaway layup, or a steal and pass to someone else for a layup.”

A 5-foot-7 guard, Taylor said she blossomed under the tutelage of former Raiders coach Paul Sylba and assistant P.J. Smerdel. She became a four-time all-section selection and was named the 2003 Valley News Dispatch girls player of the year. The Raiders made multiple trips to the WPIAL playoffs during her playing days.

“I always had a good group of players around me, whether they were a couple of years older than me when I was a sophomore or a couple of years younger than me when I was a senior,” said Taylor, who also played soccer for the Raiders.

After high school, Taylor had the opportunity to play hoops at the small college level but opted to attend Penn State main campus.

“I don’t know what made me decide this, but I just didn’t want to go to a small school,” she said. “I went to Penn State, and my first semester I remember really missing basketball and I considered transferring to a smaller school to play. I didn’t end up doing that, and looking back it was totally the right decision.”

Taylor acknowledged the sacrifices made by her parents, Robert and Ruth Alcorn, while she pursued her hoop dreams.

“When you’re a kid, you take your parents for granted,” she said. “They were so supportive throughout my playing days. The financial and time commitment, and balancing life with my two sisters. I really appreciate that now that I have three kids, and we’re juggling everything.”

Taylor recalled Ruth Alcorn filming her games. “My mom watched every game from behind the screen of a video camera so we could put tapes together for colleges,” she said. “Every time I walked out the door for a game, my dad would tell me: ‘three deep breaths, no fouls.’ ”

Robert Alcorn still lives in the family home in Oakmont. Ruth Alcorn passed away almost eight years ago. As a result, Taylor said her one regret in returning home for the A-K Hall of Fame ceremony is her mom won’t be there to share in the big moment.

“She would be so proud of me,” Taylor said.

If you go

52nd A-K Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction

7 p.m. Saturday, May 20

The Pittsburgh Shrine Center, Harmar

Tickets: $40

Contact: Larry Lutz, 724-822-3695; Fred Soilis, 412-736-1809; Bill Heasley, 724-882-3079

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