Taylor Padula, who has Down syndrome, started for the first time in a girls varsity basketball game.
Photo: Boston25News.com
Photo: Boston25News.com

High school senior with Down syndrome starts in varsity girls basketball game

>> Watch the news report here

Taylor Padula, who has Down syndrome, started for the first time in a girls varsity basketball game.

The high school senior has never let any obstacle get in the way of her high school experience and showed how her passion for the sport moves her.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Padula's captains and best friends asked the coach to put her in and share in their senior night.

"I'm so proud," said Taylor. "They are my best friends and my teammates."

She's the Franklin girls varsity basketball team manager, and for the first time in four years, she started Friday night's game against Taunton.

Sure enough, with a little planning and a lot of good sportsmanship, Padula, wearing jersey No. 5, had the night of her life.

"Taylor’s a very serious basketball kid; don’t let her smile fool you," said John Leighton, the team's coach. "She’s a cold-hearted killer on the court. She’s out to score."

Her family, watching from the stands, cheered Padula on with proud smiles on their faces.

>> Read more trending news 

"She pretty much died and went to heaven tonight, yeah, she did," said Michael Padula, Taylor's father.

"It was so special, something that I’ve waited for since the day that she was born," said Kelley Padula, Taylor's mother.

To make the night even more memorable, her sister, Stefany, a freshman who plays in the junior varsity girls basketball team, pulled up to play along with Taylor.

"Unforgettable, the best, the best, amazing," said Kelley.

With Taylor's help cheering from the bench and scoring on the court, the Franklin girls' team clinched the title.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.