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Gallagher column: It’s time to honor Maggie Rich

Roaming the county, getting ready for Friday night …
West Rowan visits East Rowan tonight for a doubleheader, and East’s girls are favored to win the first half of the county’s best hoops rivalry.
Ashley Collins and Katelynne Poole will undoubtedly go down as two of the best girls to ever come through East Rowan. Both should end their senior seasons as 1,000-point scorers. Collins already has hit the milestone. Poole is closing in fast.
But let’s talk about the best girls player to ever suit up in Granite Quarry ó Maggie Rich.
There were a few raised eyebrows around here when East framed Justin Vanderford’s jersey recently and retired his number. Not that East shouldn’t have. He’s the school’s all-time leading scorer in boys basketball.
But he is far from being the all-time leading scorer in school history. In fact, he finished 233 points behind Rich.
Why hasn’t Rich ever been honored with similar accolades?
Hmm, now that’s a poser, isn’t it?
When Vanderford’s jersey was retired, the crowd was told he met all the criteria to receive this honor.
Criteria? You want criteria for Rich? Let’s do it:
* Rich scored a whopping 1,917 points in her career. That’s nearly 600 more than Nicole Loggins, who stands second. Only three other players in modern county history have scored more: Salisbury’s Shayla Fields, North Rowan’s Sophilia Hipps and North’s Stephanie Cross.
– Rich holds the school record for most points in a season: 607 in 2004. She broke the record of (you guessed it) Maggie Rich, who is also second with 569 in 2003. Just for the record, she is also fourth with 504 points in 2002.
– The most points ever scored in a game at East Rowan is 40. Rich did it against A.L. Brown in 2003. She broke the record of (yeah, you got it) Maggie Rich, who once scored 38 against Robinson.
– Rich is the career scoring leader at East. No one has averaged more than her 18.1 points per game. Know what that means? That means for four years, every time Rich stepped on the court, you could count on 18 points. That’s pretty good.
– Rich holds the school record for season average: 22.8 in 2003. Second on the list is (yep) Maggie Rich at 20.2 in 2004.
Not only should her No. 30 be honored, it should be framed and hung on the gym wall, like Salisbury did for Fields.
Rich and West’s Hillary Hampton went through school at the same time and formed arguably the best female rivalry in county history. West has framed Hampton’s jersey.
Poole even said earlier this year that her inspiration was Rich.
East should honor Rich at the last home game this season and have Collins and Poole celebrating with her at midcourt. Think Poole wouldn’t feel a bit awestruck standing beside her hero?
Then, you can have two of East Rowan’s great players standing with the greatest Mustang basketball player ó boy or girl ó of all time.

West Rowan should roll over East Rowan in the boys game, but don’t tell West coach Mike Gurley that. He’s been through too many of these battles with East coach Greg McKenzie.
“Greg will do something to put his kids in a position to win the ballgame,” said Gurley, who reminds us West hasn’t won in Granite Quarry in several years.

There’ll be another varsity doubleheader involving county rivals going on in the North gym. Salisbury takes its high standing in the CCC to Spencer.
The average score of Salisbury’s last two girls wins is 81-16.
The Hornet boys haven’t pleased coach Jason Causby recently with their play, but expect Salisbury to step it up in front of a full house.

The only school on the road is South Rowan, which travels to Lake Norman.

Carson’s Darius Moose needs 16 points against North Iredell to reach 1,000 career points. Expect him to get it.
Why? Because David Shaw is covering the game for the Post. With Shaw in the house, Collins, Shi-Heria Shipp and Brandon Abel have all passed the milestone this season.

Here’s a neat tidbit. Tim Duncan’s high school coach from the Virgin Islands is visiting Charlotte with his team and is coming to Knox Middle School today to scrimmage the eighth-grade team at 2 p.m.

On the air tonight …
The dynamic duo of Howard Platt and The Coach, Bob Parker, will be calling the Salisbury-North boys game on WSAT 1490-AM.
Go watch some high school basketball, folks. And be nice.

Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypost.com.

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