2012 All-County Basketball: The girls team
By Mike London
SALISBURY — It jumps right off the page that there are only two Salisbury girls on this 12-person all-county squad — the fewest since 1,000-point scorers Ashley Watkins and Saybah Sammy were the only Hornets in 2006.
SHS had three ladies on the team in 2007 and four in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 and 2011, all five starters made it and even reserves were considered.
While the Hornets were still strong and extended their county winning streak to an amazing 44 and their Christmas tourney-title streak to nine, they were less experienced and less dominant, especially on defense. They won by an average of 14 points compared to their average victory margin of 31 in 2010-11.
For the Hornets, 2012 was a lot like 2006 when Sammy and Watkins shouldered the load. This time it was Brielle Blaire and Doreen Richardson.
Even in a season in which there were six truly exceptional Rowan girls, Blaire was the most special. You can also make an argument — when you factor in rebounding, defense and leadership — that Richardson was second-best.
This all-county team includes players that may surprise you, girls whose contributions weren’t defined by relatively low scoring averages. That’s a positive. There’s more to the game than points.
The number in parentheses indicates how many years the player has been all-county.
Brielle Blaire, So., SHS (2)
She put the Hornets on her back to win another Sam Moir Christmas Classic and was incredibly consistent. She scored in double figures every game and had 20-plus 16 times.
Doreen Richardson, Sr., SHS (1)
This slasher scored in double figures in each of the Hornets’ last 12 games and averaged 13.3 ppg for the season. Her lightning quickness made her dynamic and disruptive on the defensive end.
Kelly Dulkoski, Jr., Carson (2)
Carson’s point guard took another leap forward and dominated many games. Her 3-point shot wasn’t always there, but her tough defense and confident ballhandling were constants. She broke school records for points in a season (439) and per game (16.3).
Shay Steele, Jr., West (3)
The long, swift, 6-foot-2 Steele is very special as a shot-blocker, but she also can get bushels of points with lefty drives and stickbacks. She had games of 33, 28, 26 and 26.
Steele averaged 16.6 ppg, second in the county to Blaire. She has 977 for her career.
Avery Locklear, Fr., South (1)
Locklear never looked anything at all like a freshman and had the highest-scoring season (418 points, 16.1 ppg) of any Raider since Brittney Gaddy in 2001. She also broke South’s scoring record for freshmen.
Karleigh Wike, So., East (1)
The 6-foot-3 Wike made serious progress from her freshman year, doubling her scoring output to 13.7 ppg and impacting games even more with her boards and shot-blocking.
Allison Blackwell, Jr., Carson (3)
Blackwell struggled some early, but she was a strong scorer (10.0 ppg), rebounder and post defender once she got rolling. She had postseason games of 18 and 19 points.
Chloe Monroe, Sr., Carson (3)
Monroe has a reputation as a 3-point shooter, but she got almost as many points off steals and layups as she did 3s.
She averaged 10.8 ppg and finished her career as the leading scorer in Carson history with 856 points.
Teaunna Cuthbertson, Sr., NR (3)
A state-champ track athlete, Cuthbertson led the Cavaliers in scoring (10.8 ppg) and probably in rebounding and steals as well. At times, she just jumped over people.
Nycieko Dixon, So., West (2)
Dixon wasn’t great every night, but when she was on, the long 3s and flying layups came in flurries. In back-to-back games against East Rowan and Concord, Dixon poured in 55 points. She averaged 12.3 ppg for the season.
Sydney Poole, Jr., East (1)
Poole’s 6.2 points per game barely scratches the surface. She always guarded the opponent’s best scorer and was a fine passer and rebounder.
Kayla Corriher, Sr., South (1)
Corriher was the ultimate blue-collar hustler.
She conducted a charge-drawing and boxing-out clinic every night and her rebounding average was likely twice her scoring average (7.3 ppg).