Salisbury's Richardson signs with Gardner-Webb
SALISBURY —Three state championships later, Doreen Richardson was the measuring stick for experience on a gifted Salisbury girls basketball team this year.
Richardson was the lone senior for Chris McNeil and the?Hornets coming into a season with questions abound. The main one being what would Salisbury look like with four Division I players gone?
A good chunk of the answer came in?Richardson, who saw an expanded role running the show for a 2A powerhouse.
The Hornets responded from their losses admirably, winning their ninth straight Moir Classic and reached the sectional finals before falling to North Surry. In the conference,?Salisbury dodged several bullets but went 10-0 in league play during the regular season for the No. 1 seed.
While Richardson was there, Salisbury complied a 110-8 record while gathering a litany of other accolades.
However, as she begins a new chapter of her athletic life at Gardner-Webb, Richardson values the immeasurable gifts she got from Salisbury.
“I’ll always remember the lessons learned from Coach McNeil, Coach Mitchell and the older, experienced teammates,” Richardson said. “I learned to put the team before yourself.”
Richardson shined the most in 2011-2012, as she was the glue to the frontcourt and played pesky defense. In the Moir final, Salisbury defeated Carson 71-67 behind sophomore Brielle Blaire’s 33 points.
“It was an honor to play with someone of her ability and her skills,” said Richardson of Blaire. “Her friendship and her leadership was great. We led the team this year and it was an honor to have her by my side.”
Richardson, a native of Queens, New York, signed with GW last Thursday, her 18th birthday. Richardson was in style for her big day, sporting some new Chuck Taylors along with all three state championship rings.
When Richardson wasn’t scoring, she was assertive on defense and brought intangibles that made her a coach’s favorite.
“She provided excellent leadership throughout her time here,” McNeil said. “She’ll be hard to replace.”
Richardson was named?CCC Athlete of the Year after a senior campaign where she averaged 13.3 points per game. In the spring, she was a solid goalie for the soccer team which made the playoffs and ran cross country in the fall.
If homesickness strikes, Richardson will just look down the bench where former teammate Jessica Heilig will be there sporting those same rings. Heilig signed with GW last year and averaged 5.2 points and 5.7 rebounds a game this season.
Richardson moved to North Carolina in middle school and played well at Knox and Southeast Middle. She hopes this transition will be just as smooth.
“It’ll be good for her to have someone there that she’s played with,”?McNeil said. “She developed a work ethic from those ladies in the past.”
Richardson, an All-County player, is the cousin of North?Rowan’s Oshon?West.
“It’s always a testament to your program when you have a player to go on to the next level,” McNeil said.
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