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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Richard back in state quarters behind dominant Henderson (PHOTO)
Ashley Henderson had a hand in 34 of Richard's first 37 points and finished with 30 points and eight assists in the Pioneers' 64-47 victory over Bishop Foley in the Class C regional championship. Photo by Dave Chapman.
Richard star Ashley Henderson was spectacular for the visitors and gave a first half performance that Pioneer fans won’t soon forget.
The Pioneers led 37-27 at the half and Henderson’s halftime stat sheet already equaled what could be considered a career game for many players. The senior had a hand in 34 of Richard’s 37 first half points after tallying 20 points and six assists in the game’s first 16 minutes.
Henderson’s dominant performance and gaudy numbers were benefited by her teammates’ ability to knock down open shots when opportunities arose.
“We’re not going to depend on her all the time because every opponent is going to be geared for her,” Richard Coach William Jones said. “They’re all encouraged to shoot and they’re all encouraged to miss. Hopefully they step up, take some shots and make some shots and it worked well for us.”
The game remained close for much of the first half and the Pioneers led by only three – 29-26 – with 1:45 remaining in the first half before Richard closed the half with an 8-1 run for a 10-point halftime advantage.
Richard would comfortably lead by double-digits for the remainder of the second half.
“Having done it last year, the kids at least are wired to know how long the season goes,” Jones said. “They understand now about now burning themselves out in preparation.
“Having gone through it, they knew how long it would take to get here and it’s something they’ve been envisioning all season.
Though Richard was awarded fewer trips to the free throw line, the veteran Pioneers took advantage of their trips and shot 75 percent (15-for-20) whereas Foley shot well under 50 percent (13-29).
Henderson ended her banner night with 30 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals to pace Richard in all categories. Morgan Casanova scored eight and Kelly Henderson, Emily Cooper and Rachel Izzo each scored six in the win.
Emma Wonsil had 15 points and five rebounds to lead Foley. Cyndi Claucherty added 10 points and five boards, Juliana Aiuto had nine and Lauren Cross chipped in four points, five rebounds and five steals.
In the one-and-done reality of the prep postseason, Jones and the Pioneers know that every game is not only a chance to move on, but also a chance to be sent home.
“We’re humble enough to know that nothing is guaranteed,” Jones said. “Once you get to districts, you’re only guaranteed one game.”
Richard will look to move on to the state semifinals on Tuesday when the Pioneers take on Flint Hamady in the Class C state quarterfinals in Burton Bendle.
Last Updated: 3/8/2013 11:42:48 AM EST