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Richardson leading Carlynton girls basketball by example

Randy Jarosz | for the Signal Item
Conor Richardson moved to the point guard position for Carlynton this season.

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Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

For Carlynton's Conor Richardson, nothing is as bad as sitting on the bench.

The junior guard missed her sophomore season after suffering an ACL tear the summer before.

While she was rehabilitating, the girls basketball team went to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2004-05.

Now she is ready to experience the success for herself.

“I was so proud watching what they did,” Richardson said. “But it was one of the toughest things to sit through. I have some making up for missed time (to do), that's for sure.”

Richardson has been a major catalyst behind the Lady Cougars' 11-3 start, averaging more than 22 points. Her season high was 36 points scored in a 77-47 win Jan. 10 at Freedom.

While losing Richardson for her sophomore season was a blow to the Cougars, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

“It gave our players coming back so much confidence,” Carlynton coach Tim Bonner said. “And it let (Richardson) know that we are a pretty good team without her.”

The confidence the team found will be critical as senior guard Hannah Murray is likely done for the season after suffering a leg injury in December.

With only one other senior on the team — multi-year starter Jazmyn Meredith — a higher responsibility has been placed on juniors such as Richardson and guard Jordan Melko.

“(Richardson) knew right away she had to pick her game up when (Murray) went down,” Bonner said. “Her floor leadership will continue to get better. That will be important because we are going to need to rely on some freshman players.”

Richardson's ability to lead on the floor has helped her transition into the point guard spot. While she said she is still getting used to the role — noting she still is improving her ball-handling skills — she embraces the role of being a leader for the team.

“I love it,” Richardson said. “I want to take the girls under my wing. I have been playing so long that I know a good amount about the game I can share.”

While she has the ability to take over a game with her scoring, Richardson brings so much more to the Cougars.

Richardson's 5-foot-10 frame allows her to battle in the paint, and her speed allows her to create turnovers.

“She is a multifaceted player,” Bonner said. “She can shoot from the outside. She can go to the rim. She rebounds and handles the ball. She does what she does defensively. And she has such a good chemistry with all the other players.”

With a one-game lead in the Section 6-AA standings, Richardson said the team is focused on each game it goes into as it continues its trek to a section title.

“That has been the goal from the jump,” Richardson said. “We need to keep going after it.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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