ALPINE — For the first time in school history, the Winterboro Lady Bulldogs captured the Class 1A Area 7 regular season championship. Winterboro defeated ASD 5440 Tuesday to win the right to host the area tournament.
“It is a blessing to have the opportunity to win it,” Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “ I think the girls have gone through due process as far as taking our lumps the last couple of years. I was surprised we actually went undefeated in the area. We have some good teams in the area, and we have had some tough games in our area. I am proud of the girls.”
Winning the regular season area title and hosting the area tournament are two of the many accomplishments the Lady Bulldogs have earned.
Winterboro (13-4,8-0) defeated rival TC Central three times this season, which is a record.
The Lady Bulldogs earned the second seed in the Talladega County Basketball Tournament, which is the highest they have been seeded.
The Lady Bulldogs set a school record for victories with their win against Alabama School for the Deaf Tuesday.
“It has been a three-year process and I am real thankful to have the opportunity to go somewhere and let my coaching talent be shown,” Smith said. “I have a group of girls that are relatively young, but they have been putting in the work.”
Jasmine Richardson has played a huge role in the Lady Bulldogs success this season. The freshman guard averages 18 points, seven rebounds and two steals a game. Richardson showed she was a special player when she scored 22 of her 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead Winterboro past TC Central. She picked up where she left off the next day when she scored 34 points against B. B. Comer.
“Jasmine is one of those types of players that has a heart for the game,” Smith said. “She has been putting a few extra hours in the gym, especially on the free throw line. She has been trying to expand her game and one day she is going to be a go to player that’s going to be special. She is taking her lumps against other good opponents, but I think she is coming and learning. Players make coaches and she is definitely a good player to have on your side.”
Richardson credits Smith for pushing her to become the best player that she can be.
“Since I was in seventh grade, my coach has been working with me,” Smith said. “ I’m glad that he has worked with me, because I am getting better. My left hand has gotten better, because he is always getting on to me about that.”
Richardson and freshman point guard Tanesha Merritt have created havoc for opposing backcourts. In their win Monday against Wadley, Merritt scored 19 points and Richardson scored 15 points. Richardson said she admires the way Merritt leads their team.
“She is the leader of the team,” Richardson said. “ She gets us in position, she cheers us on and she tells our defense what we need to do. I look up to her.”
Even though the Lady Bulldogs have had a historic season they are not satisfied.
“Our goal is to the make playoffs for the first time,” Richardson said. “We want to make it to the Regional Tournament and to the State Tournament.”
Jan 28, 2011