It’s hard to argue with success. And it’s hard to argue that anybody in Marengo County had more success this season than Linden High junior Amber Richardson. She led her team a 22-5 record and narrowly missed a second consecutive trip to the state semifinals.
Richardson averaged an eye-popping 18.4 points and 13.7 rebounds per contest this season while also stealing the ball 143 times. A 5-7 center with wing skills, Richardson routinely drew post defense responsibilities, but still found ways to be effective against larger players.
As the season wore on, Richardson seemed to get better. In the sub-regional against McIntosh, Richardson tallied 35 points, 23 rebounds and eight assists while sitting most of the fourth quarter. In the first round of the South Regional at the Dothan Civic Center, Richardson sustained an ankle injury just before half. With their leading scorer out of the lineup, the Patriots fell into a double-digit hole. Richardson re-emerged with 2:48 left in the third quarter and did all but help the Mud Dogs win the Bourbon Bowl as she led her team on a 20-5 run to beat Pleasant Home.
Richardson, who was a varsity starter at John Essex in the seventh and eighth grades, is the West Alabama Watchman Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
Richardson earned Second Team All-County honors from The Watchman back in 2014 when she averaged 14.94 points per game for John Essex. After sitting her freshman season following the closure of Essex and her transfer to Linden, Richardson has tallied 970 points and 685 rebounds. That scoring output helped her shatter the 1,000-point mark this season and puts her in position to possibly end her career with more than 1,500 points and 1,200 rebounds in her career.
Joining her on the list of Watchman honors is Linden coach Teressa Bolden. While the success Bolden’s team had in 2015-2016 shocked the state, the encore performance proved even more challenging. After going 18-7 and ending in the Class 1A state championship a season ago, Linden lacked the luxury of being able to sneak up on teams in 2016-2017. Still, the Lady Patriots were ranked in the Top 5 the entire season and compiled a 22-5 record. Those losses came to Class 5A Demopolis, Class 4A state runner-up Greensboro and Class 1A state runner-up J.F. Shields.
For her efforts, Bolden is the 2017 West Alabama Watchman Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
West Alabama Watchman Girls Basketball All-County Team
Amber Richardson, Jr. – Linden
J’Mya Hall, Fr. – Marengo
Sylvia Clayton, Sr. – Demopolis
Tomysha Boykin, Sr. – Linden
Aniya Johnson, Fr. – Demopolis
Darnesha Harris, Sr. – Demopolis
Imiya Agee, Sr. – Linden
Shakesaney Bell, Jr.. – Demopolis
Akayla McGhee, Fr.. – A.L. Johnson
Dajia Miller, Jr. – Linden