Anthony Richards, New Castle
Last week: Richards became the 13th player in New Castle history to surpass 1,000 career points after scoring 22 -- including seven 3-pointers -- in a 75-45 win Friday against Shaler.
Check this out: Richards, a 5-foot-8 senior point guard, is a three-year starter for a New Castle team that has won 66 consecutive regular-season games and two WPIAL titles in a row. Richards has made more career 3-pointers (279) than any player in New Castle history and set the single-game record (9) earlier this season. New Castle coach Ralph Blundo has called Richards the toughest player he has coached. Richards has committed to Division II West Virginia Wesleyan, where his brother, David, is an assistant coach.
This team can win another WPIAL title if ... We prepare like champions and we defend like champions.
How big of a goal is winning a PIAA championship? It's a really big goal. No one has ever one won [a PIAA title] in football or basketball at New Castle. For us, we won WPIALs two years in a row. Last year, we came up short in the [PIAA] semifinals. We really don't talk about it much, but we know a state title is something special.
What makes a good 3-point shooter? I guess having good form and just repetition. Playing on a team with so many unselfish players and good players is big. They make the right play. They penetrate, guys collapse and I get open looks. It's more the other guys making plays for me.
Best player in the WPIAL, excluding anyone on your team? If I could use my own player, it would be Malik Hooker. If not, I'd say [Hampton's] Ryan Luther.
Favorite college player? I'd probably say [Ohio State's] Aaron Craft. I love the way he plays.
We hear you have been described as being "as tough as a bad steak." What's that about? (Laughs) I don't know. Just that I play tough. [P-G writer] Mike White comes up with a couple good ones. I go out and play hard and do what I do.
You're not a big kid. Where does your toughness come from? Just growing up with two older brothers. I was the youngest on both sides of the family and the youngest of my friends. I was always the youngest kid. I've always had to battle.
-- By Brad Everett
Lexi Posset, Beaver
Last week: Posset scored 18 points in a Jan. 27 victory against Sto-Rox and had 17 in a win Monday against Avonworth.
Check this out: In her second season as the Bobcats' starting point guard, this 5-foot-6 junior has been extremely productive. She is averaging 21.6 points per game, ranking her among the top 10 girls players in the WPIAL. She has scored at least 20 points in 12 of 18 games this season. With Posset leading the way, Beaver has won eight of its past 10 games and has wrapped up a third-place finish in Class AA Section 6.
What's been the highlight of the season for you so far? Probably our defense and how we keep teams in the high 20s.
Was there anything you really improved upon in the offseason? I probably worked on my foul shooting the most and then my 3-pointers.
Have you noticed a difference in those areas? Yeah, they've improved a lot, especially my free throws. Last year, I could barely make any and in the Freedom game [earlier this season], I went 19 of 25.
Has being the starting point guard been easier this season? It really didn't affect me starting. Last year, maybe the first few games, I wasn't used to it. But, after those first games, I was comfortable.
Was there ever a player you looked up to? [Maryland guard and Hopewell High graduate] Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. I worked out with her a lot this summer.
How do you feel about your team's chances in the playoffs? I think we'll do pretty well. We've got to work on our defense and be prepared for whatever teams throw at us.
Who's the best player you've ever gone up against? Probably the hardest girl I ever played against was a girl from Canada over the summer with my AAU team. I forgot her name.
What's your favorite subject in school? Math.
Any particular math class you took in the past that you liked a lot? Geometry was probably my favorite.
Final thing: Should the day after the Super Bowl be considered a national holiday? Where students get off school and everyone else gets off work? Yeah, probably.
-- By Craig Meyer