For the Sulphur Bulldogs, it seems like the accolades may never stop pouring in.
Even then, they may not be enough.
Seniors Ashley Hughes and Tierani Richardson were recently named representatives from the Class 3A state champions on the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association All-State Middle West team, along with Davis senior Kendal Rogers.
They will be joined by Sulphur coach Toby Todd, who was named the OGBCA West Coach of the Year, along with being named the coach of the West team in the OGBCA All-State Games, which will take place on June 1 at Westmoore High School.
The teams were chosen after eligible seniors took part in a series of tryouts, with coaches voting on the teams. The three area girls represent the “Middle” (3A and 4A) schools.
Despite finishing in the top seven of eligible players for the 10-girl team, Sulphur senior Ebony Harrison did not make the final roster because only two representatives were allowed per school. Otherwise, the Middle West team would have had a trio of Bulldogs.
“I was actually on the selection committee and that was one of the toughest parts of it,” Todd said. “It’s unfortunate, but that rule is there.”
Hughes and Richardson were the two leading scorers for the unbeaten Bulldogs during a magical run to the state title. Hughes averaged 21.0 points per game as a slashing combo guard, while Richardson tallied 19.0 ppg as a sharp-shooting guard.
“Obviously both of them are very deserving,” Todd said. “They have an outstanding work ethic and all offseason, they just spent countless hours shooting and it has paid off for them.”
Hughes was remarkable all year long for her intuitive sense of timing. Perhaps her signature moment came against Adair in the semifinals, when she pulled off a string of eight consecutive points, including a bucket in which she rebounded one of her own missed free throws, to spark a 15-0 run that sealed the game for Sulphur.
“She knew exactly when to get everybody involved and exactly when to take over,” Todd said. “It just seemed like she could turn into Superwoman on the court.”
Richardson was not only one of the top 3-point shooters in the state, hitting 40 percent from beyond the arc, but was a defensive sparkplug on the perimeter for Sulphur, reaching a high-water mark in the state finals against Perkins-Tryon by recording three steals, including a crucial one in the fourth quarter that killed a Lady Demons rally.
“She knew she was really good at the outside shooting coming in,” Todd said. “But she took a lot of pride in her defense and it blossomed as time went on.”
Page 2 of 2 - Rogers earned her spot as one of the elite do-it-all stars of Southern Oklahoma, guiding a young, inexperienced Davis squad all the way to the area tournament in 3A while averaging 20.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 7.0 blocks per game.
“Early on in the year, she had to do everything for us,” Davis coach Jeff Brown said. “Handle the ball, get us into an offense and then we had to get it back to her to score.
“She’s just an exceptional player. She can dribble, pass, shoot; really just do it all.”
Rogers also achieved her marks under extremely trying circumstances; she suffers from a rare abdominal muscle disorder that caused physical pain and nausea to the point of vomiting during most of her games.
“You can’t say enough about the toughness she showed all year, her willpower through the season,” Brown said. “She would get sick just about every game and still come out to play as hard as she possibly could.
“That just says so much about her.”
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