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Some business still to finish

A district title would be a nice way to cap off Justin Richardson's career at Seven Rivers.

By KELLIE DIXON
Published February 9, 2007


LECANTO -Growing up, Justin Richardson never really thought of himself as a guard.

He was the bigger kid. The one the coach - usually his dad - played at forward or even center. Richardson watched Michael Jordan tear it up on the television, but figured that was the closest he would get to playing outside.

Then something happened. The others grew. Richardson couldn't keep up. When he realized he wasn't going to sprout much past 6-foot-1, he focused on his shot.

Richardson has watched his role change with his Seven Rivers Christian team, too. Instead of being a general contributor, he has taken on the leadership position for the Warriors, who play Meadowbrook at 6 tonight in the Class A, District 6 semifinals at Bishop McLaughlin.

Seven Rivers coach Jim Ervin said Richardson's biggest improvement is his strength. Richardson, who hit the weight room this past summer with his teammates, has become versatile. That means even some post play for the senior, who averages 19.7 points and 8.45 rebounds per game.

"He does whatever is asked of him," Ervin said. "He's our leading scorer at times, and sometimes he's asked to rebound more than concentrate on scoring. ...Over the four years, he has progressed and became a pretty good high school basketball player, really polished."

Along the way, Richardson accomplished his personal goal of scoring 1,000 career points. He did that midway through the season. He also helped the Warriors break the school record for wins by reaching 18 last week.

Richardson echoes Ervin when asked about the team's approach: Play defense. Box out. Play unselfish. Know your role.

But there's more to that for Richardson, a senior. It's his last chance. Plus it's an opportunity to show the rest of the district that the Warriors' undefeated run wasn't a fluke.

"Everyone is looking to beat us because we went 12-0 during the regular season," Richardson said. "They're looking to attack us, and we need to attack them before they can attack us. We just need to go out and show everyone that we haven't lost for a reason."

Kellie Dixon can be reached at kdixon@sptimes.com or 352 544-9480.

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