Chippewa’s Ashley Richardson enjoys scoring and rebounding, but neither is her favorite aspect of basketball.

“I like blocking shots the best because it is nice for my teammates to know that I am back there and I have their back,” Richardson said Tuesday.

Veteran Chipps girls basketball coach Dennis Schrock speaks glowingly about his 6-foot-1 senior, who has signed to play volleyball on scholarship at the University of Akron.

“Ashley is a great, great basketball player,” Schrock said. “I have coached a lot of girls in my career, but she is the best I have coached in all facets of the game. I really mean that. I have had some really good ones. We had Tonya Smoot, who was Player of the Year in the state in 1994, [in Division III] and several other All-Ohioans through the years.

“Ashley is 6-1. She can score inside, she’s a good rebounder, she can block shots and she alters shots. … She is a rim protector. If a player gets beat, you know she is behind you and has your back.”

Schrock is in his fifth season of a second stint at Chippewa (29 years total) and he coached two years at Jackson. He enters Thursday’s game against visiting Smithville with a 575-132 career record and a 559-105 mark at Chippewa.

Richardson, a four-year letter winner in volleyball, is on her way to becoming a four-year letter winner in basketball. She is averaging 20.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 8.0 blocks per game this season for Chippewa (15-3, 10-0 Wayne County Athletic League), and is aiming for her second consecutive Division III State Player of the Year honor.

“I have so much fun with all of my teammates and coaches,” Richardson said. “We want to go back to state. It is always fun to be on a team at this level where everyone gets along, shares the ball and always supports each other.”

Chippewa, a Division III state semifinalist last year, returned Richardson, Carly Koncz and Taylor Richards from the starting lineup that took the floor in Columbus. Koncz is a 6-0 senior who plans to play basketball at Ursuline College and Richards is a 6-0 junior being recruited by several colleges. The Chipps’ other two starters are 5-7 senior Jamie Sammons and 5-9 sophomore Katie Richardson, Ashley’s sister.

“It is definitely … the best part about all of this,” Ashley said. “It is great to experience all these games with her and we are having a great time playing together.”

Schrock said junior Lexi Karovic, senior Beth Walsh, sophomore Maddie Pappas, freshman Elaina Dressler and junior Alison Barnes are his top five reserves.

Getting on the court

A lifelong resident of Doylestown, Ashley Richardson started playing volleyball and basketball competitively in seventh grade.

Her father, Greg, competed in cross country and basketball at Manchester, and also played hockey on the side. Her mother, Renee, whose maiden name is Vance, played volleyball, basketball and softball at Manchester and then played college softball at Akron. Ashley’s aunts Cheryl Vance and Dani Vance also played softball at UA.

Schrock said Richardson has acclimated quite well to basketball, and helped the Chipps compile records of 19-4 three years ago, 22-2 two years ago and 28-1 last year.

The Chipps opened this season 13-0 with wins over Norwayne, Youngstown Ursuline, Garrettsville, Waynedale, Rittman, Northwestern, Dalton, Smithville, Revere, Twinsburg, Canton Central Catholic, Hillsdale and Waynedale.

Losses to New Carlisle Tecumseh and Kettering Archbishop Alter followed, then Chippewa beat Northwestern and Dalton, and lost its most recent game at Berlin Hiland.

Record setter

Schrock said Richardson routinely faces a double or triple team from opponents, but consistently finds a way to make a play for herself or a teammate.

Richardson enters Thursday with career numbers of 1,413 points, 978 rebounds and 517 blocks. She is the Chipps’ all-time leading rebounder and shot blocker, and is fourth in scoring.

“In addition to that, she is at the top of her class academically [with a 4.3 grade-point average] and is so even keeled,” Schrock said. “It is hard to get her upset at anything. It is just a pleasure to have someone like her that you know is going to be there every game.”

Richardson said picking one sport to play in college wasn’t easy.

“It was a really hard decision because I love both sports,” she said. “Obviously, I am excited to play at Akron on the volleyball team. I am appreciative of the opportunity.”

Richardson is also hoping another opportunity presents itself this year — winning a basketball state title with her teammates and coaches before focusing on volleyball.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.