Tonawanda News

High Schools

March 26, 2014

Walton and McDermott prove to be ultimate player-coach combo

Tonawanda News — When Jontay Walton decided to transfer to Cardinal O'Hara after Holy Angels closed its doors at the end of the 2013 school year, everybody had an opinion about how she would fit in as a Lady Hawk.

"You can't imagine how many people told me when they found out Jontay was coming here that it was not going to work," said O'Hara coach Dan McDermott.

But every time the team took the floor this season, it's as if Walton had been there for her whole four years of high school. Athletic Director Angelo Sciandra said the smooth transition is a testament to the quality people in the Cardinal O'Hara community.

"There were a lot of people that said this wasn't going to work," Sciandra said. "Jontay was throwing up 50 shots a game for Holy Angels, but there she had to. Here she made beautiful passes — she came in, and from day one, she fit in beautifully. These kids and their families are very accepting."

Walton had a memorable season in her first year at O'Hara, leading the Lady Hawks with 17.4 points and 5.6 steals per game on her way to the all-time Monsignor Martin Association scoring record. She broke the record on Jan. 30 against Nardin in a game played, fittingly, at Holy Angels.

Asked what made O'Hara so tough to beat, Nardin coach Joe Dougherty had a brief two-word answer.

"Jontay Walton," Dougherty said. "They would have been a good team without her, then you add the best player in Western New York, who comes onto your roster before the start of the season and that put them on another level. She came and it was like she was there all four years. Some teams have to get used to somebody new, but they didn't seem to miss a beat."

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