Tonawanda News

High Schools

March 29, 2013

2013 Tonawanda News' girls hoops Player of the Year: Leah McDonell


Tonawanda News —

McDonell has committed to play basketball at Daemen College next season, which means the scrap book she has been filling these past four years is going to need more pages.

O’Hara coach Dan McDermott knew just how special McDonell was long before she became the best player in Western New York.

“I saw her play when she was in fourth grade,” McDermott said. “I said, ‘Wow, this kid is going to be good.’ You could even tell back then because of how hard she played. She is different than most kids.”

McDonell’s numbers are staggering. She finished the season averaging 14 points and three assists per game, led the Lady Hawks with 40 3-pointers, shot 43 percent from the field and was a terror in passing lanes. Her quick hands and reaction time led to 5.3 steals per game, a number that McDermott called “ridiculous.”

Over the course of her career, McDonell has consistently adapted and fit into the role her team needed her to play. In her freshman and sophomore seasons she was a scoring machine, but as the talent around her got better she became even more well-rounded and focused more on other areas.

McDermott said that her dedication to her team may be the reason she doesn’t get the respect he feels she is due.

“One of the greatest things about Leah is the way she’s adapted throughout the four years,” he said. “Every year she’s been here she probably scored a little less because we had better kids around her. She has accepted and adapted, where as some other kids that are scorers might pout and frown, but that’s never been the case.”

McDonell’s attitude rubbed off on her teammates. This season the Lady Hawks defeated Sacred Heart for the first time in 22 years in a thrilling 57-55 slugfest at Villa Maria College on Feb. 5.

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