Tonawanda News — The Cardinal O’Hara girls basketball team turned in its most successful season in program history last season, finishing 22-5 and winning the New York State Catholic Class B state championship.
Now it’s time to see if the Lady Hawks can do it again.
So far, so good — O’Hara has won its first two games this season — but the Lady Hawks are without Aaron Shabazz, who graduated last year and one of only four players in the history of the program to score over 1,000 points. She scored 15.4 points and grabbed 10.6 rebound per game and was named as the co-Tonawanada News Player of the Year.
Lucky for the Lady Hawks the other half of the Player of the Year combo wears the same uniform. Senior guard Leah McDonell went over 1,000 points as a junior last season and will look to set the all-time scoring record at the school before she ends her career. She currently sits at 1,228 points — 127 points away from breaking Melissa Kanalley’s record set in 2006.
McDonell is 548 points away from becoming the Monsignor Martin all-time leading scorer and O’Hara coach Dan McDermott thinks she has an “outside chance.”
He called McDonell “the complete package.”
“She’s very fast and has worked very hard on her shooting and ball-handling,” he said. “She takes great great pride in her defense as well. Her greatest asset is her competitiveness. When things are on the line is when she can really play her best. She almost always has stepped up for us in all the tough situations of big games down the stretch.”
McDermott also said that McDonell has always had an intense drive to improve on the court, and that’s part of the reason she has been so successful.
“I’ve always known she was never satisfied with where she is at. She takes great pride in staying in great shape all year long,” he said. “She’s constantly doing something and always trying to find a way to get better.”