Tonawanda News — The excitement of winning a state championship is hard to describe, but Sara DiPasquale, a senior forward at Cardinal O'Hara, fondly remembers the final moments before the game ended and her Lady Hawks were crowned as the best girls basketball team in the state.
"The final seconds everybody had goosebumps and everyone was just silent and thinking, 'We just won a state championship.' It was awesome," she said.
This season DiPasquale (North Tonawanda) said the Lady Hawks (14-0, 6-0) — who are undefeated and positioning themselves for another run at a state title — were a bit nervous entering the season after lossing News' co-player of the year Aaron Shabazz to graduation.
She said Shabazz's shoes were big ones to fill and coach Dan McDermott looked to DiPasquale to fill the void.
"At the beginning we were all nervous because Aaron was a huge loss for us, but I think because it's basically the same team from last year we meshed even more," DiPasquale said. "We're more of a team this year. We don't rely on just one or two superstars."
DiPasquale transferred to O'Hara after playing her freshman and sophomore seasons at rival Mount St. Mary because, according to McDermott, she wasn't very happy and a number of her friends played at O'Hara.
McDemott called her the finishing touch on a team that already had something very special going.
"It was a pretty good team to begin with and when she decided to come over it was kind of the finishing touches on a pretty nice product we can put on the basketball court," he said. "The kids get along so well and they all complement each other. It's been a great situation for everyone these past two years and we're trying to make the most of what we have."