Tonawanda News

January 31, 2014

O'Hara senior makes history at old stomping grounds

Former Holy Angels standout and current O'Hara senior makes history at old stomping grounds

By Dave Ricci
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — With one shot Jontay Walton earned herself a spot in the history books.

Walton sank 13 points to become the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association’s all-time leading scorer Thursday night, as Cardinal O’Hara topped Nardin Academy, 64-41, in a game that was played at the former Holy Angels Academy.

Walton, who has 268 points on the season, now stands at a career total of 1,789, surpassing Raeann Stilwell (Class of 2011) who had 1,776 points during her storied career at St. Mary’s of Lancaster.

Knowing full well that Walton was within reach of a record the Gators played her tough, especially early on, as Jontay missed her first three shots. Walton reached her milestone moment with 4:21 left in the first quarter when she scored on a driving lay-up.

“I felt a little pressure before the game,” Walton said. “But once I got into the flow of everything — people miss shots, people make mistakes. Once I got into the flow of everything I was fine. I just went out there and played hard, with my teammates and it eventually happened.”

As Walton’s shot slid through the net the rest of the Lady Hawks exploded off of the bench to celebrate with Walton on the floor, as the game was halted and her achievement was announced to the crowd.

“We had a huge group message going (Wednesday) saying we hope you do good,” said O’Hara senior Kelsey McCarthy, who had 14 points. “We’re so proud of you. It happened and we were just extremely excited for her. She said you guys welcomed (me) with such open arms. I love you guys.”

The evening was a mix of emotions for Walton who played the first three years of her varsity career at Holy Angels and grew up in the shadows of the North Buffalo land mark that was unexpectedly closed last spring.

“This is where it all started,” Walton said. “It’s very special for me.”

Originally slated for Jan.29, the game was postponed due to bitter cold weather. Had it not been rescheduled Walton’s next chance to break Stilwell’s record would have been Saturday at Section V Gates-Chili.

“I was pretty worried about it,” she said. “I’m glad it happened here.”

While everyone at Cardinal O’Hara thought it was only fitting that Walton make history in the gym where her scholastic career began, as a group they knew they couldn’t lose sight of the fact they were facing a talented Nardin team.

O’Hara held a 15-10 lead early in the second quarter but a 3-pointer by Nicole Frantz and a bucket by Anne O’Brien tied it up and showed the Hawks the Gators wouldn’t go quietly.

Keyonte Edwards, who led O’Hara with 16 points, hit huge back-to-back buckets in the second quarter to give the Hawks a 25-15 lead which put the Gators in a position of having to play catch up for the rest of the night.

Frantz led Nardin with 13 points and Kenmore native Alyssa Lesakowski added six points for the Gators.

Follow contributor @DaveARicci for local high school coverage.