By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News —
TOWN OF TONAWANDA — After two years of high school basketball and only about 150 points, not many envisioned Cardinal O'Hara senior Keyonte Edwards breaking the 1,000-point barrier in her career.
But Thursday night Edwards scored a game-high 22 points to help lift her Lady Hawks to a 81-64 win over rival Sacred Heart in front of a packed gym at Cardinal O'Hara on Senior night, and in the process etched her name in the school's history books as she joined the 1,000-point club.
"It means so much to me because I never would have thought it," Edwards said. "Freshman year I had like 50 points and sophomore year I had maybe 100. So last year was my breakout year. It feels really good."
O'Hara coach Dan McDermott, who has watched Edwards blossom from a player known for defense and rebounding into the total package, said he couldn't be happier for her.
"Last year Keyonte really took off as an offensive threat, and she's continued that process on through this year," McDermott said. "For her to get to 1,000 points, two years ago you wouldn't think she would have a chance for it. It just shows how much she's grown through the years. She's a great kid and she's getting rewarded for her hard work."
The Lady Hawks (16-3, 7-0 MMA) built an early lead in the first quarter and never let up, keeping the Sharks at arm's length for the entire game.
Sacred Heart went on a 12-0 run out of halftime to close the gap to six at 43-37, but O'Hara came right back with a run of their own, building a 12-point lead to end the third quarter. The Lady Hawks closed out the game strong, outscoring the Sharks 24-19 in the fourth quarter.
The rivalry between O'Hara and Sacred Heart has become even more intense in recent years. Last season the Lady Hawks beat the Sharks for the first time in 22 years in the teams' regular season matchup before Sacred Heart knocked off O'Hara in the MMA championship game at Canisius College.
McDermott said Sacred Heart against O'Hara has become the premier girls basketball matchup in the Monsignor Martin Association.
"The last three or four years (the rivalry) has really increased in competitiveness," he said. "We really rose to the occasion today, and I can see down the road there will be the re-match like there was last year, and we have to take of business if that happens."
Joining Edwards in double figures were Jontay Walton (21), Kelsey McCarthy (21) and Cori Dickson (13). Walton also had seven assists and five steals, McCarthy added 13 rebounds and Edwards had 11 rebounds, five steals and went 8-for-10 from the free throw line.
McDermott said he was proud of the way his team came together against Sacred Heart to send off the seniors on their night.
"Everything fell into place tonight. It was great all around — we were hoping the kids would show up and play the way we're capable of playing," McDermott said. "It was one of our better games this year. … At both ends we were really moving well, moving the ball crisply on offense and sharing the ball. Defensively we had pretty good energy.
"We keep preaching that when we stay together and play that hard as a team good things usually happen," he continued. "(Sacred Heart is) a good team and I'm sure there's a very good chance we'll see them down the road again."Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete high school sports coverage.