Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The Cardinal O’Hara girls basketball team suffered its second defeat of the season Wednesday night at the hands of Penfield, the No. 1-ranked team in Section V, in blowout fashion, 83-53.
The Patriots (10-2) out-rebounded the Lady Hawks (13-2, 4-0 MMA) 43-21 and frustrated them with an impenetrable 2-3 zone. O’Hara’s 53 points is a season-low.
O’Hara coach Dan McDermott said after the game that it was a combination of things that led to the loss.
“A team like (Penfield), that’s that good and disciplined, they’re going to come out and take advantage of every single mistake you make,” he said. “It was just individual breakdowns in the scheme of our team, both offensively and defensively, and they took advantage of every single mistake. Their size hurt us — our boxing out and rebounding was terrible. They’re a strong team and they made us look as bad as we’ve looked in about three or four years.”
Penfield put a bullseye on the back of O’Hara standout Jontay Walton, chasing her around the perimeter every time she touched the ball. The senior scored a team-high 16 points, but room to drive and shoot was hard to come by.
Penfield coach Mark Vogt knew going into the game that his team would have to slow Walton down to be successful.
“We know these guys are a real good team that can get up and down the court. We figured we’d be able to score points because of our size advantage, but we knew we had to play good defense,” he said. “The Walton kid is phenomenal and what we did in the second half was play a modified 2-3 zone where one of the top kids just chased her around. We were ready.”
The Patriots displayed crisp ball movement and worked together to create 22 assists on 35 field goals. Penfield had three players in double figures, led by Margot Hetzke’s game-high 26 points. The senior is set to play at Siena next season and showed why with her work on the interior. Emily Guy and Lucy Covley added 20 points each in the win for the Patriots.
“Margot is a five-year starter and Emily goes against her every day in practice,” Vogt said. “There are three battles we want to win every game: more rebounds, less turnovers and more foul shots. We think if we do all that, with rebounds being the key, we’re going to be successful.”
For the Lady Hawks, Keyonte Edwards also scored 16 points and had a team-high five steals.
McDermott is hoping his team is able to rebound from this loss and start to put the pieces back together after two defeats in the last three games.
“This is two out of the last three games now and we’re certainly not accustomed to (losing),” McDermott said. “We have to take something out of it and learn from it. Just like everything else there are decisions to be made — which way do we want to go? Are we going to be willing to put the work in that we need to put in that maybe hasn’t been happening lately? Those are the questions that have to be answered. We have to see how badly everybody wants it.”Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete high school sports coverage.