By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — It’s been a rough couple weeks for Cardinal O’Hara’s Leah McDonell.
The school’s all-time leading scorer took a hard fall against Nichols on Jan. 23 and was forced to sit out a game. Then had to fight off a sickness the very next week and has struggled ever since.
But on Wednesday night, McDonell (Tonawanda) returned to form, scoring a game-high 21 points to lead O’Hara to a runaway, 87-30 win over St. Mary’s on Senior night.
O’Hara coach Dan McDermott said the performance was a bit more “Leah-like.”
“It couldn’t have come on a better night,” he said. “Tonight (on Senior night) was perfect timing for her to be the Leah we’re used to seeing. To her credit she rose to the occasion. It was an emotional night for all of them and they all handled it well. She had one of her exceptional games tonight.”
The Lady Hawks (23-0, 14-0 MMAA) outscored St. Mary’s (3-17, 3-10 MMAA), 18-4 in the first quarter and spread out a 19-0 run over the first two frames to put the game out of reach before halftime.
Senior nights can be emotionally draining and Wednesday night was no different for O’Hara, but McDermott was pleased with the way his team handled its business.
“It’s always a little disconcerting because emotions are so high on this type of evening,” he said. “But the kids, to their credit, they handled it very well. They did what we needed to do and performed admirably.”
All eight players recorded at least five points, and seniors Sara DiPasquale (8), Kayla Brown (5), Mary McDermott (5) and McDonell were all in the starting lineup.
The strength of the O’Hara team all season has been its ability to go eight-deep and get contributions from every member of the squad. Though eight isn’t a very large number, McDermott knows what he is getting with every player and trusts each one to get the job done.
“It’s been our slogan all year,” he said. “The kids believe in each other and what we’re doing. They enjoy playing with each other. No matter what five are out there they get it done. We have to change things up sometimes depending on who’s out there but they always respond.”
McDermott pulled all four seniors in the final minutes so they could get a hand from the home crowd, finishing with four players on the court for the final 80 seconds.
Juniors Kelsey McCarthy and Keyonte Edwards both finished with 16 points.
O’Hara has completed play in the Monsignor Martin portion of its schedule and will compete in the Lockport Kiwanis Tournament this weekend to wrap up the regular season.Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.