Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — The Cardinal O’Hara girls basketball team was perfect all season, brining a 26-0 record into the Monsignor Martin championship game at Canisius College on Friday night.
But no sign of that team was visible against the three-time defending champion Sacred Heart Sharks, as the Lady Hawks managed to score in double digits for only one of the four quarters, eventually falling 53-32 at the Koessler Athletic Center.
“I’m kind of dumbfounded right now,” O’Hara coach Dan McDermott said. “I told the girls, ‘We had one bad game in four months in the championship.’ Obviously we’re very disappointed. Right now I have no answer for what went wrong.”
Part of McDermott’s befuddlement following the lop-sided loss, where his Lady Hawks managed only 12 field goals and not a single 3-point goal, was they went down.
He said there have been games throughout the season where they had to play from behind, making Friday night’s performance head-scratching.
“We’ve been down before in games against some of the big schools that we play, and we’ve always been able to come back,” McDermott said. “No matter what we tried the ball wasn’t going to drop for us tonight, and that kind of affected our defense at the same time. Thirty-two points is what we usually have at halftime.”
Kelsey McCarthy scored 10 points and Keyonte Edwards added 11 to lead the way for the Lady Hawks, but every possession seemed like a struggle for O’Hara. All-time leading scorer Leah McDonell missed a numerous contested layups and by the end of the game, seemed as stunned as everybody else watching. She finished with only two points.
The Sharks took a 24-18 advantage into the locker room and controlled play for most of the second quarter. They put the game out of reach in the third, posting a 11-0 run as part of 19-6 quarter.
McDermott said the ball just didn’t want to go in for his team all game.
“Sacred Heart played well and played some good defense,” McDermott said. “They certainly had a lot to do with it, but for whatever reason we weren’t on top of our game here tonight, and sometimes that’s just the way it goes.”
La’Trice Hall led the way for
the Sharks, scoring a game-high 13 points. Kelly Farrell added 15 points for Sacred Heart.
Amidst a cloud of dejection, McDermott was able to conjure up a few words on how proud he was of his team and the way it performed all season.
“It’s been such a special season,” he said. “When these four seniors came in four years ago we were fortunate to just make the playoffs. Four years later we’re here in the championship game. We’re disappointed that this game didn’t go the way we wanted, but what a great four years it’s been. It gets better and better every year.”
Next up for the Lady Hawks is the Catholic League playoffs in New York City. They’ll travel to the Big Apple next weekend and play on March 9.Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.