Cardinal O'Hara girls hoops winning despite low numbers
Sometimes the change is greater than expected, and a team has problems filling a whole roster. That’s just the predicament that the Cardinal O’Hara girls’ basketball team is in to start the 2012-13 campaign.
But the team has been able to overcome the lack of bench depth to put together two impressive wins to open up the season.
“It’s a sign of a really good team, to fight through all that adversity and come out on top in games like that,” head coach Dan McDermott said.
Having just eight players on their roster this season, compared to 12 last year, the Lady Hawks aren’t one of the deepest teams in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association by any stretch of the imagination.
In fact, in their first two games this season, their bench has been even shorter as they’ve had a different player miss a game due to injury or illness, forcing them to call up junior varsity player Lizzy Edwards on an emergency basis.
Still, O’Hara earned a convincing 76-34 win over Grand Island on Dec. 4 and a hard-fought 52-41 win over Bishop Kearney on Dec. 11.
Knowing that the team could suffer for the lack of roster players, the team used the first few practices to make sure they were all in shape to go the distance.
“We knew if one girl was injured we’d have two subs and we’ve got to get in shape,” said senior Sara DiPasquale. “So our first couple weeks of practices was just run, run, run. We got ourselves in shape and we’re all extremely confident in our team.”
DiPasquale said that having the smaller roster just means players have to step up when needed, which this year is more often.
“If one girl goes down we have to step up and take her place,” she said. “We’re not too worried about it, but obviously it’s a way bigger issue on our team than others.”
With the team having just four seniors on the roster, it’s forced O’Hara’s juniors to have an even bigger role on the team this season. One of those key juniors is forward Keyonté Edwards.
Edwards is averaging 12.5 points per game in Cardinal O’Hara’s first two contests. And it’s not just the offensive game that she’s been a factor in, she also does it on the defensive side of the ball, recording eight steals in the team’s win over Bishop Kearney.
“I can just read the player,” she said. “They often telegraph the ball so I just try and get there before she gets the ball.”
Overcoming the lack of depth on the team, Edwards says, is something that is going to take no less than 100 percent effort each and every day of the year.
“We’ve got to work hard in practice; we’ve got to work hard in the game; we just have to keep going,” she said. “When we only have eight, some people have to play the whole game. Even if you want to get out, you don’t have a choice.”