By Adrienne LeBeau
If you are from Western New York and follow girls high school basketball you know about Cardinal O’Hara High School. They have always had a strong team and have been tough to beat every year. One of their best returning players is senior Keyonte Edwards.
Head coach Dan McDermott knows that Edwards has “a love for the game where she is willing to put the work in all year around and work very hard” to reach her goals and play her best. McDermott also said that she is very personable and that it has been a pleasure for him to coach her on and off the court.
“I want to go undefeated, and go to states and win states, and go to state Federations and win state Federations,” Edwards said.
She understands that her goals are high but has a strong belief that with this team it is possible. With last year’s record of 27-2, an undefeated year is not out reach for this team. One of the Hawks’ losses was in the Monsignor Martin Association championship game against Sacred Heart. The Hawks still went to the state Catholic tournament, but then lost in the state Federation tournament championship game.
When it is not high school basketball season, Edwards runs track and plays volleyball for O’Hara. She really enjoys volleyball but focuses on basketball with her AAU team during the summer, training hard in preparation for her last season at O’Hara. Edwards knows she wants to play basketball at the collegiate level but does not know if she wants to go away or stay close to home. Edwards may try to become a walk-on at the University at Buffalo. She’s also considering Buffalo State, and knows that she could get more college opportunities in the middle of the season.
Edwards considers herself a defensive player — surprisingly she doesn’t look to score.
“I can bring the hype, the steals, that’s what I look for,” said Edwards, which makes her a different but valuable player. Turning defense into offense has Edwards very close to the 1,000-point career scoring mark. She said she wants to be the player that “hustles on defense to get the buckets.”
Some of the biggest news in girls high school basketball in Western New York came over the summer with the closing of Holy Angels Academy. O’Hara picked up Jontay Walton, someone Edwards had played against in high school for the past three years. They both played hard against each other so when they had to come together no one could guess how that would work out. Unknown to many, Edwards and Walton are friends outside of basketball, but on the court for the past three years all the friendliness was gone. They both knew how good the other was and expected to play hard every time they faced each other. McDermott thinks that both of the girls have taken on the leadership role very nicely and are influencing the entire team to be better.
Coach McDermott knows that he has had one of the best teams in Western New York for the past couple of years, so he is setting the expectations high for this year’s team.