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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Hawks are Road Warriors

You might think that you had a lot of running around to do in December, but after looking at what the Cardinal O’Hara girls basketball team did this past December you’ll probably change your mind.

“We’ve been road warriors”, Head Coach Nick O’Neil stated.

Up until Monday night, the Cardinal O’Hara Hawks did not play a single home. That’s because they’ve done a lot of traveling.

In the month of December, the Lady Hawks left WNY three times for trips to play in Long Island, Dewitt, and Syracuse. But it isn’t the number of miles spent driving on the I-90 that should impress you.

On these trips, the Hawks have played a total of six games against some tough competition. Five of the six opponents the Hawks faced on the road trips were ranked in the top 25 in Class AA, A or B in New York State.

On the first weekend of the month, the Hawks traveled down to Long Island to play two games against top Class AA competition. The Hawks won their first game of weekend against No. 15 ranked St. Anthony, but lost to No. 1 ranked Long Island Lutheran 72-55.

The next weekend, O’Hara traveled to Dewitt, NY for the Best of NY Tournament. The Hawks again left 1-1, after beating No. 21 Class AA school Albert Mangus 71-60 and losing to No. 3 Class A school Jamesville-DeWitt by a score of 60-54.

Over the break, the Hawks went to Syracuse for the Bishop Ludden Holiday Tournament. O’Hara went 2-0 in the final weekend of the month beating Wahconah Regional from Massachusetts and No. 3 ranked Class B school in Bishop Ludden.

Overall the Hawks were pleased with going 4-2 in their out-of-town games.

“We really improved in our second trip to Syracuse”, junior guard Giorgia Maniero said. “We played a little bit scared on the first trip.”

“It was tough going into somebody’s building and beating them, especially when these teams have large fan bases”, Head Coach Nick O’Neil said. “I’m trying to get my girls used to playing on the road.”

“We did well, but we can always do better”, junior center Kiara Johnson said. “We now know that we can compete with them when it comes time for the post-season.”

Another thing that sets the Cardinal O’Hara girls basketball team apart from almost everyone else in WNY is their talent and great depth.

“We haven’t had the same starting five in all but two games”, O’Neil said. “We mix it up and go on matchups.”

With all of the different lineups one might think it would be difficult for the girls to get used to playing with one another, but the Hawks have grown accustom to it.

“I’ve played AAU with these girls so I’ve known these girls my whole life”, Johnson said. “I’m used to it.”

“We all have a bond when we go out on the court”, junior guard Nickelle O’Neil said. “If you switch it up we are still going to have the same result.”

Even though December is over, the Hawks aren’t done traveling quite yet. O’Hara will head down to Erie, PA to take part in the MKL Jr. Invitation and before the month’s end the Hawks will go down to New York City to face Class AA No. 3 Christ the King.

As Cardinal O’Hara goes forward with their season, the Hawks are happy but not satisfied with where they stand.

“We’re a work in progress, I like where we are right now”, Nick O’Neil said. “All the kids have been buying in.”

“I’m very proud of my team, we’ve have been working hard in practice and it’s been showing”, Maniero said.

“Our expectations are to win it all”, Nickelle O’Neil said.

With a 76-35 win over St. Mary’s of Lancaster Monday night, the Hawks now have an overall record of 8-2 on the season. O’Hara will travel to Niagara Catholic on Wednesday to take on the Patriots at 5:30pm.

*All rankings are from Newyorkstatesportswriters.org Jan. 3 Girls Basketball rankings

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