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Healy's season an eye-opening experience

Katie Healy went to the Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Championships last month and sat behind the St. Bonaventure bench during its game against Saint Joseph's. Her vantage point will be much different next year.

The Lancaster senior could very well be on the court as she begins her college career with the Bonnies this fall. Healy did a lot this season to make her early signing look like a winner as she has been named The 2012 Buffalo News Player of the Year.

"We definitely think Katie's best basketball is ahead of her," said Bona women's coach Jim Crowley. "I think that showed this year. She made a great jump from her junior year to her senior year. We think not only is she a great player for anybody, we think the way she plays really fits how we play."

Healy is a 6-foot-2 post player who can take over a game. She has good body control, a passion for rebounding and plays well with others. With two of Bona's forwards graduating, she's expected to compete for some serious minutes as a Bona freshman.

"She's a really skilled player, but what we love is that she's really competitive and we're excited to bring that out even more," Crowley added. "She's got size and she's comfortable with the basketball. She's comfortable with it in either hand."

Healy said she first caught the attention of Bona scouts while playing on her AAU team. She said she made two overnight visits to Olean when she was still considering her college choice. The way she was treated by the staff and players convinced her Bona was the right fit.

She's even more excited about her college career after watching Bona reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

"Going to their game motivated me to work on my game. I feel like it's so close, and I'm scared, and I don't want to leave, and I'm excited at the same time to get to Bona and be with my teammates. It's definitely intimidating, it seems surreal to me right now just knowing I have to go in there and play up at that level."

She leaves for Bona on June 25 to begin summer classes and workouts. She's considering a major in biology.

Healy had an enormous impact after transferring to Lancaster for financial reasons following her junior year at Sacred Heart. She took a Lancaster team that had finished 9-10 the year before and led it to a 19-2 record and a berth in the Section VI Class AA title game.

She led the Redskins in every statistical category, including 360 points (17.1 per game), 204 rebounds (10.0) and 64 blocked shots (3.1). She was named the ECIC I-II Player of the Year.

The respect Healy demanded inside gave guard Sam Wozniak enough good looks from the outside to break the school record for three-pointers with 46. Healy also helped groom 6-foot freshman Sarah Saba, giving Lancaster an inside threat for the next three years.

Healy may have been one-and-done for Lancaster, but her short career will be memorable. In the Class AA final she took on Lockport's triangle of 6-foot post players and still connected for 15 points. She spearheaded a win at Jamestown that gave Lancaster its first ECIC I title since 1998. She netted 26 points in a comeback win over Kenmore West in the Class AA semifinals.

"She is a tremendous all-around player with great instincts," said Lancaster coach Karen Catalano. "She could play the team game, but when we needed her to score, she scored. This was a really fun season, the way the kids blended together. It was a great group of kids to work with and Katie was a big part of that."