Scoring, leadership make O’Hara’s Walton Player of the Year - The Buffalo News

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Scoring, leadership make O’Hara’s Walton Player of the Year

After taking her team to places they’d never gone, Jontay Walton took her league there are well, ending her career as the all-time leading scorer in the Monsignor Martin Association.

Walton ends her career with 2,043 points to push past previous league leader Raeann Stilwell of St. Mary’s. The scoring milestone and Cardinal O’Hara’s running the table in the postseason have also earned the 5-foot-6 guard The Buffalo News Player of the Year, a postseason honor now in its 22nd year. She becomes the ninth player in WNY history to score 2,000 points and the ninth-leading scorer of all time.

The Hawks were a talented bunch before Walton joined them for her senior year following the closing of Holy Angels. “You can’t imagine how many people told me it wasn’t going to work, she wasn’t going to fit in for various reasons,” said coach Dan McDermott. “It’s just been a seamless meshing, and not even a question that it was great situation. I can’t say enough great things about her.”

With Walton in the lineup, the Hawks enjoyed unprecedented success, winning titles of the Federation Tournament, the NYS Catholic title and their first MMA title in 43 years.

Walton will be taking her considerable talents to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in the fall. A signing is planned for later this month. The River Hawks finished their inaugural Division I season with a 5-23 overall record, and were placed tied sixth in the America East Conference at 4-12.

Walton scored 522 points this season in 30 games for a 17.4 average. She also holds the league record for most points in a season, scoring 662 last year for Holy Angels. Her 38 three-pointers made her even more dangerous.

Teams that put her on the free throw line paid the price as she hit 75 percent of her attempts. Her season high was 30 points in a nonleaguer against Sweet Home.

After being named the Monsignor Martin Association’s Player of the Year a year ago, this year she shared the honor with teammate Keyonte Edwards.

Walton is a dynamic playmaker who can shoot, drive and defend. Both her and Edwards are repeat first team All-WNY selections.

“It was tough for teams to try and come up with a game plan against us,” said McDermott. “A lot would just pack it in 2-3 zone, very few teams tried to press us, they tried to force us to shoot from the outside, they picked their poison that way. The kids were relentless in finding a way to win each game and did a great job figuring out every obstacle that was thrown in front of them.”

Walton was going to make any team she went to remarkably better. At O’Hara she was joined by two other 1,000 points scorers in Edwards and Kelsey McCarthy. The trio helped the Hawks go undefeated against WNY competition, beating Class AA champion Jamestown, Class AA runner-up Williamsville North twice, along with Hamburg.

This year’s Tapestry coach, Fran Snyder, coached Walton her first three seasons at Holy Angels. He remembers when she came to the Angels she was playing forward, and he quickly put the ball in her hands. He’s excited about her college choice and predicts she will do well. “She played hard against everyone,” said Snyder. “She’s a little thing, and she played as hard as Charlie Comerford, and I tell him that. She’s got the heart of a lion.”

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