O’Hara, Williams lead
the way for Wildcats
By Joe Simon
New Castle News
There are quite a few differences between Shenango High’s Jordan O’Hara and Jeff Williams.
For one, Williams is a big fan of the University of North Carolina, while Jordan is a die-hard follower of archrival Duke University.
As a career, Williams wants to pursue being a game commissioner after high school, while O’Hara is heading to Geneva College to study business aviation.
Then there’s their looks. O’Hara is thin and clean-cut, while Williams is a bit thicker and dons sideburns and a goatee.
But when it comes to basketball, the two seniors are one in the same, and coach Bob McQuiston is glad that’s the case.
“They both shoot it well, and they both get to the hoop well,” he said. “I don’t want to see either one of them go.”
Each showed off his skills last week, when the Wildcats garnered crucial victories over Riverside and in a double-overtime thriller against Neshannock. O’Hara scored a team-high 25 points in that game, while Williams netted 21, including the eventual game-winner. Their performances earned them Lawrence County Co-Athlete of the Week honors, an award sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy and selected by the New Castle News sports staff.
O’Hara, a 6-foot-1 guard, is averaging 13.9 points per game, while Williams, also a 6-1 guard, is averaging 13.4 per game. They’ve been Shenango’s main scoring threats throughout the season, which has been a good one for the Wildcats.
Aside from securing a playoff berth and holding down second place in WPIAL Section 2-AA with an 8-3 conference mark, the victory over Neshannock last Friday was their first over the Lancers in the past four seasons. That slide was one both Williams and O’Hara were a bit sick of hearing about.
“We were 0-6 against them coming into our seniors years,” Williams said. “We always want to beat them — we just have that rivalry — and what better way to get a win than on senior night. It’s been a long time coming.”
Williams and O’Hara have been mainstays for Shenango the last few seasons. Their numbers are eerily similar. Aside from the nearly identical scoring average, they’re equally efficient from behind the arc with 26 3-pointers apiece.
McQuiston said each possesses a deadly mid-range jumper as well, and their ability to drive to the hoop has improved considerably since last season.
They also portray mellow personalities, he said, but they show a different side on the court.
“They’re both kind of laid back, but at the same time, in a game, they both play with a lot of emotion,” he said. “They are kind of the same in the huddle and from a leadership standpoint.”
It showed against Neshannock.
Williams scored 14 of his 21 in the two overtimes, while almost all of O’Hara’s 25 points came in the first four quarters (he fouled out early in the first overtime). His departure meant Williams and others needed to step up, which is exactly what they did.
And O’Hara didn’t sit and pout on the bench after fouling out. He kept his teammates upbeat and helped will them to the 64-63 victory.
“That says a lot about his character,” McQuiston said of O’Hara. “He could have sat there and complained about the call and put his head down, but he didn’t do that. He was cheering for the guys, and that’s just the type of person he is. He’s an upbeat kid and a team player.”
That’s been the mantra for the senior-laden Wildcats this year. When one person falls, someone always is there to pick him up. Shenango has seven seniors, most of whom have been playing on the same team since fifth grade, and the chemistry built between them and the underclassmen has been essential to their success.
“It’s a lot of fun to play with those guys because you know at any moment, somebody can step up and take over the game,” O’Hara said. “I wouldn’t rather have any other teammates than those guys. It’s like a brotherhood out there. It was so much fun when the crowd stormed the court (after beating Neshannock) and we were all celebrating out there together.”
The Wildcats hope there are more celebrations to come.
“We’re at the top of our game right now, and hopefully we can carry it into the playoffs,” Williams said. “We just have that drive. We know we have the talent, we know we have the potential to do well, and we really want to bring back pride to Shenango High School.”
KNOWN FOR: O’Hara leads the Wildcats in scoring at 13.9 points per game and is second in 3-pointers with 26. His senior leadership has been invaluable, according to coach Bob McQuiston.
PARENTS: Jim and Hope O’Hara.
FAVORITE PRO PLAYER AND WHY: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls. “I just love how he can get to the hoop so well.”
FAVORITE TEAM AND WHY: Chicago Bulls. “It’s always been my team, and I’ve always liked how they seem to have a couple Duke guys on their team.”
FUTURE PLANS: O’Hara is considering playing basketball, but his main focus is to study Business Aviation at Geneva College.
KNOWN FOR: Williams has been one of the Wildcats’ top scorers over the past two years. He’s second on the team in points (13.4 per game) and 3-pointers (26).
PARENTS: Jeff Sr. and Kim Williams.
FAVORITE PRO PLAYER AND WHY: Michael Jordan, former Chicago Bulls star. “He proved time and time again he’s the best there ever was. Six championships? You can’t compete with that.”
FAVORITE TEAM AND WHY: University of North Carolina. “There have just been so many stars come out of there. The list just goes on. Michael Jordan is my favorite basketball player of all time, so that helps.”
FUTURE PLANS: Williams might consider playing basketball if the opportunity arises, but his goal is to major in Parks and Resource Management and become a game commissioner.