Despite adversity, McCutcheon is now at the top of her game for Lady Warriors

Karly McCutcheon has battled back from injuries to lead Mohawk High’s soaring girls basketball team.

Mohawk High girls basketball star Karly McCutcheon missed most of last season and a portion of this one with injuries.

But even when the Lady Warriors’ senior guard was not on the court physically, she was there in every other way.

McCutcheon has come all the way back now and has led Mohawk to a 7-0 record in Section 1-3A, 12-1 overall as the Lady Warriors have emerged as a favorite to win a WPIAL title. For her efforts, McCutcheon has been named Lawrence County’s Athlete of the Week by the New Castle News sports staff.

McCutcheon was in the starting lineup in both ninth and 10th grade before suffering a posterior cruciate ligament tear on the first play of the team’s first scrimmage last  year. She did not return until the playoffs.

“We were told that PCL tears usually only happen in situations like car accidents when your leg bends underneath you,” Mohawk coach Mike O’Lare said. “You just have to wait for it to repair. I didn’t get involved, I just told her trainers and doctors, ‘let me know when she’s ready.’ 

“She didn’t miss a thing unless she was at therapy,” he added. “She came to every game and practice. She never stopped being a leader.”

McCutcheon hyperextended her elbow in a game against Riverside on Dec. 12, shortly after the 2019-20 season began. She played three more games that week before O’Lare decided to give her time to heal over Christmas.

Last week in a huge 55-44 win for the Lady Warriors over section rival Beaver, McCutcheon scored 20 points. She drilled five 3-pointers, had five rebounds and four assists. She followed that up with 22 points, including six 3-pointers, five rebounds and five assists in a 71-43 rout of Ellwood City Lincoln.

For the season, she is averaging 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

“I think everybody sees her ability to shoot the basketball, but what Karly brings just as importantly is her defensive presence,” O’Lare said. “She is at the top of almost all of our trapping defenses. She loves for those around her to get their hands on the ball for steals.”

McCutcheon, a daughter of Tim and Kathy McCutcheon, has accepted a full scholarship to West Liberty University in West Virginia, where her brother, Nate, is a member of the football team. Tim McCutcheon is Mohawk High’s football coach.

“It’s great to coach a coach’s kid because they usually have an amazing work ethic and that is the case with Karly,” O’Lare said. “West Liberty is a perfect fit for her. She did her homework and West Liberty suits her style of play. They like to play fast and shoot 3s and that is perfect for her.

“They won’t be disappointed in what they’re getting,” he added. “Karly is one of the best leaders I have ever coached. Her work ethic and leadership has been contagious within our program. She is a team-first kid who never takes a play off. Karly has been through a lot in her career and has never once played the victim to any of it, she outworks anything and everything that stands in her way. I am very proud to be her coach.”

kcubbal@ncnewsonline.com

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