Vote of confidence

Nadia Lape has talent. About that there is no doubt.

But there is another asset she possesses that her coach says has taken the game of the Mohawk High girls basketball junior to a whole new level.

“I’ve watched her gain confidence day after day and it is amazing to see what it has done to her game,” Lady Warriors coach Mike O’Lare said. “She’s a phenomenal player and always been a confident kid, but that confidence is now taking her to elite levels.”

The 5-foot-5 junior point guard had a career week last week and she was rewarded by being named Lawrence County’s high school athlete of the week by the New Castle News sports staff.

Lape started her week on Friday by pouring in a career-high 36 points in a 83-43 win over Greensburg Central Catholic, a game in which she played three quarters. She added a 23-point performance in a 50-47 victory over Butler on Saturday.

For the season, she is averaging 21.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. She is hitting her free throws at an 87.2 percent clip as the Lady Warriors sport a 3-0 record in WPIAL Section 1-3A, 8-1 overall.

“People can see the points that she scores, but there is so much more to her,” O’Lare said. “Her turnovers are down and her defensive presence is there every single possession. She does it all well and I think there’s no limit to how much better she can get.”

Lape has needed to step up her game even more than usual in light of a continuing nagging injury to senior star Karly McCutcheon.

“Nadia has had to assume a different role with Karly being rested right now and she’s really taken off with it,” O’Lare said. “As a point guard, she has a scoring mentality, but with the ball being in her hands 90 percent of the time, there is so much more she can accomplish.

“I’ve known her since kindergarten when she started coming through this program,” he added. “She’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever had and she’s also one of the most competitive.”

Lape, a daughter of Kirk, a former athletic standout at Mohawk, and Jen Lape, comes by her athleticism naturally. Grandfather Ron was a legendary cross country and track and field coach for the Warriors. He also served as an assistant football coach for two seasons. In all, he coached 60 seasons in the Mohawk district. 

Nadia’s sister, Natalie, is an eighth-grader at Mohawk who is showing promise as well.

“A lot of what you see with Nadia and I’m sure you’ll see with Natalie, is Kirk working tirelessly with them,” O’Lare said. “He put Nadia in a really good place and taught her the work ethic she brings to practice and games every single day.”

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