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Canevin's Olkosky signs with West Liberty

| Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 8:39 p.m.
Johnie Olkosky signs her letter of intent while her mother Marla looks on.

When Bishop Canevin's Johnie Olkosky began focusing on where to continue her basketball career after high school, Wheeling Jesuit was on top of her list.

But when a coaching change occurred, her focus went 11 miles north.

The senior guard signed her letter of intent to continue her playing career at West Liberty last week. Her interest in the school and team peaked when Kyle Cooper made the move from being an assistant with Wheeling Jesuit to being on the staff of the Lady Hilltoppers.

“He recruited me and Wheeling Jesuit was my top team,” Olkosky said. “I went to visit West Liberty to visit the campus and met the coach and team and knew it was a perfect fit.

“Everyone said as soon as you step on campus you will know which school is right. West Liberty is that school.”

West Liberty competes at the NCAA Division II level in the West Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The Lady Hilltoppers are led by head coach Lynn Ullom, who is currently in his 23rd season with the team. He has won five WVIAC titles and made the NCAA Division II tournament 11 times.

Olkosky also considered Indiana University of Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock and a handful of small Division I programs, including Niagara.

She said she will study criminal justice.

“I have wanted to play college basketball since I was a little kid,” Olkosky said. “It is great knowing where I am going and having everything set.”

Olkosky's older sister Rebecca is a member of the Slippery Rock women's basketball team.

With her big decision out of the way, Olkosky can now focus on the Lady Crusaders. Bishop Canevin had a historic run last season, capturing the WPIAL and PIAA Class AA titles.

Olkosky scored 26 points in the WPIAL title game, tying a record with seven 3-pointers.

With Bishop Canevin losing three starters from the 2012-13 team – Erin Waskowiak committed to Duquesne while Carly Forse and Celina DiPietro are starting for Point Park – the return of Olkosky will provide the team a leader.

“She is great at it,” Bishop Canevin coach Tim Joyce said. “She is a tremendous leader and all-purpose player. She is looking forward to her role this season.”

And while the team needs some new faces to step into starting roles, Olkosky already knows what she wants to accomplish this season.

“I want to get back to the Palumbo Center,” Olkosky said. “We will be a young team but we can still find success. We just have to use our quickness and toughness on defense.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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