Season recap: Natasha Cloud
Maryland combo guard commitment Natasha Cloud saved her best for last this season.
In the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA championship game against Mount Lebanon, Cardinal O’Hara senior Steph Holzer collided with a teammate early in the third quarter, sending the Vanderbilt-bound center to the bench. In Holzer’s absence, Cloud emerged.
“We lost Holzer two minutes into the third quarter,” Cardinal O’Hara head coach Linus McGinty said. “We struggled to get some possessions and [Cloud] really picked us up. We were down 11 and brought it back to three a couple of times.”
The Lions ultimately fell to Mount Lebanon, 67-58, but Cloud, 6 feet, kept them in the game. She led Cardinal O’Hara with 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting and dished out six assists. Cloud was 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
O’Hara finished its season 27-3, checking in at No. 15 in USA Today’s national rankings. Cloud averaged 7.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game. She also routinely drew the toughest defensive assignment each game.
“Basically she guarded every type of player, from a small point guard to a 6-2 post player,” McGinty said. “She’s just a kid that wants to win. No ego as far as stats.”
Cloud was the lone junior starter for McGinty. The Lions lose four players to graduation who will play in Division I: Holzer, Alysha Womack (Monmouth), Danielle Callahan (La Salle) and Alicia Manning (Lafayette). In their absence, McGinty expects Cloud to shoulder more of the scoring load.
“I think next year she’ll be one of the players we really depend on,” McGinty said. “I’d like to see her develop a pull-up jump shot in the lane. She’s so good at getting to the basket. ... She’d rather pass the ball to you than score herself. She’s just a great kid to have on your team.”