St. Paul shooting for Vermilion's Colahan — and more victories

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Feb 27, 2019 at 9:11 PM

NORWALK — The sound of a perfect swish of the net is unmistakeable.

But for members of the St. Paul girls’ basketball team, that sound mentally is more likely to be the distinctive noise of a cash register.

The Lady Flyers (17-6) connected on 10 three-point baskets in a 64-43 win over South Central in a Division IV sectional championship game on Feb. 23 in Shelby.

“Everyone was kind of on from back there,” said St. Paul sophomore and leading scorer Danielle Smith. “Each time one went in, it was like, ‘Yep, there’s another one. Does this count in the tournament, too?’

“And it did, so that was great,” she added. “It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a great thing, and it’s all for her.”

It definitely counted. Even in the immediate moments after the win, St. Paul head coach Vicky Mahl knew it meant more money out of her pocket.

At the start of the season, Mahl, assistant coaches Tim Watson and Raenne Montgomery, and athletic trainer Jake Rospert, agreed on a monetary donation.

For every 3-pointer made this season, it meant a $5 donation — but not just to any fund or charity. All money raised is going toward the financial support for Vermilion sophomore Camyrn Colahan.

In the fall, Colahan, 16, was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She plays basketball and volleyball at Vermilion, and several St. Paul players know her through JO volleyball and various offseason activities in both sports.

Camryn is the daughter of Brett, a Monroeville graduate and current Vermilion football head coach, and Aimee Colahan. She also has two sisters and a younger brother.

“We had gotten an email from another coach around Ohio, and they had done something similar,” Mahl said. “I gave the girls the opportunity if they wanted, because the coaches were for it. It was only two or three dollars originally, but we bumped it up to five — and some nights like (Saturday), I’m like, ‘There goes some nice pocket change.’ But the girls know Cam really well, and we’re happy that’s where it’s going.”

The 10 treys from Saturday totaled $50, bringing the season total raised for Colahan to $445 so far for 89 3-pointers — an average of four 3s per game.

St. Paul faces Buckeye Central (20-3) in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Thursday night in Willard with a chance to further the donations and help the team win.

But there is no mistake — each time a 3 is made during a game, the players are conscious of it.

“Oh yeah, we definitely try and chase the money,” senior Lauren Chandler said. “Cam holds a special place in our hearts and every time we make a 3 we get so pumped because we know it’s for her.”

And while Mahl knows the donations also is motivation for her team to perform well during a game — there is more to it than good-natured, competitive fun.

“We’re not just here to learn basketball,” she said. “We’re here to learn how to be good people — and this group doesn’t have any trouble with that.”