Winning trumps all records for Bonar
Scoring 1,000 points in a high school basketball career is an impressive accomplishment.
To score that many points on 3-point goals alone is someting totally different.
It’s actually not that hard to fathom when you’re thinking about Shadyside sharp shooter Karli Bonar, who etched her name into Ohio High School Basketball history earlier this week as the all-time leader in career 3-pointers when she buried seven against Bridgeport, giving her 332 now for her career and she’s still guaranteed two more games.
“I never thought about setting a record or anything,” Bonar said. “My dad (Mark) always tried to put positive things in my head like about believing you could be the best and working to be the best, but I never really thought (when I was younger) I’d be at this point.”
Bonar burst onto the scene in 2009-10 season with 58 3-point goals. She followed that up with 80 and then, last season, connected on 102, which is tied for third best in Ohio history.
Bonar, who has scored 1,379 points in her career, thought she’d have a chance at making a push toward the record, which was previously held by Jennifer Grandy, who graduated from Glouster-Trimble in 2006. However, through the course of the season, she had lost track of just how many were needed.
“I knew I was close, but my dad wouldn’t tell me how many I needed,” Bonar admitted. “My dad won’t even let me read the paper, but I heard people talking about it, so I knew I was getting close.”
Unable to handle the suspense anymore, Bonar, who has scored 72 percent of her career points from behind the arc, pleaded with her dad for the exact number that she needed.
“He first told me when I was 19 away, and from there, they’d tell me after every game,” Bonar admitted. “I don’t know many 3s I make during a game.”
Thus, the countdown had begun.
After connecting on only two from behind the arc in a win at River, Bonar’s quest was forced to wait nine days. The game at Bridgeport was delayed 48 hours due to the weather.
Bonar was able to tie the record in the first half and officially set the mark when she took a pass from her senior running mate Hayley Holenka and connected from the left wing with 6:52 to go in the third quarter.
While Bonar didn’t know many she had hit during the game, the large crowd inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium certainly did as it erupted when ball swished through the net.
“I just shot it and it went in. Once I heard the roar, I kind of assumed what it was about,” Bonar smiled.
Just before the third quarter ended, Bonar dialed long distance once again. That pushed her past Fort Frye product Tyler Engle for the most all time in Ohio history. She connected twice more in the fourth to help lead the Lady Tigers to this morning’s OVAC Class 2A final against Wheeling Central.
“It’s always been in the back of my head, but I never play for me or any individual honor or records,” Bonar said. “I always play to win, so the fact that won the game when I set it makes it a lot better.”
Bonar, who spent much of Wednesday evening responding to the countless Twitter messages of congratulations, was more amped up for the chance at avening last year’s OVAC title-game loss than the record.
“I am glad the record is over and now we can just focus on playing,” Bonar said. “We know we can’t lose another game or we won’t accomplish one of our goals. We have to win them all.”
While the record was officially achieved on Wednesday, the work to get there began many, many years ago. Even long before she first put on a Lady Tigers’ uniform in 2009 as a freshman.
Bonar attended a Wheeling Recereation Basketball Camp with her older sister, Marci, at the age of 3. Marci, who is the head coach at Bellaire, graduated in 2000 and finds herself in 20th place on the all-time list with 220 3-point goals.
“Watching Marci play and going to the gym 365 days a year to shoot inspired me,” Bonar said. “Even if they didn’t have practice or something, she would ask to go to the gym. That’s how I wanted to be, too.”
Karli’s never made it a goal to do better than her sister.
“I never said I wanted to make more 3s than Marci, but it was more that I wanted to be like her,” Bonar said. “It just happened this way.”
The years of shooting has allowed Bonar to become even tougher to defend because of her range.
Bonar has earned the right to wear one of the shirts Nike marketed a few years back that read, ‘my range starts when a I enter the gym.’
Against Bridgeport, for example, Bonar was knocking down shots as deep as 26 or 27 feet as the Lady Bulldogs’ defense did a fairly good job of challenging her shots.
It just so happens that Bonar actually believes she shoots it better when the defense is crowding her.
“We played Union Local earlier in the season and they were giving me a step, and I kind of had some troubles,” Bonar admitted. “When that happens, I tend not to shoot (the ball) up more and it’s more of a flat shot.”
After today’s game, Bonar and the Lady Tigers will meet Caldwell on Feb. 16 in the first round of the Division IV sectional at Union Local.
Staskey can be reached at email@example.com