Tag Archive for: Molly Howard


By Eric Bailey


She didn’t wake up to feds barging into her apartment because the Russian Mob was apart of her gambling ring.  She wasn’t seeking any high rollers to partake in her underground poker prowess.  In fact, there aren’t many similarities at all between McDonald’s Molly Howard and the former Olympic skier turned high stakes gambling entrepreneur Molly Bloom. Really – There’s only 2.  The first name and the ambition to be great. 

A Spring like no other….The cliché thing to say would be it’s been a storybook season for Molly Howard, I think if you ask her though, it’s just apart of her destiny.  Down 1 with 57 seconds left in the 2020 regional semi-final game, it was a shot that didn’t fall, like many in her career, she’s ok with missing the shot, what she’s not ok with is not winning.  2020 brought a lot of uncertainty, and this time it wasn’t just a coaching change, but how to navigate through a World Wide Pandemic.  In the spring it wasn’t just the sting of the loss or new coaching staff that raised questions, it was – will we even get a season next year. No Spring workouts, virtual meetings, no gym availability, AAU shut down, No sports on TV, and the endless amount of time with an endless amount of mindless entertainment on TikTok and every other social media platform you could think of.  For Molly it didn’t stop there, workouts were few and far between, but the picture was always bigger than that. 

Summer time… and livin’ wasn’t exactly easy.  The only normal part – we had sports back.. Sorta.  Still no decision on fall sports, club sports took matters into their own hands, and various organizations were piecing together whatever they could to give life some sense of normalcy.  For Molly, the plot thickened a bit.  Going into her junior year she starts popping up on College radars, Clarion, BW, Mount, and then came IUP.  One of the best Division 2 Women’s Basketball programs in the nation.  However, because of Covid – Recruiting trips were limited to Video Chats and phone calls.  Personally, for me, I’ll remember the day she could finally visit.  You could just tell by the text messages it’s a place she would call home.  The best analogy I could ever paint is when you’re a 7-year-old kid and you walk into your living room on Christmas morning.  You notice all the presents with your name on you and there is a sense of excitement, but you see that one gift that is the one you’ve been wanting ever since you knew it existed.  Molly isn’t the type to boast about her accomplishments, in fact, she has just about every reason too and the glory will always go to her teammates, coaches, and those who have helped her accomplish anything she has conquered. But there are certain times in life when you know certain moments feel surreal.  You could feel the smile on her face through text messages, she again was a 7 year old on Christmas day looking at the present she always dreamed of.  A verbal commitment and 3 months later it was time to sign the NOI.  With a few flashes of the camera, a news interview here, a couple of screams, and a lot of hugs Molly got to check “future college basketball player” off her list.  

November 23rd….  The season begins – for the first time.  A Smooth 40 point win to open the season vs Columbiana.  In somewhat of a revenge game as McDonald felt Columbiana stole one from them last year.  The only difference this year is, this team is on a mission -It is State or bust.  The only problem that occurred, the mission got grounded before the boosters even kicked in. That very week Trumbull County Health Department shut down all extracurricular activities and moved all schools to remote learning due to the spike in Covid-19 Cases. Molly’s Game – Postponed. 

Good Golly 1k Molly…. Finally, the return….again.  This time with a little more urgency, a lot more appreciation, and now with the realization that this year can be taken in a flash, with or without your permission.  Goal number 2 for the year – Reach 1,000 career points.  It’s been a goal and a dream since being a little girl.  To be able to walk back into your soon-to-be alumna mater and see your name hanging in the rafters with those who made their presence known before you.  In a school like McDonald with a rich tradition, it is a staple to the legacy.  Molly is a gamer, the bigger the game, the more pressure, the higher the level the play.  It’s not that any game is more important than the next, but after 3 weeks off, you have 3 games to get ready for Rival Western Reserve who hadn’t missed a beat, let alone they were battle-tested.  Only the basketball gods will ever be able to tell us how they wanted us for this to work out, but I think they knew.  Big-time players, make big-time plays, in big-time games.  Receive the ball on the left side – dribble. Attack the hoop.  Create contact with the defender. 1 dribble for the feel of the defense. 2nd dribble to maintain position, contact, and feel on the floor. Gather. Up Strong. Finish. AND 1. Molly Howard in what would be game 1 of 3 has cemented herself within McDonald’s Gymnasium forever.  What seems like forever ago, little did we know her and the Blue Devils were just getting started.  

Blue Devil STATE of Mind…. Basketball and life have a lot of similarities. Life is generally made up of a lot of small moments that allow you to create your reality.  Much like basketball, it’s made up of a bunch of small successes that can lead you to a victory.  A lot of times, you forget the majority of it, in both life and basketball.  However, there are those moments you take with you forever. Good, bad, or indifferent you either learn or lavish in those moments. Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to be on the floor a week later when she captured her school’s first Regional Championship in 30 years.  Her moment was winning the game. Mine was seeing the excitement on her face as we hugged one another on the court.  You don’t forget those moments as a coach, no matter how they come.  A week earlier, I congratulated Molly on their district title. A moment she’s been in 4 times, winning 3 of them.  Between the points scored, games won, college visits, and all the moments the game of basketball has let us share. She has deserved them all.  They were done the right way, all the way to state. This has been Molly’s game – And Molly’s game continues.  


BERLIN CENTER OH- Molly Howard and her McDonald squad came in to Thursday night with just three games under their belt after being shut down for more than a month.  Nonetheless the Blue Devils haven’t seemed to miss a step Thursday, and Howard eclipsed 1,000 points in a 49-42 McDonald win.

Howard totaled 26 points in the contest, which led all scorers. Sophia Constantino was also in double figures finishing with 11.

Dani Vuletich put together a double double in a losing effort. She finished with 14 points, and 12 rebounds. Olivia Pater chipped in 12 points for Reserve. Kennedy Miller added 9.



NORTH JACKSON OH- It has been over a month since McDonald has played. Their last game came on November 23rd against Columbiana. They didn’t miss a beat in their return though, as they routed Jackson Milton 75-39.

It was a slow start for the Blue Devils as they saw themselves only up one point half way through the first frame. But a 12-0 run would permanently put the Devils ahead. They took a 49-17 lead into the locker room.

Molly Howard led the Blue Devils with 22 points. Lucia Wolford also has a strong night putting in 20 points.

Ava Darney led the Blue Jays with 13 points.

McDonald is scheduled to host Springfield on Monday. Jackson Milton travels to face Newton Falls on Saturday. It will be Newton Falls first game of the season.