With the Glenbrook South and New Trier girls basketball teams knotted at 25, Molly McDonagh aggressively stormed to the hoop. Like a bowling ball careening down the lane, the Titans senior forward knocked two Trevians over on her way to the hoop, earning an offensive foul.
Though the result wasn’t positive on that particular play, McDonagh’s immense power and strength surprised no one.
“She always goes to the rack hard,” Glenbrook South senior forward Katie Jennings said. “There’s never been a time where she has gone up soft.”
Even on Friday night, matched up against the rare 6-foot-3 forward who could keep up with her in New Trier’s Jeannie Boehm, McDonagh more than held her own, tallying 15 points.
“I’m not really an aggressive person in normal life, but when it comes to basketball, I’m super competitive,” McDonagh said. “I’ve always been aggressive since I was a little kid. Even against my older sister, we’ve been super competitive against each other, so I think it’s just a part of who I am.”
McDonagh said that she and her older sister, Colleen, who graduated from Glenbrook South last year, never even played one-on-one in the driveway in order to keep the peace.
On the court, McDonagh is aggressive, as seen in her willingness to put a shot up over any defender, and loud, as seen in her vocal leadership. Titans coach Steve Weissenstein, who has an otherwise soft-spoken team, said that he didn’t know what he would do without McDonagh’s leadership on both ends of the court.
“Our other girls are quiet by nature,” Weissenstein said, “so it’s really important that Molly talk or we wouldn’t be able to do very well out there.”
McDonagh herself said that she wished her teammates talked a little bit more.
“They’re definitely more reserved than I am,” McDonagh said. “I’ve naturally always been loud on the court, but especially this year because some of my other teammates are super quiet, I’ve had to talk even more. Sometimes I wish they’d talk to me more, but they’re even quiet people off the court so it’s not really natural to them.”
Jennings, who noted that she can always hear McDonagh’s voice loud and clear when she watches film, said that McDonagh plays a key role in keeping her apprised as to what’s going on behind her.
“I’m on the top of the zone and I can’t really see behind me, so she’ll guide me and tell me if there are cutters or people coming through,” Jennings said. “It’s a big help having her behind me because she’s always vocal so I always know what to do at the right times. She’ll tell me who to get. She has really good vision on the court.”
For McDonagh, teammates and fellow 6-footers like Jennings and Teigan Flaws and Lindsey Oldshue are a blessing because they provide her with constant challenges in practice.
“Every time she gets the ball, she always scores,” Jennings said. “She’s so strong. Every time she goes up, it’s usually she makes it or she gets fouled.”