East's Sabo signs with Catawba Valley
By Ryan Bisesi
Fate happened to throw East Rowan’s Olivia Sabo a bone in February.
The 6-foot senior and All-County selection was bound to play for Division III Averett University in Danville, Va. next year when Catawba Valley Community College coach Tommy Edwards attended the Mustangs’ clash with North Iredell in the NPC tournament at Carson.
Initially there to see Raiders’ point guard Deesa Singletary, Edwards was smitten by Sabo as a potential inside-outside threat for his program, which will be in its third year next season.
“I noticed Olivia because of her size,” Edwards said. “But I saw her in the second half open up and post up and shoot the perimeter shot. I noticed that this girl could also step out and shoot the 3.”
Edwards left the night with a package deal as both Singletary and Sabo will play for the Buccaneers next year. Sabo only scored eight points in a 79-34 loss, but Edwards saw other tangible factors in her.
“He was like, I’m not going to lie, I was here to see another girl,” Sabo said. “I saw you and liked the way you were a leader out on the floor.”
Sabo, who will participate in the discus, shot put and long jump today at the county track meet, averaged 9.6 points a game this year, helping the Mustangs to their third playoff appearance in the last four years. Her season-high came in a 21-point effort against Davie. She managed double-digit points in 10 games and managed 441 in her career at East.
Catawba Valley, located in Hickory plays in the Carolinas-Virgina Athletic Conference was a second-place finisher in 2010, the program’s first year.
“I was about to verbally commit to Averett University,” Sabo said. “Financially, it’s a lot easier and I can go there, get better and develop my skills and hopefully go on to a bigger school.”
The Buccaneers were 18-12 last season and fourth in the conference. They were 16-7 in 2009-2010.
“They’re a fast-break team,” Sabo said. “They’re run-n-gun all the time.”
Sabo says she will likely be a shooting guard or a forward for Catawba Valley. She will put an emphasis on improving her ballhandling over the summer as she will likely merge into the backcourt for the Buccaneers. After playing all over the floor in her senior year, her versatility hopes to be her ticket to success. She started at forward for much of her senior year and when teammate Karleigh Wike was out, Sabo would play center.
“For us, she was a post that could shoot,” East coach Danielle Porter said. “But for a college program, she could be a shooter that can post.”
“I noticed, hey, this girl can step out and shoot the 3,” Edwards said. “
Sabo carries a 3.84 grade point average and hopes to major in athletic training at CVCC.