ovation for Olivia
Team-oriented Bresnahan leaves behind special legacy at Butler
Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWP — Impressive as her numbers are, Olivia Bresnahan doesn't care — unless you're talking about her team's totals.
The senior guard completed her Butler High career with 1,395 points, averaging 18.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.8 steals per game.
Those statistics were enough to earn Bresnahan the 2009-10 Butler Eagle Girls Basketball Player of the Year honor. She shared that distinction with Mars standout Lily Grenci, now at
"I never paid attention to any statistics," Bresnahan said. "Every now and then, someone would tell me I had a triple-double or something."
"That girl was all about her teammates and our program," Butler coach Dorothea Epps said. "That's why there was never even a hint of a jealousy problem with this group.
"Everybody knew what Olivia was all about."
Headed to Florida State University on a scholarship, Bresnahan edged Slippery Rock High's Karly Rhoads for the player of the year distinction.
The two were AAU teammates from third grade through 10th.
"I hung out a lot with the Rhoads twins when I was younger," Bresnahan said. "It was fun watching their playoff games."
She wished she had more of her own.
The downside of Bresnahan's career was a 3-5 record in postseason games, including WPIAL playoff losses of 45-42 to Latrobe, 53-51 to Peters Township and 45-43 to Gateway her freshman through junior seasons.
"I had the ball for the last shot in those games my sophomore and junior years," Bresnahan said. "They just didn't go down.
"The (50-43) loss to Bethel Park this year hurt the most because it was our last shot. We never expected this season to end that soon."
The upside of Bresnahan's career was, well, everything else.
Besides her own statistics, Butler won with her leading her team — and won often.
Over the past four years, the Golden Tornado were 74-15 in the regular season, 42-6 in section games and are three-time section champions.
"Olivia played so many different roles during her time here," Epps said. "College recruiters would call and ask what position she was playing and I'd tell them 1 through 5.
"The recruiters would laugh, but I was telling the truth. Some nights she guarded the opponent's best forward. Other nights it was their best guard. When she was younger, we posted her up inside because we didn't have any size."
Ask Bresnahan about what stands out in her basketball career and there's no hesitation.
"Those three section titles in a row," she said. "Anytime I come back into this gym and see those banners, I'll know we were a part of that."
"We" means herself and fellow seniors Casie Cygan, Amanda Dymun, Casey Fleeger, Becky Nowacki, Katresa Savisky and Emily Wise.
"We've been playing basketball together since sixth grade," Bresnahan said. "They're like my sisters. They're all my best friends. It's like we all grew up together."
Bresnahan leaves for Florida State on June 18 as the Seminoles trainers put the women's basketball team through a summer workout program.
She's working out with Butler assistant girls basketball coach Aaron Epps now.
"He always pushed me to reach my limits — I hear it's pretty intense (at Florida State), so I have to be ready," Bresnahan said. "It's sad to be leaving this level of basketball. The girls have already started working on next year and it's strange knowing I can't be part of that anymore.
"At the same time, I'm excited about what's ahead and the challenge of pushing myself to succeed at the next level."
Dorothea Epps said she will remember Bresnahan as "the ultimate team player."
"She played with emotion and intensity all the time because she wasn't playing for herself," Epps said. "She was such a dedicated, motivated young lady who so badly wanted to win that title.
"I feel for all of those girls because they are so close and weren't able to get there. But they were successful for each other, and Olivia led the way."