Shadyside’s Bonar chooses Findlay

Making a college decision isn’t always an easy process.

However, for Shadyside’s Karli Bonar, the decision became much easier once she set foot on the University of Findlay campus this summer.

“I really felt at home when I visited,” Bonar said. “I really liked a lot of the other places I visited, too, but there was just something about Findlay that I really, really liked up there.”

On top of feeling home, the fact that the Lady Oiler basketball coaching staff extended a full grant-in-aid scholarship offer to join one of the top Division II programs in the Midwest certainly helped the cause.

Bonar made it official during a brief ceremony Wednesday at Shadyside High School when she signed her National Letter of Intent on the first day of the fall signing period for women’s basketball.

“The coaches (at Findlay) are very, very serious and they have a plan for how to build the program to get far in the tournament,” Bonar said. “I really liked how well they knew what they wanted to do and how they wanted to go about getting to that point.”

After committing in the summer, Bonar took her official visit last weekend and wanted to waste no time in signing her name on the dotted line, making it much easier for her to focus on the upcoming season.

“I can just focus on helping the team hopefully get to the state tournament again,” Bonar said. “I don’t have to worry about any decisions and having anything get in the way of the run we hope to make.”

The Oilers really amped up their recruiting of Bonar after watching her play in the St. C. Summer Shootout. The coaching staff was actually there for another player, but as Bonar was knocking down shot after shot, they began contacting her and sought tape from during the season.

“They had heard about me, but they didn’t come to see me,” Bonar said. “They asked for films, asked me to come visit and they offered me, so it was just bang, bang, bang.”

Bonar is coming off a junior campaign in which she was named first-team all-Ohio after averaging 17 points a game. She was the Eastern District Player of the Year in Division IV and helped guide the Lady Tigers to a 20-4 mark and a trip to the district title game.

Getting on the court at Findlay as soon as possible is Bonar’s obvious goal, but she’s well aware that it’s going to take plenty of hardwork to make that goal a reality.

“The coaches have said they hope I can be an immediate help, and I realize that I’ll have to work and nothing will be given to me,” Bonar said. “I know I’ll have to get a little bigger. I need to get in the weightroom a little more. Plus, I think I need to continue to get better defensively.”

Bonar, who has been slowed some in the pre-season with an injury, has a chance to re-write the OHSAA record book for 3-point goals in a career.

Thus far, Bonar has knocked down 240 bonus goals, putting her in 11th all-time and just 88 back of the record. Bonar is coming off a junior campaign in which she buried 102 triples, which is third all-time.

Early this season, barring something unforseen, Bonar should eclipse the 1,000-point mark. She needs just 24 points for that mark.

During Bonar’s career, Shadyside has posted an impressive 65-8 record and qualified for the 2011 state tournament.

“Karli has been a great leader for us,” said Lady Tigers’ head coach Tina Yates. “She makes everyone around her better and has continued to work hard and get better. I think Findlay is going to be a good fit because, from what their coaches have told me, their system is similar to ours. They like to get it up and down, shoot it and that’s what we do, too.”

Bonar becomes the second member of her immediate family to play Division II basketball. Marci Bonar, who is the current Bellaire High girls’ head coach, was a four-year mainstay at Wheeling Jesuit and led the WVIAC in 3-point shooting as a senior.

Along with basketball, Karli is a standout for the Lady Tigers’ softball team where she plays shortstop. She also played volleyball during the fall and has been chosen for the OVAC All-Star Game.

Away from athletics, Bonar excels in the classroom. She’s ranked fourth in her class of 67 and is a member of the National Honor Society. Bonar is also a majorette, member of the band and was voted Homecoming Queen.

Karli, who is the daughter of Mark and Cathy Bonar, plans on studying something medical-related.