Basketball is something that the Cavallo family really enjoys. Boyertown senior Olivia Cavallo certainly does. She recently completed a very successful basketball career at Boyertown Area High School.
Her father Greg played basketball at Pottsgrove and has coached in the Optimist Biddy Basketball program. Greg Jr. is now in college playing basketball, and Kaylee is a member of the seventh grade basketball team at Junior High West.
Oliva started when she was in third grade at the Boyertown Y.M.C.A.
“My dad coached and I thought I’d give it a shot,” said Oliva. “I picked it up really easily and it made me want to continue playing. As time progressed, I improved.”
Oliva wanted to follow in her brother’s foot steps when it came to playing basketball. She’ll be the first to tell you that she’s the sporty type of kid, so she would play against her brother and his friends.
Her sister is the last of the Cavallo children to play basketball, and wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps.
“It’s something that we can bond over since we all have the same interest in the sport,” said Olivia.
Being in the middle of the three kids isn’t always easy. She feels that it’s tough at times being the middle child. Her brother stopped playing sports after junior high and she felt that she took over as the athletic one of the family. She felt that now she was setting her own footsteps to follow.
Oliva did get advice at times from her brother, and he was a bit more critical at times with her her parents. He told her to be more aggressive, or follow your shot. Her brother would say it in a more direct way than what other family members might.
“Not that he doesn’t care about your feelings, he just wants to see you improve,” said Cavallo. “He (Greg) is a tougher critic and you can’t take offense to it. He’s trying to help me out and I appreciate the advice.”
She also gives advice to her younger sister (Kaylee). Oliva goes to her games and helps her in any way that she can. She tells her sister what to do if she gets stuck with the ball and to always attack the rim. Oliva also tells her to play as a teammate and not for herself.
Olivia knows that it’s hard for her sister to take advice from her, much like it’s hard for Olivia to take advice from her brother.
“She gets frustrated at times because she doesn’t pick up on things,” said Cavallo. “Some things come natural to you and basketball came natural to me. Sometimes it doesn’t come naturally to her. For her it’s harder and that frustrates her. She has to practice and practice to get things right. But it kind of brings us closer together because we both like basketball.”
Oliva’s senior year at Boyertown High saw the Lady Bears finish seventh in District 1-AAAA playoffs and suffer a first round loss to Central Dauphin in the PIAA state playoffs. The one thing that Cavallo will tell you is how well the team got along.
The team was disappointed that they didn’t make the PAC-10 final Four, and Oliva would have liked to have seen the team go further in states, but they faced a very talented team in the state playoffs.
“Overall, it was amazing how great everyone was,” said Cavallo. “The coaches were so helpful and helped me on the personal end. We’re all best friends and I can see us being best friends after college. We’re really close.”
There aren’t many high school basketball players in this area that can say they made the PIAA state tournament two out of the three years they were in high school.
“States were a fun experience,” said Cavallo. “It’s such a different surrounding. It’s so much fun just to be able to experience that. I was privileged to be able to do that. Our senior year we had more experience and we were more prepared. There’s a lot of pressure on you and you’re still nervous and we all have that experience now, we don’t have those nerves taking over.”
When asked what her favorite memory from her three years of being on the high school basketball team, she replied it was when the team won the PAC-10 championship in her sophomore year. She didn’t play in the championship game, but to be able to sit on the bench and watch Boyertown and Spring-Ford battle for the title.
But accordin gto Cavallo, it’s not just about winning.
“I want to be remembered for always encouraging people on the court and having good communication,” said Cavallo. “I want to be remembered as their friend and not someone who was older who just wanted to take control. I hope they do look up to me and believe I was a good leader. I tried everything I could to help my team succeed.”
Cavallo plans to attend West Chester University in the fall to major in social work. While she’s not going to play on the team, Olivia does plan on playing intramauls.