BY JIM THOMAS
Repository sports writer
NORTH CANTON When you can play defense, run the floor, score inside and out and substitute without missing a beat, you’ve got a solid team.
Hello, Hoover Vikings girls basketball.
Three days after putting four girls in double figures in their season opener, only Julie Worley did that in Hoover’s home debut Monday night against Twinsburg. Not to worry, though, as eight Vikings scored, everyone rebounded, spread the ball and played tough D in a 60-41 triumph over the Tigers.
“We’re learning a new offense and trying to push the ball,” said senior Kaylee Stroemple, who grabbed 10 rebounds and scored six points, all in the first half. “I think we’re trying to learn a lot of different things.
“We’re not polished yet, but we’re working on it.”
Hoover, a game away from state last season, looked like an Elite 8 team to open the game.
Its aggressive man and half-court trap forced Twinsburg, last year’s state runner-up, to miss its first 10 shots from the floor.
The Vikings led 12-0 before Jaime Sanborn’s stickback finally put the Tigers on the board with 1:34 left in the opening quarter.
“We’ve got to find a way not to start off games down 12-0,” Twinsburg coach Julie Solis said of her inexperienced team’s third straight loss to open the season.
When the Vikings made seven straight shots from the field from the end of the first quarter into the second, they led 24-7. Stroemple’s free throw at 4:33 bumped it to 27-9, and that was the game for all practical purposes as Hoover never led by less than 11 again.
Hoover guards Marquia Turner and Kaitlyn Runner played exceptional defense on senior Baleigh Reed, who had 23 points last game and is headed to Miami of Ohio. They kept Reed outside the paint and from scoring in the first half. They also helped force some of Twinsburg’s dozen turnovers in the half.
And Turner, who scored just five points, was worth 20 more with 10 nifty assists. With Kelsey Lensman adding eight points, mainly on two 3s, the guards were working hard.
But so were the posts.
Worley had seven of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter. She also grabbed seven rebounds, six on the offensive end, and cashed in five points. Hoover’s third post, Allie Farina, also dominated inside. The 6-0 junior scored all eight of her points in the first three quarters and also grabbed six rebounds while running the court.
“We can’t give up the offensive rebounds we gave up,” Solis said. “We’ve got to make contact with people. We’re not good enough to stay in games against good teams without doing that kind of thing.”
Hoover held Twinsburg to 15 of 47 from the floor (31.9 percent) and forced 22 turnovers. But the Vikings also played in spurts, struggled at the line and committed 19 miscues of their own.
“I thought we rebounded well and thought there were definite spurts we played well together as a team,” Hoover head coach Abbey Allerding said. “But I think we have a lot of room for improvement.”
Reach Jim at 330-580-8336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jthomasREP