BERLIN: Hoover was able to put pressure on West Holmes in the closing moments, but the Vikings couldn’t overcome a large fourth-quarter deficit and fell to the Knights 56-51 on Monday night as a part of the 10th annual Classic in the Country at the Perry Reese Center.
Hoover (11-4, 8-1) trailed by 21 points with four minutes to play but roared back to within four points with under 20 seconds to play before West Holmes (17-0) put the game out of reach with a free throw with six seconds to go.
A 17-point turnaround in four minutes was impressive enough, never mind that it came against one of the state favorites in Division II, which basically had home-court advantage (West Holmes is located about 12 miles away from the PRC).
“I think we take a ton out of this,” Hoover coach Abbey Allerding said. “The opportunity to play against what I perceive as the best or one of the best teams in the state, all divisions, is a great opportunity for our kids, especially in this venue playing in front of these crowds.”
West Holmes led by 12 with a minute to go and possession of the ball before freshman Lexi Manos stole an in-bounds pass and hit a quick layup. Junior Kelsey Lensman then stole the next in-bounds pass and was fouled.
After hitting both free throws, Lensman helped Hoover get a 5-second violation and hit a jump shot to bring the Vikings within six points. From there, though, the Vikings ran out of time to really get within striking distance of tying the game.
A team that works together
“One of the best things about our team is that we play for each other,” junior Julie Worley said, who scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. “So even though we were down, we wanted to fight back to prove to coach and prove to ourselves that we can stay with this team and compete with them.”
Worley led the offense all night while West Holmes junior Laina Snyder, the Knights’ star player and a nationally ranked forward, spent much of the game defending junior Kaylee Stroemple, who finished with six points and nine rebounds but was held scoreless in the first half.
Worley scored 12 of Hoover’s 18 first-half points as West Holmes doubled that total and entered halftime leading 36-18.
“It was disappointing, but it also shows us that if we play like we did in the second half, maybe it would have been a different game. We have to come ready to play.”
Hoover struggled stopping the Knights’ attack early, as West Holmes was able to make the extra pass and found a quality shot on nearly every possession. Allerding said that efficient style of play exposed Hoover’s defense from the beginning.
This was the Vikings’ second loss in the row after dropping their first Federal League game at Lake on Saturday, 46-40. Worley said Hoover was glad to have a quick turnaround to Monday night’s game.
“We wanted to come out and prove to ourselves we could come out and play hard after Saturday,” she said. “It was kinda nice to have a game right after that so we could get that out of our mind and show ourselves that we can play hard and compete with these teams.”
It just so happened that second game came against a state runner-up.
Senior Kelsey Peare scored 12 points, brought down four rebounds and had five steals. Lensman finished with 12 points. Manos had four points and two assists.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.