CANTON: North Canton Hoover junior forwards Kaylee Stroemple and Julie Worley dominated Canton McKinley inside and handed the Bulldogs their first Federal League loss in a physical 56-45 win at the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
Stroemple scored a game-high 21 points and came down with 11 rebounds and Worley added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Vikings. Each did damage rebounding at the offensive end as well — both girls scored six points after extending a possession with an offensive rebound.
Stroemple (5-feet-10) and Worley (5-feet-11) are taller than anyone on the Bulldogs’ roster, and both were excited for the matchup.
“Both of us knew we had a height advantage going into it,” Stroemple said. “We knew we had to help out our guards because they had a lot of pressure on them. We were both excited to go out there.”
Aside from the physical advantage, the two also have a load of experience playing in the post compared to McKinley coach Pamela Davis’ squad. As such, Stroemple and Worley went to work.
“They beat us up in the post,” Davis said. “They’re way more experienced. Both of those kids were all-conference players. My 4’s and 5’s are sophomores and didn’t make anything. Our inexperience really hurt in that area.”
Stroemple says this is the kind of game that can set up a run for the rest of the season, and can act as Hoover’s “statement game.”
“We just knew that we wanted to come back out after ending our season last year to them; we were excited to come back out here and set the tone,” she said. “Setting the tone was a good thing for the rest of the season, so it starts here and it gets better from now. … We’re definitely hoping we have kinda shown that we are competitors this year and that we are someone to look for.”
Feeding the ball inside and showing a physical front, Hoover (6-1, 5-0) never allowed McKinley within five points after midway through the second quarter. Hoover coach Abbey Allerding emphasized a physicality that McKinley struggled to match.
“We’ve been working on staying tough and [being more physical than] our opponents all season and all summer,” Stroemple said. “That’s what got the job done today.”
Hoover senior Kelsey Peare added 13 points and seven rebounds, much of it coming in transition as the Vikings pushed the tempo.
“We pushed the ball,” Stroemple said. “We tried to run as much as we could. That’s what kinda led to [some easy baskets]. Running the plays as hard as we could, getting picks, doing the little things, was what got us those buckets.”
Stroemple, Worley and Peare also combined to shoot 14-16 from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, shot 6-17 from the stripe.
McKinley (6-2, 4-1), still with a younger roster, has some toughening up to do, according to Davis.
“Right now, we have a lot of sophomores and juniors who didn’t play varsity last year, and we’re trying to get tough,” Davis said. “We’re trying to make sure they’re mentally tough because the season is a long, grueling process. Right now, we’re not there yet against the upper-echelon teams.”
The Bulldogs were led by junior Marquia Turner, who scored a team-high 17 points. Junior Korrin Taylor and junior Ronn’Yeil Hogan added eight and seven points, respectively.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. 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.