North Canton: Basketball is a team sport, but sometimes it becomes evident how much one player can mean to a team.
Twinsburg went undefeated in the regular season last year and came one game short of a state championship, led by Ohio’s Ms. Basketball Ashley Morrissette.
Now, the Tigers are winless three games into the season after falling 60-41 on the road against North Canton Hoover on Monday.
Aloneet Durden and Marisa Howard, key sidekicks to Morrissette and the Tigers last year, were held scoreless by a tenacious Vikings defense that broke down the Tigers offense with half court traps and a strong presence in the post.
“We definitely put a lot of emphasis on our defense,” Hoover coach Abbey Allerding said. “I think it has a long way to go but at the same time I was proud of the way the girls played hard and together throughout the night.”
Though the Tigers lost by 19 points, they were only outscored by seven in quarters two through four. A 12-0 run by the Vikings to begin the game put it away before it ever really started.
“We’re not good enough to be able to get down like that right now,” Twinsburg coach Julie Solis said. “We don’t have enough scoring capabilities to get in that position. When you’re playing young kids — we’ve got three freshman on the floor at times — it’s a difficult situation to get out of because they don’t know how to fight out of that, especially at this level against a great team.”
Senior Julie Worley set the tone for the Vikings (2-0), scoring seven of those first 12 points and finishing with a game-high 16 points to go along with seven rebounds.
“Julie can score in bunches and I thought she did that a couple times tonight to really get us going,” Allerding said. “The good thing was I thought our guards passed well and got her the ball in positions to score.”
Worley was set up by senior point guard Marquia Turner who finished with six assists. Turner also scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds.
The one bright spot for the Tigers was junior forward Jaime Sanborn, in her first year as a starter after coming off the bench last season. Sanborn scored the Tigers first nine points and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The three main role players who complemented Morrissette last season — Durden, Howard and Baleigh Reid — were held scoreless until Reid scored with 5:37 remaining in the third quarter. Reid finished with 10 points, but Howard and Durden both remained scoreless as they continue to have difficulty adjusting to their new roles without their team leader of years past.
“[Durden is] used to being that role player,” Solis said. “She’s not expected to be just a role player anymore. She’s got to embrace that role and kind of go out with confidence and a little bit of edge and attitude and bring something different. Because scoreless is not good. They’re used to winning, so they need to play like winners. They’ve got to take that winning tradition they know and have seen and go out on the court with more confidence and display that.”