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Golden Eagles Sports

Hoover girls improve to 2-0 by edging Glenoak

Varsity vs Hoover HS on 12/5/2009 1:00:00 PM
Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2009 by Gary King

Hoover girls improve to 2-0 by edging GlenOak


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CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Dec 05, 2009 @ 08:42 PM

PLAIN TWP. —

The task in North Canton is twofold. The underclassman-heavy Vikings must learn on the fly while living up to the reputation of Hoover High School girls basketball.

So far, so good.

The Vikings went into GlenOak’s gym Saturday afternoon and made the plays down the stretch to win, 56-53, in a game filled with tournament intensity.

Victories over a Brush team with three potential Division I college players and upstart GlenOak put the Vikings at 2-0 a year after the program’s worst season (9-13) since 1989-90.

Hoover is well aware of its glory past. Head coach Paul Wackerly, in his 14th year, makes sure of that because no one else is forgetting.

“I told my girls I don’t care how bad last year was. I don’t care who talks about us in rankings or if anybody thinks we’re any good. This is still Hoover,” Wackerly said. “The way GlenOak looks at us, the way Jackson and McKinley look at us, we’re still Hoover. Our tradition hasn’t left. ... I explain to them all the time, ‘Understand that people are going to play you tough.’ ”

GlenOak (2-1), which hasn’t beaten North Canton since 2001, might have looked at Saturday as a potential passing of Hoover on the Federal League food chain. The Golden Eagles have one of their best teams in years, with size, scoring, athleticism and depth.

But 21 turnovers and a 4-of-18 performance from the free throw line Saturday left the folks in Plain Township with a sour feeling in their stomachs.

“We make half those free throws we win,” GlenOak coach Gary King said. “I don’t go for moral victories. We should have won this game. I think the girls know we should have won this game.”

Meanwhile the Vikings overcame 32.3 percent shooting from the field by playing unselfishly, taking care of the ball (only six turnovers) and getting contributions from all 10 girls who played in a game that was tied at the end of the first and second quarters and never saw a margin bigger than 4 points in the second half.

In the final minutes, Hoover showed a steady hand. Allison Peare twice gave the Vikings the lead back, the second time by making both ends of a 1-and-1. McKenzie Besse grabbed two crucial rebounds. Alyssa Chovan came up with a big steal and converted 3-of-4 free throws in the final 24 seconds.

“We all came together at the end even though it was kind of crazy and chaotic at times with all the screaming and everything,” said Chovan, who led the Vikings with 12 points and five rebounds off the bench. “We all kept our composure. ... This is really a good win for us because we knew GlenOak was going to be good this year.”

Hoover’s Samantha Pavkov scored 11 points, while Hannah Romano added 10 points and five steals. Peare, one of three Viking seniors along with Chovan and Lindsey Fiala, finished with 7 points and four assists.

Hoover had no answer for GlenOak 6-foot-5 junior center Ashley Rininger, who is verbally committed to Liberty University. She scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with eight rebounds and four blocked shots, but the Eagles seemed to forget about her during stretches of the second half. Senior guard Katie Cappello added 14 points and five rebounds. Kandace Thomas and Jalisa Johnson combined for 9 points and 13 rebounds.

King noticed an increased focus at practice in anticipation of the Hoover game

“So this hurts them,” he said of the loss. “But I looked in their eyes after the game and they’ll be ready to go. They’ll bounce back.”

Meanwhile, Wackerly is just enjoying his work-in-progress.

“I’m happy with my girls,” he said. “We’re young. We’re getting better. We’ll see. It’s a learning process.”

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