Hoover overcomes Timken and hangover effect to win.
A hangover effect seemed to be in play for the Hoover High School boys basketball team Tuesday night.
If that is the case, head coach Randy Montgomery has a message for his Vikings.
“We need to move on,” he said after Hoover’s 57-51 win against visiting Timken in a game that had each side grumbling.
Four nights before, Hoover lost a game at Jackson that knocked the Vikings out of contention for the Federal League title. They seemed to still be licking those wounds Tuesday.
Dom Iero totaled 21 points, six assists and five steals while Evan Schick added 18 points and six rebounds for the Vikings. But Hoover committed a season-high 21 turnovers, missed 13 free throws and played with a general malaise.
For a team with district-title aspirations, the performance was unacceptable.
“You’ve got to keep plugging away,” Montgomery said. “I know there is a lot of energy expended (for the league), but still, the season continues.”
For Timken, Tuesday was just a continuation of a season-long story: Close, but not enough.
Senior forward Chris Cook played with the tenacity of a junkyard dog and totaled 18 points, 15 rebounds and four steals. Freshman Lepear Toles, who already has an offer from Ohio University, added 12 points, all in the second half after sitting most of the first with foul trouble.
But the Trojans (10-7) also committed 21 turnovers and missed 13 free throws. They shot just 38.3 percent from the field in a performance with a lot of effort and little execution.
“I really feel that we are pretty close. We’re right there,” Timken head coach Rick Hairston said. “But until we start taking care of the basketball and making free throws, then we’re going to have this result every time. It’s frustrating as heck, because it’s been happening to us in just about every big game we play.”
Iero scored 11 points in the second quarter, including a running 25-footer at the halftime buzzer that had Hoover (16-3) up 23-15.
The Vikings looked to be on the verge of blowing the game open a couple of times in the third. Schick hit a pair of 3s in the third as he went 4-for-6 from behind the arc on the night. The Trojans weren’t supposed to leave Schick, but they lost track of him too often.
“You’re going to pay if you do that,” Hairston said.
The Trojans kept scrapping. When Timken turned a Hoover miss into a Toles transition bucket early in the fourth quarter, the Trojans trailed just 37-35.
Quiet much of the night and in foul trouble, Hoover’s Harrison Blackledge worked for a couple of key buckets in the paint. Schick hit a short jumper, Iero made some free throws and Alex Shingleton made a key 3 from the corner as the Vikings extended their lead to as many as 13.
Page 2 of 2 - But soon, the Trojans were fighting back with some help from Hoover’s sloppiness.
“Can’t do that,” Montgomery said. “I know they’re quick and athletic, but we’ve got to take care of the ball better than that.”
The Trojans had the ball and their deficit down to six with a minute left after a Cook steal. But they turned it right back over to Hoover and never got any closer.