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The Suburbanite
  • Battle of the bigs: Hoover, Lake girls meet for district title

  • Between the start of the season, the middle of it and now near its end, something happened to the Lake High School girls basketball team. A 30-point difference happened.

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  • Between the start of the season, the middle of it and now near its end, something happened to the Lake High School girls basketball team.
    A 30-point difference happened.
    Lake and Hoover will play Saturday for the Division I district championship at 7 p.m. at Walsh University. The Blue Streaks are coming off an exciting overtime win against McKinley in which they erased a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.
    Near the start of the season, however, Lake played Hoover and lost 62-32. In the middle of the season, Henry Cobb watched his team turn a corner to beat Hoover 46-40 at home.
    What happened?
    Maybe not much.
    Cobb said his team was out of sorts against Hoover the first game.
    “The second time, we probably played our best regular-season game of the season,” Cobb said. “It was a good win for us. It’s the same thing with Hoover and McKinley. You have to handle their pressure. They’re both physical. They trap and run the floor. If you take care of those things, you can win. The second game (Hoover) didn’t get transition points on us and we controlled the tempo.”
    The two teams appear to be equals. Both get strong guard play, and it will be a game between two of the best post offenses in the county.
    Hoover’s Julie Worley (5-foot-11) and Kaylee Stroemple (5-10) will go against Lake’s McKenna Stephens (6-1) and Baylen Drylund (5-10).
    “When you put player to player, we’re pretty equal,” Cobb said. “It’s going to be a matter of what team plays the best for the longest with intensity, focus and execution.”
    Hoover dominated the district tournament from 2002-07. The Vikings won the tournament in 2002 and went on to a state title the same year. Then they won the next two district tournaments and repeated again in 2006 and 2007.
    First-year Hoover head coach Abby Allerding has a chance to win one in Year 1.
    “I think when you come into a new program, you set out to work hard, and we did that and the kids bought into the program,” said Allerding, a star on the Vikings’ 2002 state title team. “It’s ultimately a matter of putting a plan together and playing as a team. We’ll see how far it takes us.”
    Part of that plan called for senior guard-forward Kelsey Peare to be more of a distributor than a scorer. There are times when Peare can score, but ideally, Hoover’s offense goes inside to Worley and Stroemple. Then any one of three others is capable of a big game.
    “We know we have our hands full,” Cobb said.
    Lake could be a little gassed since it is coming off an overtime win and now must play two days later.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Tournament time is different than the regular season,” Allerding said. “You recover quicker and you get excited, and that makes it easier to recover. It’s an important game. They will be ready.”
    Either way, the district championship game will have a different look. McKinley has won the last four.
    Lake hasn’t been here before. Hoover is trying to find a way beyond this stage.
    “It’s nice that Lake’s there,” Cobb said, smiling.