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The Suburbanite
  • Hoover staying focused despite regional postponement

  • Safety concerns because of to a winter storm prompted Tuesday’s postponement of Hoover High School’s Division I girls regional basketball semifinal at Otterbein University in Westerville.

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  • Safety concerns because of to a winter storm prompted Tuesday’s postponement of Hoover High School’s Division I girls regional basketball semifinal at Otterbein University in Westerville.
    That gave the Vikings another day to think about Reynoldsburg, their opponent.
    The one that scored 109 and 105 points in their first two tourney games. The one which held three of four teams under 20 points. Same Raiders who have reached regionals four straight years, and went to state last season.
    Waiting another day to play wasn’t going to play head games with the Vikings, however. All along the tournament trail their concerns have been strictly about themselves, said Hoover head coach Abbey Allerding.
    “Our focus has been on our game plan and how we want to execute it,” Allerding said before Tuesday’s practice. “The girls have done a good job keeping things in perspective.”
    One reality for Hoover is that it is the interloper at a regional featuring three Columbus-area schools — Reynoldsburg, Gahanna Lincoln and Olentangy Orange — playing close to home.
    Again, Allerding is nonplused about the two-hour-plus bus ride.
    “When I played (for Hoover), we were playing at the Civic Center,” Allerding said of the Division I regional in the early 2000s. “It was 15 minutes away, they pulled great crowds and it was a great atmosphere.
    “This will just be a new experience for the girls.”
    Allerding said she and her husband, Dr. Brian Allerding, lived in Westerville before moving north. Being familiar with the area is nice. So is knowing the opponent.
    She is well aware that defending state champion Twinsburg has beaten both Reynoldsburg (45-38) and Hoover (55-49) this season.
    “I did not see them play at the Classic in the Country,” Allerding said of the Twinsburg-Reynoldsburg game, in which the Tigers outscored the Raiders 15-3 in the fourth quarter. “But they both push the ball, both have strong guard play. Also, they both have strong inside players.”
    Both Reynoldsburg and Hoover feature strong inside-outside games.
    The Raiders’ 6-3 Alyssa Rice, 6-1 Destani Cooper and 5-10 Nicole Orr are scorer-rebounders. Junior wing Shiloh Murphy can sling the 3-pointer, as her 5-of-8 shooting and game-high 19 points in the district final attests.
    “I think they have a slew of great players,” Allerding said. “I think that’s what makes them so good.”
    But the Vikings’ 5-11 Julie Worley, 5-10 Kaylee Stroemple and 5-9 Kelsey Peare perform the same duties as well as their counterparts. All three play defense, with Worley and Stroemple crashing the boards and shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Kelsey Lensman has developed into an accurate 3-point shooter.
    “There’s not a lot of difference” between the teams, Allerding said. “We’ll go hard in practice (Tuesday) and then go at them (tonight).”