For the 2014 Lady Vikings going 14-0 to win a Federal League was great. Not losing a game to an Ohio team while going 20-2 was definitely great. Chances are some people’s lasting memories of this Hoover team may be their Moments of Greatness off the court.
What will be remembered is when a member of the Hoover team traveled a distance to be there for an old friend she hadn’t seen in a while, at her fathers funeral. Men and women at a local nursing home probably didn’t know that the young lady who baked them cookies was an important part of a state contender, but it may be one of the last good memories for some of them when she brought them in and spent some time with them. The freshman boy who got his books knocked out of his arms will remember his favorite Hoover girls basketball player stopping to help him, when no one else would, long after he remembers the big wins over Lake and McKinley.
However a team doesn’t win games on Wednesday night or Saturday afternoon on the court, by the good deeds they do off of it. I could tell you that my pick for Stark County POY is on the Hoover team and you wouldn’t know who it is because there’s several who could fit that description. If I told you that the most underrated player in the county plays for Hoover you wouldn’t be able to determine who I’m referring to because there are a host of underrated players. I could point to the bench and mention that they have the best player coming off the bench in the area, and again you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint the player I’m talking about considering there are a group of solid players coming of the bench.
Along the same idea I could tell you that a senior starter gave up her spot to allow another senior to start her first ever game. Unless you were at that particular game you wouldn’t know who did that because they have five senior starts who do and would display the same selflessness. This group of ladies operate one way only, together! No one outside of that locker room knows who the leading scorer is, and that’s the way they want it. They don’t need a leading scorer. They have four players averaging between 9 and 14 points. Their team philosophy permits for any one person to step up when they’re needed.
With an additional five players scoring between 3 and 6 points a night, Hoover truly gets a team effort. That type of effort is displayed in every aspect of the game. Six players average at least one assist a game, most having several. Maybe even more importantly it’s a complete team effort on the defensive end! Nine players average at least one rebound and one steal a night.
This type of team unity may come as a surprise when considering this Hoover team took in a top player they were bitter rivals with the last three years. They had less than a week to get acquainted before the season started but it didn’t take long to get things rolling. As someone who was previously expected to score in bunches, the focus quickly changed to defense and distributing, strengthening the team concept.
While jersey numbers identify an individual on the court, that little black written number on the back of Hoover players, that everyone wonders about, identifies their Moments of Greatness. The team has words each week to learn, know, and demonstrate. It could be communication, enthusiasm, focus, coachability, passion or perseverance to name a few. The number on their backs indicate the number of words they have put into action. Whether it’s helping a flustered student who has a problem or simply shoveling their elderly neighbors driveway, these Vikings are putting others first. Some of them are also going the extra mile…
Pointing out that some have taken these personal challenges above and beyond would be an understatement, because most have. The homeless lady on The Strip that was given money may had been supplied with the means to feed her children. The homeless person that received money from a Hoover player on the Portage exit may have eaten for the first time in days due to their generosity. The Salvation Army will put the money another player donated to good use.
What Coach Allerding has going on here is more than just basketball, she’s building great young women. The sad reality is in this day and age there’s not much giving going on, it’s mostly taking. Most people are only worried about themselves. Abbey is teaching these young ladies lessons that will carry way beyond their basketball days.
On the court their selflessness also shows in the way they play as a team. Hoover has opened eyes after a solid season with some great games against great teams. After last years tournament run they have come back even stronger and have built themselves into an elite team. No matter what happens in March they have undoubtedly touched lives and left lasting impressions on those in their school and community. They have also impacted complete strangers in their greatest time of need, that is greatness.
Moments of Greatness that will last a lifetime are the discipline, selflessness, purpose, mental toughness and commitment that they are learning and displaying this year. Those are things these ladies can pass on in life and things that will positively effect those in their lives.
In 10 years when this team has a reunion not only will they remember their excellent season but they’ll also recall the game when someone showed self-control and discipline after taking several cheap shots from an opponent. In 20 years they’ll remember that Moment of Greatness when they spent their Thanksgiving serving the less fortunate dinners. Hoover personifies team, there’s nothing that can pull these girls apart. They have a goal in mind, and they may take a few nets with them along the way!
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