The Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball team had a rough start to its first appearance in the Division I state tournament.
Fifth-ranked North Canton Hoover took a big first-half lead en route to a 61-44 win over the Shamrocks in a state semifinal March 14 at Value City Arena.
Hoover (26-2) advance to play Cincinnati Princeton at 8:30 p.m. March 15 in the championship game. Top-ranked Princeton defeated Toledo Notre Dame 60-52 in the other semifinal.
Coffman center Sade Olatoye picked up a foul on a moving screen on the first Coffman possession and was limited to one point and six rebounds at halftime, playing to avoid further foul problems. Hoover held a 24-2 advantage on points in the paint at the half to hold a 32-18 edge. The Shamrocks also committed 13 turnovers to four for the Vikings in the first half.
“Sade is a good player who got into some foul trouble,” said Hoover coach Abbey Allerding, whose team outscored Coffman 40-12 in the paint. “I think we did a good job of exploiting that. We wanted to come out and get some quick points inside and get rid of any jitters we might have.”
Coffman (22-7) cut the deficit to seven at 40-33 with 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the third quarter, but Hoover went on a 7-0 run to regain a 47-33 lead with 6:54 to play.
“Offensively and defensively, (Hoover) did what they wanted,” Coffman coach Bryan Patton said. “They pressured the ball and forced us to be uncomfortable.”
Hoover led 61-42 with 1:45 remaining when the teams cleared their benches.
Kaylee Stroemple led Hoover with 18 points and eight rebounds, Julie Worley added 16 points and Marquia Turner added 14 points with three assists.
Kamerine Taylor was 5-for-8 on 3-point shots to score 17 points for the Shamrocks, who were 7-for-17 from 3-point range. Christine Szabo added 11 points and Olatoye totaled seven points and eight rebounds.