After rounding out game, Hampton’s Hoehler headed to Pitt-Greensburg

Saturday, March 19, 2022 | 12:41 PM

Hampton’s Kayla Hoehler has been playing basketball for more than half of her life.

She started playing at around age 7, continued through her middle school days and was a four-year varsity starter for the Talbots from 2018-22.

The 5-foot-8 senior guard plans to extend her career to the next level at Pitt-Greensburg and study early childhood education.

Hoehler was considering attending several colleges, including Westminster and Slippery Rock, before making her final decision.

“I chose UPG because of their coach, teammates, the campus and their great education program,” Hoehler said. “Having some of my family that lives in Greensburg is a huge plus as well.

“I was considering many other colleges during the recruiting process, and I was keeping things open until I officially decided that Pitt-Greensburg was where I want to go.”

Pitt-Greensburg is a member of the NCAA Division III Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference which also includes La Roche, Penn State Behrend, Pitt-Bradford, Penn State Altoona, Hilbert, Medaille, Mt. Aloysius and Alfred State.

“We are so excited to have Kayla join our squad next season,” UPG coach Kelsey Oddis said. “We are excited to get her up here for move-in and starting to work with the team and other recruits and to get the ball moving for preseason workouts.

“Kayla plays extremely unselfish and is a team player. She is willing to make the extra pass while still looking to attack the rim and look for her shot or 3-pointer. We believe she fits in well with our players and our program and are looking forward to what the future holds for her.”

Hoehler and the Talbots enjoyed an outstanding season in 2021-22, posting an 18-5 record and 9-3 section mark, good for a tie for second place with Mars.

In fact, it was one of the best regular seasons in program history. Only the 2016-17 team, which won its first 11 games, had a better start in the program’s past 20 years.

Hampton’s hoopsters jumped out to an 8-0 start — going undefeated in December — won 11 of their first 12 games, then won seven of eight late-season games before losing to Oakland Catholic, 42-35, in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs.

The defending section champions won a season-opening tip-off tournament at Seneca Valley and won twice at their own holiday tournament in late December.

“I feel like we did pretty well this season, but we definitely could’ve done better,” Hoehler said. “My season went pretty well. I improved in some areas of the game that I have been working on improving throughout my high school career, such as rebounding, blocks, steals and assists.

“I felt my offense was present whenever my team needed me and especially in the beginning of the season.”

The lanky backcourt standout has been impacted by many throughout her athletic and academic careers.

“My biggest influences on my athletic career have been my dad, Stephen Curry and other professional NBA and WNBA players I have watched over the years,” she said. “And for my academic influences, I would say my family, especially my mom and dad, but also my teachers and peers as well.”

Hoehler has a 3.8 GPA, volunteers at her church and works a couple of part-time jobs, including one as a pet sitter.

She grew from a 5-6 freshman to her current height.

“Kayla was a tremendous individual, on and off the court, for our program,” Hampton coach Tony Howard said. “She is a tremendous role model for the younger girls. She is committed, skilled, works hard and is a class act in every aspect. Kayla was as consistent player. We could always count on her to compete and be productive in games.

“Kalya’s strength is her shooting. She definitely has unlimited range and can get extremely hot from beyond the 3-point line. As good a basketball player that Kayla is, she is a better person. She is a great teammate who is genuine and treats everyone with respect.”

“I love the feeling of being in the moment during a game and some of the pressure situations that come along with that,” she said. “I love the rush of adrenaline that just takes over and having clutch moments.

“The competitive aspect and just the feeling I get when I’m playing, whether in a game or shooting around in my driveway, I just get lost in game and think about nothing else.”

Hoehler did not have gaudy stats this season, averaging 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists. But she did move into the program’s top 15 in career scoring at No. 6.

Hampton’s top five all-time leading scorers are Ali Collins (1,383 points), Nadine Fazio (1,364), Laryn Edwards (1,314), Kim Bridge (1,200) and Jodie Luther (1,087).

The not-too-distant future for Hoehler consists of her freshman season at Pitt-Greensburg, which racked up a 20-6 record in 2021-22 and a 13-3 mark in the AMCC.

“Pitt-Greensburg is getting a great player for their program,” Howard said, “and it sounds like they play the same style of basketball that we did here at Hampton. She will fit in immediately and have an impact on the team next season.”

After defeating Penn State Altoona, 64-52, and Penn State Behrend, 80-78, in the AMCC tournament, Pitt-Greensburg lost a 72-59 decision to La Roche on Feb. 26 in the conference championship game.

UPG’s roster this season included eight players from western Pennsylvania.


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