Lady Wildcats Hoying commits to Findlay

By: 
Seth Kinker
Sports Editor

Minster girls basketball junior guard Janae Hoying will be wearing familiar colors after she graduates next year.  

On Apr. 15 at 4:57 p.m. the twitter account for the University of Findlay women's basketball team sent out a tweet stating, "Our Oiler family grew again today!"

12 minutes later, Hoying revealed who they were talking about when she sent out a tweet of her own, "I am very excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at the University of Findlay!! #oilerup" 

Hoying got Findlay’s interest last year when the team attended a summer camp at the university, she told The Community Post they noticed her shooting ability, competitiveness and work ethic. 

That led to a visit over the summer and started a relationship between Hoying and the Oilers. 

“There were a lot of things that factored into me choosing Findlay,” said Hoying over the phone on Apr. 16. “I really like the coaches; our relationship is strong. I like the way they coach and run their program. It’s fast paced, I like that. It’s closer to home, it would be way easier for family and friends to come watch me. I like staying (close to) home, that’s another thing that was kind of big on my end.”

Hoying was also familiar with some of her future teammates. There are two Dayton Lady Hoopstars, the AAU program she’s been a part of since fourth grade, already on the team and another familiar name in fellow commit Val Muhlenkamp of Fort Recovery that she also plays with on the Lady Hoopstars. 

Introduced to basketball by her best friend since preschool and fellow junior guard Ivy Wolf, Hoying began playing in games in third grade and tried out for the Lady Hoopstars with Wolf in fourth grade and they’ve been teammates ever since. 

“Early on was just her tenacity, her willingness to play defense and get after it that way (that stood out),” said Minster junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach Shelly Wolf on what stood out about Hoying. Wolf also coached Hoying growing up in addition to working with her now in high school. “From early early stages, that was something she was good at and willing to do. That’s work, that’s hard work. For her, it was fun. As she’s progressed, I think Janae is one of the purest shooters in our program. Her shot and form has always been natural.”

“She's just an annoyance and a nuisance to anyone with the ball in their hands,” added Logan Allen, her Lady Hoopstars coach since the seventh grade. “She just has this instinct and thought process that the ball belongs to her and if you have it, she’s going to do whatever it takes to get it back without it going through the hoop.”

Track and cross country were two other sports she participated in growing up but she knew she wasn’t as committed to those sports as she was to basketball and that it was unfair to both parties. 

In the spring of Hoying’s seventh and eighth grade years, Wolf remembers meeting with the girls at the gym after track practice to do 250 made shot workouts as they tracked their percentages even then at a young age. 

“I just love (basketball) the most,” said Hoying. “When I step onto a court, everything else in my mind just goes away. I feel happy, nothing really to worry about. I’m with my team, my friends, it’s fun and I really enjoy that.” 

From an early age, right around when she started AAU basketball in fourth grade, Hoying knew she wanted basketball to be a part of her future. 

“That’s when I decided, ‘hey I want to go to the next level, let’s see if I can,’” said Hoying. “I know that’s a young age but it was my dream so I wanted to chase after it. “ 

“Janae has always just been a hard-working kid,” said Allen. “She has a determination most kids her age don’t have. As she’s gotten older the way she’s helped the team have increased and varied. She’s diversified how she can help a team. That’s something that’s been a constant of hers, her work ethic.” 

When Hoying was asked who contributed to making her the player she was today, the answers varied from her family to all coaches and teammates past and present as well as the community of Minster. 

The decision came down to Findlay, Kent State and Ohio Dominican. Hoying said she had a list of pros and cons and that Findlay was the right fit talking to her family and coaches.

She told The Community Post she had been leaning towards Findlay for the past week or so but was still nervous. 

“This whole process is kind of nerve wracking and it puts a lot of weight on your shoulders,” said Hoying. “It’s a huge decision you have to make. It’s going to determine the next four years of your life.” 

“I called her and we talked a little bit,” said Wolf after learning of Hoying’s commitment. “I’m happy for her. She’s happy and that’s what you want. Somewhere they’re happy and can have a good experience, I think it’s a great fit for her.”

Hoying, a two-time state champion and second leading scorer for the Lady Wildcats this year before their season was cut short in the state tournament semifinals due to the coronavirus COVID-19, began her freshman year bouncing between freshman and junior varsity but by seasons end had played too well not to earn a callup. 

“Janae hit a three from the corner for a game winner in a MAC game at the Fort,” said Minster head coach Mike Wiss. “It wasn’t her first time on the floor but maybe her first extended (playing) time. We knew if we were going to make a deep run that year, she would have to be one of our subs as a guard. We knew she would have to be an integral part of what we did if we wanted to make a tournament run.”

“Her speed, quickness, how well she could guard the ball and one on one defense,” Wiss rattled off when asked what earned her the call up. “You can take that all the way to her freshman and sophomore years when we played Ottoville in the finals. She really played well in the second half of both those games. Defensively, hounding the ball. Hitting a jumper. Starting our transition game. She made a name for herself in big games in the second halves.” 

Hoying had an expanded role and was relied upon more her sophomore year after proving herself during her freshman campaign, proved herself again in her sophomore postseason and was one of two returning starters this year.

S. Wolf told The Community Post that Hoying has grown this year by becoming more consistent and continuing to increase her basketball IQ  in addition to constantly working to improve her skills.

“(Janae’s) ability to go back and recognize things, that just comes from playing,” said Allen. “We play a lot of games and she’s able to process past situations in real time and that makes her so much more dangerous. With her size, she uses her brain to put herself in the right positions on the court to be successful.”

Last summer, Wiss said he noticed another layer added to her game. The ability to shoot from 22-23 feet out as well as crossing someone over and taking it to the hoop. She’s also evolved from her reputation as a sharpshooter to a guard that can handle the ball and run the offense too. 

“As much as we have relied on Janae quite a bit to hound someone on defense,” said Wiss. “If someone is shading the post or shading Ivy or something like that and Janae ends up on a side of a floor by herself, her ability to make a quick crossover and go to the rim has really added to our game.” 

“A tremendous kid,” said Allen on what Findlay is getting in Hoying. “She’s going to work until the work is complete. She’s not going to ask questions. She's a tremendous teammate first and foremost, she’ll do whatever it takes. If she’s called on to defend the best ball handler, to handle the ball, to knock down spot up shots, to make plays for others, to go get the loose rebounds, to get on the floor, she’ll do whatever it takes to win. At the end of the day she's a winner.”