Hiland Boys Basketball

27-0 start propels Hawks to easy win over Shamrocks

Kody Miller

Some games are edge-of-your-seat nail-biting excitement.

Others, well, others are just to get a team from point A to point B.

Hiland’s clash with the Barnesville Shamrocks in the sectional final in the opening tournament game for both teams was a whole lot of the latter, as Hiland stomped out to a 27-0 lead before eventually cruising to a 78-15 win in front of a sparse home crowd that seemed to realize the lopsided nature of this contest before the game even began.

So much for the luck of a four-leaf clover.

Noah Sommers scored the first four points of the game, Chris Kline scored then next four and things only got worse for Barnesville from that point on. Scott Troyer scored on a drive, Kline canned a pair of free throws and Troyer knocked down a triple to make it 15-0. Kline scored on an uncontested lay-up with 2:40 to play and it was 17-0. Damien Kandel scored on a pair of free throws and Kobe Troyer drilled his first of five 3-pointers to make it 22-0 to end the first quarter. Hiland had forced the Shamrocks into 11 first-quarter turnovers.

Sommers scored on a stick-back with his fourth offensive rebound to start the second period, and Kobe Troyer dropped in his second trey.

By the time Hiland was done dealing and Aaron Marovich had finally gotten the Shamrocks on the board at the 5:54 mark of the second period, the Hawks led 27-2, and it was all academic after that.

Hiland head coach Mark Schlabach said he had seen Barnesville, and one game was an 87-85 defeat to Conotton Valley while the other game saw them score 56 points in a half when he scouted them. He also said that Luke Powell, who ended the game as Barnesville’s high scorer with five points, was the leading scorer in the Ohio River valley area.

He said that knowing those numbers was a driving force in his team’s defensive-minded approach to shutting down the Shamrocks.

“Our guys take challenges with things like that,” Schlabach said. “Sometimes I forget just how good our guards are. When the other team’s better players are guards, we have an easier time matching up with that.”

Schlabach said they also talked about the new OHSAA tournament format that now sees the higher seeded team host the first round games, and he noted that his Hawks were very ready to come out and make a statement on their home court.

He also said that after a lengthy lay-off, his team was ready to knock heads with anyone other than themselves and the many alumni who came in to make practice tough over the 10-day lay-off.

“We had some hard practices,” Schlabach said. “I thought we were great defensively, but offensively we were a little stagnant, a little sticky with the ball early on. But we played very unselfishly with the ball the rest of the way.”

Kobe Troyer hit his five 3-pointers en route to leading the Hawks with 15 points, while Kline added 14, Kendall Hochstetler scored 10, Scott Troyer and Turner Horn added eight, Sommers ended with six and Damien Kandel and Johnny Sisson both scored four.

The victory moved Hiland’s record to 19-4 and pushed them into a showdown with West Muskingum (12-11) in the district semifinal Tuesday, March 7.

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