· Basketball - Holmes County ·

Four-minute stretch propels Hiland to monster 82-50 win over Garaway

Coming into their game with the Hiland Lady Hawks, the Garaway Lady Pirates were playing some pretty good basketball, having won their last seven games after dropping game number two to Dover.

But Hiland has proven to be a different beast altogether this season, averaging nearly 85 points per game while giving up around 28. Undefeated and barely challenged, Hiland has been a destructive force all year.

Garaway was able to use some pressure defense and shot the ball very well from beyond the arc to hang around for most of the first half, but in a two minute span to end the first half and a two minute rush to begin the second half, Hiland showed exactly how destructive it can be, using a 25-4 spree to blow the game open and pave the way to an 82-50 victory to seize control of the league lead in a battle between two undefeated Inter-Valley Conference teams.

“We did a lot of things well tonight, and I love the balance we had,” Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said. “We are getting better at a lot of things right now. Jess (Troyer) ran the floor better tonight, and our bigs are looking for the ball. They want the ball inside. I’m really pleased with our approach tonight, and we controlled the tempo the way we wanted to in speeding up the game as much as possible.”

All Garaway coach Dave Shutt could do was look for positives.

“They made us better in a 30-point loss,” Shutt said. “They make us self-evaluate, and they are good at rebounding every time, 50-50 balls are theirs and they handle adversity so well. That is what we talked about after the game. That is where we ant to get to.”
Hiland actually looked like it was going to make a mockery of the game early on, roaring to an 8-0 lead on an Angela Troyer three. Kaitlyn Stress finally hit a 3-pointer for Garaway, but Hiland then scored eight straight as it went inside to bigs Melissa Hostetler and Tiffany Weaver.

However, led by freshman Kallie Regula, the Lady Pirates stayed even the rest of the first quarter and trailed 24-12 at the end of eight minutes.

Kennedy Schlabach found Troyer wide open for a score, to open the second quarter, but Garaway clawed back to within 28-20 with treys from Regula and Zoe Johnson. But every time Garaway scored, Morgan McMillen quickly took the wind out of the Lady Pirates’ sails by snaring the made shot, stepping out of bounds and firing a picture-perfect strikes down the floor to either Angela Troyer or Jessica Troyer, who converted on the other end.

Then came the four-minute span that completely turned the game in Hiland’s favor.

It started with one of McMillen’s Tom Brady-like heave to Jessica Troyer, who turned it into two free throws and a 30-20 lead.
“It’s like watching an NFL game where she’s leading a receiver deep down the field, “Schlabach said of McMillen’a golden arm. “If someone has a step on a defender, Morgan thinks she can get it to them. What a great tool for us. They worked for 35 seconds to score, then we take two seconds to answer.”

McMillen then was on the receiving end of an Angela Troyer assist, before Haley Shutt drained a three-ball for Garaway. Hiland then ended the quarter on a 10-0 spree.

Angela Troyer and Jessica Troyer both hit a pair of free throws, Jessica Troyer found McMillen wide open inside, Angela Troyer drove the lane and Schlabach scored on a running jumper in the lane, and the Lady Hawks held a 42-23 advantage at the break.
Half-time was no reprieve for Garaway. Schlabach came right out of the gate and buried a 3-pointer, and after a Garaway free throw, McMillen scored on consecutive plays inside to make it 49-24. After a stop, Weaver made a great inside move and hit a baby hook in the paint, and Angela Troyer’s steal and lay-up lifted Hiland to a huge 53-24 lead.

“They did a great job of taking us out of the things we wanted to do,” Shutt said. “We have to go back now and figure it out. They’ve got so many weapons, and I thought the big girl (Weaver) did a really nice job.”

By the time Schlabach hit a pair of three-balls late in the quarter, Hiland lead had ballooned to 63-30. Hostetler completed an and-one, and after Johnson split a pair of free throws, Weaver scored again in close and Jessica Troyer’s steal and lay-in gave Hiland its largest lead at 69-31.

Maddie Steiner hit a three late in the quarter, and Garaway actually outscored Hiland 14-12 in the final eight minutes, but it was long over by then. Hiland had used its inside presence to create a 34-15 edge on the glass, a component that played a key role in the lopsided final score.

“We are starting to find our bigs down low, and that is where we are so much better this year,” Schlabach said.

Picking a game MVP for the Lady Hawks would not be as easy of a task as it would be for Garaway. The Lady Pirates got a tremendous effort from Regula, who looked like anything but a freshman playing in her first game of this intense rivalry. Shutt scored 10 points, while Johnson and Stress each provided six points and Stress added four.

“Kallie has been struggling a little bit, and this was a great game that gets her back,” Shutt said. “She came in hitting and built on that, and we need another fourth or fifth scorer to make us better. Sometimes as a freshman you hit that struggle bus, and she has had games where she has played above that freshman level.”

Angela Troyer scored a game-high 21 points while adding five rebounds and four steals. McMillen filled the box score with 17 points, eight boards, four assists and three steals. Schlabach scored 15 points, three triples, six assists and four steals. Weaver had 11 points and recorded two blocked shots as she nears the Hiland record for swats in a season before the mid-season point. Jessica Troyer played her finest game of the season in totaling 12 points, adding seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Hostetler added six points and three rebounds, and she also held high-scoring Sydney Mullet to just six points.

“It was great to see Jess step up and play like that in a big game,” said Schlabach. “She played with great confidence, and to hold Mullet to six is incredible. And Tiff is improving so much right now. She is doing things now that she wasn’t doing just a week ago.”
Shutt said while the game may have been lost by 30 points, but getting a chance to play a quality team is something he feels will only benefit his group in the long run.

“We saw some things that we have to get better at, and at the end of the day, I’m glad we played them,” Shutt said. “It’s a gauge to see where we are at mid-season, and we can only get better because of it.”

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