It doesn’t appear as though a loss has done anything to deter the high-flying Hiland Hawks boys’ basketball team.
After seeing its perfect seeing come crashing to the ground in a resounding way in an 80-63 loss to powerful Dayton Dunbar, the Hawks went back to work against a foe more in their size in Tuscarawas Central Catholic to try to get back on the fence.
Facing a solid Saints squad in New Philadelphia in an Inter-Valley Conference game, it took a huge second half effort, but Hiland (9-1, 6-0 in the IVC) eventually blew open a tight game and rolled to a 65-42 win.
TCC’s Beau Beamer gave the Saints the early edge with a driving score and a 3-pointer, but trailing 5-2, Hiland got a free throw from Noah Sommers and a Kobe Troyer three-ball to take a 6-5 lead. The Saints 4-5, 2-4 in the IVC) would never lead again, although they would keep things interesting for a while.
In a very early play, Beamer roared down the lane, put up a shot and made it, but instead of having on and-one opportunity, he was called for a charge, negating the basket and creating a possible five-point swing when Chris Kline darted down the lane for the Hawks moments later to make it 8-5. TCC would get within one at 8-7, but Kline’s 3-pointer and a Turner Horn score in the paint pushed Hiland’s lead to 13-7. Austin Dick scored inside for the Saints, but Troyer knocked down his second 3-pointer and Horn made a steal and went the distance to make it 18-9.
Justin Peltz would come off the bench to spark the Saints with an and-one and a score inside to trim the Saints’ deficit to 20-14, but TCC would misfire on several opportunities to get closer after stopping the Hawks, but failing to do so, saw Scott Troyer hit a pull-up jumper to end the first period’s quickly-paced action with the Hawks up 22-14.
Hiland had a chance to spread the lead mid-way through the second quarter when Scott Troyer made a a steal and fed Horn, who was all by himself down the floor. However, the senior tried to slam it home with authority and missed, and to exacerbate things, he was issued a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
That led to a pair of Austin Dick free throws and TCC got the ball and scored, and suddenly it was game on at 27-23. The teams traded scores and the Saints had one final chance to trim into the four-point deficit as time wound down, but Kline used his quickness to force a steal, went down the floor and scored right before the half to give the Hawks a 31-25 lead at intermission.
TCC’s chances of creating a comeback a lot slimmer when the second half started and Kobe Troyer and Kline created a 41-31 Hiland lead. That grew to 12 when Horn scored off a steal, then to 15 when Horn found Johnny Sisson for an easy lay-up.
Trailing 45-31, Dick found the bottom of the net inside, but after a miss, Hiland’s Sommers stole the ball and fed Horn for an easy score to make it 47-33.
TCC’s Nick Sciarretti scored on a put-back to end the third quarter with Hiland leading 47-35, but the fourth quarter was going to be a Hawks showcase.
Kobe Troyer started things off with a 3-pointer after the Hawks grabbed three offensive rebounds, and Scott Troyer scored for a 52-35 lead.
Later, Sciarretti scored on another put-back to get TCC within 15 at 54-39, but the Hawks were about to turn the thruster to full-go. Andy Miller hit a jumper in the lane, and after a Saints turnover, Kline drilled a triple. Another Saints turnover led to a Sisson lay-up, and Hiland was rolling at 61-39. With the game firmly in hand, Mark Schlabach emptied his benches and gave his main crew a few well-deserved minutes of relaxation as the Hiland subs maintained that lead throughout the final couple of minutes, with Kendall Hostetler scoring the final Hiland bucket to provide the winning margin of 23 points.
Hiland got another balanced attack on offense, with Kline leading the way with 14 points, Kobe Troyer adding 13, Horn pitching in with a dozen, Miller and Scott Troyer both scoring seven and Sisson adding six. The Hawks also played their trademark defense in limiting the Saints to just 42 points. TCC was paced by Beamer’s eight, with Peltz adding seven and Dick and Alex Selinsky adding six apiece.