The latter part of week two in the high school basketball season saw the Hiland Hawks take on two very different opponents, which resulted in a pair of games that were anything but similar.
Hiland’s home game versus Claymont in an Inter-Valley Conference showdown on Friday, Dec. 15 was almost over before it began. The Hawks drove out to a whopping 31-6 lead and controlled the tempo and the game the entire way, cruising to a 73-44 victory.
Early on it was the Scott and Kobe Troyer show with both seniors tossing in seven points and Damien Kandel adding four markers for a stunning 22-2 advantage through the first quarter. However, it was more than just Hiland’s offense that proved to be problematic for the Mustangs. Hiland’s defense was relentless and caused all kinds of turnovers that turned into easy buckets on the other end.
Hiland spread it around more in the second quarter, adding 21 more for a commanding 43-15 lead. Kobe Troyer stayed hot, tacking on five more points, while Hunter Sommers went 4-of-4 from the free throw line for four points. Braden Watkins scored four points for Claymont as the Mustangs tried to claw back into the game.
Watkins scored four more in the third period, but again Hiland’s relentless defense caused plenty of issues for the Mustangs, and the Hawks had their third 20-plus scoring quarter, moving the lead out to 65-24. The Hawks would put seven players in the scorebook in the third period, but it would again be Kobe Troyer leading the way with eight more points as he hit two more 3-pointers, giving him four on the night.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Hawks’ bench as head coach Mark Schlabach gave his reserves plenty of playing time. The Mustangs starting crew would eagerly take on the opportunity to excel against the Hiland backups, and led by Tevin Harris’ 10-point effort, Claymont outscored Hiland 22-8 to get the game to its final score. Harris would end the night with 21 points to lead the Mustangs.
Kobe Troyer led all scorers with 22 points while Scott Troyer added 11, Kendall Hochstetler scored 10, Damien Kandel pitched in with seven, Jared Raber scored six, Sommers scored five, and John Sisson and Kody Miller both added four.
The task at hand became much tougher one night later when the Hawks traveled to Mansfield to take on Mansfield St. Peter’s, a Spartans team that went 25-3 last season, made it to the Div. IV regional final and returned a solid core including Div. IV Player of the Year Jared Jakubick.
Hiland played the Spartans tough throughout but eventually fell 51-41.
The Hawks led 12-11 after one quarter, and the two teams were locked in a dead heat at 22 as they entered the locker room. The two teams stayed that way to 28, but St. Peter’s went on a late third-quarter 6-0 run. Sisson’s jumper gave the Hawks momentum as they went to the fourth quarter trailing 34-30. Drives by Kobe Troyer and Andy Miller knotted things up at 34 to start the fourth period, and the Hawks were hanging tough against the undefeated Spartans, but St. Peter’s then went on a 7-0 run, led by Jakubick. Trailing 41-34, Scott Troyer would hit a jumper, but the Spartans started to get hot and pushed out to a 49-37 lead. The Hawks would not recover as St. Peter’s defense down the stretch didn’t allow any hope of a comeback.
Hiland did a respectable job on Jakubick, but he still managed a game-high 19 points. Hiland was led in scoring by Scott Troyer and Kobe Troyer, who scored 12 and 10, respectively. Hochstetler added six, Miller scored five, and Sisson and Kandel both netted four. Kandel and Hochstetler grabbed eight and seven rebounds, respectively.
The loss evened Hiland’s record at 2-2 while St. Peter’s improved to 6-0.