After barely escaping their last meeting with an overtime road win at West Lafayette, the Hiland Hawks left little doubt in a rout over visiting Ridgewood with a 71-48 pounding on Friday, January 26 in Berlin.
From the opening tip, Hiland amped up the pace and pressure, racing out to an early 14-4 lead midway through the first quarter. A stifling man-to-man defense by the Hawks kept the Generals mostly outside the three-point line, while at the other end Hiland’s quickness at the guard position continually allowed them to find seams in the Generals’ defense for driving layups.
Turner Horn’s three, at the horn, ending the first quarter gave the Hawks a 28-13 advantage after one.
As in most of their games this year, the defense created many scoring opportunities for Hiland, and the hosts threatened to run away and hide numerous times throughout the evening, but Ridgewood would find a three-pointer to keep the game within shouting distance.
One of those moments was just before the half, when Hiland’s lead was 22 when Ridgewood drained a trey at the buzzer after a missed free throw and the Hawks went to the break up 46-28.
Ridgewood came out of the break with a sense of urgency, drawing within 50-34, but a Scott Troyer three and a Horn drive put the hosts back up 55-34 midway through the period.
The game was blown wide open when Chris Kline got a steal and a layup then recorded another off a Troyer theft to run it out to 64-38 and it was name the score after that.
Hiland led by 30, its largest lead of the night, early in the fourth and they cruised to the win.
Kline continued to spark the Hawks off the bench, as his 22 points were high for Hiland, with Horn adding 14 and Noah Sommers and Andy Miller chipping in 10 apiece. Jhett Slusser led the Generals with 17, with Braeden Smith adding 10.