For centuries, people have debated the whole “quantity versus quality” question.
On Saturday, Feb. 14 in the finals of the Inter-Valley Conference freshman boys basketball finals, one possible answer was supplied.
Hiland used a balanced attack and depth to hold off an overwhelming performance by Justin Peltz, and ran away with a 46-28 victory to claim the IVC crown.
Peltz proved to be a handful, scoring 21 of the Saints’ 27 points. Teammate Nate Price added six points, but no other TCC player found his way into the score book.
Hiland, on the other hand, got plenty of contributions from numerous sources. Johnny Sisson scored 11, Damian Kandel, who had the unenviable task of guarding the fiery-hot Peltz much of the game, scored 10, Evan came off the bench to tack on 10 points and have a monster game on the boards, while Cordell Miller added nine and Claye Hummel scored four.
In this one, quantity definitely outproduced quality.
Not that the Hawks didn’t have a quality performance in the victory. They simply spread their quality around.
If anything, it wasn’t scoring but an impressive defensive performance that set the tone.
Right from the start Hiland took command. The opening tip saw Hiland get the ball to Miller, who laid it in for a 2-0 lead. He then made a steal and got the ball to Kandel who made a lay-up. Kandel then also got a steal, leading to a Sisson lay-in that gave Hiland a quick 6-0 edge. Peltz and Price would both get on the board to trim the early deficit to two, before Cameron Miller scored, courtesy of a beautiful pass from his brother Cordell.
But the second quarter belonged to Hiland, as did the third.
Sisson scored six quick points to give the Hawks a 16-6 lead. By the time Casey had scored on a put back, it was 20-8. Peltz split a pair of free throws before Kandel scored inside to send the teams to the locker room with the Hawks up 22-9.
Hiland coach Casey Kaufman continued to run players in and out of the line-up, while the Saints had just six players. Those numbers would also play a key role.
The Saints still had life as the second half started, but then came a game-deciding run to begin the third quarter that would end all hope for TCC.
Cordell Miller hit a three-ball and a lay-up, before Peltz would answer with a jumper. The Hawks would then score eight straight to go up 37-17. Buckets from Casey, a pair from Kandel and a Hummel drive would do the damage.
Peltz hit a conventional three-point play and Price would score before another Peltz bucket trimmed the Hiland advantage to 37-24, but with a team of just six players, TCC was wearing down and Casey was taking over in the paint.
Price would draw the Saints to within 13 again mid-way through the final quarter, but a Sisson free throw, a Casey turnaround in the lane and a Sisson driving, twisting reverse lay-up would be more than enough to secure an IVC crown for the Hawks.