The Hiland Hawks continued to roll along, earning a trio of victories to increase their season record to 15-1 while remaining perfect in the Inter-Valley Conference South division. Both efforts came with what could only be viewed as a warning shot in first quarters that saw the Hawks showcase their hard-nosed defense to allow only a single bucket in the first eight minutes to Claymont and Fort Frye.
On Friday, Jan. 25 Hiland dominated Claymont, a team that had given them a bit of a struggle earlier in the season in Uhrichsville, as Hiland handed the Mustangs a 48-24 loss in a game that wasn’t that close. This one marked a truly odd game in that no Hiland player scored more than seven points, but the Hawks managed to put 10 players into the scorebook.
Hiland allowed just a Michael Lisiecki score in the first quarter while Will Schlabach and Kody Miller each connected from long distance and Kody Miller scored five points in the period to give the Hawks a 16-2 lead. They would never be challenged, despite the Mustangs continuing to play aggressively and hard all night.
Hiland took a 27-13 lead into the locker room at the half, thanks in large part to four points from Hunter Sommers and a 3-pointer from Kyle Miller. Claymont’s Brady Milburn heated up, scoring seven of his game-high 10 points in the second quarter.
It was another offensive nightmare for Claymont in the third period and another defensive gem for Hiland in the third quarter, where the Mustangs mustered just two points apiece from Lisiecki and Rees Bowman. Hiland expanded its lead to 36-17 by getting two more triples from Andy Miller and Schlabach.
In the final frame Milburn capped off his night with a trey while Hiland continued to spread it around. Trey Troyer and Korrie Hostetler both scored three in the quarter while Kendall Hochstetler, Sommers and Sam Habeger all added a pair.
The following night the Hawks traveled to Fort Frye to face the Cadets, where it was somewhat of a repeat performance. The Hawks allowed only a Caden Fryman score in the first period while racking up 15 points. It would be deep-threat Schlabach who would get the ball rolling for the Hawks, coming in off the bench to supply three 3-pointers in the period to ignite Hiland’s early burst.
While Fort Frye would heat up a bit in the second quarter, Hiland stayed the course on offense, six Hawks finding the scoring column including Schlabach, who added two more points to his total. Habeger scored four, Sommers added three and Kyle Miller dropped in a triple to spot the Hawks to a 31-11 half-time bulge. Brady Schilling would score for the Cadets in the quarter.
While the Cadets seemed to gain a foothold on offense in the second half, much of that was because Schlabach was liberal with his substituting. Fort Frye chipped away at the lead, carving off five points by winning the quarter by 15-10. In the period it would be Nick Hart, Fort Frye’s biggest scoring threat, who was held without a point in the first half, who would come up with a huge eight-point effort. Meanwhile the Hawks started banging the ball into the paint, where big men Hostetler and Habeger each scored four points and allowed the Hawks to maintain a commanding 41-26 lead heading into the final period.
Hiland would extend its lead, thanks to the sharpshooting of Kyle Miller, who netted 10 of his 13 points on the night, while Habeger, who led all scorers with 15 points, tacked on three more. Kelton Fogle would score seven points in the period for the Cadets, earning him team honors with Hart, both of them scoring 10 apiece.
Schlabach ended the night with 11 points while Andy Miller and Hostetler each tallied six and Sommers five.
A long trip to Buckeye Trail didn’t deter the Hawks in their quest to continue the winning streak, and a 74-34 win made it 10 straight for Mark Schlabach’s crew.
Hiland’s offense, Kendall Hochstetler in particular, never gave the Warriors a chance. Hochstetler came flying out of the gate with a barrage of treys, three of them in the first eight minutes. He racked up 13 of his game-high 23 points in the opening quarter, which gave Hiland a 21-8 lead through eight minutes.
The Hawks wouldn’t slow down in the second quarter, producing 22 more points to take a 43-15 half-time lead. In the period Hochstetler added six points, as did Habeger. Kyle Miller drained his second triple of the game.
The third quarter nearly matched the first two in offensive prowess for Hiland, where the Hawks posted 18 more points in forcing their way to a comfortable 61-26 advantage. Schlabach canned his second 3-pointer of the night, and Habeger tacked on four more points, as did Kody Miller. The fourth quarter saw Kyle Miller score four points while Trey Troyer dropped a trey to aid the cause.
Hostetler ended the night with 23 points while Habeger added 11. Kyle Miller scored 10; Hostetler, Andy Miller and Schlabach each produced six; and Kody Miller added five.
The trio of wins should do little to move the Hawks out of the top spot in the Div. IV polls.