Hiland Boys Basketball

Hochstetler and Troyer spark Hawks to big win over Generals

Kendall Hochstetler set the tone for a big night for Hiland

After experiencing an ice-cold shooting night in their season-opening 37-35 loss to Strasburg, the Hiland Hawks boys basketball team needed a little pick-me-up to get them kick-started in game two versus Ridgewood on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at the Reese Center in Berlin.

The only thing cold on this night was the temperature as Kobe Troyer and Kendall Hochstetler came out sizzling hot, propelling the Hawks to a 59-50 victory to even their record at 1-1.

The hot start came courtesy of 10 points from Hochstetler, including a pair of 3-pointers, and seven more from Troyer, who drained a triple as part of Hiland’s impressive start that saw them bolt to a 21-point first quarter.

“If you could combine our two games this year, we would have one pretty outstanding game,” Hiland coach Mark Schlabach said. “We had a much better offensive flow tonight, and it was nice to see Kendall and Kobe get it going early on. We needed that kind of a start. Because with Sam [Habeger] being out right now, we are still searching for our identity offensively. To come out and score 20-plus points in the first quarter was really huge for us.”

The only problem was the Generals were keeping pace. On the strength of Trey Stoffer’s six points and Zach Wright’s three-ball, Ridgewood collected 15 points of their own to keep it close.

The scoring slowed a bit in the second quarter as the two teams settled in defensively. Plus neither team was very prolific at passing the ball, each team giving away possessions far too often for either coaches’ liking.

“We threw some pretty bad passes tonight but give credit to Hiland,” Ridgewood coach Jamie McCrea said. “We haven’t faced a defensive team like that this year that applied the kind of guard pressure they applied. I thought we did a decent job of adjusting as the game went on, but in the end, facing that kind of pressure is going to help us get better.”

“We turned the ball over way too much tonight, which is really uncharacteristic of this team,” Schlabach said. “The thing that concerned me most was that they took it away from us a few times just on toughness plays where they just knocked it away from us, and that can’t happen.”

John Sisson made a nice play and scored on a drive to put the Hawks up 26-17. Hiland later put more distance between the two teams when Troyer nailed a 3-pointer, Hochstetler scored on a put-back after a missed free throw and Andy Miller drove the lane to push the lead to 35-21. Hunter Mizer’s and-one to end the quarter’s scoring allowed the Generals to creep back to within 35-24 at the half.

Chase Griffith and Wright got the Generals to within 10 early in the third period, but every time Ridgewood threatened in the second half, it was Troyer who came up big. His three pushed the lead back to 13 at 41-28, and not long after Hiland really got rolling, Sisson scored on a great assist from Miller, Troyer hit yet another 3-pointer and Hochstetler’s lay-in made it 48-30 Hawks.

However, late in the third quarter and into the fourth period, Griffith would catch fire and score seven straight to trim Hiland’s lead to 51-40. But just as before, Troyer rained down a triple to push the deficit back to 14. Ridgewood would have one last gasp, getting scores from Wright and two from Mizer, but Damien Kandel scored inside, and the late threat was averted.

One way the game remained close was at the free throw line. Ridgewood shot a perfect 12-of-12 from the stripe while Hiland struggled to a miserable 3-of-11 effort, an effort that didn’t please Schlabach because he felt they had the guys at the line who needed to be there. Only Andy Miller was able to connect, hitting 3-of-4. The rest of the team went oh-fer.

Fortunately for Hiland, they crashed the board with a vengeance on the offensive glass and created a number of extra scoring opportunities.

McCrea said his team was coming off a pair of games that saw them take on a pair of huge centers, but he felt his team may have let down their guard against a smaller Hiland team. Hiland chewed up the offensive glass and made the Generals pay plenty for their lapse in rebounding.

“We gave up too many second chances, and we needed to box out better,” McCrea said. “We did a great job against those two bigs, but we let down tonight.”

Schlabach said he loved the energy Sisson brought off the bench, and he said Kandel had a big night, despite not putting up huge numbers.

“We probably needed to work the ball on to the block to him a little more,” Schlabach said of his center. “I thought he was super-efficient with the ball in his hands.”

Griffith, who came in averaging more than 26 points per contest, was strong again, leading everyone with 20 points. Mizer added nine, Stoffer scored eight and Wright pitched in with seven.

Troyer led the Hawks with 19 points on the strength of five 3-pointers while Hochstetler added 16, Miller scored nine and Kandel added eight.

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