Give the Hiland Lady Hawks an A-plus for consistency. In both of their sectional tournament wins, they allowed their opponent to score just 12 points, paving the way for the program’s 23rd consecutive sectional title.
Let that number soak in for a moment. The last time the Lady Hawks didn’t win a sectional title was in 1994, gasoline cost $1.04 per gallon, the cost of a movie ticket was $4, Bill Clinton was in his second year of an eight-year term as the nation’s president and was dealing with the Whitewater Scandal, and O.J. Simpson was taking a slow ride in a white Ford Bronco. Heck, Hiland coach Dave Schlabach and his assistant David ‘Cousy’ Borter actually had hair back then. Well, maybe not Cousy, but you get the idea.
If that seems like forever ago, that is because it was, such is the length of time that has passed since the sectional streak began.
Usually, the tournament trail is supposed to become more difficult as a team progresses. For the Lady Hawks, it seemed to get easier.
In the sectional final of their Div. IV tournament game Saturday, February 25, the Lady Hawks actually had an even more lopsided game than in their sectional opener against Conotton Valley, a game that saw them win with ease 84-12.
However, against St. John Central, a team whose reward for beating Strasburg in the sectional opener was to face the mighty Lady Hawks, Hiland turned it up a notch as Dave Schlabach’s crew continues to keep the accelerator pressed to the floor to hone in on things that matter the most as they prepare for what will eventually become tougher games.
This one was anything but tough, as Hiland put up 61 first-half points en route to a lopsided 101-12 victory.
Hiland scored 35 first-quarter points and gained a 35-5 advantage, then won the second period 26-3. That was followed by a third quarter that saw the Lady Hawks extend the lead to 87-9 as they held St. John to a single tally, as Schlabach unloaded his bench throughout the second half to make sure everyone got ample playing time.
Hiland was spurred by the return of forward Morgan McMillen, who missed the opener with a sprained ankle. McMillen didn’t miss a beat, scoring 19 points, adding eight rebounds and six steals while doling out five assists. Senior Angela Troyer continued her magical season by pumping in 23 points to lead all scorers. She added five rebounds while connecting on 9-of-13 action shots.
Kennedy Schlabach hit four three-balls, scoring 12 points and doling out eight assists while collecting five steals, and Jessica Troyer matched that offensive output while filling up the stat sheet with six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
In the post, Tiffany Weaver scored 10 points and grabbed six boards, Melissa Hostetler added six points, Nikki Yoder scored four points and added a game-high eight rebounds (tying McMillen for the top spot), while Kendra Shetler added four points. Isabelle Fowler chipped in with four points and Shelby Miller hit a triple for her three points. Two key bench players, Sara Keim and Kimberly Miller, did not dress for the Lady Hawks, who improved their overall record to 23-1 on the season.
Hiland held St. John to a paltry 3-of-34 action shots (nine percent), while Hiland connected on 42-of-80 shots in the game. The Lady Hawks also won the rebounding game 48-19, while forcing Central into 40 turnovers.