Hiland Girls Basketball

Lady Hawks defend to the end in 73-10 win over Cardinals

Tifany Weaver and the Lady Hawks 'D' it up in win over Cards

After a pair of confrontations with a couple of big state powerhouses, maybe it was time for the Hiland Lady Hawks to take a breather and allow their young freshman group to learn without a ton of pressure.

That was what Hiland got when it faced Sandy Valley on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center, where Hiland had a big start and cruised to an easy 73-10 victory.

“It’s good to have some games like this for our younger kids,” Hiland head coach Dave Schlabach said. “We weren’t very pretty offensively, and we continued to struggle in shooting the ball, but defensively we really got after it.”

While the shooting was far from steller for Hiland, the Lady Hawks’ defensive pressure, both in the full-court and half-court sets, was inspirational as Hiland flew all over the floor defending the Cardinals.

Hiland was able to dictate tempo early, and in a matter of five minutes, the game was pretty much decided. Sarah Keim nailed a 3-pointer to start the game, and after Kennedy Schlabach’s layup off a steal, Sandy Valley’s Tori Sickefoose scored on a drive to make it 5-2. Hiland then went off, pouring in 13 straight points to take an 18-2 lead, and it was the youngsters getting the job done.

It started with a Morgan Yoder steal and layup. Then Zoe Miller dropped in a 3-ball. Brynn Mullet then connected on two free throws, and Miller kicked in two more charity tosses before Kelsey Swihart knocked down two more. Amazingly in that 11-point run, all of the points for Hiland were scored by freshmen.

“Our freshmen are doing fine,” Schlabach said. “We are deep, and it’s going to be different kids on different nights who step up, but they have quickly proven that they can play at this level.”

Sandy Valley scored the final four points of the quarter to get within 18-6, but the Lady Hawks stormed out of the gate to begin the second quarter and the game was over.

A 13-0 run to begin the second quarter featured nine points from junior center Tiffany Weaver. After another score from Sickefoose, Hiland went on another 13-0 run to make the score 44-8 at the half.

In that run six different Lady Hawks scored. Weaver scored to begin the third quarter, Keim scored off a steal, Weaver hit a free throw and Mullet made a steal and scored on a layup. Hiland had pushed its lead out to 51-8. Karlee Altimore finally got a Cardinals bucket, but Hiland then hammered home the game’s final 23 points to put a big old exclamation point on the victory.

Hiland’s defensive effort saw it limit the Cardinals to just two second-half points, and the Lady Hawks’ defensive pressure forced Sandy Valley into 46 turnovers including a whopping 35 steals from Hiland. Much of the thiefery came from the guard duo of Kennedy Schlabach and Morgan Yoder, who collected seven and six steals, respectively.

Weaver proved to be too much in the paint for Sandy Valley to handle, racking up 17 points while snaring 13 rebounds to completely dominate the game on both ends.

Kennedy Schlabach and Zoe Miller each scored 13 points, Brynn Mullet added nine, Keim chipped in with five, and Morgan Yoder and Swihart both scored four.

“Tiff played strong again,” coach Schlabach said of his center. “She has quickly become a force inside, and she can handle the ball too, which makes her that much tougher to guard.”

Hiland improved to 2-1 on the season, and coach Schlabach continues to try to figure out his rotations as the younger kids learn the ropes. He also hopes that some of his sharpshooters can find the range. Kennedy Schlabach went 0-of-9 while Keim hit just 1-of-5 on 3-pointers. Overall, Hiland went an abysmal 3-of-23 for the game.

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