The Hiland Lady Hawks were not exactly good hosts as they welcomed Inter-Valley Conference newcomer Indian Valley into the league. Indian Valley came into the contest at 1-1, having defeated Coshocton handily before getting thumped by Malvern by 30 points. The Hiland game on Wednesday, Dec. 6 was a completely different story altogether.
Hiland, one of the premier small-school programs in the state, having racked up five Div. IV titles and more state appearances than any other program in OHSAA history, quickly pounced on the Braves with a smothering defense that created a ton of turnovers that led to easy points.
Just three minutes into the game, Hiland held a 16-0 lead as Kennedy Schlabach poured in eight of her game-high 11 points. Madison Yoder scored on a lay-in, Morgan Yoder made a steal and added the layup, Kelsey Swihart scored off a steal, Bryn Mullet then took a charge on defense, and the Lady Hawks turned that into a Tiffany Weaver free throw. Weaver scored to end the first quarter with Hiland leading 23-0.
Indian Valley kept racking up turnovers, which continued to lead to easy scores for Hiland. Sara Keim hit a conventional 3-point play to begin the second quarter, Schlabach made a steal and assisted Morgan Yoder on a score, Schlabach hit a jumper, and Zoe Miller split two free throws for a 31-0 lead. It wasn’t until Swihart scored on a put-back to make it 33-2 that the Braves finally broke through and scored on Malean Stansbery’s score inside, which made it 35-2.
The rest of the half belonged to Hiland. Kendra Shetler scored inside and then assisted Krista Troyer, who made a steal and scored again moments later. Madison Yoder then stole the ball and found Mullet open for a 3-ball, Kim Miller made a steal and fed Keim for a triple, Kim Miller then scored on a put-back, and Hiland capped off the nearly perfect half when Schlabach lobbed a pass over the Indian Valley defense to a leaping Weaver, who grabbed the lob and laid it in at the buzzer for the 53-2 advantage.
Indian Valley finally got on track a bit in the second half with Emily Love scoring a team-high six points and Stansbery and Karissa Dyer both scoring five points apiece.
The Lady Hawks had an incredibly balanced attack on offense with Schlabach being the only player in double figures at 11. However, every single Hiland player scored at least four points on the night. Zoe Miller scored nine; Swihart, Mullet and Weaver each added eight; Shetler and Keim both netted six; Madison Yoder, Shelby Miller and Morgan Yoder all scored five; and Kim Miller, Krista Troyer and Kyli Horn all added four.
Weaver hauled down an impressive 15 rebounds as she ruled the paint while Zoe Miller also had a big board night, collecting 10 caroms. Hiland held a whopping 50-20 advantage on the glass while Schlabach doled out nine assists. Hiland snared 35 steals on the night, led by Weaver and Krista Troyer, who both grabbed five thefts. Weaver added a pair of blocked shots to highlight a tremendous game as she filled the box score.