The eighth-grade Lady Hawks capped off a sensational season that saw them dominate almost every foe, and recently captured the Inter-Valley Conference basketball tournament championship Monday, February 13 with a 50-22 win over host Garaway.
The seventh-grade Lady Hawks outperformed Sandy Valley for the IVC championship held at Newcomerstown High School on Saturday, February 11. This one was much closer, and Hiland had to battle back from behind to gain the win. After being down 18-15 at half-time and 25-22 at the end of the third quarter, the Lady Hawks rallied to win the game 34-29 and complete their undefeated regular season.
According to Hiland head coach Dave Schlabach, those undefeated seasons speak volumes about the kind of talent and effort the girls put in this year. “We purposely went out and put teams like Lakota West, Massillon and Wadsworth on the schedule to get our kids tested, and even to get them beat,” said Hiland varsity coach Dave Schlabach. “It didn’t work out that way, and that is a credit to these kids.”
The season-ending titles for both teams highlights what has been a monumental season for the Lady Hawks program. In adding up the varsity, junior varsity and middle school seasons, Hiland currently stands at 82-1 on the year, the lone loss Hiland varsity’s loss to Gilmour Academy in Classic in the Country XIV.
Schlabach noted that the goal of his middle school teams has never been to win titles. Nor has it necessarily been to chalk up monstrous winning records. Instead, he noted that it is simply getting the youngsters to understand the fundamentals and nuances of what Lady Hawks basketball is, and to prepare them for down the road when they reach the varsity level.
Pictured above in the Hiland eighth-grade girls basketball team are Morgan Yoder (left), Kelsey Swihart, Kyli Horn, Gabby Schlabach, Jalyce Clark, Brynn Mullet and Zoe Miller.
The Hiland seventh-grade girls basketball team is: Front: Belicia Yoder and Renae Hochstetler: Middle: Jenna Troyer, Madalyn Miller, Aila Miller and Kendra Schrock: Back: Coach McKenzie Miller and assistant coach Leah Stetter.