Hiland Girls Basketball

McMillen frees up Lady Hawks’ offense in terrific 71-34 win over Magnificat

Morgan McMillen's return makes Hiland a very different team than it was one month ago

While everyone has welcomed back Hiland Lady Hawks senior Morgan McMillen with open arms, there may be nobody who is more ecstatic than fellow senior Kennedy Schlabach.

All season long Kennedy Schlabach has had to generate her own looks on offense as McMillen recovered from an ACL injury. The two All-Ohioans are now back, and with McMillen getting closer and closer to her old self, it has taken a lot of the burden off Kennedy Schlabach to create her own scoring opportunities. Instead, McMillen has not only taken on some of the scoring chores, her ability to draw defenses to her has eliminated the idea of team’s simply face-guarding Kennedy Schlabach.

The result of that was never more apparent than in Hiland’s huge 71-34 win over Magnificat at the Reese Center on Monday, Feb. 5.

Now freed up to roam the perimeter and get her feet set as McMillen penetrated and found her teammate, Kennedy Schlabach hammered home 7-of-9 on 3-pointers en route to a 21-point evening that allowed Hiland to advance to 16-4 with ease.

“When you add Morgan to the mix, it kind of spaces everything out,” Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said. “Kennedy has gotten the best looks she has had all season because she is not the main focus, and that is a direct result of Morgan getting back. And our post players are getting more touches. That was fun to see.”

As for the style of game played, the referees chose to let these two teams go at it pretty hard. Coach Schlabach called it a real blood bath and said it was good for his team to experience that style of rough-and-tumble play.

McMillen let her scoring do the talking early, hitting a trey and completing an and-one to give Hiland a 6-0 lead. That grew to 8-0 when Kennedy Schlabach expertly found Tiffany Weaver on a lob pass inside, and when Bryn Mullet knocked down a triple, Hiland led 11-2. Brenna Varga got Magnificat to within 11-5 on her own and-one play, but Kennedy Schlabach’s 3-pointer and Morgan Yoder’s score off a brilliant pass from McMillen set the stage for the blowout as Hiland took a 16-5 lead through the first period.

Zoe Miller matched Magnificat with a pair of scores, and then the Lady Hawks went wild, going on a swift 8-0 run that included four points from Weaver and two apiece from Yoder and Kelsey Swihart. The lead grew to 31-11 when Kennedy Schlabach dropped in her second 3-pointer, and after Krista Troyer hit on a winding drive, Kennedy Schlabach ended the half with yet another three-ball that put Hiland up 36-13.

Kennedy Schlabach and Sara Keim both connected from deep to kick-start another Lady Hawks run in the third quarter. McMillen scored inside from a great assist from Keim, Swihart hit a pair of charity tosses and Kennedy Schlabach struck again from deep to push Hialnd’s lead to 49-15.

Magnificat scored the quarter’s final six points as Clare Chambers got going, but Weaver and McMillen each scored three points to start the fourth period, and Hiland’s advantage was back to over 30 at 55-23.

Hiland then went on a three party as triples rained down from every part of the Reese Center. Kennedy Schlabach hit two back to back, Mullet canned one and Kim Miller hit two late to make sure Hiland’s lead stayed quite comfortable.

“We are starting to get healthy, and I thought everybody looked to make plays tonight,” coach Schlabach said of his team’s effort. “We were very balanced and very unselfish. We shared the basketball, and I’m glad we are getting two good games at the end of the year with these guys and Tusky Valley.”

Kennedy Schlabach scored 21 points, all on threes, and added five assists while McMillen scored 11 points and grabbed six boards. Weaver tacked on nine points and a game-high seven rebounds while Kim Miller and Mullet each scored six. Morgan Yoder, Swihart and Zoe Miller all tacked on four points for the Lady Hawks.

Hiland’s willingness to share the basketball resulted in a whopping 20 assists on the night, and the Lady Hawks won the battle on the glass against an aggressive Magnificat team 39-28. Hiland hit an impressive 14-of-25 shots from beyond the arc.

Magnificat did well in protecting the basketball, committing just 12 turnovers against a Hiland team that usually forces upward of 25-30 of them, but the Blue Streaks struggled to put the ball in the hole, hitting only 11-of-51 action shots for a measly 21 percent. Magnificat was paced by Chambers’ 10 points.

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