A strong finish erased a slow start for the Berlin Hiland Lady Hawks in the Division IV basketball state semifinals at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center Thursday resulting in a 58-38 win over New Riegel and a berth in Saturday’s state championship game.
Click below for the details from the game.
COLUMBUS – It is not how you start, but rather, how you finish.
And for the Berlin Hiland Lady Hawks, a strong finish erased a slow start in the Division IV basketball state semifinals at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center resulting in a 58-38 win over New Riegel and a berth in Saturday’s state championship game.
New Riegel (22-4) scored seven straight unanswered points out of the tip and led Berlin Hiland by as much as eight in the first quarter.
“They just hit every shot they threw up there,” Hiland head coach David Schlabach said about the slow start to the game. “I thought we gambled a little bit early and they just made some plays.”
But Hiland junior Karli Mast turned up the heat scoring nine straight points to cut New Riegel’s lead to 12-11 just over halfway though the opening frame.
New Reigel went up 18-13 with 16 seconds left in the first quarter on a Kaiti Hughes jump shot but that is where the Blue Jackets' offensive production came to a grinding halt.
“We wanted an up tempo game,” Schlabach said. “We don’t like to give up 18 points in a quarter but we felt okay with the tempo and the pace and felt okay where things were at at the time.”
Hiland (26-1) went on a 14-0 run to open up the second quarter as New Riegel went on a 5:25 scoring drought finally getting a bucket on a Lauren Hutton layup with 2:51 left in the half.
“We like to escalate the (defensive) pressure throughout the game and we wore them down a little bit and got them to turn the ball over,” Schlabach said. “That was a good second quarter for us.”
New Riegel had 18 turnovers in the game.
Said New Riegel head coach Steve Lucius, “We couldn’t have asked for a better start. We have a lot of young kids and we haven’t been here before, so I know they were nervous.
“(Hiland) found the middle of the key and it took a long time for us to adjust to that. They can do so many different things with so many different kids.”
Hiland took a 32-20 lead into the half and put it on cruise control in the second half shooting 38.1 percent after the break and 41.5 percent (22-of-53) for the game.
New Riegel shot a dismal 6-of-23 in the second half and only 33.3 percent for the game, including 1-of-7 from three-point land.
“I think we just stopped hitting shots,” said Lucius.” We continued to get the ball inside but we missed some inside shots and missed some outside shots. We continued to have looks but we stopped scoring.”
Mast led all stat-getters with 16 points while teammates Hilary Weaver (10) and Katelyn Stuckey (11) were also in double digits.
“Coach (Schlabach) says that on any given night anybody can make plays,” Mast said. “Tonight I just got a hot hand and kept shooting it but any night it can be anybody.”
Junior forward Lauren Hutton had 15 points for New Riegel, including nine in the first half.
“They wore me down and they were real physical down there,” Hutton said.
Said Lucius, “They seemed to send more people at (her) there in the second half. There were two or three people surrounding (her) there it seemed like.”
Hiland, which was ranked No. 2 in the final state poll, will take on the winner of the Columbus Africentric-Convoy Crestview match up for the Division IV state championship Saturday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m.
Hiland has won three state championships in nine state tournament appearances, including back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.
Hiland senior Jena Stutzman, a first team All-Ohio selection with 16.5 points per game this year, netted seven points against New Riegel breaking the school record in scoring previously held by Lindsey Stuckey (2006).
Stutzman only needed five points to break the record.
“I didn’t even realize I was the (Hiland scoring leader),” Stutzman said. “It doesn’t really matter right now because we are playing Saturday and we have a bigger goal and that is what I want more than anything.
“I feel good to have accomplished that but it is not really satisfying yet.”
Stutzman is a Kent State recruit.