Berlin Hiland cruises to second straight Division IV state championship game

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Berlin Hiland guard Noelle Yoder led all scorers with 22 points to lift the Hawks to a second straight D-IV state title game

Berlin Hiland will have the opportunity to defend its Division IV state championship after advancing to the title game for the second straight season cruising past Carey 73-42 in the Division IV state semifinals Thursday in the 34th Annual State Girls Basketball Tournament at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.


COLUMBUS – Berlin Hiland will have the opportunity to defend its Division IV state championship after advancing to the title game for the second straight season and sixth time overall.

Hiland cruised past Carey 73-42 in the Division IV state semifinals Thursday in the 34th Annual State Girls Basketball Tournament at Ohio State’s Schottenstein Center.

The Hawks will take on Columbus Africentric in a rematch of last season’s title game Saturday at 10:45 a.m.

Hiland (26-1) advanced to the title game utilizing its depth getting significant minutes from 11 different players.

“It was a typical style of game for us,” Hiland head coach Dave Schlabach said. “We played a lot of kids and I thought our depth was a factor. A lot of young kids had to play a lot of minutes for us.”

Hiland was a near perfect 27-of-30 from the free throw line.

“Getting (to the free throw line) is a big deal and we have really good shooters fundamentally and I think they did a nice job,” Schlabach said. “I thought the kids walked up there with confidence and did a good job at the line.”

The Hawks were paced by junior guard Noelle Yoder with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals off the bench.

“I just tried to focus on making plays and I just hit a few shots and got it going,” Yoder said.

Added Schlabach: “She got going about as well as she has all season for us. It was nice seeing her attack and play with a lot of confidence.”

Senior guard Karli Mast added 16 points going 5-of-6 from the free throw line and junior guard Hilary Weaver chipped in 11 points.

Carey (23-3) trailed 39-23 at halftime but pulled within eight in the third quarter. The Blue Devils, however, struggled to hit shots down the stretch as Hiland pulled away.

Carey shot just 28.6 percent from the field and was a dismal 4-of-19 from three-point range in its first state tournament appearance scoring just five points in the fourth quarter.

“I was pleased with our shot selection but sometimes shots just don’t go in,” said Carey head coach Phil Vaughn. “You take a good shot and you hope the percentage is on your side,

“You would like to put the ball in the basket more but I felt real good about our team coming out and playing with Berlin Hiland. There was no giving up on my team’s part. They are a great basketball team and do what they do well.”

Senior forward Karrah Windu led Carey with 15 points and senior forward Brooke Distel netted seven points and pulled down six rebounds. Senior guard Courtney Holsinger added five points and five boards.

“This was pretty much everyone’s dream,” Holsinger said. “We got this far and it was really exciting.”

Hiland is in the hunt for its fifth state championship after defeating Africentric 44-37 in last year’s state final in what has quickly become a fierce rivalry in Division IV.

The Lady Nubians won the title in 2007.

“There are not a lot of secrets – we’ve played them so many times,” Schlabach said. “It will take a special effort by our kids just to compete in that game.

“They’re so physical and they rebound the ball so well and there is so much athleticism from the guard spot. We’ll be well-prepared and we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a war.”

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