Berlin Hiland and Harvest Prep post stunning comebacks

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Berlin Hiland celebrates its one-point win over Minster on Thursday. (Photo by Gary Housteau)

One thing Berlin Hiland and Canal Winchester Harvest Prep might not
want late in their Division IV state championship meeting Saturday is a
large lead. Friday those two showed the only important advantage is the
one at the end of game.


One thing Berlin Hiland and Canal Winchester Harvest Prep might not want late in their Division IV state championship meeting Saturday is a large lead. Friday those two showed the only important advantage is the one at the end of game.

Overcoming sizeable deficits late, both Hiland and Harvest Prep survived state semifinal contests against Minster and Fort Loramie, respectively, at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Hiland dug out of a seven-point hole with 2:50 left to beat Minster 49-48. Harvest Prep’s comeback was even more dramatic. The Warriors rallied from an 18-point deficit in the third quarter to shock Fort Loramie 49-46.

“We do feel we’re a team of destiny,” Harvest Prep head coach David Dennis said. “We’ve been talking about how this is our Cinderella story. We could have easily faltered or the ball could have gone out. We believe this is destiny for us.”

It’s hard to argue with Dennis’ assessment. A week after a last second 3-pointer sent them to Columbus, the Warriors moved one game closer to the ultimate goal with another unlikely ending.

Fort Loramie led 45-27 with 2:38 left in the third quarter. After an ensuing timeout by Harvest Prep, the Redskins scored just one point the rest of the game. The Warriors scored 22.

The run was shocking and sickening depending on which team you wanted to win.

“Those first three quarters we did exactly what we were supposed to do,” Fort Loramie head coach Carla Siegel said. “Things were looking in our favor and you know half-way through the third quarter we had a 15 point lead. Then the wheels just fell off in the fourth quarter.”

Loramie attempted only two shots in the fourth quarter and committed 11 turnovers.

The Redskins were paced by Janel Olbdering who had a game-high 18 points. Schicole Watts led Harvest Prep with 16.

“(Only taking two shots) is so unlike us,” Siegel said. “Their defensive pressure picked up and we turned it over way too much. We had 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter after having nine in the first three. That’s not like us either. Give credit to Harvest Prep, they played a very good, very tough fourth quarter against us.”

Minster knows the feeling…

The Wildcats led 48-41 with 2:48 left against Hiland but failed to close it out. Minster committed two turnovers and missed two free throws on three straight possessions before Hiland’s Katelyn Stuckey gave the Hawks the lead on a lay-up with 18 seconds left.

Minster drove the length of the court and had a solid shot at the buzzer that fell just short.

Minster’s defense held Hiland to 34-percent shooting from the floor (18-of-53), but the Hawks harassed the Wildcats into 15 turnovers while committing just eight of their own. Hiland also hit 11-of-13 free throws, while Minster made just 9-of-16.
Hilary Weaver (Lehigh recruit) led Hiland with 12 points, while Noelle Yoder (Bowling Green) chipped in 11.

Minster was paced by Maria Dahlinghuas and Erica Fullenkamp who each had 12 points. Delania Wolf added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“I thought my girls made some great plays and I thought his girls made some great plays,” Minster head coach Nann Stechshulte said. “What it came down to was that we had 15 turnovers and they had eight. They were 11-of-13 from the (free throw) line and we were 9-of-16. It reminds me of a quote I told the girls the last four weeks – ‘Free throws don’t win all the games, just the close ones.’ That’s it.”

Said Berlin Hiland head coach Dave Schlabach: “I could have predicted that it was going to be a battle from the beginning. It was a grind. The way it was going it was going to have to be something special at the end. There wasn’t a lot of coaching involved at the end of that game. That was just our kids making a lot of plays and seniors refusing to get beat.”

Hiland goes for its fourth state title in six years Saturday, while Harvest Prep goes for its first.

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