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WOOSTER -- The Hiland Hawks came out of the gate scorching hot Saturday night at The Pit in, handing Triway a 78-44 loss.
The Hawks hit their first three shots to open the game, all of them from behind the 3-point line, and never looked back after jumping out to a 28-8 first-quarter lead.
"We executed very well early on, got our shooters touches in the right spots," said Hiland coach Mark Schlabach. "When we execute like that it gets our defense going. We put it together at both ends of the floor tonight."
It was a totally different scenario for Triway, according to coach B.J. Sanderson.
"The first quarter we just had the deer in the headlights look," Sanderson said. "You're 28-8 right out of the gate, it's hard to fight back from that."
"We come out in a diamond and one on (Turner) Horn," Sanderson said of the rough start. "They came out and made three right off the bat, so that didn't work. To make matters worse, Gabe Walker gets two quick fouls, and had to sit him. It could not have started any worse for us. It just put us behind the eight ball."
The Hawks hit 9 of 13 3-point field goals in the game, with five coming in the first period. Kobe Troyer had three, Scott Troyer and Turner Horn both had a pair, while Andy Miller and Chris Kline each added one.
It wasn't just the three ball that won the game for the Hawks, however. A suffocating pressure defense (16 forced turnovers) and a team effort on the glass (29 rebounds) got the job done for Hiland.
"Our big emphasis tonight was in the paint," Schlabach said. "We thought they had an advantage on us in the paint with a couple of their players and we wanted to make sure we were physical number one, and number two, that when we needed to do that we put two or three guys down there to keep their big guys from getting easy ones."
"Their pressure just dictated everything that we did," Sanderson said. "We couldn't get anything offensively. You gotta give them credit, they played extremely hard. We were ready, but it's hard to simulate that in practice."
Four Hawks scored in double figures. Horn and Chris Kline had 14 points each, junior Scott Troyer had 12, and senior Noah Sommers had 10. Kobe Troyer finished with 9. The team combined for 20 assists on 31 field goals. Andy Miller led the team with 5 assists.
Those Hiland upperclassmen had some extra motivation for this non-league tilt.
"When they beat us last year it stung pretty bad," admitted Schlabach. "Our kids don't usually talk about stuff like that, but I heard our kids talking about that after last night's game and even today some, so I knew they were fired up. They kinda played with a little chip on their shoulder tonight. They were able to do that and stay composed and just play good basketball all night long."
Triway was led by junior Nick Sparr with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Junior Bo Flinner added 10 points and 3 boards and sophomore Matt Falkenberg 8 points for the Titans.
The win pushed Hiland's record to 13-2, while Triway dropped to 5-9 on the season.