Hiland wins a barnburner over Garaway in early-season thriller

Hiland wins a barnburner over Garaway in early-season thriller

Image Credit: Landon Troyer

One would expect nothing less than a backyard brawl when Hiland and Garaway get together in a basketball game.

That is exactly what fans got when the two teams connected at the Perry Reese, Jr. Community Center at Hiland High School on Tuesday, Dec. 7, where the Hawks clawed out a 41-39 win in a game that came right down to the exciting final few shots in the closing moments.

It was a game of spurts with the Pirates owning the second quarter and the Hawks dominating the third, until both teams unleashed a frenzied final quarter that left everyone on the edge of their seats.

The Hawks started strong when a Sammy Detweiler triple and two drives by Caden Miller and Grant Miller sent Hiland to a 7-0 lead. A quick Garaway time-out righted the Pirates’ ship, and they went on a 9-3 run of their own, leaving Hiland with a 12-11 advantage through one quarter.

The second quarter then belonged to the Pirates, who ratcheted up their defense and had the Hawks rushing their shots as Hiland went into a wild display of offensive dismay.

“We took 10 of the worst shots in the history of Hiland basketball,” Hiland head coach Mark Schlabach said.

During the quarter Garaway’s bench jumped into action, leading the charge. Brendan Chapman’s mid-range jumper tied the score at 16. Then Sam Page’s lay-up gave the Pirates their first lead. Garaway’s Alex Roden and Detweiler traded scores, and the Pirates held a 20-18 half-time lead.

“Our bench was tremendous tonight,” Garaway head coach Terry Rowe said. “They poured their hearts into this game.”

Both teams stepped out of the locker room displaying some serious defense, which led to a horde of turnovers for both teams. Three minutes in, neither team had scored, but the Hawks were about to make a move.

The Hiland defense led to a Grant Miller lay-up, followed by two more from Detweiler. Logan Yoder countered with a lay-up for Garaway, but the Hawks would keep pushing, eventually taking their largest lead at 32-24.

“We initially got eight-straight stops and started taking better shots,” Schlabach said.

During a 14-4 run, Alex Yoder scored on a put-back, and Dylan Weaver hit two free throws and a 3-pointer. Grant Miller’s steal led to a foul shot by Chris Shetler, and it wasn’t until Logan Yoder drained a triple to end the quarter that Garaway got refocused, now trailing 34-29 heading into the final frame.

Drew Mullet’s triple and a Jenson Garber and-one quickly drew the Pirates to within 36-35.

With 4:10 to play, Schlabach called time-out and went into a semi-stall tactic, looking to create a good scoring opportunity.

“Our aim wasn’t to stall the ball, although we hoped to steal 30 seconds or a minute off the clock,” Schlabach said. “Garaway had gone small on us, and we needed to get the match-up right.”

The tactic worked well as Tony Yoder broke free for an open lay-in, his additional free throw inching the Hawks’ lead to four. Mullet’s two free throws at the 3:00 mark got Garaway back to within two at 39-37.

Hiland would use three time-outs to strategize over the final moments with the outcome hanging in the balance. Detweiler’s two free throws gave Hiland a 41-37 lead, but Alex Roden’s drive drew the Pirates to within two again with just 17 seconds to play. Garaway then opted to foul Grant Miller, whose front of a one-and-one failed to find its mark, giving the Pirates life with a chance to win or tie.

That set the stage for a frenzied final few seconds of play. After an initial miss with time ticking down, Roden gathered up the rebound with a few seconds left. With Hawks clawing all over him, he fired off three-straight put backs, each time a miss, each time grabbing his own rebound. After the third attempt fell just short, the clock hit zero and the Hawks had hung on.

“We didn’t do a great job down the stretch,” Schlabach said. “We wanted to get the ball to Sammy, and we didn’t do that. Then we gave them four or five offensive rebounds in the last 10 seconds. You usually don’t win games doing that.”

“There were times in all the chaos that we made mistakes we can’t make,” Rowe said, referring to the game and not just the final few seconds. “We’ve only been together because of the football playoffs for two weeks. This is a tough league loss. We never like losing out here. We just have to regroup and keep on improving.”

Schlabach felt relieved to just walk out with a win. “I think we’ll get better as the year goes on,” he said.

Detweiler led all scorers with 18 while Caden Miller added nine for Hiland. Logan Yoder scored nine to pace the Pirates, with Garber adding eight. The Hawks improved to 2-1 while the Pirates fell to 0-2.

Adding to the festivities of the night, each Hawks senior honored their favorite teacher on the big screen, and the school acknowledged the state championship golf team at halftime.