Hiland's shooters didn't have their finest touch, but the defense of the Hawks picked up the slack and helped the visitors to a 53-42 triumph over Tri-Valley Monday in the Dawg Pound.
"On a night when we didn't look stellar offensively, with 10 first-half turnovers and that sort of thing, I thought defensively we made enough plays to win the game," Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said.
Tri-Valley took advantage of Hiland's cold shooting (3-of-8 shooting) and careless ball-handling (four turnovers) early, opening a 13-10 lead after the first quarter.
Katie Prince, a 5-foot-10 senior forward for the Scotties, proved to be a problem inside, scoring six of her team-high 15 points in the first quarter.
"Prince was a really tough matchup for us. We ran four different people at her in the second half," Schlabach said. "Rachel Horn and Tasha (Goings), and Natalie (Nichol) and Regina all took turns on her. That helped slow her down some."
In the second quarter, the Hawks held Tri-Valley to two field goals, and got aggressive going to the basket.
Jasmine Goings (eight points) got the second quarter started with a 3-point play to tie the game at 13.
A 3-pointer by Emily Yoder gave the Hawks an 18-15 lead, and the visitors never looked back, making good on 6-of-7 trips to the free throw line in the second quarter and building a 27-19 lead at intermission.
The Scotties scored on their first two trips down the floor in the third stanza to trim the Hiland lead to three, 27-24.
That's when Hochstetler got defensive, making three consecutive steals and converting those turnovers into eight straight Hiland points, making beautiful passes to Megan Beachy, who led the Hawks with 15 points, eight of those coming in the third quarter.
"Regina didn't score for us (7 points), but we had some other kids step up," Schlabach said. "Megan Beachy is turning into that second scorer for us. Jasmine had a nice game and Natalie Nichol is finally starting to play like she was in the summer for us. One luxury of depth is, on certain nights, you can pull different pieces of the puzzle off the bench."
The Hawks opened up a 12-point lead and the Scotties were never able to get it any closer than 10, despite a couple 3-pointers from junior Alicia Moore, who provided some pop off the bench for Tri-Valley (4-7).
"That's been our problem all year. We're trying to find consistency in our game," Tri-Valley coach Marty Bice said. "Turnovers… we got it down to three and then all of a sudden we had two or three turnovers and Hiland took advantage of that. Hiland has a very nice program and it's great to bring them in here and compete and try and get better.
"I thought our kids fought well and played strong defensively," Bice added. "They got after us and we got a little tired on the offensive boards. That really hurt us at the end of the first half and then again down the stretch."
The Hawks utilized their deep bench, playing a dozen different girls, getting 10 into the scorebook. Beachy was the lone Hiland player in double figures.
"Tri-Valley's half-court defense was tough," Schlabach said. "That's probably as good a defense as we've seen all year. They really do a nice job of taking stuff away. It's nice to get a non-league win against a quality opponent like Tri-Valley."
The win improved Hiland's record to 9-2.