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BERLIN -- Sometimes, it's not a matter of how many, but when.
With the clock winding down in a hard-fought first half of an Inter-Valley Conference clash between the Hiland Hawks and their visiting neighbors to the east from Garaway, Kennedy Schlabach connected on her first basket of the game.
The junior sharpshooter had struggled through a minor shooting slump, misfiring on her first five triple tries, but as the clock struck zero, Schlabach's shot hit the back of the iron, bounced straight up above the backboard and straight down through the hoop as the horn sounded to send the teams to intermission.
What turned out to be Schlabach's only basket of the game proved to be a big one, turning a 22-16 lead into a nine-point bulge and a huge helping of momentum.
And, when Hiland went on a 9-0 run to open the third quarter, it was lights out for Garaway, which mustered only 10 second-half points in falling 62-26 to the Hawks at the Reese Center in Berlin.
"We executed well in the first half, until the third quarter when we gave up three or four straight offensive rebounds, which led to a couple and-ones, and we couldn't stop the bleeding," said Garaway coach Dave Shutt, whose team wrapped up a 16-6 season, 12-4 in the IVC. "We did what we wanted to do coming in, except for a couple shots and some turnovers in the first half."
The Pirates coughed up eight turnovers in the first quarter, but still were right there, trailing 12-10, as Sydney Mullet and Kaitlyn Stress buried a pair of long-range jumpers, answering triples from Sara Keim and Angela Troyer for the Hawks (21-1, 16-0).
Keim's second 3-pointer gave the Hawks a 15-11 lead, and a pair of stickbacks by 6-foot sophomore post Tiffany Weaver and another by senior Melissa Hostetler helped Hiland to a six-point lead that swelled to nine at the half on Schlabach's bomb.
"That shot kind of deflated them," Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said.
Riding the wave of momentum into the third quarter, Weaver scored three-point play, Morgan McMillen got fouled putting back a miss and Weaver added another putback for a 32-16 lead. Another Pirate miss and a layup by McMillen forced Shutt to call a timeout to stop the carnage.
It didn't work as McMillen added two more driving buckets and Angela Troyer chipped in a offensive stickback as Hiland outscored the Pirates 25-5 in the third quarter to put the game away.
Weaver finished with nine points and 10 rebounds as the deep Hiland bench closed out the contest. Troyer paced the Hiland offensive with 13 points and eight rebounds, and McMillen added 10 points and six rebounds for the winners.
"Garaway came out and spread us out a bit and slowed it down," Schlabach said. "I thought it was good we saw that, because we may see that in the tournament.
"I told the kids it was good that Kennedy only gets three points and we can still win. That should give our team confidence, knowing they (Kennedy and Morgan) don't have to score in order for us to win," Schlabach added. "What really made me excited was holding them to 10 points in the second half.
"We haven't played well defensively the last week or so, and it was good that we were able to lock down a pretty good team. And we did it in the halfcourt; we didn't have to press to get steals."
Schlabach said being able to speed the game up is what turned things around in the second half.
"We have to be able to score in transition. That's our game," the coach said.