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Plenty riding on first-ever meeting between Fairland, Berlin Hiland

Fairland Dragons’ Luke Thomas breaks down to protect the ball from Sugarcreek Garaway’s Trevor Donaldson during Wednesday’s Division III regional semifinals. Fairland plays Berlin Hiland at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the regional finals. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ATHENS — It’s time to see which team can make the better first impression.
The Fairland Dragons and Berlin Hiland Hawks are meeting for the first time and it will be in the Division III regional championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ohio University Convocation Center.
The team making the best first impression and getting the win earns a trip to the state tournament next week at the Ohio State Schottenstein Center. The Athens winner plays at 10:45 a.m. on Friday against the Canton winner.
The two teams have played a similar opponent in Sugarcreek Garaway and each have played Garaway twice.
Hiland lost both meetings, 50-45 and 48-47 just four weeks ago. Fairland won 80-52 on Dec. 31 and 57-52 in the regional semifinal on Wednesday.
The Hawks (22-4) are led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Turner Horn who averages 14.8 points a game. He was a first team All-East District selection.
The only other Hiland player honored was 5-9 junior guard Scott Troyer who was honorable mention.
Besides Horn and Troyer, the Hawks are expected to start 5-8 sophomore Andrew Miller, 6-foot junior Kobe Troyer and 6-4 senior Noah Sommers.
Hiland ended Chillicothe Southeastern’s Cinderella run with a 60-34 win on Wednesday as 5-10 senior Christopher Kline scored 19 points and Horn had 18.
Both Sommers and Scott Troyer had eight points each, Kendall Hochstetler and Andrew Miller three points apiece, 6-2 junior Damien Kandel four points and Kobe Troyer two.
Hiland was 10-of-14 from the line and made just two 3-point goals.
The Dragons (24-1) are a well-balanced team that makes it hard for defenses to defend.
Co-District Player of the Year Isaiah Howell averages 15.2 points, Luke Thomas 15.5, Gunner Short 15.8 and 6-7 Kollin Vann Horn 11.8 points and 2.5 blocks despite missing a month due to a facial injury that required surgery.
Two other players who should not be overlooked at 6-foot junior point guard Ty Staten who is a very unselfish player, and 6-0 junior Keedrick Cunningham who brings athleticism off the bench and prevents any drop off in talent.

Berlin Hiland Hawks
Hiland    53    River    37
Hiland    61    East Canton    41
Hiland    52    Sandy Valley    45
Hiland    64    Northwestern    52
Hiland    60    Ridgewood    57
Hiland    53    Malvern    43
Hiland    54    Strasburg    36
Hiland    61    Whitehall    53
Hiland    63    Day. Dunbar    80
Hiland    65    Tuscy Catholic    42
Hiland    45    Garaway    50
Hiland    64    West Holmes    44
Hiland    53    East Canton    30
Hiland    68    Newcomerstown    54
Hiland    78    Wooster Triway    44
Hiland    71    Ridgewood    47
Hiland    54    Sandy Valley    42
Hiland    63    Malvern    47
Hiland    45    Strasburg    47
Hiland    54    Tuscy Catholic    42
Hiland    47    Garaway    48
Hiland    76    Newcomrstwn    39
Tournament
Hiland    78    Barnesville    15
Hiland    71    W. Muskingum    34
Hiland    60    Tuscar. Valley    45
Hiland    60    Southeastern    34
Record: 22-4
Fairland Dragons
Fairland    85    McNicholas Co    60
Fairland    71    Huntington, WVa    65
Fairland    59    Rock Hill         26
Fairland    81    Ironton       40
Fairland    89    Hunt. Prep B    75
Fairland    65    Dayton C-J    58
Fairland    80    Garaway      52
Fairland    78    Coal Grove    43
Fairland    42    Hilliard Bradley    64
Fairland    67    Portsmouth    48
Fairland    75    Gallipolis    48
Fairland    81    Athens (OT)    77
Fairland    79    South Point    48
Fairland    89    Chesapeake    23
Fairland    79    Rock Hill       42
Fairland    56    Ironton       53
Fairland    61    Coal Grove    43
Fairland    89    South Point    65
Fairland    65    Portsmouth    55
Fairland    88    Gallipolis    53
Fairland    64    Chesapeake    26
Tournament
Fairland    66    Coal Grove    33
Fairland    74    Piketon    42
Fairland    69    South Point    48
Fairland    57    Garaway    52
Record: 24-1