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Top-ranked Hawks turn back Hornets in regionals, 70-39

Coal Grove Hornets’ Evan Holmes drives between Berlin Hiland defenders during Tuesday’s Division IV regional semifinal game at Ohio University’s Convocation Center. The No. 1-ranked Hawks beat Coal Grove 70-39 to advance to Friday’s regional finals against New Boston. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ATHENS, OH — There’s a reason Berlin Hiland is ranked No. 1.
Hiland (26-1) came into Tuesday’s Division IV regional semifinal game ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press Division IV basketball poll.
The Hawks lived up to their billing as they downed the Coal Grove Hornets 70-39 to reach the regional finals Friday against New Boston.
The Hornets (19-7) were unranked but won their second straight district championship for the first time in school history and only the program’s third district title.
A layup by Aaron Music had the Hornets down 4-2 early but the Hawks went on a 10-0 run before a 10-footer by Cory Borders ended the streak.
Sam Habeger’s layup to end the first quarter put Hiland up 16-4.
A 3-pointer by Payton Smith and a layup by Evan Holmes cut the deficit to 20-9 with 6:16 left in the half only to have Andy Miller and Kendall Hochstetler hit layups and the lead was 24-9.
Music’s layup with 3:06 to go in the half had the score at 26-11, but Will Schlabach came off the bench to hit back-to-back trifectas and a putback by Hunter Sommers extended the lead to 34-11.
Music had his own stickback with 52 seconds on the clock and it was 34-13 at intermission.
The Hornets struggled from the field in the first half as they hit just 6-of-24 shots including 1-of-6 from behind the arc. They were just 3-of-15 from 3-point range for the game.
In fact, Coal Grove’s strength all season was the ability to shoot and rebound. However, the Hornets were just 16-of-50 from the field for 32 percent and they were outrebounded 48-18.
Coal Grove came out hard in the second half as Nate Harmon made a layup, Jaylen McKenzie turned a steal into a layup and Evan Gannon drained a trey to cut the spread to 36-20.
But Habeger’s layup and a three-point play and tip-in by Hochstetler blew the lead up to 43-20.
Music got a steal and turned it into a layup as the third quarter was closing that gave him 1,000 career points. He got his 500th career rebound during the regular season.
A three-point play by Smith made it 48-27 only to have Habeger make a layup with 10 seconds left in the third quarter and it was 50-27.
Schlabach, Sommers and Hochstetler all hit 3-pointers over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to open up a 51-32 lead and virtually settle the outcome.
Music finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and six steals in his final game.
Hiland had four players in double figures. Hochstetler got 19 points, Habeger 14 points and 10 rebounds, Korrie Hostetler 16 points and six rebounds, and Schlabach 11 points.
Coal Grove 4 9 14 12 = 39
Berlin Hiland 16 18 16 20 = 70
COAL GROVE (19-7): Aaron Music 8 0 2-3 18, Cory Borders 1 0 0-0 2, Evan Gannon 0 1 0-0 3, Nate Harmon 1 0 0-0 2, Jaylen McKenzie 1 0 1-2 3, Payton Smith 1 1 1-1 6, Evan Holmes 1 1 0-0 5, Kyle Sites 0 0 0-0 0, Tait Matney 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor Carey 0 0 0-0 0, Perry Kingery 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor Hankins 0 0 0-0 0, Justin Hicks 0 0 0-0 0, Luke Ferguson 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-50 4-8 39. 3-pt goals: 3-15. Rebounds: 8-O, 10-D = 18 (Music 7). Team rebounds: 2. Assists: 3. Steals: 13 (Music 6, Smith 2, McKenzie 2). Turnovers: 13. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
BERLIN HILAND (26-1): Andy Miller 1 1 0-2 5, Kody Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Kendall Hochstetler 5 2 3-3 19, Hunter Sommers 3 1 0-0 0, Sam Habeger 6 0 2-3 14, Will Schlabach 0 3 2-2 11, Kory Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Grant Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Jared Raber 1 0 0-0 2, Chris Shetler 1 0 0-0 2, Trey Troyer 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Miller 0 0 0-0 0, Dylan Weaver 0 0 0-0 0, Tony Yoder 0 0 0-0 0, Caden Miller 1 0 -0 2. Totals: 27-53 9-12 70. 3-pt goals: 7-15. Rebounds: 16-O, 31-D = 48 (Habeger 10, Sommers 6, Hostetler 6). Team rebounds: 6. Assists: 12 (K. Miller 4, A Miller 4). Steals: 8 (A. Miller 2, Hochstetler 2). Turnovers: 17. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.