NEW PHILADELPHIA - The first round of sectionals typically will feature a No. 1 seed against the bottom seed of a bracket, and such was the case Friday night when St. John central faced Hiland.
The Hawks entered the post season with a 19-2 record ranked No. 3 in the state in Division IV boys' basketball poll. Living up to the hype, the boys from Berlin dispatched the Irish, 82-23.
"Give credit to Hiland. They can shoot, they can rebound they do it all well," St. John Central head coach Kevin Lahna said in complimenting his opponents. "They are one of the premier programs in the state because they have sound fundamentals."
ST. JOHN’S Guy Pagano draws a foul against Hiland’s Collin Blochinger during Friday’s Division IV sectional game at New Philadelphia High School. The Hawks rolled to victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Both teams started off a little lethargic and for a while the score was close, but that changed quickly when the Hawks began to dominate the hardwood, quickly dropping the Irish into a 23-8 hole.
As rough as the first quarter had been for the handful of St. John faithful in the stands of the Quakers' gymnasium, the second was to be the worst of the evening.
"That team that played out there tonight was not the same St. John team that has played the past seven or eight games," Lahna assessed. "I can live with a lot of things we did not do well tonight, but I was very disappointed in our effort, the effort was just not there tonight."
Hiland's dominant rebounding, harassing defense combined with ice-cold shooting by the Irish added up to a shutout in the second period leaving St. John Central in the unenviable position a being down 47-8 at the half.
"The first three minutes, it was a tournament atmosphere, but that wears off and after that it becomes a basketball game," Lahna added. "I thought we just got outhustled, outworked, and I guess that is the part of this game that is hard for me to swallow."
St. John Central senior Garrett Holubeck closed out his high school basketball career pacing his team with nine points. Guy Pagano finished with five points and Zach Clark had four points and four rebounds. The Irish pulled down 13 rebounds and committed 22 turnovers.
The Hawks were paced by 6-6 sophomore Dennis Chupp with a double-double, netting 14 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Hiland advances to play the winner of the nightcap between Frontier and Toronto.
ST JOHN (23) - Williams 0, 0-0 0; Schnegg 0, 0-0 0; Holubeck 3, 3-4 9; Ford 1, 0-0 3; Pagano 1, 2-2 5; Whorton 0, 0-0 0; Clark 2, 0-0 4, Bussack 0, 0-0 0; Bossell 1, 0-0 2; Rataiczak 0, 0-0 0; Opic 0, 0-0 0. Totals 8, 5-6 23. HILAND (82) - Kline 0, 0-0 0; Yoder 4, 0-1 11; Josh Phillips 0, 0-0 0; Jon Phillips 1, 1-1 3; Schlabach 2, 0-0 5; Blochlinger 3, 2-2 8; Miller 1, 1-2 3; L. Mast 5, 3-3 13; Horn 1, 0-0 2; Coil 1, 1-2 3; Gerber 1, 4-4 6; Ropp 3, 0-0 7; A. Mast 1, 0-0 3; Troyer 2, 0-0 4; Chupp 7, 0-2 14. Totals 32, 12-17.
Three Point Goals: St. John Central 2 (Ford, Pagano). Hiland 6 (Yoder 3, A. Mast, Ropp, Schlabach).
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