DAYTON — A history of state championships wasn’t in Berlin Hiland’s lineup when the Hawks won the Division III girls basketball state championship game 45-25 over Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday at the University of Dayton Arena.
But what the Titans had to contend with against the Hawks — who won their schools sixth girls basketball state championship — was a lineup which included five seniors who have signed to play college basketball who were on a mission.
O-G led much of the first quarter and was within two points halfway through the second quarter before Hiland scored the last seven points of the first half to go up 20-11 at halftime.
When the Titans’ first six possessions of the second half resulted in five turnovers and a missed shot, Hiland seized the momentum and kept it the rest of the way.
“I thought we opened the game and played pretty well with them. We had a lot of energy, the defense was working pretty well. We missed a lot of shots in the first quarter, which affected us in the scoring column and it probably affected our mindset. We missed some easy lay-ups. If we had hit those, it probably would have settled us down,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach Troy Yant said.
“No matter what we did on defense, they were able to put points on the board. Their veteran experience kind of turned the tide against our inexperience and youth. But you kind of expect that from a program as good as theirs,” he said.
Defense dominated much of the game. Ottawa-Glandorf shot 30 percent on field goals (10 of 33) and Hiland made only 25 percent of its shots (12 of 47). But Hiland connected on six 3-pointers while O-G was 0 for 5 on threes.
Chloe Glenn’s eight points led the Titans (26-3). Mullett had 14 points and Zoe Miller, who signed with Bowling Green, had 12 points for the Hawks (26-1).
O-G also had 28 turnovers, only slightly above the 24 per game Hiland’s defense averaged this season.
“Kelsey (Erford) started getting banged up, her back was acting up, and we kind of had to cycle her in and out. It wasn’t only the press, we couldn’t get our offense going. We’re not a very good 3-point shooting team. It became kind of one dimensional and made it very difficult for us to score,” Yant said.
“I thought our girls were doing a good job until we got tired. It wasn’t Xs and Os, it wasn’t effort. They played their hearts out. We’re just not a finished product.
“We started a freshman and two sophomores. There were times in the tournament when our ability to play defense and to be athletic and do other things kind of turned the tide. I thought that was maybe the case in the first quarter. Our athleticism and ability to defend were holding back the dam, but obviously when the dam breaks, it’s tough to rebuild.”
“I think going in we knew how hard it was going to be. I told the girls there are a bunch of teams out there who would be extremely happy to trade places with you right now, playing for a state championship and taking that runner-up trophy home,” Yant said.
Hiland was one of the teams that was on the bus on its way to the state tournament last season when it was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A year ago this group was ready to win a state championship but unfortunately didn’t get that opportunity,” Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said.
“We were a really good team this year and we had a lot of depth We kind of hang our hats on our defense and we’re extremely proud of the defensive effort of this group.”
This was Ottawa-Glandorf’s fifth girls basketball state tournament appearance in the last seven years and the third time it has been state runner-up. It was also state runner-up in 2015 and 2016 and was a state semifinalist in 2017 and 2018.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.