Prep boys basketball: Frontiers falls 68-33 to Hiland in sectional championship game

NEW PHILADELPHIA – The Hiland Hawks proved why they are the third-ranked team in Ohio Division IV Friday night as they blew past Frontier 68-33 to claim a sectional championship.

Up 7-5 three minutes into the game, Hiland exploded for a 13-1 run to go up 20-6. From there the Hawks just continued expanding their lead, scoring at least 14 points a quarter while surrendering no more than nine in any period.

Hiland’s combination of size and athleticism resulted in second and third chances on nearly every offensive possession. Coming in, the Cougars knew they would have to shoot the lights out to keep up with the Hawks, but it just didn’t happen.

“We came up here to win, not to shake hands,” said Frontier head coach Roger Kirkpatrick. “We gave it all we got.

“They’re third in the state. They’ve got nine or 10 kids who can really play.

“My kids fought, played hard. We didn’t quit at the end.”

Damon Metheney knocked down a 3-pointer with a minute and 27 seconds left in the opening quarter to bring Frontier within 11, 20-9. Hiland’s Colin Blochlingers and Lucas Mast answered with back-to-back buckets to go up 24-9 at the end of eight minutes.

After Jake Bradford opened the second quarter with a jumper, Drew Schneider later drained a deep 3-ball to keep the deficit at 13, 27-14. Hiland, though, scored 12 of the game’s next 13 points to stretch its lead to 39-15. Metheney tipped in the final basket of the half, but the Cougars had their backs pressed firmly against the wall with two quarters to play.

Schneider and Nick Camino each hit 3-pointers in the first half of the third quarter to make the score 47-23. After Hiland scored five straight points, Camino swished another trey to cut it to 52-26. The Cougars, however, couldn’t get enough defensive stops as the Hawks ended the third period on a 9-0 run to go up 63-26.

Rodney Barnes scored four straight points for the Cougars midway through the fourth quarter to make the score 66-30, but it was too little, too late as Hiland improved to 21-2 and now advances to the district tournament at Meadowbrook High.

“You’ve just got to pick up the positives,” Kirkpatrick said. “We did play hard. We just played against a team that was a little better than us.”

The Cougars ended the game on a high note as senior Brandon Boston came off the bench and banked in a 3-pointer in the game’s final minutes, much to the delight of the Frontier faithful. Boston is one of four Frontier seniors, along with Schneider, Dylan Absher and Levi Cochran.

“I’m proud of these kids,” Kirkpatrick said. “They’ve worked hard all year. I’m proud of the seniors.”

Camino led the Cougars with nine points. Metheney and Schneider added eight and six markers, respectively.

Hiland’s Todd Ropp paced all scorers with 19 points while teammate Jordan Yoder tallied 17. The Hawks will now face either Shadyside or Tuscarawas Central Catholic at 8 p.m. Tuesday in a district semifinal game.

Frontier will cap off its 2013-14 campaign Monday when it hosts Washington County rival Waterford.

NOTES: With seven 3-pointers in Friday’s contest, Frontier set the school’s single-season mark at 213 with one game remaining. Schneider hit a pair of triples in the game to stretch his record to 71.