BERLIN --It did not take long for host Hiland to prove why it is the No. 2 seed in the boys' Division III Sectional Tournament as the Hawks cruised past No. 18 seed Barnesville High in a 78-15 rout on Friday.
Barnesville coach Chris Pack gave the hosts high praise following the lopsided setback.
"They are threats to be at the state tournament every year," offered Pack. "We thought we could give them a little better game than we did coming in, but the breaks didn't go that way. It's always good to see a team like that because it makes you better competing against them.
"They are the second seed for a reason," Pack continued. "They are a high-caliber team and they forced us to make a lot of turnovers and goofy mistakes early on. They play such tight defense constantly, and with as young of a team that we are, we are going to make some turnovers against a quality opponent like Hiland."
The Shamrocks sent a pair of freshmen and a pair of sophomores to the floor in their starting line-up, including freshmen Luke Powell and Jared Kernen as well as sophomores Aaron Marovich and Tate Dowler.
"When four out of your top seven players are freshmen and then you add some great sophomores on top of that, that means the future is bright here," said Pack. "We just have to put in the time and develop our work ethic to compete with these high-level teams."
Despite only trailing 4-0 halfway through the first quarter, things began to get ugly for the 'Rocks as the Hawks capitalized on 11 Barnesville miscues and pumped out 18 unanswered points over the next four minutes.
Hiland's big scoring run gave it a 22-0 advantage at the conclusion of the opening period, with the Hawks led by senior Chris Kline who tallied eight first-quarter points off the bench.
A pair of "treys" by junior Kobe Troyer helped the Hawks push their lead to 46-7 at the halftime intermission with a 24-7 second-quarter scoring edge.
Powell tallied five of the 'Rocks' seven points in the frame.
Troyer buried his fourth and fifth three-pointers in the third quarter and helped Hiland extend its lead to 63-13 heading to the final eight minutes.
The hosts claimed the fourth quarter with a 15-2 advantage to seal the victory and advance to the D-IV District semifinals where they will take West Muskingum, which defeated Harrison Central on Friday, on Tuesday.
Barnesville finished 7-of-32 on floor shots, with Powell leading the way with five counters followed by Marovich and senior Hunter George with four markers each.
The 'Rocks were guilty of 28 total turnovers and ended the night with 17 rebounds led by Marovich with eight.
For Hiland, Kobe Troyer paved the way with a game-high 15 points, all coming via the three-point ball. Other leading scorers for the Hawks include Kline with 14, Kendall Hochstetler with 10 and Turner Horn and Scott Troyer with eight apiece.
The Hawks finished 29-of-50 on field shots for an impressive 58-percent and 11-of-23 from behind the arc for 48-percent.
Hiland reeled in 30 boards led by Noah Sommers with nine and Horn with five; handed out 22 assists led by Andy Miller with five and Kline with four; recorded 13 steals led by Miller with six; and committed 11 turnovers.