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Stuckey, Hiland both on the rise

Daily Record Sports Writer

BERLIN -- If she has many more games like this, Hiland post Katelyn Stuckey won't be considered Lindsay Stuckey's little sister much longer.

Stuckey tallied 17 points, putting up a game similar to her four-time All-Ohio sister to lift Hiland to a 55-38 win over Div. II Hathaway Brown (No. 9, Div. II), a team that finished as state runner-up a season ago.

"I've heard that a lot," said Stuckey of being the younger sister to the school's all-time leading scorer. "But it's always good to have her as an older sister. I can always look to her to see what I have to grow on."

On top of her offensive exploits, she forced Hathaway sophomore sensation Mylan Woods into an eight-point game on 3-of-16 shooting.

"She had a huge weekend and she drew the toughest assignments," said Hiland coach Dave Schlabach, whose new favorite sophomore also shut down Brookhaven's Da'Keisha Mann, one of the tournament's most prolific scorers.

"Both Brookhaven and tonight. She had the toughest matchups versus state-caliber, nationally-ranked players and she did a good job."

The win gave the Hawks (15-1) a second win in a row over a big-school contender, and a second-straight game that's been their best of the season.

The Hawks once again outrebounded a much larger team, this time by a margin of 35-27. They hit 45 percent of their shots, and held the Blazers to a chilly 29 percent shooting. And things could have gotten worse, had the Hawks not missed all five free throw attempts when Hathaway went into foul mode late in the fourth quarter.

"They're obviously well-coached and they execute fundamentally," Hathaway Brown coach Paul Barlow said. "The difference is that they did the little things better."

The game started much like the Hawks' Saturday bout with Brookhaven, with Hiland feeling its way around. But by the end of the first half, they'd taken over.

With 4.2 seconds left, Hiland drew a charge. On the way back up the court they got a 45-footer from Kent State-bound senior Jena Stutzman that beat the buzzer to give them a 29-20 lead.

"The end to the second quarter was just huge," Schlabach said. "We had a small lead and then we went up by nine.

"Jena hit that half-court shot. I mean, the last two minutes were just huge."

As was the play of Hiland's bench.

The half-court launch gave Stutzman her last points. She closed things out with eight points and three assists.

But the Hawks got 10 points off the bench from sharpshooter Karli Mast and nine from sophomore Mykeila Mast, who is raising her play much the same way as Stuckey.

"Last year's team couldn't have won this game without Jena scoring 20," Schlabach said. "That's the great thing about this year, is that Jena can do the other things she's good at."

The Blazers, who dropped to 12-4 on the season and 0-4 at the CITC, got 14 points from guard Alexis Dobbs.

Last season they lost to Hiland's cross-county rival, West Holmes, before rolling through the state tournament to a runner-up finish.

"We're 0-4 down here," Barlow said. "So we aren't afraid to lose here, obviously, as long as we learn from our mistakes."

The Hawks learned this weekend, but not from mistakes.

They got to build trust in each other that wasn't anywhere near as prevalent last season. On top of that they got to close out this year's Classic with a win, something they hadn't done since 2005. The solid play became contagious by tournament's end.

"When the team starts rolling like that I gain more confidence," Stuckey said. "Because we get more confidence in each other and we can just play."

Much like her sister's teams did during back-to-back state title runs.

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