Hiland devastated by winter sports tournament cancellation

Times Reporter Report

Devastated hardly describes the feelings of the players on the Hiland Hawks girls basketball team upon receiving the news Thursday that the Ohio High School Athletic Association has officially canceled the winter sports tournament.

Venerable head coach Dave Schlabach, who already has won five state championships, was on the verge of notching No. 6.

“This one really hurts because these kids had worked so hard to put themselves in this position,” Schlabach said. “We’d rather get beat than have it end this way. What do you tell a kid who has spent the past 12 years working their tail off as a gym rat.

“This was our best team ever, and these kids were ready for this tournament,” he added. “This team had no weaknesses. I’ve had state champions that weren’t as deep, with talented guard play, post play. We were deep at every position. These kids had it all. For it to end like this is really sad.”

The coach realizes that life will go on, the sun will come up tomorrow, and there are so many other important things going on in the world.

But the news was especially devastating to his three seniors, one of which (Krista Troyer) will continue her basketball career in college.

“The state tournament for most schools is a once in a lifetime shot for kids, and for them not to be able to play, it’s tough,” Schlabach said. “Our three seniors are going to be missed in a tremendous way. It’s just unfortunate that it happened this way this year.

“Hopefully, we’re tipping it up again in November,” he added.