Ottoville’s Alexis Thorbahn (30) looks to drive to the basket against this Berlin Hiland player during their Division IV state semi-final game Thursday night. The Hawks defeated the Big Green 44-41. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
Ottoville’s Alexis Thorbahn (30) looks to drive to the basket against this Berlin Hiland player during their Division IV state semi-final game Thursday night. The Hawks defeated the Big Green 44-41. (DHI Media/Charlie Warnimont)
COLUMBUS — When Berlin Hiland’s Kennedy Schlabach let her desperation 3-pointer go, she felt it was going to go long. When the ball swished through the net, it was Ottoville that was left longing for answers.

Schlabach, a 5-6 junior, knocked down a long 3-pointer at the buzzer Thursday night to defeat the Big Green 44-41 in the second of two Division IV state semi-finals at Value City Arena.

Hiland advances to the Division IV state championship game Saturday, at 2 p.m., against Waterford (25-3).Waterford defeated Jackson Center 37-35 in the first game, also with a buzzer beater.

Ottoville finishes the season at 24-4.

Ottoville’s Bridget Landin helped rally the Big Green from a 2-point deficit with 7.8 seconds left by hitting two free throws around a Hawk timeout.

After Landin tied the game, the Hawks got the ball into the hands of Morgan McMillen, who brought the ball up court and fed a pass over to Schlabach on the right wing. With time running out, Schlabach let loose with a long 3-pointer that hit nothing but the bottom of the net with the buzzer sounding.

“I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left,” Schlabach said. “I honestly thought Morgan was going to shoot the ball. Once I got it, I just let it fly. I had no choice. When I let it go I really thought it going long.”

“You can draw the plays up, but the kids have to make shots,” Hiland coach Dave Schlabach said. “We set the play up in the timeout to get her the ball after the made free throw. I didn’t want to call a timeout then to get them in a scramble mode and she (Morgan) set up her buddy and Ken (Kennedy) knocked it down. Half dad, half coach, it was awesome.”

The shot completed a fourth quarter comeback by Berlin Hiland that saw them trailing 32-27 after 24 minutes of action. Actually Hiland trailed 32-22 late in the third quarter before a 3-pointer by McMillen and an Angela Troyer basket made it a 5-point game going to the final quarter.

The Hawks tied the game two minutes into the fourth quarter on five straight points by Kennedy Schlabach. Hiland took their first lead of the game at 36-34 on a Troyer basket and were up by as many as three points at 39-36. Forced to foul, the Hawks helped out Ottoville by missing the front end of three one-and-ones in the fourth quarter.

Landin pulled the Big Green into a 39-39 tie by hitting 3 of 4 free throws as she was fouled driving to the basket. After Troyer drove into the lane and hit a shot with 35 seconds left, Landin was again fouled on a drive to the basket with 7.8 seconds left.

“It was tough. It was exciting. I knew I had to make them to help us stay in the game,” Landin said. Landin missed her first free throw in the final quarter, then drained five straight pressure packed free throws. She was 7-of-8 at the line in the game.

Her final free throw of the night set up the final play.

“That was a great shot by Kennedy at the end,” Ottoville coach Dave Kleman said. “There were two really good teams battling it out, who ever had the ball last was going to win. They pushed it, drove it and kicked it out to Kennedy and it was a deep three. We were supposed to have someone in her face and we didn’t and she took advantage of it. That was a big time shot.”

Twice in the game the Big Green had chances to grab a little bigger lead than what they had, but they were unable to do.

Besides having a 10-point lead in the third quarter, the Big Green were up seven points in the second quarter at 21-14. Ottoville had chances to extend that lead, but were unable to do so, missing some close range shots and turning the ball over. They did have one basket waved off on an offensive foul during that time period. Berlin Hiland hit four free throws in the final 1:50 of the half to close within three at halftime.

“We just didn’t score enough points tonight,” Kleman said. “We just didn’t execute enough. Stat wise, the one that jumps out at me is turnovers. We normally don’t have that many (22) turnovers. They had 13 and we had 22. You can’t give up that many possessions against a team like that and expect to overcome it.”

Angela Troyer led three Hawk players in double digits with 18 points, while Schlabach had 15 and McMillen 11.

Landin finished with a double-double for the Big Green with 15 points and 10 rebounds. CJ Kemper was next with seven points. Kasey Knippen pulled down six rebounds in the game.

* * *

Berlin Hiland 14-38 11-16 44: Tiffany Weaver 0-0-0; Kennedy Schlabach 5-2-15; Morgan McMillen 3-3-11; Jessica Troyer 0-0-0; Angela Troyer 6-6-18; Sara Keim 0-0-0; Isabelle Fowler 0-0-0; Melissa Hostetler 0-0-0.

Ottoville 15-33 8-11 41: CJ Kemper 3-1-7; Bridget Landin 4-7-15; Brooke Mangas 1-0-2; Alicia Honigford 1-0-3; Alexis Thorbahn 1-0-2; Madison Knodell 1-0-3; Amber Miller 3-0-6; Kasey Knippen 1-0-3.

Berlin Hiland 7 11 9 17 - 44

Ottoville 10 11 11 9 - 41

Three-point goals: Berlin Hiland 5-17 (Schlabach 3, McMillen 2); Ottoville 3-10 (Honigford 1, Knodell 1, Knippen 1).

Rebounds: Berlin Hiland 19 (McMillen 4); Ottoville 27 (B. Landin 10, Knippen 6).

Turnovers: Berlin Hiland 13, Ottoville 22.