Eastern’s semifinal bid denied

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter put Berlin Hiland in front to stay and the Hawks managed to pull off a 54-51 victory against (Reedsville) Eastern in Thursday’s semifinal game at the Ohio Division IV girls state basketball tournament.

After Kendra Schlabach scored the game’s first bucket and put Berlin Hiland in front 2-0, Eastern answered with a 9-1 spurt and led the rest of the first half.

The 9-3 advantage proved to be the Eagles’ largest until Jenna Burdette contributed four points in a 6-0 run to open the second half and leave Berlin Hiland trailing 25-17.

The Hawks eventually caught up with the Eagles and produced six lead changes and three ties in the third quarter. Eastern maintained a 37-35 lead entering the fourth quarter and still found itself on top 46-43 on Maddie Rigsby’s jumper with 4:36 remaining in regulation.

The Hawks’ offense then went into a funk and failed to score for nearly 2 1/2 minutes as Berlin Hiland built a 51-46 cushion. Jasmine Goings scored four of her nine points during that span.

Eastern had one last gasp in its system as Jordan Parker scored two of her 18 points to ignite a five-point run and tie the contest at 51 with 1:20 showing.

Just like she did throughout the game, Regina Hochstetler provided additional scoring punch for Berlin Hiland after knocking in two of her game-high 24 points with 56 seconds left. Following a miss at the other end of the floor, Hochstetler made one of two free throws at the 27-second mark for a 54-51 lead.

Burdette misfired from 3-point range on Eastern’s next possession but still had life after Berlin Hiland missed a pair of charity tosses. After a timeout at eight seconds, the Eagles put the ball in the hands of Burdette, but she committed a turnover with two ticks left on the clock.

Burdette finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the 23-5 Eagles.

Berlin Hiland advances into the championship game at 26-3.