Lady Hawks basketball quintet signs to play in college

Lady Hawks basketball quintet signs to play in college
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Dave Schlabach has enjoyed watching this group of 2021 graduates grow into star basketball players. Coach Schlabach, left, and star seniors Kelsey Swihart, Kylie Horn, Zoe Miller, Morgan Yoder and Brynn Mullet will enjoy one final season as Lady Hawks before the players move on to their respective colleges.

                        

Since they were youngsters, the quintet of Kylie Horn, Zoe Miller, Brynn Mullet, Kelsey Swihart and Morgan Yoder have set their sights on not just excelling at the high school level of girls basketball, but also on the long-range plan of playing in college.

On Monday, Nov. 16, those five girls united at the Reese Center at Hiland High School to celebrate their signing day to play at college after this season.

This marks the second class of Lady Hawks to boast five scholarship winners, the first being the state title team from 2000. Twenty years later, this quintet of players would like nothing more than to follow in that team’s footsteps and add a state championship to its list of accomplishments.

“This is a group of kids who told me very early on that they all wanted to be college players,” Hiland Lady Hawks longtime head coach Dave Schlabach said. “They have worked hard and created a skill package that colleges love to have on their teams.”

For a small public school program to produce five scholarship players in the same graduating class is unique. Schlabach said what makes it even more unique is the diverse skill set that permeates through the five players.

We’ve got one of the best point guards we have ever had in Morgan, two great shooters in Brynn and Kylie, and two talented post players, and they all complement each other nicely,” Schlabach said.

Schlabach went on to talk in depth about the work ethic this group has shown throughout their careers, from biddy ball until their senior season. Schlabach said colleges see talent all the time, but what they really look for are players who understand the game and are willing to outwork everyone else to be successful.

This group has done that, devoting themselves to honing their skills and making themselves a complete unit.

“Getting a college scholarship is a hard thing to do,” Schlabach said. "These girls are competing against kids from all over the country for those few scholarships. To have one kid there is something special. To have five is amazing. It’s a testament to these girls.”

Since 1993 Schlabach’s teams have produced 49 scholarship recipients who have accumulated more than $5 million in scholarships. For Schlabach, amidst all of the career wins, state championships, an OHSAA record number of state appearances and many other accolades, those numbers might be his favorite.

“When you look at the dollars we have saved families in our community, those are dollars our families would have had to come up with, but it is kind of a payback for all of the sacrifice these kids have made,” Schlabach said. “It’s nice to see them get rewarded financially, but more than anything, this group loves playing the game and they get to continue something they enjoy.”

The Fantastic Five

“The Engineer”

Morgan Yoder, point guard, will head to Ashland University.

Having one of the most successful coaches in Ohio high school basketball history — who just happened to be a successful point guard — teaching her is a huge plus for Yoder. But for Schlabach, having another coach on the floor running the show is equally as important. Yoder had developed into one of the smartest, most intriguing point guards in the game in Ohio, regardless of school size.

Her impeccably calm demeanor is a critical presence for her teammates, and she can do it all. With over 700 points, 373 assists and 247 steals coming into her senior year, Yoder may be known for her ability to assist her teammates, but she can take over a game as a scorer if needed.

“Long-range Artillery”

Brynn Mullet, guard, will head to Ohio Dominion University.

When it comes to knocking down 3-pointers, few players can rival the talent and technique of Mullet. She currently owns the school record for threes in a game, having made 10. But while the swing-shooting lefty might be known for the long-ball, she is far from a one-note player. Mullet has collected 199 assists and 182 steals heading into her final season and can slash hard to the hole when necessary.

While shooting and scoring is what she is known for, Mullet has the ability to make everyone else on the floor look good by being a savvy ball distributor and defender.

“Instant Offense”

Kylie Horn, shooting guard, will head to Malone University.

Dealing with Hiland’s talented starting crew is a tall task for most teams — OK, let’s just say it, every team. However, when coach Schlabach can look down his bench and summon a scoring threat like Horn to relieve her teammates, the Lady Hawks don’t miss a beat. While Horn may not get the publicity, ask any coach who has scouted Hiland and they will tell you Horn is dangerous and able to amass points quickly, turning a deficit into a Hiland lead or putting a game out of reach with her deft shooting touch. Not only can she score in bunches, her ability to pester guards defensively can make opposing players want to seek refuge in more serene places.

“The Long Arm of the Law”

Kelsey Swihart, forward/center, will head to Malone University.

Simply put, Swihart could have been starting for a whole host of other teams in the state of Ohio, but she just happens to play behind a two-time first-team All-Ohioan. That hasn’t stopped her from developing her inside game into a force when she has played. Swihart has been dominant at times and has shown glimpses of the type of inside threat college coaches adore. Her length and deft shooting touch make her difficult to guard, but her willingness to do whatever she has to do to help the team is perhaps her most underrated asset, one coach Schlabach has employed over the course of the past couple of years to create mismatches in the paint.

“Power Ball”

Zoe Miller, power forward, will head to Bowling Green State University.

Miller’s numbers speak volumes as to her talent: 1,118 career points, 663 rebounds, 151 assists and 158 steals. Her point total already ranks her eighth on the program’s all-time scoring list, her rebounds settling in at third with a very realistic shot at becoming the school’s all-time leading rebounder well within reach.

However, Miller’s game isn’t all about her numbers; it is more about her passion, drive and physical dominance. The word power aptly describes Miller’s game on both ends of the floor, where she has dominated inside and outside. A rare triple-threat that can beat teams in the paint, off the dribble or from beyond the arc, the two-time first-team All-Ohioan is simply a beast in every aspect of the game.

Each of the Lady Hawks will be featured in the Bargain Hunter throughout this coming basketball season.


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