The greatest girls basketball season in Maplewood history ended on Saturday.
But if you ask Rockets coach Mark Yoder, something even better may have begun.
“For years, we’ve never been able to take that next step, from district to regionals,” said Yoder, whose team fell to Berlin Hiland 58-41 in the Division IV regional final at Perry High School. “There were a lot of young girls watching us tonight and they’re going to come up through our program.
“Hopefully that leads to even better things in the future.”
Kendra Schlabach scored 17 points and Regina Hochstetler scored 14 for Hiland (25-3), which was ranked second in the state after the regular season and was last year’s state runners-up.
Jasmine Goings added 10 points and six rebounds for the Hawks, who jumped out to a 24-12 halftime lead.
Maplewood actually outscored the Hawks in the third quarter — “We went on a nice little run,” Yoder said — but Hiland still led by 11 entering the fourth.
“They capitalized on every mistake,” said Yoder, whose team defeated Lowellville in Thursday’s regional semifinal. “They got some turnovers that led to easy baskets, we had some defensive breakdowns and every time we left one of their shooters open, they drained a 3-pointer.
“It’s very difficult when you only have one day to prepare for a team like that.”
Brooke Dawson had 12 points and Miranda Sloan scored 11 points with six assists for the Rockets (22-6), who won their first district title last weekend. Allison Bell added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Hawks will meed Reedsville Eastern in Friday’s state semifinal at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. Hiland has won four state titles and finished second three more times since 2000.