June 27, 2018
By Morgan Wenger
Hiland Alumni has fielded a team in each of the nine seasons comprising the history of the Dawg Days Basketball Summer League. After hovering around the middle of the league for the first few years, they have consistently been one of the top teams every summer since then. More recently they have been a part of some gut wrenching, heart breaking losses in the championship game. The talented group from Holmes County has finished second three times in the league before. Two of those losses were by a single basket. Led by team stalwart Seger Bonifant, Hiland was finally able to scratch their championship itch with a convincing 91-62 win over The Knights in this year's championship game.
The Knights entered the championship game full of confidence. They had not been defeated since the first week of league action and had soundly defeated Hiland Alumni in regular season play. The championship game looked very similar to the wire to wire title game battles of years' past early on. Hiland Alumni, and specifically Bonifant, were on a mission from the beginning. Bonifant stuffed the stat sheet with rebounds and assists in the first half to go along with his 15 points. The game was still even midway through the half though as Dalton Bolon got off to a strong start in the championship game as well. Bolon had blitzed the Hiland squad with a 36-point explosion during the regular season game between the two, and was receiving scoring help from the explosive, slashing Dan Monteroso in the championship game. Hiland noticeably tightened up the attention they were giving Bolon on the defensive end, switching multiple defenders onto him and giving plenty of support to his primary defender. The defensive adjustments allowed them to build a comfortable 43-29 halftime lead.
The Knights regrouped during the break and tried to make a run early in the second half, but Hiland was not going to allow this one to slip away. The second half saw Hiland at their best, with their trademark running, cutting, screening, passing, and shooting all coming together at once. Six different Hiland players made 3-point shots in the second half alone. Bonifant led four Hiland players in double figures with 27 points. Noah Boyd (17), Jalen Miller (16), and Dylan Kaufman (14) all helped the team build a 30 plus point cushion before settling for a 91-62 victory. Monteroso led The Knights with 19 points, while Ben Snyder and Bolon chipped in with 17 and 13 points respectively.
Please visit the Summer League page for box scores, scoring leaders, and standings from this year's league.
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