Trimble bests Waterford boys for TVC title

GLOUSTER — With the game securely in hand, Trimble senior Randy Hixson checked out of Wednesday’s makeup game with 31.7 seconds on the clock.

Hixson received a bear hug from head coach Howie Caldwell, all while getting a standing ovation from the Bill White Gymnasium crowd.

It wasn’t necessarily the tournament ending Hixson dreamed of, but it was still a performance for the ages that no one in attendance will soon forget.

Hixson finished his high school basketball career with a legendary flourish, scoring 53 points and leading the Tomcats to a 74-60 win over the Waterford Wildcats inside Bill White Gymnasium.

The performance allowed the Tomcats to win the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division outright over Waterford.

The game was a makeup contest that had twice been postponed. Each team dealt with postseason elimination on Sunday.

Caldwell said the game plan for this one was simple — get Hixson the ball whenever possible.

“Very unselfish group,” Caldwell said. “They knew that Randy was the man and he just led us. We told him two days ago that we’re going to turn you loose. We want you to shoot. If it’s a good shot, you shoot it. With the exception of maybe two or three, they were all good shots.”

Hixson’s 53 points came on 18 of 35 shooting. He made 10 of 20 from long range, and 8 of 15 from 2-point range. He added 7 of 9 free throws, also adding four assists, four rebounds and three steals.

“He shot the ball unbelievable,” Waterford coach Tom Simms said. “We’ve got guys hanging on him. I went to a triangle-and-two on him, just to slow him down. Unbelievable shooting.”

The historic night caps off a terrific senior season for Hixson. He averaged 26.4 points per game, scoring 633 points on the season. He finishes his Trimble career with 1,390 points.

“I give him all the credit in the world,” Simms said. “He carried them. He’s carried them all year. He’s just an outstanding player.”

Despite Hixson’s shooting barrage, the Wildcats (15-9, 12-4 TVC-Hocking) were still in position to spoil the Tomcats’ night.

Bryce Hilverding made consecutive 3-pointers – part of an 8-0 run – that brought Waterford to within 56-54 with 4:20 remaining.

It was time for Hixson to take over again, and he didn’t disappoint.

Facing full-court pressure, the Tomcats (18-6, 13-3 TVC-Hocking) came perilously close to a 10-second violation, but Brayden Weber was able to spot Hixson in the nick of time.

Hixson, now behind the defense, suddenly found himself open along the left wing.

Release.

Rotation.

Swish.

The Tomcats now led 59-54 and Hixson was up to 46 points.

Waterford’s momentum was entirely gone when Hixson beat full-court pressure to draw a foul, and make two free throws. He now had 48 points, and the Tomcats led 61-54.

Travis Pottmeyer led Wateford with 24 points, while Wyatt Lang added 16 points and six rebounds. The Wildcats were denied what would have been a third straight TVC-Hocking title, and fourth in five years had they pulled out the road win.

Max Hooper added 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists for the Tomcats.

The league title is the third in the last four years for the Tomcats, and the ninth in program history.

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