No Hitch in her swing
Kim Hitchcock extended her family’s legacy of great play at PV
By KARL PEARSON
What’s in a name? In Ashtabula County, nearly every community has a family name that seems to be synonymous with athletics.
Andover is no exception. In a community that seems to breath, eat and sleep basketball, there is the Hitchcock family. Bob Hitchcock is still revered for his impact on the boys basketball program at Pymatuning Valley High School as a player and coach. For his efforts, he was one of the inaugural members of the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Hall of Fame.
Several of Hitchcock’s siblings and his children have left significant imprints on Laker programs as his contemporaries or since. Now, his youngest child, Kim, will be inducted into the ACBF Hall of Fame on April 10, making the Hitchcocks the second family from the county to have at least two members in that body.
Kim Hitchcock has her own impressive legacy. As a significant part of the PV girls teams of ACBF Hall of Famer Beth Helfer from the 1988-89 through 1990-91 seasons, her Lakers are the teams upon whose shoulders the PV girls teams of more recent times have stood. Over those three seasons at the varsity level, the Lakers of her era compiled a 51-15 record.
Included in that was a 21-2 record in her senior year that saw the Lakers ranked briefly at No. 1 among Division III teams in Ohio and finished at No. 3. They are still the only PV girls team to advance as far as the Division III district championship game.
What’s more, they performed in an era when they had to share the stage during a period of tremendous prosperity at Jefferson and when other fine teams were fielded at Harbor and Conneaut. Still other respectable squads were on the scene. They also won two straight championships in an East Suburban Conference that featured fine programs at Berkshire, Cardinal, Ledgemont and Newbury.
KIM HITCHCOCK shows off the shooting form that made her one of the best players in Pymatuning Valley history. The former Laker great will join her father, Bob, when she is inducted into the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Hall of Fame on April 10.
As a point, three of Hitchcock’s fellow members of the Star Beacon All-Ashtabula County first team in 1990-91 season — Jefferson’s Anita Jurcenko, who was chosen Player of the Year, and her Falcon teammate, Trixie Wolf, as well as Harbor’s Tonya Tallbacka — are already in the ACBF Hall of Fame. Grand Valley’s Kelly Henson, a junior named to the second team that year, is also in the Hall of Fame.
Hitchcock was so well regarded that she was chosen ESC Player of the Year that season from a team that had such a balanced scoring attack that she averaged just 12 points per game. She later earned first-team Associated Press All-Northeast Lakes District recognition and was joined by Laker teammate as a special-mention Division III All-Ohioan. Kelly Henson was honorable mention that year.
Still, Hitchcock was truly surprised when informed of her induction.
“I was pretty surprised when I got the call,” the 37-year-old Hitchcock said in her office at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna. “I feel it’s a great honor to go in. I feel honored that people remember me still.
“I still love watching the game and following my various nieces and nephews, and I still play it, too. I’m sure if I had kids, they’d be out there playing, too.”
It carries great meaning for Hitchcock that she is being reunited with Helfer, another of the inaugural members of the ACBF Hall of Fame.
“It’s great to be hooked up with her again,” she said. “I think of it as a real honor.”
But the true significance of the occasion is joining her father in that fraternity.
“My dad has been a great coach and a great mentor,” Hitchcock said. “We used to go to the gym and play on the side when I was barely able to walk.”
It is an occasion of great meaning to Bob Hitchcock and his wife, Marcia.
“It’s definitely an honor and a privilege to have kids who have done as well as ours have,” he said. “All the time we spent together apparently paid off.
“Kimberly did a great job in all three sports she played. She really understood what it meant to compete. Not many parents have the luxury of having kids who do well and to have been able to be with them side by side on a daily basis.”