Sophomore Tavon Horton, Travon's younger brother, also played important minutes for the Polar Bears when Hilson was on the bench with three fouls in the third quarter. The younger Horton, nicknamed "Butters," finished with five points, two steals and three assists in 15 minutes of playing time.
"Butters comes to practice every day and he works hard on every possession," Retton said. "He's the first guy to dive on the ball or dive on the floor for a loose ball. I would say he's taken five plays off all year in practice. You're talking hundreds of plays in a day."
Fairmont Senior finished with 20 assists (led by Hilson's seven) compared to just five turnovers - with just one in the second half.
"I've said this from Day One about our basketball team - they're all about team," Retton said. "They're all about sharing the ball. If we have one guy that has a hot hand the other guys are looking for him within what we do, and they've been that way all year."
For Bridgeport, the loss meant more than just the end of another season. Randolph coached the final game of his 20-year tenure with the Indians and, as one might expect, became emotional when talking about the end of his career as a high school basketball coach.
"I thanked them very much for the gift that they gave me," Randolph said. "I've had a tremendous love affair with this game since I was a little tyke and I just told them it took a lot for them to go out like they did today as competitors. That's what I've always tried to do. We may not be the fastest or the biggest or whatever, but that never made any difference. I just wanted for them to show their love of the game and to go out as competitors."
The Indians' Jordan Haywood followed his 28-point performance in the quarterfinals against Westside with a team-leading 17-point output while also collecting a team-high nine rebounds. Forward John Wilfong added 16 points and eight boards while guard Tyler Sprouse had 15 points.
"That's a good semifinal game," Randolph said. "That's how it's supposed to go. It doesn't always go that way but you've got to give Fairmont West a lot of credit. If we had to lose to somebody, it was good to know that regardless of how it went the Big Ten was going to survive. We were hoping it would be us but that was not to be."
The Polar Bears move on to play in the school's 10th overall boys basketball state championship game and are seeking their first title since defeating Robert C. Byrd for the 1996 Class AAA championship.
Reach Tom Bragg at tom.br...@wvgazette.com.