BROOMFIELD — It was fun to see Mike Croell’s face light up when the name Sarah Hix was brought up.
For Croell, players come and players go and the good ones have a special place in his heart. Hix played four years of varsity ball at Broomfield and won more championships — four — than she had losses — three.
“Sarah was never a flashy point guard, but boy was she steady. You just always knew the team was going to be doing what they were supposed to be doing, she was that rock out there,” Croell said. “She always had us in the right offense, she always made the right pass, knew when to pull the ball out and just ran the show.”
Hix parlayed her success for the Eagles into a collegiate playing career at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where she has learned a little bit more about life, her game and taking the next step.
College is always a new experience, but for Hix it was almost a culture shock. Going form the suburbs of a major metropolitan area to a small 30,000-person college town in the middle of Nebraska was more of an adjustment than maybe she had planned on.
“I chose Kearney because it was both close enough and far enough away,” said Hix. “I really like Kearney, it’s a nice little town. I learned a lot of farming stuff, I got to go to my friends farm. It was a little different, I just didn’t know a whole lot about farming.”
Hix arrived at Kearney the same time as coach Kevin Chaney, and while the Lopers’ record may not show it, Hix has had success from the first day. As a freshman she played in 24 games and started seven times with the highlight coming late in the season at Western New Mexico where she scored five points, pulled down seven rebounds and dished out four assists.
Another reason she went to Kearney was that the Lopers played in the RMAC, and chances to come home and for her family to watch her play was very important to her. That all changed last year when the Kearney moved to the MIAA and those trips to Colorado more often turned into trips to Missouri.
“That has been a little tougher,” said Hix, whose early-season totals included a free throw percentage of .910 and a shooting percentage of .480.
The Lopers were in Denver earlier this month for the Metro State Tournament and that gave Croell a chance to go see her play one last time.
During her junior season at Broomfield, the Eagles ran the table en route their third consecutive title. But in the title game against Mullen — one Hix called her favorite memory of high school — Broomfield trailed by as much as 11 points at in the second half and she found her range from the outside and was one of the key factors in the Eagles 49-47 victory at the Coors Events Center.
“When the chips were on the table, we haven’t had very many money payers like her come through here, she stepped up and hit two huge threes to get us back in the game,” said Croell of the 2009 state championship game. “We were left for dead there for a little while.”
Hix will graduate in August after her internship with a degree in exercise science and will start searching for a nursing school to attend. Her ventures will likely bring her back to Colorado and she hasn’t ruled out coaching in some way, shape or form.
“I just love the game,” she said. “I just can’t get away from it.”
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