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Hillman boys nip Oscoda in OT as Taratuta sets record

News Photo by Owen Kinzey From left, Hillman coach Eric Muszynski and Hillman’s former points leader, Mason VanPamel, stand with Trenton Taratuta at center court after Taratuta made the first basket during Thursday’s game at Hillman High School, breaking VanPamel’s career record of 1,679 points. Since it’s still early in the season, Taratuta will continue to add to his overall career points, raising the record even higher.

HILLMAN — Heading into Thursday night, everyone in attendance at Hillman High School knew Trenton Taratuta would make history.

Taratuta, who recently tied the Tigers’ all-time points leader last Monday, only needed a singular point entering the night.

After stacking the stat sheet with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists against Alcona, there was no doubt Taratuta would smash the record on Thursday.

“(Taking over the scoring record) feels great. Not that long ago, I was watching Mason (VanPamel) dominate for Hillman, and now that I’ve surpassed him, this feels unreal,” Taratuta said. “Right from the start, I was able to get it out of the way, and that moment was just surreal.”

Previously, Hillman’s leading points scorer was Mason VanPamel, who accumulated 1,679 points over his career. Now that the record’s dismantled this early in the season, Taratuta will continue to add on and dominate as he averages 36 points per game.

News Photo by Owen Kinzey Hillman’s Trenton Taratuta bring the ball over midcourt during the team’s game against Oscoda on Thursday night.

“After coaching Mason (VanPamel) back in ’15, watching Trenton break his record was just incredible from a player that’s put in all the work he possibly could,” Hillman coach Eric Muszynski said. “Not only did he play amazing in regulation, but that final shot was even better and allowed us to win the game.”

Not only were individual accomplishments completed by Taratuta, but the Hillman Tigers (3-0) also came out victorious, pulling out a nail-biting win against Oscoda.

The ability to draw fouls, get to the free-throw line, and knock down clutch shots pushed the Tigers just over the Owls in a 57-56 win.

To kick off the game, Hillman had a defensive stop and immediately set up a perfect alley-oop to Taratuta as he eclipsed the scoring record with 1,681 points.

While this was a great start, Oscoda kept the game close, tying the game at 13-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter went very similar to the first as Hillman pulled away by just one point, taking a 24-23 lead going into halftime.

Taratuata controlled the second quarter, finishing with all 11 points on three three-pointers and two free throws.

The Owls came out hot from the break and even stole away the lead.

Michael Myles led the way with eight points in the quarter and was crucial for Oscoda’s offense all night.

The fourth quarter came around, and with a chance to win the game through a pair of free throws, Oscoda missed both, sending the game to overtime tied at 49-49.

With no momentum tailored to either offense, it was anyone’s game to win in overtime. Back-to-back fouls on Myles caused him to foul out, leaving Oscoda at a massive disadvantage.

Although the Owls were short-handed without their top scorer, a two-point lead with five seconds left seemed enough for Oscoda to sneak away with the win.

Despite this thought, Taratuta had other plans. He dribbled up the court, around three people, rose, and took the shot. A deep three-pointer from beyond the arc fell straight in and touched nothing but the net.

It was an impeccable end to the perfect night for Hillman’s star.

“Trenton is a generation athlete, and he put that on full display here tonight. A lot of the team struggled to make their shots, and Trenton just picked up the slack and showed up when it mattered most,” Hillman coach Eric Muszynski said.

Taratuta ended the game, tying his career-high 41 points, while Blake Kennard finished with 11.

Hillman plays Mio on Monday.

Myles led Oscoda’s scoring with 22 points, and Brayden Mallak had the second-most points with 12.

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