Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 5, 2014

Mark Maynard: Achieving outside the area: 3/6/14

Mark Maynard
The Independent

ASHLAND — It’s amazing sometimes what people from here have achieved. I marvel at it almost daily.

Today’s column is dedicated to some of those individuals — some younger, some older — but all showed us again that we are an area with talented individuals.

We have plenty of talented ones in our midst, too, but this one goes out to the out-of-towners.

So away we go.

Filmmaker’s fun

Andrew Heaberlin is a Russell High School graduate who is trying his hand in Hollywood as a filmmaker.

I met Andrew while he was earning his degree from Ohio Southern University running a camera for football and basketball games where I was announcing.

Even though he was a student, I always felt comfortable with Andrew as the game’s producer. He was that good.

So when he went out on his own and decided to make a movie, I knew it would be good.

“Let It Be War” didn’t disappoint in any way. It’s actually an amazing little flick that’s received some acclaim.

To date, “Let It Be War” has screened in five cities and in three festivals.

It won Best Regional Film at the 2012 Cincinnati Film Festival, it was awarded Best Narrative Short at the 2013 Workers Unite! Film Festival, and it was selected to screen at the 2013 FilmDayton Festival.

Andrew put together a wonderful team of people to help him put this 17-minute film together. It took a lot of money and a lot of sacrifice, but he made it happen.

My guess is this young filmmaker’s resume is just beginning.

Champions at last

I wrote a column in February about Charlie Stephenson, an Ashland native who was coaching a high chool team in Florida that made it to the state finals.

American Heritage didn’t leave with the title that year.

I ended the column with this statement:

Charlie Stephenson, who graduated from Paul G. Blazer High School in 1968, was never quite good enough to crack the top 12 with the Tomcats.

But he’s sittin’ pretty today in Florida.

Well, his seat got a little better.

Five players scored in double figures and American Heritage captured the Class 5A crown in a 98-70 domination of St. Petersburg Lakewood last week.

It was the school’s first state basketball championship.

American Heritage finished the season 25-7. The Patriots had made the state final four in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 Heritage lost in the state semifinals and in 2013 the Patriots fell in the championship game.

All that disappointment of being so close went away on Saturday as Heritage broke and set a Florida High School Athletic Association record for most points in a championship game with 98.

Heritage was a senior-laden team that never let its foot off the pedal.

“My favorite team growing up were the Showtime Lakers,” Stephenson said to the local paper. “And that’s it: We’re Showtime Heritage. I want the guys to get out and just go, go, go. That’s my philosophy is to get out in the open court, because players look better when they can operate in open space and show their skills.

“That’s the way we play. If I was a NASCAR driver, I’d burn my engine out because I’d never let up.”

Is it any wonder that Stephenson grew up idolizing the get-it-and-go Ashland Tomcats of 1961?

Congratulations on the title, Charlie, it was a long time coming.


University of Tennessee-Chattanooga player Taylor Hall, daughter of Greenup County School Superintendent Steve Hall, is quite the women’s basketball player. Taylor was selected the Southern Conference Player of the Year by both the league coaches and media while the coaches also named her the Defensive Player of the Year.

She becomes the second player to win both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season, joining Davidson’s Sophia Aleksandravicius, who did it in 2012 and again in 2013.

“Hard work and skill go a long way,” her father said. “She got her basketball skills from her mother and her height from me.”

Hall’s mother is Kelly Cromer Stone, who starred at East Carter High School and Marshall University. Taylor, who today is almost 6-foot-2, went to Boyd County schools as a young girl, setting scoring records in soccer at the middle school. Her mother and father divorced and she moved to Tennessee with her mother.

“Her mother really gave her opportunities to play AAU ball,” Steve Hall said. “I’m thankful she gave her those opportunities.”

UTC takes an 18-0 conference record into the postseason tournament this weekend in Asheville. The team made the NCAA Tournament last year.

The Lady Mocs have the fourth-longest winning streak in the nation at 22 games and Hall is a big reason why. She had a dozen double-doubles and topped the 1,000-point mark this season. She ranks 21st all-time at UTC for scoring with more than 1,100 points and eighth in rebounding with nearly 800.

Hall finished the season in the top-five in the Southern Conference in scoring (fifth), rebounding (third), assists (second), steals (second), free-throw percentage (third) and minutes played (fourth).

She averaged 14.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game.

“I have sporadically seen her play,” Steve Hall said. “I went to Texas when they made the NCAA tournment and I subscribe to the website and watch her on television. But it’s not like being there.”

Taylor has her feet on the ground. She is a premed major.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.