Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 29, 2013

AIT semifinals: Tomcats break into finals

Ashland faces Roger Bacon for title

ASHLAND — Finals bound.

For the fifth time in seven years, Ashland will make an appearance in the finals of its own tournament after defeating Grant County, 79-58, on Saturday night.

While the Tomcats claimed a large margin of victory over the visiting Braves, the first half of play saw a very different scenario than the second.

Throughout the first eight minutes, both teams struggled to find their footing, with the quarter ending in a 13-8 score in favor of Ashland.

While much of the second period played out like the first, the latter part saw a three-point duel take place between Grant County’s (4-5) Aaron Hicks and Ashland’s Christian Villers.

From the 5-minute mark forward, Hicks was able to keep the Braves within striking distance, dialing in three straight from beyond the arc to pull his team within five, at 23-18.

With under a minute to play in the period, Villers caught fire, knocking down two big threes to give Ashland (7-2) a 33-27 halftime lead.  

Villers provided an overall lift off the bench, tallying 14 points.

“My teammates just did a good job finding me, and I just knew that I could help break down that zone with my shooting,” Villers said about his late-half surge.   “There were gaps to be found, and I just spotted up in those gaps, and made the shots I needed to make.”

The third period was all Ashland, as the Tomcats made the most of their opportunities, going on a 20-0 run, stymieing the Braves with full-court pressure to gain a 55-35 advantage. As has been the case lately, Ashland made the most of its trips to the free-throw line, connecting on 14 of its 18 in the period.

Ashland coach Buddy Biggs talked about histeam’s big showing after the half.

“I thought the third quarter was huge for us tonight,” Biggs said.  “I thought we really came out and asserted ourselves. We got the game going more our speed, and were able to create some turnovers, which turned our offense around.”

Nick Miller, who picked up 16 on the night, led Ashland in the scoring department. Along with Villers, Steven Friley each had 14 for the Tomcats, while Tyler Stewart added 12.

Grant County’s Hicks led all scorers with 21.

The Tomcats, who’ve finished runner-up of the AIT for five of the past seven years, will face off against Cincinnati Roger Bacon tonight at 7:30 in tonight’s finals matchup.


Ashland     13    20    12        19 — 79

Grant County    8    19    12         19     —        58

Ashland (79) – Miller 16, Villers 14, Friley 14, Stewert 12, Thompson 6, Baker 4, Wesley 2, Mantle 2, Bradley 2.  3-PT Fgs: 5 (Villers 3, Miller 1, Thompson 1). FT: 30-43.

Grant County (58) – Hicks 21, Adkins 11, Johnson 6, Bennett 4, Rose 3, Burk 3, Albers 2.  3-PT Fgs: 8 (Hicks 5, Johnson 2, Adkins 1). FT: 14-17.


Roger Bacon 86

J. Central 68

As the old saying goes, the X’s and O’s of a game can mean the difference between a win and loss. This certainly rang true in Saturday’s semifinal matchup between Johnson Central (4-4) and Cincinnati Roger Bacon.

Roger Bacon was able to rattle Johnson Central early, forcing 19 first-half turnovers on its way to a win.

“Yeah, the turnovers really hurt us,” said Johnson Central coach Tommy McKenzie.  “I really felt like we didn’t come out ready to play and when you give the ball away that many times, it makes it tough to win.”

On the flip side, the Spartans capitalized on the Eagles’ errors, with the majority of its 42 first-half points coming as a result of Central’s high turnover margin.

Roger Bacon coach Brian Neil was more than pleased with his team’s effort on the defensive side of the basketball.

“I was really proud of the way our guys put pressure on the ball tonight,” Neil said.  “That big lead were able to build in the first was a result of the intensity we displayed on defense.”

Led by Austin Frenso’s perfect 7-of-7 effort at the stripe, the Spartans were a collective 26-of-34 for the game, while Johnson Central struggled statistically, connecting on only 16 of its 28 attempts from the fou line.

“Free throws hurt us tonight as well,” McKenzie said.  “But that wasn’t the difference in the game.  Had we came out and taken care of the ball in the first half, it could have been much different.”

Bacon’s Frentsos had the highest point total of the night, tallying 28 on the evening.  Carlas Jackson also picked up 20 points for the Spartans.

Kyle Gullett put together a solid performance for the Eagles, leading his team with 17, while Shane Hall picked up 14.


Roger Bacon    26    16    17    27    —    86

J. Central    13    15    14    26    —    68

Roger Bacon (86) – Frentsos 28, Jackson 20, Niesen 10, Wiggs 8, Moore 5, McBride 5, Epperson 4, Greene 3, McGee 2, Willliams 1.  3-PT Fgs: 6 (Frentsos 3, Niesen 1, Jackson 1, Greene 1).  FT: 26-34.

Johnson Central (68) – Gullett 17, Hall 14, Blair 12, Salyer 9, Rice 6, Adkins 4, Blair 2, Mckenzie 2, Ratliff 2. 3-PT Fgs: 4 (Gullett 3, Rice 1). FT: 16-28.

Simon Kenton 84

Fleming County 79

After falling in the first round of the AIT, Simon Kenton (6-3) and Fleming County (6-5) treated fans to a fast-paced shootout to kick off Day 2 of the 2013 tournament.  

Taylor Morrison and Matt Mullins showed up big for Simon Kenton, contributing a 23 and 18 points total to lead their team to an 84-79 victory over the Panthers.

Fleming County was led by Troy Steward’s game-high 31.  Austin Crisp just missed a 20-point total with 19.    

Lewis County 69

Ironton 55

In the second game of Saturday’s consolation round of the AIT, Lewis County (5-6) punched its ticket to a play for a chance at a fifth-place finish when it defeated Ironton 69-55. Ironton is 0-7.

Junior guard Brett Ruckel led the charge for the Lions, reeling off a game-high 26 points.  Ruckel was joined in double figures by Trenton Walker who pitched in with 12, and Wade Adams’ 11.

Tristan Cox had a team-high 16 for Ironton.  He was joined by Nate Garrard with 12, and Marcus Davis’ 10.

Text Only
Local News
  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ashland couple indicted on grave violation charges

     A man and a woman from Ashland have been indicted for allegedly stealing brass flower vases from graves at Rose Hill Burial Park.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Shore clerk gives updates on city building bids, sewer project

    City officials may not have to wait much longer to move from their temporary offices on Main Street into a shiny, new building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fate of stray animals in Carter County questioned

    Stray animals in Carter County may be disappearing because no one seems to know exactly where they are going.

    April 22, 2014

  • Recovery center finds home

    The mayor of Grayson said he isn’t concerned about the money a new recovery center will funnel into the city, although he is deeply appreciative of what the proposed facility may be able to offer “people who really need help” recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

    April 22, 2014

  • Olive Hill man charged with shooting wife during dispute

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.
    Robert Tackett, 47, of Olive Hill, was lodged in the Carter County Detention Center on Monday, charged with attempted murder-domestic violence, Kentucky State Police at Ashland said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Two of three Greenup commission seats on ballot

    Two of three commission seats are up for grabs in Greenup County this fall, and both will involve primary contests to determine the ballot lineup in the November election.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423attmurder_tackett.jpg Olive Hill man charged with attempted murder

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rotary updated on Alliance

    Ed Neely, president of the Ashland Rotary Club and chairman of the Ashland Alliance, addressed Rotarians in both capacities during the Monday meeting to give an update on the organization’s recent progress.

    April 21, 2014

  • Prater has been satisfying fans’ hunger for 40 years

    Debbie Prater has satisfied thousands of athletes’, parents’ and fans’ snacking desires for nearly 360 months.
    That’s just about 40 years of serving nachos, popcorn, chili dogs, water and soda from Lewis County’s football, basketball and baseball concession stands, and Prater is retiring after this year’s last pitch.

    April 21, 2014