While Bill Bradley would rather share a different number with W.B. Jackson, he’ll gladly accept his company in one category.
The veteran Ashland girls basketball coach, in his 13th season, is tied atop the program’s all-time coaching wins list with Jackson. He captured No. 236 with the Kittens’ 55-52 win over Centennial (Ohio) on Saturday.
Bradley’s next victory, which could come as early as Tuesday at home against Fairview, will be his 237th as the leader of the Kittens.
Overall, he is 236-130. He’s guided Ashland to two state tournaments, but isn’t quite near the Jackson Five.
No, not the “ABC, 1-2-3” Jackson Five. The W.B. Jackson Five.
Jackson had the Ashland girls basketball program thriving before the Great Depression. He stands atop the Kentucky High School Athletic Association as the only coach to have won five girls basketball state titles. He guided Ashland to the state summit in 1921, ’22, ’24, ’28 and ’29. Ashland was runner-up in 1931.
Bradley said he and his team have their sights set on different goals — so he and the players haven’t even talked about it — but he is honored to own a share of the record.
“I’m big on loyalty,” said Bradley, who also tallied a record number of wins as Boyd County’s softball coach in his 15-year stint prior to his jump to Ashland. “I loved it (at Boyd County) with softball, and I’ve had a great 13 years here. It’s been a totally positive experience.
“The wins are awesome,” he added. “But the best part of it is the staff I’ve had all these years and the players.”
Bradley retired from teaching this past July. While he still frequently substitute teaches, he said he feels rejuvenated without the daily school duties.
“It feels like I’ve died and gone to heaven,” he joked. “I’m a lot more rested. I’ve been able to diet and lose some weight.
“My wife’s still got a list for me every day,” he laughed, “but it’s been great. I really experience the effect on game days, after a game. I used to be totally gassed by this time of year. Not now.”
Bradley has some extra incentive to achieve the record against Fairview.
Lady Eagles coach Rex Cooksey was a member of the Fairview basketball team that eliminated Holy Family when Bradley was a senior there.
“Rex and the boys from Fairview took me out. So maybe I could break the record against Rex, get a little payback,” he said with a chuckle.
‰Just 13 days into January, only two teams with unblemished 16th Region records remain. Ashland is 5-0, Fleming County 7-0 against region opponents. Here’s the problem: We’ve got a while before the Panthers and Tomcats meet up. The matchup has produced a couple of instant classics in recent region tournaments, so Feb. 8 is a date to circle. They’ll be in Flemingsburg.
‰Ashland’s Alexis Robinson notched her 1,000th career point recently, but that’s just scratching the surface for the Kittens’ point guard.
‰With many signs pointing to the pair as possible 15th Region co-favorites, Lawrence County and Johnson Central finally clash this Saturday in Paintsville. The Bulldogs beat Rodrick Rhodes-coached Cordia last week. The Golden Eagles downed a solid Mason County squad, 65-54, with Shane Hall’s seven dunks serving as highlights on Saturday in Vanceburg.
‰The wins just continue to pile up for Ashland’s boys. Now at 10-3, the Tomcats are off to a somewhat surprising start. Consistent, concerted efforts have been the key.
‰You may want to learn how to spell and say this name: Maggie Jachimczuk (Jak-im-suk). The Russell freshman forward is no stranger to leading the Lady Devils in points and/or rebounds on any given night. Said coach Mandy Layne of her 5-foot-10 up-and-comer: “We kind of saw her emerge this summer. She gets better and better with more confidence every game. She does a good job finishing around the basket and she’s a consistent rebounder.”
‰Fleming County has completely turned the tide on Rowan County. The Panthers have now reeled off seven in a row in the series after dropping seven straight. The latest, an 83-71 victory, saw Troy Steward put up 26 points and 10 rebounds and Wilder Williams rack up 14 points and 12 boards. Fleming County beat Rowan County for the region title a year ago.
‰Fairview’s clutch victory over South Point might point to more positive things on the basketball court. According to school officials, the announcement of the Eagles’ next head football coach could come in the near future.
‰East Carter’s girls popped into the last week’s Associated Press poll, at No. 9. Where will the Lady Raiders be this week?
‰I’ll hold back from the “Houston, we have a problem” jokes. Mainly because there was absolutely no problem with Houston Reeves’s shooting stroke on Saturday afternoon. The composed freshman connected on a clutch 3-pointer to help complete a comeback from as many as 16 points down for Boyd County. She drained another downtowner in the overtime period as the Lady Lions survived. They host Fleming County and East Carter this week.
‰Don’t forget to read on and check out this week’s 30-Point Club. A Lewis County duo put on a show on Saturday!
1. Ashland (10-3)
2. Johnson Central (7-5)
3. Fleming County (10-5)
4. Lawrence County (9-6)
5. Boyd County (8-7)
6. Rowan County (9-7)
7. East Carter (7-6)
Look who’s knocking (next two in): Elliott County, Lewis County.
1. East Carter (15-1)
2. Ashland (9-3)
3. Boyd County (9-4)
4. Bath County (8-3)
5. Russell (13-3)
6. Lewis County (7-7)
7. Fleming County (9-5)
Look who’s knocking (next two in): Greenup County, Raceland.
In Vanceburg, 30 is chump change.
Real men (and women) score 40.
On the same day, Lewis County’s own Brett Ruckel and Emily Frye each eclipsed the 40-point mark in the Lewis County-McDonald’s Hoops Showcase.
Frye collected 41 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists in an 86-73 loss to Conner. She was 10 of 13 from the field and 21 of 25 from the foul line.
Ruckel scorched the nets for 43 points. He shot 14-of-27, including three 3-pointers, from the floor and was 12 of 17 from the free-throw line.
Did you catch the first edition of “Midweek Sports Shop Talk?”
Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., yours truly will hog some webtime and be joined by special guests.
The Greenup Beacon is teaming up with us to produce the half-hour show. The show is livestreamed at greenupbeacon.com and later posted on dailyindependent.com.
We’re taking this week off due to a few different circumstances, but we will return on Jan. 22!
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AARON SNYDER can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664.