Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

February 1, 2014

Friley, Miller turn in 'monster' effort

Ashland routs Fairview, 79-53

WESTWOOD — Fairview coach Derek Cooksey calls Ashland’s Nick Miller and Steven Friley probably the best low-post combination in the region.

The duo inflicted major damage against his Eagles on Friday night at George Cooke Memorial Gym.

Friley, a 6-foot-5 senior, put together a huge first half and Miller dominated after the intermission in the Tomcats’ 79-53 victory.

“They play off each other so well,” Cooksey said after watching Ashland’s bigs combine for 50 points and 33 rebounds with practically mirror-image point and rebound totals.

Friley posted 25 points and 17 rebounds, while Miller finished with 25 and 16.

“A monster game for those two guys,” Tomcat coach Buddy Biggs said. “They are also two of our hardest workers in practice. It’s good to see it pay off with a big night for both of them.”

Friley worked the glass for four putbacks in the first half alone. He locked up his double-double by halftime with 19 points and 10 rebounds, propelling Ashland to a 51-26 lead.

Miller got it going in the second quarter with 10 points, then supplied 13 points and 10 boards in the second half while Friley missed some playing time with foul trouble.        

“They were not going to be denied,” Biggs said. “When we missed, they thought that was a play called for them because they went and got the ball.”  

It didn’t help matters for Fairview that sophomore post player Alex Roy picked up three fouls in the first quarter and eventually fouled out midway through the fourth period.

“When Alex was out, we had to go smaller and younger at times,” Cooksey said. “Freshmen trying to learn in a varsity game is trial by fire.”

The Tomcats picked up their 15th win of the season and second in as many nights. They beat Bath County 77-39 in Owingsville on Thursday night after dropping a one-pointer at East Carter two days earlier.

“The kids came out of the gate ready the last couple of nights,” Biggs said. “We were disappointed with the way we played Tuesday.”

Fairview scored on the opening possession for its only lead, then  Friley reeled off the next seven points in a 9-0 run. He had a tip-in, two free throws and showed his versatility by knocking down an open 3-pointer in front of Fairview’s bench.

Antwan Washington’s three-ball pulled Fairview within 13-11, but Ashland scored the last eight points of the first quarter. The Tomcats continued to pull away as Friley powered in two rebound baskets to highlight another eight-point spurt.

Sophomores Damantie Thornton and Christian Villers also reached double figures for Ashland with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

The Tomcats played their third consecutive game without senior starter Tyler Stewart, who rolled an ankle during practice last Sunday. Biggs hopes to have him back next week.

Meanwhile, Washington provided much of the offense for Fairview (3-14) with 23 points. The 5-9 sophomore had success penetrating and also made two 3-pointers.   

“Antwan is a tough matchup himself,” Cooksey said. “He drove the ball exceptionally well and got his teammates involved. Any time we needed a basket, he seemed to find it for us.”

Fairview, however, shot only 37 percent from the field and missed 10 of 13 tries from the free throw line.

Roy had 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Andrew Carroll chipped in 12 points.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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