Jacob Day was frustrated, and Robert Wesley hadn't seen the play very much.
The two Ashland Tomcats exorcised whatever bothered them on Tuesday against East Carter. Day's two goals and Wesley's one off a fake meant a 3-2 win in the 16th Region Boys Soccer Tournament semifinals at Fleming County High School.
Ashland (14-8-2) meets Boyd County for the title at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Ashland coach Ken Wheeler talked to Day before the match. “He was a little frustrated,” he said. “I just said (Jacob), it'll come. He’s such a good player and he has so much confidence … He just put the team on his back.”
And Day totally did.
His first goal, a breakaway past East Carter goalkeeper Michael Marsh a little more than 12 minutes into the second half, tied the game at 1-1 (the Raiders' Seth Marsh scored in the 25th minute). The second, in the 68th minute, tied the game at 2-2 after East's Jacob Newell goal in the 56th minute on an Evan Huddle assist.
“Both of those (goals) weren't my goals,” Day said. “They were passed through to me. If I missed, that would've been terrible.”
Wesley's goal off a direct free kick in the 71st minute was the brainchild of Ashland assistant Ed Belville. Ed's son, Jacob Belville, faked a shot, and Wesley scored.
“We've practiced it a few times in practice,” Wesley said. “It doesn't come up that often in the game; it's not that often you get a nice chance like right outside the 18 (yard box) like that.”
Scoring aside, somebody should buy Ashland keeper Kyle Conley a seven-course dinner for what he did seconds before game's end. He stuffed a shot from East's Darren Gifford, who was behind the Tomcat defense about three yards from his net.
“I had to stop (Gifford) somehow,” Conley said. “I came out of my net and ... closed down the angle because he still had the ball on his foot, and then I waited on him to take sort of a long touch, and put my hand in there.”
Ashland beat East Carter (11-3-4) for the first time in three meetings. Raiders coach Franklin Kemper figured last night would be a close game.
“The team that won made the less mistakes,” Kemper said. “We had three mistakes in the back, and they cost us goals.”
Ashland played without two starters for long stretches. Day went down with cramps and a injury after Seth Marsh fouled him the 16th minute, and Daniel Pina suffered an eye injury.
The Tomcats' frustration sometimes showed. In the 50th minute, Wheeler and Austin Kelley received yellow cards, and Mackenzie Mulloy received one about 13 minutes later.
Wheeler didn't want his players to shake hands after the game because he thought there were cheap shots on both sides, and he didn't want to lose anyone Thursday because there may have been some ticked-off Tomcats. Seconds later, he relented.
“I know (Kemper), he's a great guy,” Wheeler said. “These are high school kids (with heated) emotions.”
Day records a pair, Wesley scores on rarely used play
Jacob Day was frustrated, and Robert Wesley hadn't seen the play very much.
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Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)
The Fleming County Panthers waited nearly an hour to ascend the ladders set up under the goals at Ellis T. Johnson Arena on Tuesday night.
To the victor belongs the spoils, which traditionally includes the nets after winning a tournament title. But Fleming County milled around on Morehead State’s floor taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere after handling Ashland 82-59 in the 16th Region Tournament final.
Snipping the twine was almost an afterthought. In fact, except for a minute or so of celebration with their student section immediately following the final buzzer, the Panthers didn’t really even seem all that excited.
They expected to be here, and they were all business after earning back-to-back region titles and trips to Rupp Arena.
AARON SNYDER: Truth or Dare unkind to ’Cats
Ashland was left feeling like the shy kid after an intense game of Truth or Dare.
Truth: Fleming County outrebounded Ashland, 39-24, after Ashland outdueled Greenup County by 10 the night before.
'Relaxed' Steward earns MVP award
Both Fleming County coach Mark Starns and stellar senior Troy Steward attributed his significant strides this season to aggressiveness.
Playing a part, too, in Steward earning the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player award was the lack of nerves, which were nearly overwhelming at times a year ago.
Central's 15th Region reign continues
Once was good.
Twice was nice.
Three was sweet for the Johnson Central Eagles.
Senior Slade McPeek scored 22 points and earned most valuable player honors Tuesday night as Johnson Central rolled past Shelby Valley, 81-56, for its third straight 15th Region championship at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
- Fleming goes for two: Panthers beat Ashland for 16th Region repeat Fleming County pulled away early and never looked back as the Panthers pounced on Ashland, winning 82-59 in the 16th Region championship game on Tuesday in Morehead. Fleming County will face Scott County in the Sweet Sixteen next Wednesday at Rupp Arena.
VIDEO: 16th Region semifinals highlights
Fleming County defeated Lewis County, 66-58, and Ashland beat Greenup County, 81-61, on Monday night at Morehead State University to set up tonight's championship matchup. Tipoff is set for 7.
Ashland cruises past Greenup to 16th Region championship game
Tyler Stewart is known for his unrelenting hustle as one of Ashland’s glue guys.
When the senior guard can pitch in some offense too, as he did Monday in the 16th Region Tournament semifinals, that’s just one more problem for Tomcats opponents.
Stewart scored 20 points, senior Steven Friley posted a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ashland outscored Greenup County 21-9 in the third quarter to break open what was a seven-point game at halftime and cruise past the Musketeers, 81-61.
Fleming battles back to 16th Region final
A healthy Wilder Williams this season has given Fleming County a whole new dimension.
Prior to his sophomore year, Williams sustained a football injury that resulted in three ankle surgeries and limited him to bench duty last season while the Panthers made their run to the 16th Region championship.
A physical 6-foot-3 player, Williams is making his presence felt around the basket as Fleming County looks to return to the Sweet Sixteen.
AARON SNYDER: Will the next hero be unmasked?
Who will the bat signal shine for tonight?
Or, should I say, the Cat signal?
In the third installment of a trilogy that might rival the Batman three-pack of “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Fleming County and Ashland will battle in a matchup that has produced a classic clash in each of the last two 16th Region Tournaments.
If the first two collectively served as a gradual progressions to tonight’s scene, the climax could be off the charts.
Corey Gregg was Ashland’s superhero in 2012, when the senior confidently fired a perfect 3-point shot from the right corner. The triple thrust the Tomcats and Panthers into overtime, from which Ashland emerged 79-73 in a first-round game.
Central wins, Lawrence falls in 15th
The biggest concern for Lawrence County coach Josh Cook was staying out of foul trouble.
His team stayed in it all night, and it cost them a spot in the 15th Region title game.
Shelby Valley senior Tyler Carr led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Wildcats knocked off Lawrence County, 72-60, in the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
“This one hurts,” said Cook. “We’ll learn from this, and I have no doubt that our kids will get back here and finish the job.”
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- Panthers pound Ashland for repeat trip to Rupp (with video)