MOREHEAD Jason Mays turns monosyllabic when you ask him a certain question.

Ashland's boys basketball coach was queried about the Tomcats' 24-0 record, including Tuesday's 68-62 win at Rowan County's Warren H. Cooper Gymnasium. What at least one person wanted to know: Does he contemplate what his team has accomplished so far?

“No,” Mays said.

Mays' brevity aside, there were many reasons Ashland's record remains spotless.

The obvious: Cole Villers led the Tomcats with 29 points, followed by Ethan Hudson with 13 and Ethan Sellars with 11.

Then, the obscure: Colin Porter scored just six points, but he also had five assists and four steals; and an offense that committed eight turnovers, but only one in the second half.

As is usually the case, junior Mason Moore led Rowan County's scoring – he had 31 points and 13 rebounds. He worked hard for every tally because five different Tomcats — Villers most of the evening, Porter, Sellars, Hudson and Nolan Phillips – took turns guarding him in either man-to-man, zone or triangle-and-two.

Something else Mays liked: Besides Moore, sophomore Chase Alderman scored 10 points, but no other Viking added more than six.

“In a triangle-and-two, you have three guys in a zone and two guys chasing (Alderman and Moore),” Mays said. “It threw 'em off; it was disruptive.”

To be sure, Tuesday was an emotional night for those who follow Rowan County.

The clearest clue: The yellow t-shirts with kelly green angel wings, a ribbon above #12 and #HunterIsHome,” — all to honor the late Hunter “Coach” Mitchell, the 13-year-old Clearfield boy passed away Feb. 4 after a nearly lifelong battle with cancer.

Vikings coach Shawn Thacker offered no excuses, but between preparing the gym for Mitchell's visitation last Saturday and Sunday's funeral service, there wasn't a lot of time to practice.

“I think we got into some foul trouble,” Thacker said. “I think about how good (the Tomcats are) defensively and how physical they are played a role.

Monday's first quarter featured a game within a game — Villers vs. Moore. They guarded each other for much of the first half, and each had a memorable moment.

Moore was first – an offensive rebound and layup 22 seconds in and a 3-pointer on Will Cox's assist. Villers forevermore countered: he scored 10 of Ashland's 12 first-quarter scoring.

Ashland rolled out a significantly more diverse offense in the second quarter; the 12-6 run included Hudson's five points, Porter's three, Villers' free throw and Ryan Adkins' field goal.

Rowan County (19-7) closed to 24-19 on Moore's offensive rebound and stick-back of Devin Davidson's miss. The Vikings trailed, 35-25, on Moore's bucket with a second before halftime.

About the time Mays screamed “No middle!” to protect against mid-range jump shots, Davidson knocked down a 12-footer in the paint to close Ashland's lead to 45-42, Villers, Adkins and Hudson stretched their advantage to 54-44 after three quarters.

A small adjustment worked: closing out Alderman's driving more than his shooting. The eventual result: the Vikings never came closer than 67-62 with 21.2 seconds to go in the game.

Just because Mays doesn't think about 24-0 doesn't mean he's never thought of Ashland's undefeated-ness.

“I was thinkin' more about 11-0 and 13-0,” Mays said.

ASHLAND    FG    FT    REB    TP

Atkins    3-4    0-0    3    6

Porter    1-10    3-6    7    6

Sellars    4-10    0-0    1    11

Villers    8-13    10-11    6    29

Hudson    4-7    2-2    3    13

Phillips    1-2    1-3    4    3

Gillum    0-0    0-0    1    0

Team                3

TOTALS    21-46    16-22    28    68

FG Pct.: 45.7. FT Pct: 72.7. 3-point FG: 10-20 (Adkins 0-1, Porter 1-2, Sellars 3-5, Villers 3-6, Hudson 3-6). PF: 18. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 8.

ROWAN CO.    FG    FT    REB    TP

Davidson    2-9    0-0    5    4

Moore    11-23    6-8    13    31

Cox    2-4    0-1    4    4

Alderman    4-6    2-5    8    10

Tabor    2-3    0-2    1    6

Gardner    0-0    2-2    0    2

Maxey    0-0    2-2    0    2

Goodpaster    1-1    0-0    0    3

Gamble 0-0    0-0    0    0

Team                0

TOTALS    22-47    12-20    32    62

FG Pct.: 46.8. FT Pct: 60.0. 3-point FG: 6-18 (Davidson 0-3, Moore 3-9, Cox 0-1, Tabor 2-3, Maxey 0-1, Goodpaster 1-1). PF: 19. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 11.

ASHLAND    12           23        19        14  —   68

ROWAN CO.     9           16         19        18  —   62

Officials: Joe Coldiron, Gavin Ramsey and Mikey Whisman.

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