Cade Brandt had a change of mind. Jason Mays had a change of heart.
After initially opting out of basketball to centralize his focus on his football receiving prowess, Brandt couldn’t stand missing out on the Tomcats’ first season under Mays' leadership.
A day following Ashland’s season-opening loss to Lewis County on the hardwood, Brandt set up a meeting with coaches. He did so knowing that, at that point, his name and number (55) weren’t listed on the roster.
It was the senior’s approach that helped sway Mays.
“Cade met with our staff, and we had a very heart-to-heart conversation,” Mays said. “It was positive. It was all his doing. He initiated it all. We welcomed him back into the fold.”
Despite missing almost half of the football season with a collar bone injury, Brandt led Ashland in receiving (482 yards and five touchdowns).
What impact he’ll make on the court remains to be seen, but he darted into Friday’s defeat of Cordia with oodles of energy. He exhibited pure hustle for two minutes.
“He doesn’t know one single play yet,” Mays said on Friday night. “He’s had two practices. Our Achilles heel is rebounding, and he helps us with that.”
Brandt pulled down 5.1 boards a game in 16 contests last season. The 6-foot-4 forward with a notable wingspan was also a regular collector of blocks.
Mays said Ashland must “use this time wisely” to get Brandt and two other football players — Russell Rogers and Ryan Bryant — up to speed.
•Bath County’s 66-38 win over Pendleton County gave Mark Collier his first win as a high school girls head coach. Ashland’s Jason Mays accomplished the same on the boys side.
•West Carter’s Allie Stone surpassed 1,000 points in a rather stunning 88-44 rout of East Carter in the EKC Tournament’s opening round. She’s a freshman, folks. To put that into perspective, Boyd County star Savannah Wheeler didn’t hit 1,000 until February of her freshman year.
•Wheeler missed Saturday’s rivalry game at Ashland — a matchup in which she typically excels — after sustaining a minor ankle injury against Fleming County. Wheeler will likely be back very soon, but promising teammate Bailey Rucker, who would’ve been another 3-point threat on a team full of them, may not. “She hurt her knee and it’s gonna be a while before she comes back,” coach Pete Fraley said. Rucker showed plenty of potential as a freshman and will be a dependable piece for the Lady Lions when she returns. Until then, Boyd County will focus on developing more depth.
•Sticking with the subject of Boyd County, the 16th Region defending boys champions are off to a 2-0 start. Despite losing key players to graduation, the Lions have tossed up 80-plus points in each of the first two contests. Talbott Taylor was red-hot in both games, racking up 52 points. Former teammate Reese Robinson tweeted about his disgust with the preseason coaches poll, which did not give Taylor his due, he indicated.
•Former Paintsville standout and current Johnson Central assistant J.R. VanHoose is now in second place on the all-time blocks list in KHSAA history. Madison Central’s Isaiah Cozart recorded rejection No. 542 on Friday to advance past VanHoose. VanHoose, Mr. Basketball in 1998, issued a video statement congratulating Cozart, a Western Kentucky commit.
•Russell boys coach Bryan Groves issued a challenged to his team with his postgame comments after absorbing an overtime loss to Greenup County. He said playing varsity basketball requires “big-boy underwear.” A brief 24 hours later, the Red Devils responded rapidly and properly by disposing of a talented Morgan County squad, 62-59, in the EKC’s opening round.
•The girls and boys EKC semifinal rounds feature identical matchups. The Russell-West Carter and Lewis County-Rowan County girls duels are set for tonight beginning at 6 at Morgan County. The same boys battles are slated for Tuesday at 6 p.m. in West Liberty.
•Lewis County’s boys are 2-0 for the first time since 2014-15. That might elicit a “whoop-tee-do” response from some, but that’s a pretty big deal for the boys from Vanceburg, especially considering it knocked off Ashland, which had a hot preseason, and obliterated a decent Fairview crew.
•Two blowout losses to district opponents can be excruciating to take, but it’s almost 100-percent safe to say that East Carter’s boys will be no pushover by the time February rolls around.
•December is a month full of holiday classics, invitationals, tournaments and showcases. The Boyd County Roundball Classic will get the party started on Friday in Summit. Elliott-Boyd boys will serve as Friday’s premier showdown.
Snyder’s Super Seven
1. Elliott County (3-0)
2. Johnson Central (1-0)
3. Boyd County (2-0)
4. Lewis County (2-0)
5. Ashland (1-1)
6. Paintsville (0-1)
7. Rowan County (3-0)
At the scorer’s table (next two in): West Carter, Greenup County.
1. West Carter (1-0)
2. Ashland (2-0)
3. Boyd County (2-1)
4. Russell (1-0)
5. Rowan County (2-0)
6. Menifee County (3-1)
7. Paintsville (1-0)
At the scorer’s table (next two in): J. Central, East Carter.
It’s almost an all-Lion edition in the first installment of the 2018-19 30-Point Club as a pair of Boyd Countians and a two seniors from Sandy Hook eclipsed the magic mark.
Savannah Wheeler notched 44 points in her team’s season-opening defeat of Johnson Central.
Blake Stewart also represented Boyd County well by tossing in 34 against Menifee County.
Elliott County’s Tanner Dickerson tallied 34 points in a thrilling double-overtime victory over Paintsville. Teammate Korbin Spencer splashed in 37 on Sunday against Lyon County.
West Carter’s Allie Stone joined the club on Saturday night. She amassed 40 points as the Lady Comets crushed East Carter.
Reach AARON SNYDER at email@example.com or (606) 326-2664. Follow @DIndependentQB on Twitter.