ASHLAND Unbeaten Ashland put on a show for a packed house Friday night.

Raining 3-pointers and creating havoc defensively from the outset, the Tomcats blitzed Russell 70-30 in Anderson Gym.

Ashland, moving to 16-0, continued its best start since the 1976-77 team opened with 18 wins.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” Russell coach Tom Barrick said. “They played their best basketball game all year. I don’t think they’re physically capable of anything better than that.”

The Tomcats connected 17 times from beyond the arc, while their defense pressured Russell into 23 turnovers.

“Twenty-nine points off turnovers,” Ashland coach Jason Mays said. “ We executed the game plan: defense first. The shots were just falling tonight. It was fun to watch.”

Russell managed only two field goals in the first half while Ashland buried 10 treys for a 43-13 lead.

Four different Tomcats hit triples in the opening quarter as the defending 16th Region champs feasted on 10 Russell miscues.

“I came in thinking it would be a close game,” said Ashland guard Ethan Sellars. “Coach before the game was really focusing on our defense.”

Sellars did plenty to make sure the outcome wasn’t close. The sophomore scored a career-high 22 points, highlighted by six 3-balls.

“Beginning of the season, I was not focused on shooting,” Sellars said. “I was trying to pass it out. Against Union County (last Friday), I made like five (3-pointers) in the first half. From there it gave me confidence.”  

Sellars also chipped in four assists and three of his team’s 11 steals. He said the Tomcats fed off the large crowd.

“It was crazy,” Sellars said of the atmosphere. “The student section tonight was unbelievable. I’ve not seen this many in a long time, even when I was watching as a kid.”

All five starters made at least one 3-pointer as Ashland finished with 17 from deep — two shy of the school record.

Tomcat fans were in cheering mode before the action started. A pregame ceremony officially celebrated Ashland becoming the first program in state history to reach 2,000 wins. It happened during mid-December at Boyd County’s Roundball Classic.

Friday’s victory actually pushed Ashland’s total to 2,010.

The rout was on after Cole Villers and Sellars each nailed two of the team’s six 3-pointers in the first quarter. Ethan Hudson converted a three-point play during the flurry.

Villers finished with 18 points. Hudson scored 12 and Justin Bradley had 10. Freshman point guard Colin Porter consistently set the table by producing 10 of the Tomcats’ 19 assists.

“We had fresh legs tonight and it showed on both ends of the floor,” Mays said.

Charlie Jachimczuk’s nine points led Russell (5-8).

“Our big thing is we have to figure out why we let Ashland play their best game, because we weren’t competitive tonight,” Barrick said.   

Ashland’s rivalry weekend continues tonight as Boyd County pays a visit.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Sellars said. “We have to execute and play good defense.”

(606) 326-2671 |

rstanley@dailyindependent.com

RUSSELL    FG    FT    REB    TP

Jachimczuk    2-8    5-6    2    9

Bell    1-7    4-4    3    6

Miller    2-4    2-2    1    6

Downs    0-0    1-2    2    1

Cantrell    2-2    0-0    2    4

Anderson    0-0    0-0    2    0

Quinn    0-1    0-0    1    0

Moore    0-0    0-0    0    0

Doak    0-0    0-0    1    0

Goodman    0-2    0-0    2    0

Bechtel    2-2    0-0    2    4

Team            4

TOTALS    9-26    12-14    22    30

FG Pct.: 34.6. FT Pct.: 85.7. 3-point FGs: 0-7 (Miller 0-2, Bell 0-3, Jachimczuk 0-1, Goodman 0-1). PF: 12. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 23.

ASHLAND    FG    FT    REB    TP

Villers    6-12    2-2    4    18

Porter    1-2    0-0    4    3

Sellars    7-13    2-3    1    22

Bradley    4-5    0-0    4    10

Hudson    4-8    1-1    2    12

Gillum    1-2    0-0    1    2

Atkins    0-1    0-0    1    0

Phillips    1-2    0-0    1    3

Ashby    0-1    0-0    0    0

Conway    0-3    0-0    0    0

Adkins    0-0    0-0    0    0

Freize    0-0    0-0    0    0

Davis    0-0    0-0    0    0

Ingram    0-0    0-0    0    0

Team            3

TOTALS    24-49    5-6    21    70

FG Pct.: 48.9. FT Pct.: 83.3. 3-point FGs: 17-37 (Villers 4-7, Sellars 6-11, Hudson 3-6, Bradley 2-3, Porter 1-2, Gillum 0-1, Atkins 0-1, Phillips 1-2, Ashby 0-1, Conway 0-3). PF: 15. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 6.

RUSSELL    5    8    10    7    —    30

ASHLAND    25    18    21    6    —    70

Officials: Gavin Ramsey, Joe Coldrion, Jeff Adkins.

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