WESTWOOD Ashland will carry a perfect record into the final month of the high school basketball regular season.

Despite missing top scorer Cole Villers due to a jammed finger, the Tomcats again showcased fluid team play in beating Fairview, 79-55, on Friday night at George Cooke Memorial Gym.

 Point guard Colin Porter racked up 25 points when he wasn’t setting up opportunities for teammates. The freshman popped in 5-of-7 shots from behind the 3-point line. Ethan Sellars also provided plenty of scoring punch with 20 points for the state’s top-ranked team.

“With Cole out, I had to look to score more, be more aggressive offensively,” Sellars said.

As a team, Ashland connected on eight 3-points in the first 12 minutes. Meanwhile, the Tomcats’ defensive intensity helped produce 20 turnovers through three quarters as the lead ballooned to 28 points.

 “The Boyd County game (55-50 on Wednesday) was not pretty,” Sellars said. “We had not been shooting well as a team and knew we had to change things up; play our butts off. The hustle really helped. In the second quarter, I think we held Fairview to single digits (six points).”

 Ashland coach Jason Mays came away highly pleased with his team’s latest performance.

“We really responded well,” he said. “Cole probably could have played. We felt it would have been uncomfortable for him and would have affected his ballhandling. It wasn’t a ‘me’ decision; it was an ‘us’ decision. We’ve got a lot of basketball left. Let’s get him healthy.”

The Tomcats sustained another injury to the starting lineup when senior Justin Bradley rolled his ankle midway through the third quarter. Bradley went down near the baseline and was helped off the court.

“It’s the same one he rolled two weeks ago,” Mays said. “That causes it to be a little more intense. We probably won’t know the extent until morning.”   

Before his exit, Bradley hit a couple of 3-pointers as Ashland finished with 12 from downtown. Porter connected on two triples in each of the first two quarters.

“I thought Porter did a really good job all around,” Fairview coach Brett Cooksey said. “He shot very well from 3, and Sellars had a great game. Defensively, Ashland causes you problems by getting hands on the ball.”

Mays certainly noticed.

“We got three straight turnovers on the run-and-jump,” the coach said. “The energy was really good.”

Ashland improved to 23-0.

“It feels good, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves and get a big head,” Sellars said. “We just want to keep playing hard for each other.”

Eleven players got in on the scoring act for the Tomcats. Sophomore Ryan Atkins came off the bench to grab a team-best seven rebounds to go with his 3-pointer and another basket set up by Hunter Gillum’s nice feed. Gillum also had five points.

 “Ashland’s played a great schedule and won several close games,” Cooksey said. “It shows how well-coached they are. They have a one-game-at-a-time mentality that’s helped get them to where they are.”

Fairview (6-13) had a three-game winning streak snapped, but received solid point production from the trio of sophomore Jaxon Manning and seniors Jay Ferguson and Terrick Smith.

Manning hit a short jumper for the game’s first points and went on to score 17.

“Jaxon did a good job posting up and the seniors left it out there,” Cooksey said. “Jay had a good driving game and Terrick got going in the second half and made shots.”

Smith tied him for team scoring honors after a slow start. Ferguson added 13 points on 6-for-shooting.

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ASHLAND    FG    FT    REB    TP

Bradley    2-5    0-1    3    6

Porter    7-9    6-8    0    25

Hudson    2-5    1-1    3    5

Sellars    8-17    1-2    3    20

Phillips    1-3    0-0    4    2

Gillum    2-6    1-2    4    5

Atkins    2-3    0-1    7    5

Conway    1-1    2-2    2    4

Adkins    1-2    0-0    2    3

Ashby    1-4    0-0    1    2

Davis    1-1    0-0    0    2

Ingram    0-0    0-0    0    0

Team            3

TOTALS    28-56    11-17    32    79

FG Pct.: 50.0. FT Pct.: 64.7. 3-point FGs: 12-26 (Porter 5-7, Sellars 3-6, Bradley 2-4, Hudson 0-3, Atkins 1-1, Gillum 0-1, Adkins 1-2, Ashby 0-2). PF: 10. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 15.


Ferguson    6-10    0-1    4    13

Te. Smith    7-15    2-2    5    17

Caldwell    2-2    0-0    4    4

Manning    8-16    0-0    2    17

Ta. Smith    0-1    0-0    0    0

Crooks    1-3    0-0    4    2

Elswick    0-1    0-0    0    0

Johnson    0-0    0-0    1    0

Day    1-1    0-0    1    2

Terry    0-1    0-0    0    0

Mitchell    0-0    0-0    0    0

Harper    0-0    0-0    0    0

Tucker    0-0    0-0    0    0

Team            4

TOTALS    25-50    2-3    25    55

FG Pct.: 50.0. FT Pct.: 66.7. 3-point FGs: 3-8 (Ferguson 1-1, Manning 1-2, T. Smith 1-5). PF: 18. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 22.

ASHLAND    23    20    19    15    —    79

FAIRVIEW    16    6    14    19    —    55

Officials: Nathan Sutton, Bill Renzi, Ken Catron.

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