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Union County's Izaiaa Manuel looks to pass against Ashland on Friday night.

ASHLAND Undefeated Ashland may want to temporarily rename James A. Anderson the Splash Pad.

The Tomcats’ calling card has been the 3-pointer and they buried Union County under an avalanche of triples in rolling to an 84-49 victory on Friday for their 13th consecutive victory.

“Hats off to Ashland,” said Union County coach Shane Smith. “They shoot it so well, execute their stuff so well, and their chemistry is very good. That’s going to be a fun team to watch down the stretch of the year.”

After winning the Ashland Invitational Tournament with an exceptional three-game performance, the Tomcats showed no letup. They splashed in nine triples in the first half, including a sizzling performance from Ethan Sellars who rained in five of them. The Tomcats made 14 for the game coming from eight different players.

“I’ve never shot like that this season, or ever in my career,” said Sellars, who did all his scoring in the first half when the Tomcats raced to a 49-20 lead over the Braves of the Third Region. “Colin (Porter) kept breaking down the pressure and getting it to me.”

Porter, who led the Tomcats with 18 points and six assists, found Sellars open on three of his 3-pointers.

Ashland led 23-14 when it went on a 14-0 run, fueled by four Sellars 3-pointers, to blow the game open. He drilled three in a two-minute span. It was part of a 23-2 run that made the game a total mismatch. Ethan Hudson completed a three-point play and drilled one from downtown off an assist from Porter to make it 47-16.

“The first quarter we were hanging tough and got to the free throw line,” Smith said. “Then we lost focus on where their shooters were (on the floor) and it went from fairly close to out of it.”

Hudson scored 17 and Sellars finished with 15. It was a hustle play from Sellars, when he chased after a loose ball with a dive, that provided some motivation.

Ashland coach Jason Mays wasn’t surprised that the Tomcats didn’t have an AIT hangover.

“Our kids are aware of what’s going on with the team,” he said. “There’s been the 2,000th win (in program history), being undefeated … that’s a lot of noise for 14-to-18-year-olds to navigate. We’re getting media requests almost daily now and they’re not flinching at all.”

Mays said the Tomcats “play for one another. The strength of the team is togetherness.”

After the game he asked the players how many were going to help with the Challenger League games for special-needs children this morning in Russell. It was unanimous.

“It’s not mandated, but everybody on the team raised their hands (that they were going),” he said.

Mays said this summer he caught a glimpse of how the Tomcats might be able to play when they beat defending state champions from Tennessee and South Carolina and handed current No. 1 Ballard and highly regarded John Hardin losses despite missing three starters.

Ashland had assists on 19 of 31 baskets and took eight more 3-pointers than it did from 2-point range. The Tomcats are averaging more trey attempts than twos on the season.

“That’s who we are,” Mays said. “It’s all about spacing and tempo.”

Union County (7-6) is going through a transition after three of the four top players, including the top two scorers, were kicked off the team last week for violating team rules. This was the Braves’ first game since the dismissals.

“It is what it is,” Smith said.

Union County plays Lewis County today in the Marv Meredith Classic at Russell.

Kaleb Kampe had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Izaiaa Manuel scored 13 for the Braves.

Ashland plays Woodford County tonight with the varsity game tipping off early at 6. The Tomcats played before another big crowd Friday coming on the heels of one of the best attended AITs in years.

UNION CO.    FG    FT    REB    TP

Corbett    3-6    1-2    3    7

Mackey    2-4    2-2    4    7

Martin    1-5    0-0    3    2

Kampe    4-12    4-4    8    12

Johnson    2-5    0-0    0    4

K.Manuel    0-1    0-0    0    0

Cullen    0-0    0-0    0    0

Duckworth    0-0    0-0    0    0

Hughes    2-4    0-2    1    2

Mayes    0-0    0-0    0    0

I.Manuel    4-8    3-4    3    13

Team            8

TOTALS    18-45    10-14    25    49

FG Pct.: 40.0. FT Pct.: 71.4. 3-point FGs: 3-8 (Mackey 1-2, Kampe 0-1, Martin 0-1, Corbett 0-1, I.Manuel 2-3). PF: 9. Fouled out – None.

ASHLAND    FG    FT    REB    TP

Porter    7-11    3-4    4    18

Sellars    5-8    5-8    2    15

Villers    2-7    0-1    4    5

Bradley    2-3    0-0    1    5

Hudson    5-9    4-5    2    17

Atkins    1-2    0-1    2    3

Ashby    2-3    0-0    1    5

Conway    2-6    0-0    3    5

Phillips    2-4    0-0    2    4

Gillum    1-2    0-0    0    2

Davis    1-2    0-0    1    2

Adkins    0-3    0-0    1    0

Freize    1-2    0-0    3    3

Ingram    0-0    0-0    0    0

Team            5

TOTALS    31-62    8-11    27    84

FG Pct.: 50.0. FT Pct.: 72.7. 3-pointers: 14-35 (Porter 1-3, Sellars 5-8, Villers 1-6, Bradley 1-1, Hudson 3-5, Atkins 0-1, Ashby 1-2, Conway 1-5, Phillips 0-1, Adkins 0-2, Freize 1-1). PF: 8. Fouled out – None.

UNION CO.    12    8    19    10    —    49

ASHLAND    23    26    20    15    —    84

Officials: Maurio McKissick, Justin Middleton and Kenneth Huddleston.

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