Embrace what just happened with Ashland’s basketball team because 33-0 is a Halley’s Comet moment. Take a lot of photos. Remember them. Maybe get an autograph.
How did Ashland’s remarkable team make it through to the Sweet Sixteen without a single blemish?
These players are as rare as their record, good boys who make the Ashland community – and their parents – proud. They all must have had “plays well together” on their elementary school report cards because that’s a trait that runs through them. I’ve never seen a better passing team.
They spent many Saturday mornings throughout the season not sleeping until noon but working with children who have disabilities. They are good students, leaders in the school, role models.
They like each other and they like to win more than anything.
Most of them have been doing that together for a long time. Kimberly Phillips, the team photographer, shared a Facebook memory on Tuesday from seven years ago when the Ashland Wildcards were playing together in a tournament.
They have a history together, a background and are well-grounded when it comes to spiritual matters because good people of Ashland have been put in their path. I personally love that spiritual angle about them. It goes back to their parents and the inspirational coaches who had a part in making them great players and even better people.
“They were given an opportunity to play a game they all love and enjoy and were taught that if you put your faith in God … anything can be accomplished,” Phillips wrote in the 2013 post.
How fitting that it popped up on the day these Tomcats made more history and kept making a community button-popping proud. They’ve been the good story in Ashland among a lot of sad ones.
Ashland blistered Lewis County 84-60 in the 16th Region championship with a clinic of a shooting display that set a record for 3-pointers. They were splashing them in all around Ellis T. Johnson Arena. The score could have been much worse, maybe double that margin, but that’s not how Jason Mays coaches. He’s class too and Ashland is lucky to have him.
It has been a season of incredible performances from these Tomcats who are sure to be remembered forever. They have the potential to be remembered not only in Ashland, which is already secured, but in state lore as well. The last undefeated team in state tournament history was when Brewers went 36-0 in 1948.
The Tomcats are the eighth team to enter the state tournament undefeated since Brewers became only the third team to win it all with an unblemished record.
Fans may well get behind Ashland when they play Elizabethtown in Rupp Arena to try and extend that undefeated streak and, if they shoot like they did in the regional tournament, anything is possible. It would be a mistake to count them out.
We’ve been witness to something special with this team and losing doesn’t seem to be an option, even if a 60-foot heave at the end of the game is needed.
Enjoy the moment because Halley’s Comets only come around about every 70-75 years.
Let’s see, Brewers undefeated championship season was, uh, 72 years ago?