2020 Tomcats crank up offense, swarm 1959 Cats, 90-79

(This is a computer simulation matching  great Ashland Tomcat teams of the past against each other. All game results are computer-generated but the quotes and enhanced play-by-play are on me.)

ASHLAND, Ky. –  A scoring duel went the way of the 2020 Ashland Tomcats, who followed a 31-point scoring performance from Ethan Hudson to defeat the 1959 Tomcats, 90-79, in a Sunday afternoon special.

Some dead-eye shooting from Hudson, who made 6 of 8 from 3-point range, helped the 2020 Tomcats withstand Larry Castle’s big game of 30 points and nine rebounds.

Each team had only one player apiece make a 3-pointer – Hudson from 2020 and Castle, who hit 2 of 6, for 1959. But the scoring was fast and furious anyway. The 2020 Tomcats, known for their freewheeling offense, scored 49 in the first half against what was a strong defensive team from the 1959 Cats.

Ethan Hudson’s 31 was too much for the 59 Tomcats.

“We couldn’t do much with those boys,” said 1959 Tomcat coach Fred Anson. “It seemed like everything they put up went in, especially that one boy (Hudson). That’s a good ballclub. They sure like to get it and go.”

Ethan Sellars also scored 20, including making 10 of 10 free throws, for the 2020 Tomcats. Cole Villers also collected 14 points and five rebounds. They played much of the game with playmaker Colin Porter on the bench in foul trouble. Hunter Gillum and Justin Bradley took care of the ballhandling and playmaking, combining for 11 points and seven assists.

“This team has so much versatility, which makes them very easy to coach,” said 2020 Tomcats coach Jason Mays. “They didn’t panic when Colin picked up his third foul in the first four minutes. Two of those were charge calls and they were good calls. He was out of control.”

The 2020 Cats were cool and collected and led nearly from start to finish. Castle’s driving layup put the 59 Cats ahead briefly at 12-11. The lead only lasted about a minute before the 20 Cats stormed back in front. Their biggest lead was 79-64 in the fourth quarter when Sellars fired a 30-foot bounce pass that Tristin Davis laid in on the other end without having to take a dribble.

“Man, that pass was awesome,” said Porter, the author of many jaw-dropping assists. “I’ll have to get Ethan to show me how he did that.”

Assists were plentiful by both teams. All eight of the 59 Cats were credited with an assist, led by Dean Church with six dimes. The 20 Cats also had eight players with assists with Bradley’s four the most.

“We can pass the ball and score the ball,” Mays said. “You saw out there what we see every day in practice. Although, Selly’s halfcourt bounce pass was a first. I’ve not seen that before.”

Castle was the star for the 59 Tomcats along with Monte Campbell, who muscled his way inside for 20 points.

“We did what we could against those rabbits,” Castle said. “Those guys move the ball as well as any team we saw in 59. They have to be one of Ashland’s best passing teams. That 3-point shot was a bugaboo for us, too. I don’t think our guys ever did get the feel for that. This game was unlike any, except maybe two or three, we played.”

Huntington High defeated the 59 Cats 94-72 prior to the district tournament. Olive Hill downed the 59 Cats 92-85 in a shootout, too.

“I still love my guys though,” Castle said.

Villers was impressed with Castle’s scoring ability and agility. “That guy could really move,” he said. “We had a hard time keeping up with him and he could score from anywhere.”

Real life

Ashland 1959 finished 21-9 and fell to Clark County, 49-47, in the semifinals of the regional tournament. Castle averaged 23 per game and went on to play at Western Kentucky.

Ashland 2020 was 33-0 and won the regional title but were denied the chance to play in the Sweet 16 because of the coronavirus. Hudson signed to play with Transylvania after the season.

1959 ASHLAND (79) – Fillmore 3-7 0-0 6, Church 4-6 0-1 8, Sparks 3-6 0-0 6, Castle 12-26 4-5 30, Campbell 9-13 2-2 20, Caines 2-4 0-1 4, Conley 1-2 1-2 3, Moore 0-2 2-3 2. FG: 34-66. FT: 9-14. 3FG: 2-14 (Fillmore 0-4, Sparks 0-2, Castle 2-6, Conley 0-1, Moore 0-1). Rebounds: 25 (Church 4, Sparks 5, Castle 9, Campbell 3, Caines 1, Conley 2, Moore 1). Assists: 21 (Fillmore 3, Church 6, Sparks 2, Castle 4, Campbell 4, Caines 2, Conley 1, Moore 1). PF: 20. Turnovers: 20.

2020 ASH:AND (90) – Porter 1-5 2-2 4, Bradley 2-4 1-2 5, Villers 6-11 2-3 14, Sellars 5-12 10-10 20, Hudson 12-20 1-1 31, Gillum 1-2 4-4 6, Phillips 0-2 0-0 0, Adkins 1-3 0-0 2, Atkins 1-1 1-2 2, Conway 2-2 0-0 4, Davis 1-1 0-2 2. FG: 32-63. FT: 20-24. 3FG: 6-18 (Porter 0-4, Bradley 0-1, Villers 0-3, Hudson 6-8, Phillips 0-2). Rebounds: 34 (Porter 4, Bradley 3, Villers 5, Sellars 6, Hudson 7, Phillips 1, Adkins 2, Atkins 2, Conway 2, Davis 2). Assists: 20 (Porter 1, Bradley 4, Sellars 3, Hudson 1, Gillum 3, Phillips 3, Adkins 2, Conway 1). PF: 21. Turnovers: 19.

1959 ASHLAND           16       18       24            21       –           79

2020 ASHLAND          25       24       20            21       –           90




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