Early 1960s Tomcats take off like rocket in Game 1

ASHLAND, Ky. – It took only three quarters for the 1960-64 Ashland Tomcat All-Stars to flex their considerable basketball superpowers.

Led by unflappable Larry Conley’s 34 points, the 1960-64 Tomcats piled up 102 points before the start of the fourth quarter and then had to hold on for an 111-106 victory over the 1965-69 Tomcats in the first game of a best-of-3 series between 1960s teams at Ashland High School gym.

Larry Conley scored 34 in Game 1 win for 60-64 Tomcats.

With Conley, Ditto Sparks and Harold Sergent taking turns dominating play, the 60-64 Tomcats led from nearly start to finish and once had an 18-point advantage. The 65-69 team’s only lead was 2-0.

“That was some kind of shooting display from those three,” said 65-69 coach Harold Cole of Conley, Sparks and Conley. “They didn’t miss much.”

The trio went a combined 28-for-46 from the field with Sergent scoring 23 and Sparks added 20 points. Jim McKenzie wasn’t far behind them with 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting.

Larry Conley and his little brother Joe went after each other like they were playing in the driveway in the first quarter. When Joe intentionally pushed his brother in the back as he was going in for a layup it nearly became more than brotherly love.

Joe Conley was called for an intentional foul and technical and it ended up a seven-point play that took the lead to 34-22. Larry Conley made the basket, then swished three free throws – one for the foul, two for the technical – and the 60-64 Tomcats inbounded it to Gary Wright, who sped in for a layup for the 12-point bulge.

“You don’t see seven-point plays very often,” said 60-64 coach Bob Wright. “In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it. Joe was just having some fun with Larry. But when he plastered him into the mat on the wall, they had to do something. I hated that it happened and hope it doesn’t affect other games in the series.”

The 60-64 Tomcats scored 36, 30 and 36 in the first three quarters to build the 102-85 advantage.

“These guys are All-Stars,” Wright said. “I didn’t expect them to back down.”

They came back with a fury behind Bobby Lynch, who scored eight consecutive points on an assortment of baskets. He finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, practically matching Larry Conley stat for stat.

“I’ve never seen more of a competitor than Lynch,” Wright said. “That boy could play for me anytime.”

It took nearly the entire fourth quarter for them to catch up but they were within 108-105 after Clint Wheeler tipped in a shot. The 60-64 Tomcats turned it over but Benny Spears’ 3-pointer from the deep corner ticked off the rim and Gene Smith pulled down the last of his nine rebounds.

“We came all the way back and had a chance to tie,” Cole said. “That’s a good sign for the rest of the series. Our backs are to the wall but if we can play defense like did in that fourth quarter, we can beat those guys.”

Both teams used the 3-pointer with the 65-69 Tomcats hitting 10 of 28 and the 60-64 Tomcats making 7 of 25.

“I’m still not sure about the 3-pointer,” Larry Conley said. “I need a little more practice at it.”

Larry and Joe Conley were laughing off the brotherly push in the back that triggered the seven-point play.

“You better push a little harder next time little brother,” Larry said.

“Don’t worry,” Joe shot back with a snicker. “That was just a love tap. You won’t get up the next time.”

Game 2 in the series will be Thursday night.

1965-69 TOMCAT ALL-STARS (106) – Lynch 11-23 7-7 32, Jackson 5-13 0-0 12, Spears 9-22 1-4 21, Conley 3-12 2-2 9, Wheeler 5-11 3-3 13, Owens 3-5 1-1 8, Williams 2-3 0-0 5 , Kleykamp 0-1 0-0 0, M.Griffith 2-2 0-0 4, Baldridge 1-2 0-0 2. FG: 41-95. FT: 14-17. 3FG: 10-28 (Lynch 3-6, Jackson 2-7, Spears 2-4, Conley 1-6, Owens 1-2, Williams 1-2, Kleykamp 0-1). Rebounds: 47 (Lynch 7, Jackson 4, Speaks 6, Conley 7, Wheeler 12, Owens 3, Williams 1, M.Griffith 5, Baldridge 2). PF: 25. Turnovers: 13.

1960-64 TOMCAT ALL-STARS (111) – Sparks 7-15 1-2 20, Smith 0-8 0-0 0, Conley 10-15 13-17 34, McKenzie 7-12 1-2 16, Sergent 11-16 1-2 23, Beam 1-4 4-4 6, Branham 1-5 0-0 2, Cram 0-6 2-2 2, Hilton 0-3 1-2 1, Wright 3-3 1-1 7. FG: 40-87. FT: 24-33. 3FG: 7-25 (Sparks 5-11, Conley 1-3, McKenzie 1-2, Sergent 0-2, Beam 0-2, Branham 0-1, Cram 0-3, Hilton 0-1). Rebounds: 45 (Sparks 7, Smith 9, Conley 7, McKenzie 4, Sergent 9, Beam 2, Branham 2, Cram 2, Hilton 3). Assists: 21 (Sparks 4, Smith 1, Conley 6, McKenzie 2, Sergent 4, Beam 3, Branham 1). PF: 18. Turnovers: 13.

1965-69 TOMCATS     28         32         25         21      –      106

1960-64 TOMCATS     36         30         36          9       –      111


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